APRIL 22, ON WORLD EARTH DAY: A PRAYER FOR RESTORATION
A DAY TO COMMEMORATE THE BEAUTY OF OUR MOTHER PLANET EARTH
A day commemorating the beauty of our Planet, World Earth Day, which falls each year on April 22, is more than just a universal celebration of the uniqueness of the Earth, but also a global prayer to endow humanity with the wisdom to restore what has been lost and preserve the little that still exists of its natural environment.
First held in 1970, it aims at spreading awareness among the masses about the need to protect the Earth from environmental degradation, making it lastingly habitable for humans and other species, by adopting environment-friendly lifestyles.
Besides just being the theme of this year’s World Earth Day celebrations, ‘Restore our Earth’ is the universal chant of the humanity battling the onslaught of COVID-19. Even as schools, colleges, government institutions, offices and other bodies have planned various outdoor activities for the day, the pandemic has forced people to wonder why things turned out to be the way they d sbid.
They yearn for the beautiful Earth of yore. The apparent drought-like situation in Himachal Pradesh, the declining ground water level and poor quality of water in different parts of the world, juxtaposed against the visibility of the scenic Dhauladhar range from Jalandhar and the majestic Mount Everest from Sitamarhi village in Bihar during the lockdown, has made the masses sensitive to the need for a change in their stance towards the Earth, which seeks healing.
Many are even eager to change over to environmentally enriching ways of life as is evident from the following prayer, recited by a school child during an assembly dedicated to World Earth Day.
WORLD EARTH DAY PRAYER
How did the skies turn so grey?
Lord, colour them blue again, I pray!
Oh, how I wish to see the peacock preen,
Walk through the fields as the reapers glean,
A rich harvest of golden corn,
And breathe the fresh air every morn;
Shower under a sprightly waterfall,
Smell the ocean while playing with a ball,
Walk along a beach resplendent with natural hues,
And shrug off all my blues!
Watch the lovebirds sing and prance on trees,
Enjoy the chirping of the cricket and the hum of bees,
Adorn myself with diamonds showered with the rain,
And forget each worry and pain,
Count the colours of a magnificent rainbow,
And adore the sunset’s golden glow.
Lord, I admit I ruined the Blue Marble,
The most beautiful of all your creations, a real marvel!
Help me restore it as best as I can,
And make it habitable again for birds, beasts and man.
The prayer depicts the yearning of mankind for a beautiful and better Earth, besides recounting the wonders of nature synonymous with our beloved Blue Marble, which might become history if humanity fails to adopt a nature-friendly lifestyle and a desire to work for its restoration.
FOCUS AREAS: CLIMATE, SCIENCE & EDUCATION, PEOPLE & COMMUNITIES, CONSERVATION & RESTORATION AND PLASTIC & POLLUTION
Proposed to be observed on March 21, 1970, in a 1969 UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, as a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, the commemoration was sanctioned in a proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. The First Earth Day celebration focused only on the United States. US Senator Gaylord Nelson later proposed the idea of holding the event on April 22, 1970.
Climate Action, Science and Education, People and Communities, Conservation and Restoration, Plastic and Pollution are the long term focus areas of the celebration that commanded worldwide attention post the signing of the landmark Paris Agreement by the US, China and 120 other nations. The draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, came into force thereafter.
While outdoor activities like tree planting, removing roadside trash, assemblies and talks on environmental conservation and oath taking ceremonies have been planned for this year as well, the Earth needs more than just that, in the form of environmentalists with a missionary zeal, to uphold this prayer and work fervently to restore the Earth to its original form.