The Wonder of Life
by Bill Duesing
First broadcast on WSHU/WSUF-FM, December 24, 1999
The wonder of it, of the season, is life.
- A birth, any birth, is into life-
- the fantastic variety of life, that covers our planet
- and no where else we know-
- children and wise women, sheep and hollies,
- blue-green algae and maples, rhododendron and catfish,
- It is life-
- grandparents and spruce trees-
- the bacteria in our mouths and the whales in the oceans-
- It is all life.
Complex, interdependent relationships covering the Earth,
- connecting the nearly invisible with the enormous,
- each living thing providing an environment
- for millions of other living things:
- The mycrorhizea on the roots of beech trees and
- the flora in our intestines.
Earthworms, cows, cousins, nemetodes,
- oaks and mushrooms,
- each occupying a niche,
- each dependent on others.
An unbroken chain of evolving genetic information
- passed down for a billion years,
- connecting all living things to a common past-
- as surely as all species are connected to all others
- through the atmosphere which is inside every body and
- every green leaf.
We all get our food and get rid of our wastes
- on the same planet.
The cycle of life is birth-growth-death and
- decomposition for recycling-
- making way for more life, releasing stored
- nutrients for the good of life.
This continual cycling takes place
- in the energy flow of the sun.
Dandelions, plankton, wolves, eagles, pines,
- raccoons and honeybees-
- It is all life.
An incredible profusion of living things working together
- to make the Earth habitable.
- Just like the bacteria which inhabit the surfaces of our
- bodies and the lichen which decompose rocks,
- life changes and regulates its environment.
- The rain forests and the algae on the ocean surface
- regulate the climate.
- The air, soil, water and rocks
- are created or modified by life.
- The composition of the atmosphere has co-evolved
- slowly, over a billion years with life on Earth.
In a very tiny fraction of the Earth's history,
- we have used our mechanical prowess
- to change its composition very rapidly.
- Our fossil fuel, beef and forest clear-cut habits
- are reversing the evolution of the atmosphere-
- adding methane and carbon dioxide that
- were removed millions of years ago as the
- environment evolved to one where we could live.
With our high energy lifestyles and our mechanical
- thinking (produce and consume)
- we are rapidly changing the environment
- into one where we won't be able to live.
Carbon dioxide (from our smokestacks and tailpipes)
- and methane (given off by colonies of termites in
- the tropics, as well as by the colonies that bacteria
- have established in the bellies of cows)
- are both greenhouse gases.
- We know the probable effect of our waste gases
- and should be wise enough to make intelligent choices.
- Termite mounds participate in the birth-growth-death and
- decomposition cycle
- in a way that smokestacks and tail pipes do not.
Turkeys, oysters, fine cheeses and wines,
- breads and broccoli,
- It is all life.
Yeasts, green plants and animals,
- nourishing us as we nourish them-
- passing down their genetic information
- with our culture.
We know the enemies of life:
- war, pesticides, high energy radiation,
- clear-cut forestry, asphalt
- and lives lived as if disconnected from the environment.
We have the capacity
- for the wisdom to make sensible decisions.
- We should design a world
- which puts priority on important and doable things:
- feeding, clothing, housing, educating, healing and loving.
The miracle and wonder of a birth are reflections of
- the miricle and wonder of life.
- We need to cherish the whole interconnected
- web of life on Earth in the same way
- we cherish our family and friends
- this season.
This is Bill Duesing, Living on the Earth
This page and its contents are copyright © 1999 by WSHU-FM, Fairfield, CT, and by Bill Duesing.