That was the moment in which I almost cried. As much as I love snow, the fact that we received this much snow near the end of April only made me think one thing: We are destroying our planet.
Although there is a skeptic to every believer, I think we can all agree that we need to take better care of our planet. I won't tell you what to do, but I certainly encourage you to recycle everything you can, avoid littering and purchase locally. Even unplugging your household appliances when you aren't using them can make a difference.
I can't help but think of Michael Jackson's love and genuine concern for the planet and how he used his music to challenge people to think about what we're doing wrong as inhabitants. Michael is quoted as saying, "I respect the secrets and magic of nature. That's why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening, you know . . . every second, I hear the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. That kind of stuff really bothers me. That's why I write these kinds of songs, you know, give a sense of hope and awareness and awakening to people."
One of the songs he was referring to is "Earth Song," which appears as the fifth track on 1995s "HIStory." This song places a spotlight on how humans have carelessly treated our planet and everything within it. I find it admirable that even back in 1995, Michael realized that we were treating our planet poorly and how incredibly sad that is, considering all the beauty that it has bestowed upon us.
I encourage you to listen to that song—it's one of the most powerful pieces of music that Michael ever recorded. And as a huge Michael Jackson fan, I feel as though it is my responsibility to pass on his message, to relay his concerns, to do my part just as he was doing his.
In "Michael Jackson's This Is It," he discussed how we don't have a lot of time before the damage becomes irreversible: "I really feel that nature is trying so hard to compensate for man's mismanagement of the planet. Because the planet is sick. Like a fever. If we don't fix it now, it's at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have . . . where it's like a runaway train . . . and the time has come."
Remember, it's the Earth as a whole that is affected: the plants, the animals, the people. By blatantly ignoring the issue, we are doing a disservice not only to ourselves, but also to future generations.
An article titled "Poll: Majority of Americans Tie Extreme Weather to Global Warming" by James Foy reveals that most Americans are acknowledging the global warming theory following the recent extreme weather events we've experienced throughout the country.
A study conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that "a large majority of Americans believe that global warming made several high profile extreme weather events worse, including: the unusually warm winter of December 2011 and January 2012 (72 percent); record high summer temperatures in the U.S. in 2011 (70 percent); the drought in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 (69 percent); record snowfall in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011 (61 percent); the Mississippi river floods in the spring of 2011 (63 percent); Hurricane Irene (59 percent)."
I think that this goes to show that a lot of people are beginning to take climate change seriously. All the warning signs are there, after all.
Our planet can only take so much; we need to fix things before they are considered "beyond repair." What this planet needs is a tourniquet, not a Band-Aid. And it needs one before it is too late.
Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" essentially ends with this question: "Do we give a damn?"
My question for you today is: Do we?
(Kayla Pongrac, Stoystown, works at Laurel Arts, Somerset.)