Right now, in the Canary Island known as La Palma, a volcano is actively erupting. More than 6000 people have been evacuated from the affected area and lava has been flowing for days out of fissures running down the southeast side of the island, destroying everything in its gravity-led path toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Having mostly grown up in the Pacific Northwest of the US, I am no stranger to volcanic activity and other rumblings of the earth. While I was not in the area when Mount St Helens blew in May of 1980, I have been within 25 miles of the center of at least two earthquakes of 6.2+ on the Richter Scale in my life. I always find it so humbling and awesome to be able to witness the power of the forces within our land (and sea and air) firsthand. It always reminds me of how powerless we humans actually are. We can do a lot of things, but we’re not going to destroy the earth. We will definitely destroy ourselves first, but the earth will recover after we’re gone. You can bet on that.
And how do I know that the earth will survive all that we’re doing to abuse her on a near constant basis? Because she’s constantly moving, churning, shifting, bubbling, creating, and changing, as she is being changed. The earth is not stagnant. The earth is dynamic. When we are the ones who cease to be able to move, churn, shift, bubble, create or change, it is us who will vanish and be left behind.
As of October 2nd, 50 acres of new land has been created in La Palma as a result of the current volcanic eruption. As lava flows down the mountain and reaches the ocean, it cools quickly, while superheating the salt water, boiling it and kicking off several chemical reactions. Obviously, this brand new land will not be space for you to walk on safely for quite a while, but just imagine having lived in a place on the beach, having to evacuate when the volcano began to erupt and when you came back, everything you ever owned has been incinerated and covered with 5+ feet of black hardened lava. It’s a humbling thought.
And this is how I know the earth will outlast all of us.