We as a species have the ability to choose what we eat, where we live, with whom we mate, and how we raise our young, to unprecedented levels. From the moment we learned how to use fire, through our ability to build ever stronger shelters, and into the increasingly abstract thought processes we communicate to each other, we have altered the world more than any other animal. And we have done this at a price, a price paid not only by our fellow human beings, but every other living being that shares this place with us.
This is not a prompt to lose yourself in guilt and despair, but simply to take note of the immense comforts that you enjoy and to realize how unique they are. Also, a gentle reminder that these comforts did not come out of nowhere, but are drawn from the interwoven webwork of animals, plants, and the Earth itself. We take and we take—what do we give back? There are so many ways we can give back, starting with not taking more than we need.
And even the smallest gifts are important.