A Good Guest of the Planet

Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught, will we realize that we can’t eat money.– NativeAmerican Cree proverb

good-guest-of-planetWhy is it that we tend to value people, places and things more when we are at risk of losing them? It seems that when there’s plenty, we’re less likely to appreciate and take care of what we have. And for many, it’s only when we see the rivers drying up, the dead fish encased in oil on the shores, the dark brown cloud on the horizon, and the birds falling from the sky that we take notice.

While it’s hard not to be aware of the negative impact that we’ve had on the Earth—air and water pollution, deforestation, etc.—imminent loss makes it more likely that we will take action to preserve what we have and to prevent further depletion of our natural resources.

Each thing that we do matters, especially when multiplied by the millions of people sharing this planet.

Our decisions to recycle, to conserve water and natural resources, to drive less, to hold corporations who pollute accountable, and to support organizations and people who are leading the way in environmental consciousness and actions are all acts of kindness, not only to the planet and its current inhabitants, but to future generations as well.

Being a Good Guest

Recently, my friend, Jessie, and I were invited to stay at the beautiful home of a couple, whom we had literally met the night before, although we had close mutual friends.

I always feel a responsibility to be a good guest,which for me means bringing gifts of food or flowers, helping with cooking and chores, and being respectful, unobtrusive, and appreciative. And I try to leave someone’s home in the same way, or better, for future guests to enjoy.

At the end of our stay, I expressed to Jessie my hope that I’d achieved “good guest status.” She said,

“You have. In fact, you’re a good guest of the planet!”

The comment made me think about my temporary stay on Earth. Was I fully valuing the gift of living here, taking care of the earth and its resources as best I could? Was I taking no more than I needed, or more than I could give back? Was I leaving it in at least as good a state as it was when I arrived? Was I being respectful to its other inhabitants and sharing resources equitably?

While overall I think I’m doing an okay job, there are many people who garner my utmost respect fortheir extraordinary efforts to care forthe environment. I hope that I can follow in their footsteps as an honored guest of our planet and be an inspiration to future generations.

by Linda Commito – Published in the April, 2013 edition of Transformation Magazine

How are you a good guest of the planet?  Share your ideas for taking care of planet in the comment box below: