A Sick Friend?


If you had a sick friend, would you help that friend get better? Naturally, you would.

But, on the other hand, if your friend’s sickness isn’t your fault, why bother? It’s best not to try at all. Anything that isn’t your fault isn’t your responsibility – right? Sick friends are to be left alone. After all, sickness just happens. Don’t interfere.

And certainly, don’t inconvenience yourself. If your friend has asthma or emphysema, or even a bad cold, don’t stop smoking in front of them. It’s their problem, not yours. Just keep enjoying yourself.

OK! Had enough nonsense? Nobody I know is so heartless or cruel toward a sick friend, and I’d bet you don’t know anybody so cold or selfish, either. Certainly not you.

This week the Jamestown Gazette’s guest contributor, Stephanie McCraw, re-introduces us to Planet Earth. Earth Day was created not long ago so we would remind ourselves that Earth is our major meal-ticket and benefactor. If Planet Earth were a person, it would be a good friend indeed.
That takes back us to the question of whether or not our friend is sick. In fact, it is.

But some people deny the Earth is changing, and I understand their point. If I get a fever, or a runny nose, or an itchy, scaly allergic rash to cumquats, I’m still me. I haven’t really changed. Except I am sick. And by that standard, Planet Earth is sick too, though it hasn’t “changed” any more than I have when I’m sick.

Consider these arguments:

  • According to The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, the great, swirling Pacific Garbage Patch of floating plastic trash now covers more than 600,000 square miles of the beautiful South Pacific Sea and weighs more than 34,000 cars. That’s sick!
  • NASA has discovered the whole planet has a fever, the world’s ice is melting, and the sea is rising because CO2 is rising.
  • The warm-weather growing seasons in the Northeast of the U.S. alone are now 10 days longer every year than they were in the 1950s. That might be good for farmers, but it shows something is changing.

But relax. It’s OK. Because, according to some people, it’s a “natural” cycle. So, it’s not our fault. So, walk away the way you would walk away from any sick friend. Do nothing!

With that in mind, here are a few questions to consider for Earth Day:

  • Find absolute, scientifically verifiable proof that the 15 trillion pounds of CO2 the U.S. – and the 76 trillion pounds worldwide – produces every year is absolutely irrelevant – just like blowing smoking in your sick friend’s face doesn’t matter at all.
  • Even if the Earth isn’t sick because of us, prove we’re not responsible to fix it. Remember, blame and responsibility are opposites. Every parent knows we accept the responsibility to clean up the mess our kids are to blame for making – even though we didn’t make it.
  • Will our great, green and blue friend get better if we walk away and do nothing?

Please consider Earth Day as a hint to send a get-well card to Planet Earth. At least show up willing to help it get better. Be a responsible grown up and a friend.

Enjoy the day. It’s alled Earth Day. The Planet is about to give us the gift of Springtime. Return the favor by doing something grateful.

And enjoy the read.
Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.