With all of the mess going on across the world, I still think trying to get our planet healthy — for us — should be our number one priority. It isn’t number one. I don’t even think it is really on the list. It’s theoretically on the list, but as far as I can tell, it’s all a lot of hot air.

None of the rich, powerful nations who have done the majority — the vast majority — of the damage are doing much of anything except making empty promises. And people being lazy and too busy being busy to do anything else, can’t seem to do anything at all. This includes basics, like not throwing junk in the rivers or woods — something they should have learned in grade school.

I understand the problems are huge, but despite that, we all have a role to play. It may be a small roll, but many small things add up to a bigger thing and if enough people do it, a huge thing.

Feed the wild things. Build a bird or bat house. If you have enough property, let at least some of it go “wild” to give creatures a chance at life on this planet. They aren’t the ones who despoiled it.


In your opinion, how are we affecting our planet?

Apparently humans merely being here is enough to make a mess of the world. We think we started creating disasters a few hundred years ago, but really, we’ve been destroying nature as long as we have existed.

The Sahara was not always a desert. Humans own a big part of its creation. We overgrazed it and failed to farm it sensibly. Knowledge of arid region farming is not new. Archaeologists found an ancient African civilization once turned part of the Sahara back into a green oasis. Between 1 and 500 C.E., the Garmantes built a large community in the Sahara using their advanced understanding of irrigation to grow crops — something we decided wasn’t important when we took our beautiful prairies and created a dust bowl. Experts found the remains of Garmantes’ buildings in 2011. 

Meanwhile and a bit previously, we ate the last of the mastodons. In Florida. About 13,000 years ago. I’m not sure what that says about Florida, but you can draw your own conclusions.

If you watch westerns (movies), there are always these fights between farmers and cattlemen. The farmers are convinced they can turn the area into great farmland. The cattlemen say if they dig up the grass, nothing will live there. The cattlemen are always the bad guys — except they were right. The grass was what kept the prairies from becoming deserts and once they were plowed up? Deserts. Ken Burns made a documentary about the dust bowl. Human stupidity on the march!

What solutions would you offer to stem the multiple problems we face vis a vis the destruction of our planet home?

As an important start, we can stop cutting down all the trees and flattening every wild area. Houses and trees can exist together. It’s not one or the other. Stop building cities and leave room between areas of housing.

As individuals, we can’t fix the whole planet. But we can take the little piece of it we might own and let nature take some of it back. The classic “golf-green lawn” is a waste of space. Many places are gradually replacing big lawns with a more natural habitat. Yes, we need a piece of land for our house and on which we can hang out with family and friends. The rest of our land can go back to nature. We don’t need acres of lawn. We don’t need to cut down all the trees. Houses and trees can live in harmony. Really. No kidding.

We have 2.43 acres which, around here, is a very small plot. About 1/3 of an acre of our land is taken up by the house, the front and back yards. The rest is woods or brush. That’s plenty for us — plus enough room for birds and foxes and bobcats and more. We are not alone in doing this. Many are doing it and there are a lot of books explaining how.

We have taken so much away. Don’t you think it’s time to give something back? It’s not too late if everyone makes an effort. We are not helpless. Maybe we can’t fix all the broken pieces, but we can start doing small things that are within our abilities. We can stop developers from destroying what’s left of the trees. We can set up laws to protect forests and watersheds. Ironically, Arizona who have some of the awful laws for people have done a surprisingly good job protecting their creatures and wild places.

Step one is to make an effort, even if it’s uncomfortable. “Getting comfortable” is how we wound up where we are now.

Do you think it’s already too late and we could just do exactly as we’re doing now and things would turn out the very same?

It’s absolutely too late if we don’t do anything. Because nothing is what we are doing. We haven’t done a single thing to repair our world. We haven’t stopped a developer or prevented a forest from being flattened. Maybe we can’t do everything, but nothing is definitely not going to fix anything anywhere.

Do you participate in things like “Arbor Day” (a U.S. Holiday dedicated to planting new trees) or Earth Day or Earth Month?

No. These special “days” are designed to make people feel like they are accomplishing something when in fact, they are having a picnic and will probably leave their trash behind. People are slobs.

Is any of it important in the ‘Big Picture’?

What big picture? You mean the planet isn’t big enough? How big do we need to go? If we can’t stop destroying our own home, there ain’t gonna be any “big picture.” Not for humans, anyway

What can you personally do to participate in the “Clean Earth” movement?

I feed the birds. I contribute monthly — not a lot because we don’t have a lot to give — to Cornell’s Birding group. When I can, I send a few dollars to Gerald Durrell’s zoo on Jersey. Mostly, though, I leave the woods alone. I don’t cut the hedges because they are full of bird’s nests. Is it inconvenient? Yes. I do it anyway because if we only do what’s comfortable and convenient, nothing will change and the future will die. In comfort.

Categories: #Birds, #SYW, Earth, Nature, Share My World, woodland, Woods

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19 replies

  1. Wise words, Marilyn! You are so wise, and there is food for thought in what you wrote here!


    • I just wish everyone would try doing something. Use green cleaning agents. They aren’t expensive and amazingly, they work better than anything else I’ve used. I use recyclable sponges in the kitchen and gave up regular sponges and use brushes — and they work better and last ten times longer. I use baking soda and vinegar for many jobs I used to use cleansers and they work BETTER. So at least around the kitchen, we’ve greened up. And we feed the birds, have subscriptions to National Geographic and Living Bird. AND I send $8/month to Cornell which is the least they accept an the most I can afford. I wish I could do more, but at least I do what I can. I think if EVERYONE did what they could, the world would change. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I think what we need is for everyone to get on board and do the best they can.


  2. Hey Garry, beautiful desert sunset photo


  3. Thanks Marilyn for Sharing Your World and wisdom! I agree fully with your idea of not destroying every inch of green space so cheap housing can be erected. There is a vast (well to me it’s big) 18 acres west of me that is one of the only bits of green space up here now. They keep saying they are going to develop it to put up housing because there’s a shortage. PFUI! Maybe we need a whole lot less people. I ought to have gone to Arizona. Sounds like they are my kind of folks. If I had more than the barely an 1/8th (maybe) of an acre, you can bet I’d do what you and Garry are, and leave most of it alone. The portion of my land that I actually ‘own’ is always coming under fire by the HOA because I leave it go to seed. I have a small sign that says “Excuse the weeds, I’m feeding the bees”. And while it does look a tad untidy and there’s a lot more grass than native plants, ask me how many effs I give. The HOA is threatening to start charging fees to people who ‘refuse’ to clean up their yards. I’d love them to read what you wrote because not everyone who isn’t with the nail clipper grass conglomerate is a slob. Some of us have a true purpose in leaving things like dandelions growing and encouraging as much of the natural plant life to come back. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed reading this! 🙂 Have a green week! 😉


    • I hated condo living for exactly that reason. I thought they were all brain damaged.

      The level of stupidity that surrounds us is really… I don’t have the words, but it’s profound. ESPECIALLY in your neck of the woods — the entire southwest and west coast are running out of water. Really, truly running out. There was never enough rainfall to support that big a population and “the old guard” knew it. But greed and developers and corrupt government always wins. Except it’s not a win. Every time they destroy a green space, they are setting you up for the end of life as we know it, now written as TEOLAWKI.

      That we have an acronym for it speaks to the profundity of stupidity. What is WRONG with people? Past a certain point, I can’t even grasp what they are thinking, IF they ARE thinking.


    • I was NOT trying to insult you or even your state, but the whole wild west where people keep moving even though they are running out of water while everything that can burn is on fire. I understand why people moved there even a dozen years ago — but NOW?

      Add overpopulation — HUMAN overpopulation — to the whole concept that “if we see a tree, we should cut it down so we have more ROOM.”

      What happened to being outdoors and enjoying the trees? What happened to nature being a part of our enjoyment of life? What is wrong with people and especially, why don’t the people who govern us just sometimes try to do something that will have a positive effect on people?

      Do they REALLY believe that adding more people to an over populated state is a plus? It’s a kind of madness.


  4. Lovely pictures.
    The first birdie is missed a caption. “Who me?”, or “What are you staring at?”

    As for the planet?
    Too old to care, to worried about what stupidity the government are going for foist on us next.
    That and have you noticed that all TPTB plans always involves digging the heart out of the world to get the rare earth minerals to make batteries for cars that can’t be recycled, or recharged as there isn’t enough spare power generation in the world to keep the much vaunted EV’s going.


    • Yes, I have. This idiotic assumption that ELECTRIC cars are solving any problems is particularly stupid, but hey the people who make these cars are the same people who have been suppressing information on alternative kinds of fuel that would NOT require destroying some nation we don’t count because they are poor and anyway we bought the mineral rights, so they have no rights anymore. It infuriates me that so many otherwise intelligent people have bought into this.

      I’m not too old to care, but I am too old to protest, march, or do anything more than I’m doing. Even the the next generation who are somehow sure WE caused all the problems, that’s just another form of idiocy. And of course the result of never having read anything about what happened in the past, aka, history.

      That’s why I keep suggesting everyone do small things. Manageable things. Things that even people who don’t have much money can somehow manage.

      I really had hoped that somehow, post-Trump, there would be a surge of intelligence and suddenly DING DING DING! Electric cars that require non-recyclable HUGE batteries that run on expensive minerals that further destroy the earth are not a solution. They are a bandaid to make people “feel” as if they are doing something when in fact, they only thing they are doing is using more generated power and saving some money at the pump. I suspect you already know that with very VERY minor adjustments, internal combustion engines can run on alcohol — which you can make from just about anything including garbage. They can even be made to run on water, though that’s a bit more of an adjustment. Even now, pour straight alcohol into your engine and it will run, rather energetically at that. But who care when we can destroy the planet instead?

      The level of stupidity that surrounds us is mind-boggling. And for me, depressing as hell.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You wrote: “Ironically, Arizona who have some of the most awful laws for people, have done a surprisingly good job protecting their creatures, and wild places.”

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Arizona doesn’t, and never have liked people. The old guard hated having people come to live here. It was alright to visit and enjoy the sun 6 months of the year the the north and east were experiencing snow, Ice, tornadoes and hurricanes, but they weren’t crazy about folks moving here to live. We used to have weather, during the summer, that was hot in the daytime but cool at night due to the natural heat absorption of the desert soil. Then we started to make roads and streets all paved with concrete and asphalt. These surfaces absorbed heat during the day but then radiated it back into the air at night. So we barely get any relief in the summer, and now we’re burning up and drying up because of draught. It’s serious this time as most of our water resources are insufficient to sustain the population. How easily we destroy the gift we were given.


    • It reminds me of all the movies where the cattle ranchers are always the bad guys and the farmers are the good guys. Your old guard had a point: there isn’t — and never was — enough water to support a big human population.

      In Israel, I learned about life where there isn’t ever enough water. I was there when, we begged the kibbutzim to stop using nitrogen-rich fertilizer because there wasn’t enough rain to wash the nitrogen out of the soil. We were ignored. Dr. Shuval (boss man) figured the country’s aquifer would be poisoned by 1985. He was wrong. It happened in 1982. Once poisoned, an aquifer is dead. Can’t drink it or irrigate with it. It’s gone for good.

      Israel couldn’t depend on rainfall, but it’s small AND it’s on the Red Sea. Arizona is inland, so I don’t know what you can do. When I was there and saw how low the Colorado river was, I said “You guys are gonna run out of water” and everyone told me you were going to pipe in in from the Great Lakes. Garry and I looked at each other and shrugged. I sort of figured this would happen because I came from a place where it HAD happened.

      But. Israel had existing plans and locations mapped out for desalinization. It’s a country where making sure the population survives is the real goal of government. Whatever other faults it has, when the chips are down, both parties form a unified government and get to work. When the water level in the Sea of Galilee dropped 12 meters (about 40 feet), they went to work. Now, they have water. Even so, I’m not sure how many people desalinization can handle. There ARE limits and the population of Phoenix is more than all of Israel.

      I keep marveling at the number of people STILL moving west. I don’t see any signs that the coastal states are building desalinization plants either and for the life of me, I don’t know why they aren’t. Maybe there are secret plans? I sure hope so! AND I sure hope they are willing to share.


  6. Very true Marilyn


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