“Save the earth.”
“Recycle for the planet.”
“Buy X product to help the environment.”
To my ears, the discordant part of this tune is the approach to environmental issues as if they are separate from us human beings, one of the species currently living on this planet. It sounds like the earth is out there somewhere. And we are here, somehow not quite connected.
Of course, that’s impossible.
When I hear variations on “save the earth,” the automatic translation in my mind is “Save us!” We humans are the ones who need saving, after all. Earth has little need for us and will recover from our having lived here when we are gone. We are the ones in peril. It’s just that we are taking myriad other beings with us on the way out.
We don’t own Earth. We are the guests. We are here at Earth’s forbearance. We are only significant for our destructive impulses. It is we who owe Earth and all beings respect and gratitude for our lives—our air, our water, our food, our sleeping places.
We are fantastically brilliant and capable creatures. I love us. I’m amazed by how we feel, how we communicate, and what we invent. But we’re tricking ourselves into disconnection from our Mother, disconnection from all our differently-shaped relations, and disconnection from the only home we have.
We don’t actually have a choice between connection or disconnection if we want to survive. We literally—not platitudinally—are all in this planet together.