It’s Earth Day!  My gut reaction is to ask “Does anybody care anymore?” I should know better, and I do. Through all the crap that our violent, volatile world throws at the windshield, there remains a lot to be thankful for. At times I feel despondent, as a passionate soul who bears all and holds sharp opinions on the direction in which society is heading. But it just takes a little deep breathing, a walk in the woods, and calm can return to my state of mind. I’m incredibly fortunate to have found a culture (The Pacific Northwest) that shares a lot of these values. I imagine if I had moved to Nashville after college, I wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I would have fundamentally become a different person. And we all know the stereotypes of the lesser-enlightened communities in this nation of ours, so I won’t dwell on them.

To get to a better place as a whole, we’re going to need a societal overhaul, starting with one of my new-found favorite subjects, Empathy. I have been aware of my own highly cranked sense of empathy, and the ways it shapes me as a person. It doesn’t always manifest in love toward fellow man, but rather, as a deep-rooted connection to Mother Earth. I empathize with our planet on an anthropomorphic level. As humans carelessly chew up and spit out the incredible resources we take for granted, I feel twinges of pain, as if scarred. My own carbon footprint plays out in guilt-inducing bouts of hypocrisy, a side effect of being upwardly mobile, curious, and engaged.

To get to a better place as a whole, we’re going to need a societal overhaul, starting with one of my new-found favorite subjects, Empathy.

I was thrilled to come upon this video, a whiteboard journey put together by Jeremy Rifkin. It gracefully and poignantly spells out a huge amount of human history and sociology through lovely hand-drawn scenes.

It’s work like this that give me hope for society, and the 1 million-plus YouTube views mean that people are paying attention.

So with that, I say, Happy Earth Day with a bit more conviction, optimism and zeal.

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