Notable and quotable: Earth Day

It’s Earth Day today, and the significance of it being in the middle of a pandemic, when Nature is getting a brief respite from the depredations of industry and big oil, has not been lost on people, I hope.

The River Crow has a great piece on Earth Day:

Can we begin to move away from an economy of profit over planet, to one that values life, sustainability and wellbeing for all, human and other-than-human lives alike?

To do so is the most challenging task, but also the most desperately needed. While the current kleptocratic order of capitalist hegemony seems overwhelming and eternal, so as Ursula K. LeGuin reminds us, did the Divine Right of Kings: “Any power can be resisted and changed by human beings”.

…And of course, let’s not pretend that the responsibility for the future of the Earth rests on the individual using reusable shopping bags – a mere 100 companies are responsible for the majority of pollution and CO2 emissions – we need to hold them to account.

Holding those companies to account will require political activism. Too many people are too quick to respond to disaster with “don’t politicize a tragedy”. These are usually the people who benefit in sone way from the status quo. But as Nimue Brown points out, everything is political:

Everything about the virus is political. The decision to not treat it as a political issue is also a political issue. If we insist on not being political about it, we do not call politicians to account. We accept that they could not have done better – and they so clearly could. We accept that the political decisions creating the context for our poor handling of the pandemic, were not important. That’s really dangerous territory. What do we think politics are for, if not for creating the framework in which we all operate?

I was checking out the Earth Day tweets on Twitter when I saw this one:

Definitely! The Giving Tree is such a problematic story in so many ways. And Republicans are enabling the dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency and subsidizing the oil and gas industry.

One of the replies to the tweet offered a marvellous video of Sassy Gay Friend sorting out the Giving Tree’s problems:

And the whole thing reminded me of Victoria Weinstein’s version of the story, The Demanding Tree.

“I am too big to climb and play,” said the boy.  I want to buy things and have fun.  I want some money.  Can you give me some money?”

“No chance,” said the tree.  “I have only leaves and apples.  Why don’t you go get a job if money’s so important to you? I hear that the Nature Conservancy is looking for clerical staff.  Why don’t you apply?”

Let’s resolve not to treat the Earth the way the boy in The Giving Tree treats the tree.

And a reminder that if you want to help save the planet, a great way to do this is to support Indigenous Peoples via Survival International and Cultural Survival, because 80% of the biodiversity on Earth is in areas owned and managed by Indigenous Peoples.

And don’t support the World Wide Fund for Nature, because they’re eco fascists and have been involved in numerous incidents of attacking Indigenous people.

In a lovely series of posts on foraging and our relationship with Nature, Jacqueline Durban writes:

This story demonstrates the arrogance of conservationists thinking they know better than Indigenous Peoples, and that humans are part of Nature and ecosystems.

We are not separate from Nature, and the idea that we are somehow above Nature and not utterly dependent on the ecosystems in which we live is a dangerous and destructive illusion. The coronavirus pandemic is strong evidence of that fact.

And finally, Earth Day is a great time to listen to Carl Sagan’s classic meditation, Pale Blue Dot:

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.

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