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The Earth Needs Mercy

[caption id="attachment_3038" align="alignright" width="200"]Karen Martens, OPA Blog by Associate Karen Martens, OPA[/caption] In reflecting on this Year of Mercy, perhaps our first thought goes to the people who need mercy. But, Earth also is crying out for mercy. Too often these cries are ignored, or at best, simply not heard. Some see Earth as a resource to be used to the advantage of people. Why else would strip mining occur? Why else would wetlands be destroyed? Why else would fracking occur? Or dams be built? Or new homes be built in farmland while existing homes and neighborhoods are left to deteriorate? About seven years ago, my eyes were opened to an aspect of being merciful to Earth. Being raised in a rural area, I have always been connected to what goes on outside the walls of my home and workplace. I have long been a gardener and a birder. But, in 2009, I had my eyes opened to the connection between the poor health of Earth and the loss of native plants and biodiversity. After reading entomologist Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home, I saw my landscape with new eyes and recognized the need for change. Now I see home landscapes as an opportunity to restore the ecosystem. Talmay reports that we have turned 54% of the lower 48 states into cities and suburbs and 41% into agriculture. That is 95% of making the land of Earth unnatural. Now, I see my little patch of Earth as a healthier ecosystem and a wildlife preserve. Now I work to provide food for insects, which in turn provide food for birds. Plants are shelter for wildlife. Now I more clearly see the connectedness between all the components of creation. Now I shudder when I read that "3400 species of alien plants have invaded nearly two hundred million acres of the United States" (Tallamy). I mourn the loss of 40% of song birds since the 1960s. I cringe when I see homes landscaped with plants that are no better than a plastic lawn ornament for all the good they do for the environment. And, I rejoice when I see more and more articles promoting native plants; when I see more and more use of native plants; and when I have a variety of nesting birds in my wildlife preserve. Earth needs our mercy!

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