In his novel, Ishmael, Daniel Quinn describes two cultures of people. Takers think and act on the premise that the world belongs to humans. Leavers behave as if humans belong to the world. Recognizing that you and I are most likely a mixture of the two, on balance which posture dominates your own actions?

The question has particular relevance this week. Unprecedented wild fires continue to burn and drought persists in our country’s west. The president’s trip highlighted Alaskan communities imperiled by melting glaciers, sea ice and permafrost. Anticipating conflicts over access to water, land and food, senior pentagon officials identified climate change as one of our country’s top security threats.

It is easy for us to view our individual footprint on the planet as inconsequential. After all, we are but one individual or family. However, when we add up all the energy that goes into creating and sustaining our ways of living and the effect of producing that energy on the quality of our land and air, the footprint increases considerably.

The planet’s growing population and our propensity to transform the earth’s crust into products of comfort and entertainment for the privileged rather than basic needs for all compound our imprint.

In a two-minute video gone viral Julia Roberts narrates the voice of Mother Earth speaking to humankind. It is a different spin on Ishmael’s takers or leavers. “I have fed species greater than you, and I have starved species greater than you. My oceans, my soil, my flowing streams, my forests…they all can take you or leave you.”

The concluding line is the compelling question for all of us: “I am prepared to evolve…are you?”