I look out the window as we drive for miles and see nothing but green with dots of white on rolling hills. Between pastures are trees and untouched land. We were on our way to the northern most point of NZ when I began to think about how important this land is to every living thing on earth. We live our lives thinking about what will move us forward, what will make us happy, what will advance humankind. In this pursuit of happiness and perfection we have claimed this land for our own. We were not the first to touch it, yet we claim it. It’s been talked about many times how we are killing the planet. Rainforests dwindle, more animals endangered, the Great Barrier Reef dead… We not only claim this land but we damn it too.
Being here and seeing how much of their land is left for others gives me hope. And by “others” I don’t mean other humans, I mean animals, plants, water, earth. This land is left to be free of human development. Even large swaths of land that is owned by humans is left for sheep and other livestock. Where I’m from a large percentage of land is left untouched, but I can’t say the same for the rest of the USA. Our cattle and pigs live on top of each other in plants and pens and are never given the pleasure of fresh grass, the sun kissing their skin, or a gentle breeze down their back. Instead we have decided to use their land for parking lots, graveyards, sprawling malls, and backyards and lawns we never use.
I can only hope that we be more mindful of the fact that we share this land. We share this land with millions of other plants and animals that are just as deserving of it’s beauty. Humans are the first and only living creatures on this planet capable of controlling their actions. We are aware of what we do. We not only have the wherewithal but the capability to be more efficient with the land that we use. We have the responsibility, every one of us, to use less of it, protect more of it, and restore what we can.