I’ve always proclaimed myself as a “nature-loving” kind of person, one who grew up in nature literally! I spent almost all playing time in my childhood at the backyard of my house, or running around green grass pasture, playing with mud at paddy field, jumping around piles of dried rice stalks, hiking to the top of a small hill to find wild berries, swimming at the Toba Lake whilst exploring the giant stones and small caves around the beach, riding buffalo, catching small fish at small streams, climbing trees and many other outdoor activities. No malls, no Time Zone, no Play Station (thou my dad bought us a Nintendo, but he seldom let us play with it), no Game Boy, no computer, no internet, or any other high-technology thingy. It’s always just me and nature in an open air, and I really love my childhood. I remember when I was around 5 years old, dad took all of us to lived in the middle of a forest for 6 months, he was on a mission back then, a mission to take care the family land and put fences around it, 500 hectares it was. We lived right in the middle of it, with the nearest neighbor several miles away, with boars walking around the house yard at night, scratching their back to our wooden house making weird noises that wakes us up. Dad made us plant red pepper, tomatoes, corn, and egg-plant just for the fun of planting it and picking it up several weeks later. We took our daily bath at the small river stream around the house, very cold but clean, with monkeys watching us playing and bathing, a lot of them. Sometimes when we’re walking to the river one of the monkey’s baby fall from the tree, making a loud “boom” sound but they soon get up and climb the tree again. Seriously, I was the Indonesian version of Little House on the Prairies (or… the Jungle Book? But loose the bear)
But I remember not once, not even once, someone, anyone, not my teacher, not any older people (well, my parents mentioned it once or two but nothing serious in it) taught me about appreciating the Earth. Not even once they said to me “Lo, you should be grateful for the soft grass you step on and the fresh air you breathe every morning. Lo, you have to treasure the beauty of nature that you enjoy now, because things going to change later. Lo, you need to take care our Earth for your own sake and the next generation!” No one EVER mentioned to me that I actually live in a LIVING planet that needs to be tend and cultivate. They just said, that I’m living in a planet called Earth, the 4th planet from the Sun, part of The Milky Way Galaxy, this planet is so big with circumference at the Equator: 24,901.55 miles, the only planet we can live in because of the atmosphere that keep the air, and that we also proudly call it the blue planet. So I grew up with the love for and from all nature things, but WITHOUT acknowledgment that if I don’t do anything for nature, it all eventually will be perished. That all nature things that I really – really relished when I was just a little kid will never be the same anymore. NEVER. I mean, c’mon, logically, what a tiny single person like me can contribute to the giant planet Earth?
I have to admit that when I get older and grow up – a little bit –, there were times when I read or heard those news or articles about Earth and it’s obliteration, the writings did moved my heart a little. I was thinking “O poor Earth little damages here and there huh? but anyway… we still have a lot to consume here, to fulfill our needs, what’s the real problem? The water won’t go anywhere, O c’mon, there are a lot of places to get water from in this world. The sun will still there, shines upon our plants to keep them green, make sure the whole photosynthesis process going on. The air will always breathable. There will always land to work on, there will always paddy field or any other land to crops, and we’re human will never be too many to cover the whole area on earth. This is a BIG Planet and we human, we’re smart creature, we can calculate!”. I was SO wrong!
Seriously, it’s when I watched Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth of Global Warming, I had my mind felt like hit by a truck. BOOM!!! My goodness, that bad??? That my grand grand children (only 3 generations away) won’t be able to experience even a little of whatever I had in my childhood? That if I tell my grand kids the story of my childhood, they will think it as a FICTION! Because it will definitely be a LOT different then! I look around and realized how different everything now, and it’s getting worse. That sun will not as friendly as it used to be for us, it’ll burn you, it even can inflict skin cancer and there’s been critical drought in several area in the world. That air is heavily polluted. The clean water will be so valuable and it’s not that easy to get pure nature clean water, you have to process it! That fresh vegetable we will call organic food and it cost a lot more. And many land will lost under the water because sea will not as pleasant as it was, and human –actually- can grow to the amount that beyond this big big big planet earth can accommodate. I was stunned. I was scare out of my skull. I was panic! Then I started keenly read more and more facts about the devastation of Earth by human – by you & I. I read how much deforestation that it’s change the climate all over the world, I read how many energy we spent that it cost lot of holes at our atmosphere, the green house effect, I read the mountains of TRASH we produce. I read about hunt and killing animals not to have them as food but as ACCESSORIES. I realized how we take all out of this earth just to fulfill NOT only our NEED, but our GREED.
You see, I’m so ignorant! I’m selfish! I’m too prideful, I’m one ungrateful creature exploiting and sucking this earth out of its live! I don’t deserve it! Who am I think I can take anything this earth provided without ever thinking to repay it goodness! O how I owe Earth an apology.
- For the inconsiderate amount of trash that I produced all of my life, the plastic that I only used for 5 minutes then threw away, just to bring stuff I just bought every now and then, small and big. Papers I never really used but I threw away too just like that. Using so many Styrofoam and don’t care about how it’ll be dissolve instead being just trash.
- For the ill-considered using amount of energy in my every day, leaving my phone charger plug in the electric socket just like that, leaving the lights and TV on all night long because I fell asleep, leaving the water run down straight to the sink hole, or using unexplainable amount of water just to wash one of my favorite shirt, turn on my air con when I’m not at my room.
- For contribute to air pollution with uncared cars I used (in my youth), don’t care about the emission regulation, and many stuff that produce carbon dioxide.
- For NOT say anything to people around me when their being ignorant and do many mistakes like I did. Being so passive and not the one who initiate a campaign to thank the Earth and make peace with Mother Nature. Gosh, I have a lot – a lot – a lot to apologize to Earth.
So, even thou the Earth Day is only one symbolic day, but I’m begging you, don’t let The Earth Day pass us by in vain, please. It’s very easy to help this Earth. Let us start a simple personal campaign, a simple commitment to save our –actually – little Earth. Start simple. I’ll try to commit to never forget turn off lights wherever I’m going out the room. A promise never throws anything over the window car or litter. A promise to plant a tree on your backyard (what a privilege), A promise to teach your kids, or who ever kid we meet to appreciate the Earth. A promise to use things prudently, to eat something astutely, to buy something wisely. One simple promise from each of us, will save this earth. I’m so believe in that.
Let us living in harmony not only with human but also with Mother Nature, and we all owe her an apology for our ignorance all of these time. Have a revolutionized Earth Day!