At the close of this year, I reflect on the two centenaries we celebrated this year- the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and the birth of Jonas Salk. The tragic consequences of human exploitation sent the passenger pigeon population from millions to one, then none in the span of less than 50 years. People did not take heed of the life cycle of this abundant bird, nor did we consider that this population of birds played a significant role in shaping the landscape and the fertility of the ground. Jonas Salk conquered a crippling disease through studying and understanding the forces of immunity and resistance in human physiology. His wisdom combined with knowledge and confidence in his findings saved millions from the scourge of polio, now nearly eliminated from the world except for a few war-torn places. As we look to the future, we can take precaution from the lesson of the Passenger Pigeon, and inspiration from the work of Jonas Salk.
We face serious challenges in this coming year. We stand at a turning point in the course of civilization. Can we lift our eyes from the instant pursuit of profits without regard for the consequences beyond the next quarter, or will we take to heart the needs of the future generations and change our pattern of destruction and waste? I see many emerging trends in the direction of changing the system that is accelerating climate change. Vandana Shiva standing up to Monsanto over GMO seeds and chemical dependent agriculture gives me courage. She give voice to many all over the world who would expand diversified farming practices that restore and regenerate the fertility of the ground and preserve biodiversity and resilience in crops. The Energiewende in Germany stands in challenge to both fossil fuels and nuclear energy with aggressive pursuit of renewable resources and sustainable energy practices. Edward O. Wilson continues his prolific prose urging us to preserve the wondrous biodiversity of the living earth. And, my grandchildren are vegetarian, earth loving, gardeners who want to make bread by hand and camp outside. I have hope for our future!
In this Holiday Season as we prepare for another year, may we reflect on the wonder of Nature and be joyful that we live in a time when our actions make a tremendous difference for the course of humanity. We decide every day the fate of those unborn who are not here to ask that we save the fresh air, clean water, fertile ground and biodiversity of species for them. Let us celebrate Nature and Celebrate the Spirit in all of us that will rise to preserve our living earth!