UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: EVERYDAY WILL BE EARTH DAY
By Karen Shragg
It takes all hands-on deck to fight the evils in the world, and we are still left feeling so helpless. Just when we are hoping that justice will finally listen to our protests new shootings stain the taste of our morning coffee with tears.
Learning to live and Love Mother Earth
Now Earth Day is around the corner adding another gloomy layer to the pile of issues we must address. The sad part is that the often-proposed answers to the Earth’s problems are so woefully inadequate. When it comes to Earth Day, we are still stuck downstream in the mantra of planting trees and picking up trash. It allows municipalities and schools to check the stewardship box when they should be educating and demonstrating the need for systemic change. One day or one week devoted to using cloth bags and eating plant based local meals doesn’t address the kind of stewardship we really need. We must call for a match between our demand and supply, it’s that simple and that difficult at the same time.
The reason I work upstream on systemic ecological issues is simple: If tomorrow we were swimming in all the justice we needed, our newly equal planet will still be facing collapse. Keep 2050 in mind while passing out trash bags and handing out seedlings. That is when climate scientists estimate much of our planet will be too hot to inhabit. We are killing the biosphere where we all live and giving one day to its care. As someone born and raised in Minneapolis, I am particularly invested in hoping all goals of social justice are achieved. But if those dreams of equal treatment under the law are suddenly achieved they too will disappear with the bees.
“Everyday is Earth Day “is a slogan that was adopted long ago but never followed. We need every leader of every country to quit worrying about who is in charge and realize that Mother Nature reigns supreme. She is telling us she is tired, frustrated, bleeding, aching, being emptied of fish and fresh water, and creatures who have been so much better at earning their right to roam her landscapes and swim in her oceans with millions of years of practice. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream for equality but he also knew that equality needed to live on a viable planet. Every human action takes from the earth. Nature counts the lithium in our batteries and measures the gasoline we burn. It counts our disposable diapers and the bottles of water we drink. We are a pretty innovative bunch, but our answers to power our bulldozers with electricity or some magical form of non-polluting energy only makes the destruction go faster.
What does it mean to make every day Earth Day? It means listening to our mother. Mother Earth has been telling us to clean up our room, limit our guests and quit spending our resources like there was no tomorrow. She needs us to learn our multiplication tables and the exponential factor. Mother Earth has already quarantined us. Now we need to stay in our room and do our physics homework until we can apply it to our lives. An easier way would be to consult with indigenous people. They didn’t need books to tell them that they would suffer if they broke Mother Earth’s rules. They won’t be waiting for our call, however, they are too busy fighting the pipelines that will soon poison the water of their remaining lands. Perhaps we should join them on their picket lines instead of giving lip service to a day that just sells products now.
Is it modern human arrogance that keeps us scratching deeper into the earth for the newest resource to power our skyscrapers and rapid transit? Perhaps it is. But it is our fault as leaders who know better to demand a wake-up call and a total change of our dominant story before the earth celebrates every as earth day by herself with only a few surviving scorpions and cockroaches to share in the festivities.