he Future of Our Home
October 2020

The weather in south Florida is finally changing. Fall has arrived! Instead of a hot and humid 90 degrees, it’s now a hot and humid 80 degrees. And then there are those rare occasions when the evenings are a no-humidity, delightfully breezy 80 degrees. Around the rest of the country, fall presents herself aglow in beautiful autumn hues, such an awe-inspiring sight.

A reminder of the cycle of life.
A reminder of the cycles of nature,

and a call to action,
in order for this delicate natural balance to continue
ensuring life.

Last night my husband and I watched a must-see documentary entitled, A Life On Our Planet, by David Attenborough. Over the course of his lifetime, Attenborough has traveled to every continent on the globe, visiting indigenous peoples and investigating the untouched and wild landscapes of our planet. This film is what he calls “my witness statement;” a witness to the chilling effects of humanity’s impact on the environment.

The cinematography is exquisite. Along with breath-taking scenes of the natural world, we see raw footage of Attenborough from decades ago during his travels. As well, Attenborough shares some chilling statistics, numbers that truly horrify — the increase in human population, the increase in carbon emissions and the decrease rainforest coverage over the past eighty years.

He unabashedly shares his findings:

We are running out of time to save our home.

As I continued to feel an incredible mounting of despair, several solutions are finally presented toward the end of the film.

Spoiler alert — I’m going to share his recommendations:

1) We need to slow down population growth by raising people out of poverty, improving access to healthcare, and creating ways for having children, especially girls, stay in school for as long as possible.
2) We must shift to renewable energy — which is already happening but not fast enough.
3) We must restore and “re-wild” biodiversity and ecosystems.
4) We need to reduce space that we use for farmland which means decreasing our meat consumption and moving to a largely plant-based diet.
5) We need to halt deforestation and increase biodiversity within existing forests.

Grateful for this to-do list that we as a species can work toward, yet I remain rattled at the daunting task of putting our planet back on track to thrive. What can I possibly do to make a difference? I’m just one person out of billions. The more I pondered this question, the more I came to understand the need for me to feel a sense of agency in the micro even as I am not able to impact the macro. Here’s what I’ve decided to do:
- decrease my already limited meat intake.
- commit to donating to organizations that support the above stated goals.
- decrease my purchases and limit my travel (which is much easier these days!).

Yeah, I know what you’re probably thinking —

“Amy, even with your efforts, your impact will not
make a difference.”

You may be right but it still feels important to try. But even more — Imagine if we all lifted our collective voices to make a huge and resounding difference in the future of our planet? What if we ALL voted to elect leaders who recognize that climate change is real and must be emergently addressed. Leaders who allow science to steer decision making. Leaders who commit to being part of a global community working toward saving our planet. Leaders who understand that we are all connected to and responsible for one another — from the smallest insect to the largest elephant, from the ocean floor to the canopy of the rainforest.

The most consequential election of our lifetime is just 16 days away. I imagine that most of you have already made up your minds as to who you are going to vote for. Many of you may be single issue voters: abortion, Supreme Court, gun control, Israel, the economy, or others.

Here’s is my thought: After watching this documentary — we should all become single issues voters and

that issue MUST be the environment

because unless we figure out how to create a more sustainable world, there will be no other issues to vote on; human beings will no longer be alive. You may think this sounds hyperbolic but according to Attenborough, at the rate we are going, if we make no changes to our habits and lives, our planet is headed into its sixth mass extinction.

The film concludes with an incredibly potent line that I’ll paraphrase, “It is no longer about saving the planet, it is about saving ourselves.”

So, please vote like your life depends on…
because it actually does.

If you are voting with your own interests and issues in mind, I urge you to consider voting for your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, and for all future generations who need to live on our currently dying planet.

I have no doubt that nature will re-balance.
Nature will survive.
She always does.

The question is…will we?

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Amy Pessah

Amy Pessah

Spiritual Seeker, Mom, Educator, Rabbi, Author. Living in gratitude, finding Divinity in All. www.asoulfuljourney.com