LETTERS for the Nov. 5 issue
Planet Earth is speaking through silence
Since the beginning of time, Planet Earth has given us life, clean air to breathe, water to drink and so much more, and we, the human species, since our beginning, have been using this planet as a commodity — take, take, take!
“Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” Chief Seattle, 1786-1866
Today, a moment for Planet Earth and the positive effect of the COVID-19 virus.
The upper atmosphere is cleaning up. I heard early on that perhaps the people in China can now see stars in the sky. The peaks of the Himalaya Mountains are now seen after a very long time. My thoughts would have been it would take decades to show the slightest change in our atmosphere. Cleaner atmosphere due to lack of road, air and marine traffic, which sends pollutants into our atmosphere.
Living on the outskirts of Lahaina, it is my opinion that evenings (for the most part) have been cooling down. Primarily, I believe heat rises, and with a cleaner atmosphere, heat has a place to escape. We have not had the numerous humid evenings as we used to — at least for now.
Also our coastal waters never got to the warmth that they normally do in the summer. Cooler water = more oxygen = more food = more life. Hurricanes develop over warmer surface waters. National Parks are closed. Wildlife is being seen in abundance.
The canals in Venice are clean, due to the shutdown of water taxis, and now fish are present.
Those that study the Earth’s movement in detecting earthquakes and the movement of tectonic plates are now able to hear the Earth more clearly. At present, noise pollution has been decreased immensely from road, marine and air traffic. The Earth can be heard. It has been estimated that on a daily basis, there are over 80,000 commercial flights throughout the world.
Our coastal waters here in Hawaii, and perhaps around the world, are not only clear, but clean — more than I can ever remember of my nearly 60 years of living in Hawaii.
The sand beaches on the leeward sides of the islands, which primarily cater to the visitors, are brown, not white like the sands on the windward sides of the islands, partly because the windward sides do not get the human traffic. Sand is cleaned due to more severe wind and sea conditions, AND perhaps due to the lack of body oils and suntan lotion, which break down into peroxide and kill reefs.
Seals and turtles are now seen lying peacefully, undisturbed, along with three deer I saw on Fleming Beach.
Planet Earth is now speaking out in a silent reminder “that this is our home,” and we must take care of our home. We cannot live alone, and Nature is in command.
Can you imagine? Once upon a time…
From the Journal of Daniel Boone, a frontiersman in the 1700s: “A squirrel could get on a tree in Maine and go all the way to the Mississippi River without touching the ground.”
From the journals of whale men in the 1800s: Hazards at sea were not storms, uncharted seas, but whales — NATIONS OF WHALES. I’ve sailed much of the Southern Hemisphere across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Nations of whales? I can only imagine.
On my long swims from shore, I’m now seeing not schools of fish BUT NATIONS of fish. Also, along a sand bottom thought to be isolated of life, crabs, starfish, and tako (octopus), and drifting with the currents, I can only describe it as clouds of phytoplankton and plankton.
With Hawaii being shut down over the past six months, beaches are clean — no trash, inner tubes drifting out into the channel, no smell of fuel and noise from commercial activities.
And to think throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago over the last six months, the thousands upon thousands of toilets that have not been flushed. Yes, waste goes through a treatment plant, but then where does it go?
A wake up call that I pray after this virus we shall not forget. We should not forget to take time out for ourselves, friends, and just as important, to be kind to our life support system: Planet Earth.
Due to our months of isolation, I hear so much as to the peacefulness of hiking, walking, open space on the beaches, no traffic, etc. A reminder, for me and many others, of the 1960s and ’70s. For ourselves and our planet, it’s nice to be able to breathe.
However, I know people need to get back to work, and nothing lasts forever. We must take care of Mother Earth, which in turn will take care of us. All things are connected — “Cause and Effect.”
Mankind has been playing Russian Roulette with the mere fabric of life, and in time, I’m afraid that we will once again begin to take the value of each breath of life from this Planet Earth and ourselves.
To think, “What would life be without the songs of birds, or the blow of a whale?”
In closing, my deepest heartfelt feelings to the thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands, that have lost loved ones during this time.
RICHARD C. ROSHON, Lahaina, www.hawaiiwhalesrus.com
Eat vegan to help reduce deforestation
Eating beef kills thoughtful, feeling cows. It also spells disaster for forestry.
New figures show that between July and August, fires in Brazil raged at a ten-year record high with 28 percent more fires than the previous year. These fires occurred in distinct hot-spots where land is used for industrial agriculture — growing animal feed and grazing cows. Amazonian fires are fueled by a global market for Brazilian beef, and several of the companies implicated in this report sell their products worldwide, including to the U.S.
Farming cows destroy essential forests that absorb carbon and host important plant and animal species. We need the Amazon to survive; it keeps 400 billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, and it is home to 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
Let’s remember that deforestation is the highest driver of new infectious diseases, heightening the risk of another pandemic by increasing interactions between humans and other species.
Let’s say “no way” to further deforestation by refusing to eat beef and rejecting other animal-derived ingredients, which take devastating tolls on our forests, waterways and atmosphere. For a free vegan starter kit, visit www.PETA.org.
JESSICA BELLAMY, The PETA Foundation