This past Sunday, my wife and I were winding down our weekend, having just finished watching a mindless fashion competition show and lamenting that we could not view the Braves pummel the Mets with our current streaming situation when I, possibly ill-advisedly, checked my email. It was there that I was informed by Friends of the Earth that yet another young Orca has died, a result of our imposition, as humans, on our planet. My heart sank. My soul simply ached. The pain that I felt in that moment brought me to tears.
I have these moments far too often now. Maybe you do, too. I am actively resisting the desire to turn these feelings off and hide inside the closest distraction. I am trying to feel the pain and stay in contact with the cry of the earth. It is so difficult, but I was reminded of a recent article by Adrienne Maree Brown in Yes! inviting us to be “Accountable to Earth” and mother her as she mothers us. She asks us, “What would it look like to answer the demanding cries of Earth, to be accountable to the needs of the planet?”
She posits to herself and to us, “folding the Earth into every other thing I do, every decision I make. When I consider any concern I have for people, place, animal, culture, danger, I root myself back to the relationship to our Earth and the changes currently unfolding for her. What would the Earth have me do, have us do?”
This would mean that we take Earth into consideration with every action that we take, large and small. Decisions such as which toilet paper to choose, which produce to buy, the type of heating system to install, how we travel, all the way through to the companies and industries we support financially.
Brown asks us to “imagine for a moment that everyone was tapped into this pattern of accountability to the planet, of anchoring our actions in consideration of their impact on the Earth. Imagine a common reality of collectively prioritizing our most universal gift: life on Earth… Rather than centering a human purpose of domination and forcing the Earth to serve us, imagine if we centered in a human purpose of care, among and beyond our species?”
Perhaps this is what we are to do with our grief, channel it into care for our mother, our only home, and our fellow earthlings. Brown assures us that, “This is a time of overwhelming change. We must do more than we have capacity to do, on too many fronts to count. The key is for each of us to do all we can, to add our voices to the planetary scream for responsive attention. For care.”
I have decided to not turn away. I will continue to cry, to hear the cry of my fellow earthlings, and to make every effort to answer the cries of our Earth. Just imagine what we could all accomplish together. Won’t you join me?
• • •
Join Nicole and others who share your love of Earth by participating with the Climate Action Team. Learn more here and contact Jon Reese at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link to the Oct. 17 monthly meeting.
• • •
Browse the 60+ titles in our lending library and contact the book’s owner via Realm to coordinate your borrow. These are titles and authors you’ve heard of but just haven’t had the chance to read yet. Now’s the time!