Saturday, April 22nd was Earth Day, an annual celebration of the planet that we live on and a day when, generally, people try to do favors back for Mother Earth -- planting trees, collecting litter, etc. It's a cute, community-filled day when everybody looks at our beautiful home, celebrating the flowers we've seen, the breathtaking sunsets we've gawked at and reminiscing on the hidden jewels that we've discovered. It's amazing -- because Earth is amazing.

But what now; it has passed, moved on, and we've gone on with our lives as usual. We idle our cars and ignore the bags blowing at our feet; we cut down trees to build strip centers that sit empty and ugly and burn chemicals out into the atmosphere. Scientists call for help for our voiceless planet -- "stop doing these things!! your actions have an impact!! temperatures are rising!!" -- but they are dismissed as liars or conspiracy theorists and ignored. Environmental regulations are the most scoffed at, the most hated because of the money they cost businesses and are the most circumvented.

Can I just ask a question..? Where does everyone think we're going to live when our home is no longer able to keep us alive?

When we have an Asian Brown Cloud over every continent and cannot walk outside without masks when global temperatures climb so high that snow is an anomaly and Antarctica melts when the oceans rise and take back some of our states, will we care then? When bees go extinct -- our primary pollinators -- and large chunks of our food stuff die off, when birds and fish get poisoned and make us -- their consumers -- sick, will we care then? When medications and coffee and chocolate are too highly-priced for us to consume because they come from a rainforest that has been mowed down, when zoos truly are the only places left to see even turtles at all, when the oceans cannot be swam in because of an oil slick on the surface that is harmful to our health, will we care then?

At what point should we stop planning to be retroactive and decide, instead, that we want proactively to never reach that point? When did pieces of paper become more important than clean, life-giving oxygen, when did expansion of business take precedence over clean water and when did the outward appearance of our home start to matter more than a hole in our atmosphere? When did condemning entire species of animals to death become secondary to inexpensive clothing? And if you truly don't care about animals, then when did transporting oil a mile more quickly begin to be prioritized over somebody's honorable worship site and somebody's water health?

We have only one planet -- as far as space travel has come, we cannot plan for our entire population to just relocate and start over. This isn't a cigarette butt that you just toss out of our window, ready to light another or a repavement of a road that was damaged when chemicals spilled on it. This is our PLANET. Our HOME.

In being at the top of the food chain, being the industrialized species that possessed weaponry and processing capabilities to destroy the world as we know it, it is our job and our responsibility to be caretakers of our environment, to care and value the land around us and to not bleed it dry. Business and a healthy Earth can coexist. Besides, if humanity has no future, what point does one's business have? Money is secondary to oxygen; if there is nobody alive and capable of buying your product, you will have scarred the earth empty for nothing. The increase in expenditures per year is more than worth the idea that you are helping the Earth to have a future -- it is your home.

And if you need any more motivation, go outside and look up at the sky. At the leaves on the trees, each individual blade of grass in your lawn, and take a deep, full breath. How nice it is to have a healthy, beautiful home.

Thank you for celebrating Earth Day and for helping keep Earth beautiful.