World Environment Day — When Will Dawn Arrive?

Banner on the U.N.’s website

“The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature.

Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message:
To care for ourselves we must care for nature. 

It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices.
It’s time to build back better for People and Planet.

This World Environment Day, it’s Time for Nature.”

#WorldEnvironmentDay #ForNature

Today is World Environment Day.

It feels irreverent to speak about the environment when the world is on fire right now, spiritually, allegorically, and most definitely physically, fulminating against a backdrop of a coronavirus pandemic, rising unemployment, police brutality, and centuries of institutionalized racism.

People are on edge. Issues of race and inequality, always a backdrop for the lives of African Americans, have spilled over into the mainstream like a too-full pot of boiling water. Injustice can’t be contained forever so what better time for this conflagration than in the middle of a pandemic?

It’s not a coincidence that the worst of the worst is occurring all at once. For years, people of color have remained at the lower socioeconomic rung of society, shut out by systemic racism that leaves practices in place meant to keep people down along many spectrums — housing, education, health, and even plain old opportunity. The question isn’t why the anger is erupting now, but how it has been contained this long.

Dr. Jane Goodall’s learning schedule on

I realize the environment is often a care associated with white privilege. I also realize why. When you have been harassed by the police as a way of life, when you are struggling to take care of your family, when you have been routinely told that your life doesn’t matter as much as your contemporaries with whiter skin than yours, you may not have much bandwidth left to think about the bugs and bunnies, clean air or clean water. And that’s okay, because in order to live an authentic life, we all need to follow what has heart and meaning, for us. But what if changing our relationship with the natural world, our relationship with all of its inhabitants could change humanity as well?

perfect balance

Enter Balance. You can’t walk without out it, can’t run without it, can’t ride a bike without it, can’t stand on your head without it, and can’t live your life without out. Actually, you can live your life, but the lack of balance will eventually catch up with you — through misfortune, death, disease, whatever — and the world as it is presents a perfect example of this.

“This pandemic was predicted and people have not heeded the lessons we should have because we have disrespected the natural world, disrespected the animals who live there, taken away so much habitat, crowded animals together, viruses spilling over from one animal species to another, some animals pushed into conflict with humans and human beings hunting them, eating them, trafficking them, sending them from one country to another along with their viruses and selling them on these wildlife markets as food or pets and because the animals are stressed, because there’s blood in everything and everywhere, it’s the perfect environment for a virus to spill over from an animal to a human, and people have been predicting this.”

DR. Jane Goodall appearing on Jimmy Fallon on Earth Day

We could easily substitute the word human for animal in Dr. Goodall’s words and the meaning would be the same. For hundreds of years, white civilization trafficked in black civilization, disrespecting them, crowding them together, treating them the way we treat animals today. Sadly, and while it’s not universal, it is prevalent, much of this spillover behavior toward Black America continues in the form of generationally engendered racism, and, in particular, police brutality.

No such terrible deeds are without repercussions which is how we have arrived where we are today, unwilling to deal with the sins of past, unable to cobble together a path forward. Certainly we can’t claim to have respect for the earth if we don’t even know how to have respect for each other.

I note some things that have become evident in the U.S. over these last few years:

  • reasonable public debate is a tired old shoe that no one wants to wear;
  • people pretend they are listening to each other, but really they are just waiting for their turn to talk;
  • people cling to the trappings of the 3rd dimension like a drowning man clings to flotsam even while many Americans declare themselves to be religious or spiritual and not bound by such trappings;
  • despite all evidence to the contrary, there are some people who will never change their opinion on an issue either because of pride, fear, or a stubborn belief in their own superiority.

I think it’s this last one that does us in more than the others. If we are unwilling to change our minds, how will we ever evolve as a species? Without compassion, without empathy, and without true listening skills, nothing will ever change and we will be destined to revolve through these cycles of ill will, discontent and inequality, year after year, for generations to come.

Sadly, the only way to get through to most inhabitants of a 3-D world is through revolution which means more horror, more bloodshed, more tears, and more death. I think we can do better in welcoming a new dawn to this battered world.

Balance for the planet and all its inhabitants, starts with good environmental stewardship. If you love the mother, you wouldn’t disrespect one of her creations, right?

Everyday is a new beginning, a chance to start again. Isn’t it time to heal the sins of the past? Isn’t it time we give all people, regardless of race or religion, their due?

Revolution is passé. Evolution is where it’s at. Let’s start now.

I’ll leave you with this:

dark and light exist side by side into eternity

A Small Needful Fact

by Ross Gay

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.

pam lazos 6.5.20

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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50 Responses to World Environment Day — When Will Dawn Arrive?

  1. Sustain blog says:

    Green life, Blue water! A wonderful piece on World Environment Day….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post. I’m a Jane Goodall fan. I’ve read much of her writings, respect how she lived a life that got her where she is. Thanks to her and folks like Birute Galdikas, I have a whole different attitude toward our Great Ape cousins.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many, many yes’s to this. There is little listening, researching, understanding. We pull what we want out of context to make us look good, and we’ve done this so long we forget what the big picture even is. Nothing changes for the better on the whim of a soundbyte.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan Scott says:

    I went looking for you Pam (for #WATWB) and came across this one. How did this pass me by? I do not know, but I’m glad I came to it. You’re right, the extraordinary thing is that ‘it’ has been ‘contained’ for so long, but it had to explode sometime. Trying times for sure, but all the fault-lines that were there before and forever are being exposed as never before. It had to happen … we can only hope that with more self-awareness and awareness of others and what role we’ve played in the subjugation of ‘others’ that we come to our senses and make right what was and is so clearly wrong. Take care of your good self .. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maddie says:

    Please feel free to check out my recent blog post regarding trumps order to waive important environmental laws ✨🤍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maddie says:

    This was such an interesting read!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. MariHoward says:

    Have just caught up with this, having been “busy” despite “lockdown’, but having flagged things I really wanted to read, ready for later. Hardly any need to add a comment but just to say How True, and underline that the pandemic and climate crisis are indeed not unconnected, a good and important point – as also that you point out why ecology is not a White issue but Black people have a lot more to contend with before they can spend time on it… Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Resa says:

    An excellent article, Pam. It is well written and holds many truths.
    My heart breaks for all of the injustices.
    The thing that has made me happiest in my life is that I have been a vegetarian for almost all of it.
    Love, peace and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maddie says:

    Love this post! Feel free to check out my recent blog post regarding the environmental impacts of the coronavirus pandemic!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. theburningheart says:

    Great post Pam, hopefully out from all this big mess, we may learn something, and maybe a few changes for the good, may be achieved? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Damyanti Biswas says:

    Such a great post Pam.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Linda Schaub says:

    I guess the headlines for COVID-19 and protests marches obliterated any reference to World Environment Day; I never heard a word about it Pam. But then, even though Earth Day celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, little was mentioned about it due to the pandemic. I thought perhaps people would find their new normal could also involve getting out and exploring nature a little … here was your chance people … go beyond the confines of your home, as the local Metroparks were giving free day passes to any of our 13 Metropark three days a week from mid-March through mid-May. So folks went, but did they look around, absorb anything, or just use it as a filler during their day? I think they did not use the pandemic confinement except hiking/walking/biking as a springboard to discover new nature things.

    The news is not good, no matter how you look at it. We had a total of six protest marches in my immediate area – one was in my City last Thursday. There were no issues and one day it was very hot outside … people get more riled up in the heat, but no issues and police officers walked alongside protesters. I stayed clear of all the marches and worked in the yard all weekend – it does not mean I’m not sympathetic to the plight of injustice of Black people … quite the contrary. I am just as horrified as you are. When we moved here from Canada in 1966, we were astounded there were race relations issues and with Detroit just 12 or 13 miles from here. The following year was the Detroit riots. I hope that our stirred-up emotions regarding the pandemic, injustice and race relations will soon draw to a close before it ignites a second wave of Coronavirus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      The prediction or that it will lead to new cases, Linda; I hear you about the danger of that. The world is so upside down right now. I can only hope that compassion rules the day and we all start listening to each other although I think very little is going to happen while the current administration is in office.😩🤪🤞

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I believe it will happen too Pam. I heard this morning that several National Guard members who were helping during some rioting have tested positive for COVID-19. You have to figure they were masked up and were being careful. I saw the photos of Downtown Detroit; the majority of masked-up people were media, police, local celebrity sports figures, or the Mayor/Governor and their staff members who marched in several protests … everyone else did not seem to care in the heat of the movement. I agree with you on the current administration. The thought now is just for thinking about November 3rd – no time to focus on anything else. I hope they can get a vaccine in place soon, though there are worries with rushing and not having time for trials before implementation. The world is a scary place on so many levels right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        That it is, Linda. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Ken Dowell says:

    I’m afraid World Environmental Day passed me by. I feel that as a country we’ve been going backwards. White supremacists have been crawling out of the woodwork, gun violence gets worse and worse, racism seemed to be raging, as is various other forms of ignorance. Let’s just hope that what we are going through will someday be seen as a turning point.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. says:

    When will dawn arrive? When we start looking at ourselves – when we become more self-aware:

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Beautiful Pam. I’m with you on all of this. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Damyanti Biswas says:

    I hope we learn soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – I hadn’t heard of Jane Goodall’s RootsandShoots site … a very wise lady. Thank you for reminding us about World Environment Day – it had rambled across my brain … but never took it on board til I saw your post. Thankfully there are people continuing to do all they can to do good for the world … and at some stage I sincerely hope the stars will align … and the earth will improve – and we as animals will live more kindly within and on it. I’m dashing by what I can now – and getting on with things that I need to do … and keeping up with a few friends, contacts and obviously the world of blogging. Just glad of Feedly – so can keep tabs on the world.

    Good to see you … and to know you’re there – keeping your agile mind out for us … all the best and look after yourself – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Hilary, you are too kind. xo I had been to Washington, D.C., actually a few weeks before the pandemic started, and we went to the National Geographic museum where they were showing a documentary on Dr. Jane. It was fabulous. I’m amazed by her work and how it’s been going on since she was a young girl. Her mother was also very instrumental on her being able to become who she is today because her mother went on those first trips with her which she would have never been able to do as a young unmarried woman. I forget what the name of it is, but if you look up National Geographic, you can probably find it and stream it. It’s worth the watch.
      Have a terrific day and stay healthy — and sane! ;-0)


  18. Fine essay. One thing I’ll add is that this is the worst possible time to have an evil person sitting in the White House. Trump is despicable and a major danger.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Well, since he’s technically my boss, Neil (I work for the feds), I do my best not to directly criticize but it’s gotten harder as the years rock by and the insults pile up. Fingers crossed 🤞 for November.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. “Without compassion, without empathy, and without true listening skills, nothing will ever change and we will be destined to revolve through these cycles of ill will, discontent and inequality, year after year, for generations to come.”
    ~ I agree, Pam. If we humans cannot work together to deal with the existential crises we face as a species worldwide, we are truly doomed to become extinct.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. lampmagician says:

    That surely helps, thanks for this wonderful read, brilliant 👏 👍 🙏🥰😘

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Mick Canning says:

    We are a ridiculous, crazy, species. God knows where we are heading.

    Liked by 2 people

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