The Earth is precious. Our Lakota ancestors of yesterday and our people of today tirelessly pray for the healing of the Earth, as well as the healing of the people.
So in honor of the one day a year designated for everyone to think of and consider our impact on the Earth, I can't help but feel that we need to do this more often - everyday should really be Earth Day (Maka or Maka To - meaning earth or blue earth in Lakota).
Where the early Lakota environmentalists?
It certainly seems so, as they did not leave a mark upon the face of this earth. The Lakota of the past lived a frugal life, following the buffalo herds across the vast prairie. Every tool that they created would be biodegradable and return to the earth once it was discarded.
Hunting and gathering was a way of life that required thankfulness. You were thankful for your life - family, friends, society, health, and skills - and you passed this onto your generations. Times could be really tough or glorious, but I'm sure this type of life always presented a challenge.
The Earth is a gift
As a Lakota person, I can tell you that our worldview sees this earth (maka) as a gift from the Great Mystery. Every hill, valley, mountain, river, stream and lake should be treated with respect because a gift should never be abused.
Our oceans can't be used as toilets, and our deserts can't be used as dumping grounds for toxic waste. Our forests cry for the chance to grow old and be strong for the future generations. Do I think we should stop using our natural resources? Certainly not, but we have to make changes.
What can we do as individuals?
We all have the chance to make a difference each and every day. Recycling or re-using products is a great beginning. Companies pay money to have aluminum back for recycling, plastic containers have numbers that let you know the degree of recycle, and paper can also be recycled. Car-pooling helps to cut down on emissions.
Rachel Carson - (1907-1964) is credited with helping to bring a need for "Earth Day" to national attention. In her day she was a cutting edge scientist that became very concerned with the unmanaged use of chemicals such as DDT. She did not advocate the ending of use for such chemicals, but encouraged responsible and managed use of chemicals in our war against disease and vermin.
Lel Unkunpi Kin He Waste - That we are here is good!
On this Earth Day, let's remember that there have been many generations of fine folks who have taken up the cause of preserving this earth and that there will many generations after. Just think…do we really want our future generations to look back and wonder, what were they thinking when they dumped toxins into the soil, water and polluted the air?
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