Dear Friends of the Cornell Wildlife Health Center,
I confess I often don’t pay sufficient attention to Earth Day (today!) specifically, as I honestly try to think of... every day as Earth Day. Perhaps it’s a professional hazard— I sometimes lose sight of the fact that thinking about how much we need Earth’s natural systems, the world’s diversity of species, and each other is understandably not something that pervades the public’s consciousness day-in, day-out. Of course that’s why we need formal “Earth Days,” to help remind everyone that we are all essentially hitchhiking together on an incredibly unique, not-all-that-big orb floating in space. Even though we can now fly helicopter drones on Mars (!), we will still only have this one, miraculous sphere to sustain us for generations to come, if we don’t wreck what we still have.
So let’s keep doing all we can, eh? I try to convey to our students here at Cornell, undergraduate and graduate-level (who are understandably worried about their own futures as well as that of the planet), that “saving the world is a growth industry.” I genuinely believe that— there will continue to be more and more meaningful employment opportunities addressing the major threats we all face, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, emerging disease, and so on (all of these things being interrelated, of course). In the U.S. right now, I am very encouraged that we are seeing explicit connections being made between investments in infrastructure, clean energy, health, and environmental stewardship… better late than never!
There are, I think, reasons to be increasingly (albeit cautiously) optimistic during what continues to be a uniquely unsettling and unsettled time— please get your COVID vaccines, treat everyone with the same compassion and respect you desire, recognize that truth, integrity, and justice are among our greatest resources, and remember that we are certainly more resilient and successful when we work, and play, together.
Please enjoy the shoots of Spring as they find you (we’ve only had a teaser in Ithaca so far), and celebrate Earth Day on as many days as you can!
Yours in One Health,