Wake up and smell the hurting Earth

Northern Nevada’s 2005 Earth Day Celebration will be held at Idlewild Park April 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I woke up on my birthday to another cloudy day with mild temperatures. It was a given: I would go fly fishing, one of my passions.

The next decision was where to fish. A friend, an avid fisherman from Alaska, told me about a deep pool in the Truckee River with large browns and rainbows. On the downside, the area is just north of an industrial complex. We’d have to walk through the complex to get to the river.

As I enjoy fishing new spots on the Truckee, though, I thought I’d give it a try.

We found the spot. My friend was right—a deep pool, lots of geese playing and washing, trees and small willows on both sides of the river, slight wind, sun peeking through the clouds. Sound perfect?

Not quite. I immediately noticed the trashiness of this spot in east Sparks. Unfortunately, that seems to have become normal for our precious river and other wilderness areas. What a sad sight. It seems some people have no respect.

I walked down to the bank. While tying a nymph to my line, I saw someone about 30 yards upstream. He was throwing aluminum cans and plastic cups into the river. When he saw me, he ran off through the parking lot. My friend and I began pulling the trash out of the river, only to be cussed at by a man at a nearby business who thought we were littering his parking lot.

We tried to fish for the next hour, but the incident robbed me of my energy. What a blow to me on my birthday. We left.

The incident lit a fire in me. The purpose of telling this story is to create community awareness, education and conservation.

We’re losing our connection with the Earth. We are hurting our home. The Earth gives us all we need: water, shelter, fire, food, medicine and oxygen. You know, the important stuff. Yet we take it all for granted.

The wilderness is home to animals, birds and fish. We are not superior to nature and the elements. We are equal.

“We must become the change we want to see,” said Gandhi.

We need to educate our children, family and the community.

"[Teach] that nothing can be itself alone,” wrote Thich Nhat Hanh, “that everything in the cosmos must ‘interbe’ with everything else.”

Wilderness places create contentment, peace and a harmonious feeling. If we don’t become aware of the damage we’re doing, take care and take action, there will no longer be a great outdoors to enjoy. All that will remain is concrete jungle, oxygen deterioration, food and water shortages, wildlife extinction and polluted air.

Let’s make every day Earth Day. Come together and make a difference.