Sunday, April 22 is Earth Day. I believe it is our duty to protect and preserve our planet. I have seen the ravages of climate change within my own lifetime. Every year there is an increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts and wildfires that take the lives of countless animals who have done nothing to create or exacerbate the conditions that are destroying their natural habitats.
Last year’s west coast wildfires wreaked havoc on both wild and domestic animals. Some fires moved at the rate of one acre per second, consuming everything in their paths. Fleeing animals can’t outrun the flames and were burned alive or suffocated from smoke inhalation. I was angered by news reports that showed horses locked in stables and other animals left behind in pens or tied to trees or fences, abandoned by their fleeing owners and left to die. How people can be so selfish and cruel is beyond my understanding. My heart breaks for animals in times of natural disaster because they are confused, frightened, and have no place to go. Humans who lose their homes can rebuild, but poor animals die by the thousands in fear, pain, and misery.
During the time of the wildfires I volunteered at an animal shelter, trying to reunite cats and dogs separated from their owners. I also helped dozens of volunteers wash animals brought in completely covered with ash. We flushed out their eyes with warm water as animals are incapable of doing that for themselves. The animals were crying and shaking; it was so very, very sad. We did what we could while giving them loving kindness and comfort.
I urge anyone who can make the time to volunteer at your local animal rescue. Even in non-emergency times, animals need you to help them find safe and loving adoptive homes.
Earth Day is not just about air and water and plants, it’s also about remembering that we must be stewards of the earth’s animals. They are so innocent and need us to love them, adopt them, and NOT to eat them.
Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!