Dark orange apocalyptic skies. Trees and homes on fire. Animals being burned alive. No, I am not telling you about a fictional story. I am describing the current state of this world, also known as hell on earth. That is what Californians are seeing when they look outside their window or when they dare to step out of their houses.
On Friday, September 4, a gender reveal party caused a giant surge in wildfires spreading from California to Oregon. This wildfire exceeded into a whole new state. Hiking trails closed down. A state of emergency was declared in five major counties in California. It became mandatory for people to evacuate. People’s homes burned down. Imagine everything you own and love being set in flames. Imagine the roof over your head crumbling down in ashes. That is what these innocent strangers have to deal with. They were enjoying a normal peaceful day until the world started burning down around them. All of this occurred because of inconsiderate people who decided to prioritize the “gender” reveal of their baby with a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device.
If you noticed my putting quotations on the word “gender”: good eye! Let me expand on that. Gender reveal parties have become very common in today’s day and age. They gained their popularity in the 2000s and have become an expected societal pregnancy celebration like the baby shower. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe they are a beautiful way to enjoy a surprise reveal of your future child and it’s a lovely moment for everyone involved. However, what we call a “gender reveal” is not a “gender” reveal, it is simply a sex reveal. You do not know what your future child is going to end up identifying as in terms of gender. I believe that is something we have to be mindful of. The “pink” color for a girl and the “blue” color for a boy is a very heteronormative concept. It feels like we have progressed farther than that in the year 2020. We can do better than that.
It is surprising that something as simple as a sex reveal party could burn down a whole coast, but, as humans, we have to be more considerate about how our actions influence our surroundings. As human beings, we have to remember that our species hold a lot of power on this planet. We are the only species who are capable of creating and speaking languages while creating whole civilizations and societies. Sometimes, we don’t recognize how much influence we hold in this world. But please stop and think about that. The universe gifted us a beautiful planet with flowing rivers, vivid blue skies, crisp air-producing and color-changing trees, extraordinary animals, fresh fruits and vegetables, and mountains that give us the view of everything we should be appreciative of. No matter how many different houses you move into, this planet is your first and foremost home. The earth can survive without us, but we cannot survive without the earth. Why should we let our egos get in the way of sustainable living? The term “mother earth” exists for a reason. She created us, so take care of her.
Go to your local recycling center and recycle your plastic, cardboard, aluminum, etc. Try to limit the amount of plastic you consume. Look up the right way to recycle. There are many objects that cannot actually be recycled. Take shorter showers, consider going vegan at least for some days in the week. Save scraps for composting, carpool with your friends and family and use public transportation when needed. Pick up any garbage you see and throw it in the nearest garbage can. Use reusable bags for your groceries and glass containers to store them. Stop buying water bottles. Get a Brita to refill your reusable water bottles. As individuals around the world, we can all do our part to reduce the carbon footprint, but you need to realize that major corporations do most of the polluting. Join your local zero waste community and contact your government. Also, contact the companies with a letter to speak your mind and try to convince them. Let’s all take part and take care of our beautiful planet!