Earth Day a time to honor all living things |

Earth Day a time to honor all living things

Dawn Armstrong
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

April 22 is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. The 1970 grass roots concern and call to action embraced Mother Earth and all her flora and fauna. Since then, the annual focus has been living in harmony in a shared habitat, respecting each other and our planet. In 2010, the concept of sustainability has been added.

“It’s not about the environmental movement versus sustainability,” stated DeLongpre Johnston, director of sustainability at Wake Forest University as she called for positive individual action this year.

“Sustainability can be seen as an evolved way of thinking about the environmental movement and an acknowledgment that human beings can’t prosper without healthy and intact natural systems,” Johnston said.

The list of extinct species and of endangered species increases with each new scientific survey report. Human animals are included with projections that rising oceans will force millions to live in unfamiliar, crowded environments, along with their displaced domestic and wild animal neighbors. Television has documented the reality of the immediate threat to island and coastal peoples.

Living close to nature in Lake Tahoe, we are reminded each day of our obligation to respect our wild neighbors as well as to protect our companion animals. Most of us feel it is a privilege to see a bear or coyote on our way to work or play. However, as humans are spreading out, encounters with wildlife are occurring more frequently and a disturbing expression of human entitlement rather than encroachment has been reported.

Earth Day is a day to reflect on the most basic concept of survival: Peace and harmony as a community of human, domestic and wild animals.

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”

-Chief Seattle 

1786-1866, American Indian Chief of the Suquamish

Dawn Armstrong is the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

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