Cabragh Wetlands: Our relationship with the earth

Kildare urged to take climate action during earth hour

Cabragh Wetlands and our relationship with earth

The first astronauts were struck by how fragile earth looked from space.

Last week’s article finished with the question ‘This poses the challenge now that we are more aware what actions can we take.
A poem be Drew Dillinger called Hieroglyphic Stairway captures this sentiment very well

Its 3.23 in the morning
And I am awake
Because my great great grandchildren
Won’t let me sleep
My great great grand children
Ask me in dreams
What did you do while the planet was plundered?
What did you do when the earth was unravelling?
Surely you did something
When the seasons started failing?
As the mammals, reptiles and birds were all dying?
Did you fill the streets with protest
When democracy was stolen?
What did you do
Once you knew?

So much damage has happened to our environment especially over the past half century. In our defence we can claim with reasonable credibility, that we were not aware. At one time we just did not appreciate that species could become extinct, that our water, our air , our soil could all be degraded and largely because of our lifestyle.

Nature was there as a resource to be used as best we could. For the most part we were completely occupied with just trying to make ends meet. Concern for the environment was a luxury most people could not afford.

In recent years there is a growing concern for our environment. Concern too, for the impact that it can have on our lives and especially on the lives of future generations. Thomas Berry, whom we mentioned last week, liked to say.’ Economics needs to be at the service of Ecology not the reverse’. When you break it down, that makes a lot of sense. My late Aunt liked to say ‘your health is your wealth’ I now believe that also applies to our Earth and our environment.

There is a Native American Proverb which goes something like; when you have damaged the waters and the soil, and when you have removed all the trees from the landscape, then you will realise you cannot eat money’.

Recently here at Cabragh Wetlands we celebrated Lughnasagh, a time of thanksgiving for the harvest the fruits of the earth. So many elements combine to produce a harvest, such as soil, air and water to gift us with food for nourishment. We do well to stop from time to time and be grateful for such gifts.

We are fortunate in this area that people like Tom Grace and others, moved when they did back in 1987. At that time the Sugar Factory was closing. That part of the wetland which was owned by the Sugar Company to release excess water was no longer needed.

Sensing that there was something of value here Tom with others moved to secure and conserve the wetland. That was the birth of Cabragh Wetlands and we can forever by grateful to those people for their foresight, and generosity. We now have a resource close to Thurles which is the envy of any rural town. We have a focal point at the heart of Tipperary to which we can all engage with.

Recently I heard Eamon Ryan TD, say the Government want our Climate strategy be community led from the bottom up. Centres such as Cabragh Wetlands are in a very good position to respond to such challenges. Putting our heads together, with our shared insights, we can face up to them.

The good news is that we have never had more access to information, and increasingly we understand what it is we need to do. Add to that a growing acceptance that we need to pay more attention to our environment. We generally agree that all is not well with the world, and we do need to pay more attention.

It is fair to say this is where the Cosmic Walk can offer assistance. It is said when man walked on the moon the first thing he saw was Earth from space. That changed everything, for the first time man could look back at Earth and admire its beauty, this blue planet floating in space.

What also struck the first Astronauts was how fragile it looked, finite and fragile floating in space. That view could take in the whole Earth; there were no new frontiers to be discovered. There it was, the sum total of it, beautiful, and fragile. This compelling image of Earth led to the birth of the Ecological movement. For the first time we could appreciate the Earth in its entirety, not only did it not look massive from the Moon, it looked finite and fragile. That sight shocked those first men who gazed back at Earth our home. Really, since that time humanity has been trying to come to terms with this new reality.

The late John Moriarty put it best when he was asked what he thought of man walking on the Moon. John replied that he thought it was a great achievement,’ but the real challenge is to learn to walk on the Earth’!
Just now the House Martins are busy tending their nests getting their young ready for the long journey south. It is running a bit late but so was spring this year.

To be continued.

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