Dare to Care
Tell me about your greatest fears, about what you want to do with your life, about what makes you tick. I would love to know what you value on this planet and about your connection to the earth. Do you have a connection to nature? Do you love the oceans or the mountains? What about animals? What do you hold in your heart that makes you feel joy?
For some, these questions are difficult to answer, and for some, the answers come naturally. But I believe the answers lie within our perception.
Just a few days ago, the United Nations released the most comprehensive assessment of its kind which clearly shows us that we are on a fast track to lose 1 million plant and animal species within just a few decades. 1 million species. Let’s let that sink in for a moment. This is a number of magnitude we are unable to fully understand and grasp, yet the number is so devastatingly visceral that it would truly take the most hardened of hearts to not have some sort of emotional reaction.
As I read the report, I couldn’t help but think about the timing of its release. This incredibly powerful message was sandwiched right in between the 49th anniversary of the celebration of Earth Day on April 22 and the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday on May 12. The irony was not lost on me. For the last 49 years we have taken just 49 days out of 17,885, just .2% of our time, to stop and appreciate the wonder that is Mother Earth. And somehow, now, we stand with this report in our hands 49 years later, almost collectively paralyzed with the overwhelming question of “well, what do we do now?” This is a moment in time where I believe we should dare to care.
If you’ve read this far into today’s blog, you’re probably wondering what this report and my silly thoughts about timing have to do with the elephants at Never Forget. The thing is, this report impacts not only the 1 million individual species that are predicted to become extinct within a few decades, but it also affects each individual elephant at Never Forget. And, maybe more importantly due to the impact it has on the future of all life on our planet home, it should affect the perception that each one of us has in our community of over 7 billion human beings on this planet. Simply, this report should be the final alarm that needs to be sounded for us to regenerate our relationship with earth.
After I read the report, I sat in silence and thought about what that means for us collectively as a whole and for our Never Forget community. I thought about the elephants we have rescued and the future I wish for them. And I thought how we have to each start somewhere in taking individual responsibility in improving the future of the health of our planet. The report reminded me of my favorite story of a young boy who wasn’t afraid to take a chance:
“Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often, and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still, and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied. “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach, and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled, and said “It made a difference to that one.”
We can choose to lose hope or we can choose to spin our perception and see the potential in starting somewhere. We must start somewhere. The report challenges us to dare to care about each individual starfish and each individual elephant in our case here at Never Forget. Join us in accepting the challenge to dare to care.
For the Elephants,