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A message from Mother Earth

I am Gaia, your Mother Earth, and today I speak to you humans with a heavy heart. I have nurtured and nourished you for millennia, and given you a great bounty teeming with everything you need to thrive.

Sadly, you have abused me incessantly, and you have worsened the mistreatment over the past century. You throw your waste and detritus into my oceans and rivers, or just leave it in rotting heaps. You remove the trees I gave you—my very lungs—by the millions, with scarcely a thought for their replacement. You treat every resource—on my surface, and beneath—as somehow yours and yours alone, to extract and exploit to depletion.

You have had enough warnings. I am tired, I am hurting, and I am angry. I will no longer wait passively for you to come to your senses. I will no longer sit by as you desecrate the only home you have ever had. I have sent you a preview: of the floods that will devastate your cities; of the cyclones and hurricanes that will batter your coastlines; of the fires that will consume your forests; of the viruses that will jump from the animals you displace and bring your interactions to a standstill.

Are you paying attention, even now? How many of your number do you want to see perishing before you realize business as usual is over? For a species that regards itself as predominant on my soil, you are remarkably greedy, and remarkably stupid.

You have invented something called money, and turned it into your only god (yes, I know you claim to have other more meaningful ones, but you only pretend to follow them). You fight and bicker amongst one another almost incessantly, on the smallest of disagreements. Your skins are of different colour due to their evolution over eons, and you use this difference to invoke centuries of conflict. Your manner of pretend-worship takes diverse forms, and you use this difference, too, to batter one another senseless. You invent fictional entities whose only purpose is to sell and sell and sell and declare ever-higher fabrications called profits.

I, your mother, am supremely beautiful. I say this without vanity, for all you have to do to confirm it is give any other planet in your ambit even a passing glance. I have provided you with breathtaking vistas and intricately balanced ecosystems. Yet so many of your kin are united in the intention to deface and disfigure their matriarch wherever they can.

You could continue to engage in your childish pursuits and still be mindful of where you impose your structures. But no. You build over and around my rivers, and change their paths. You block my natural drainage patterns, and then cry when your habitations are deluged. You remove trees to put up your tall and ugly structures, then feign surprise when your land becomes hot and parched.

Let me explain a simple fact to you. I was designed to be in equilibrium. All life that exists on and inside me is interconnected. All living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings to form a self-regulating system. I am built to withstand perturbations, and to recover from any temporary harm caused by my inhabitants. You humans, though, are taking your intrusions to an unacceptable level. My adjustments will now be in the same vein. You have raised my temperature, and now you will feel my anger.

You can still change. Your governments can do this at scale, but I have watched them give lip service at endless gatherings. They spout pious words about me every year, but their intentions remain suspicious. Well, let me see what your politicians do when they see their voters being battered by my rage and witnessing their leaders’ witless lack of preparation or response.

Your corporations have so much influence over billions of employees and consumers, but so far they are only uttering false promises and using fake words. They think protecting and sustaining their mother is a marketing slogan. They too, are about to regret this. Let’s see how those income statements and balance sheets look when their investments are nullified and life becomes unliveable for their workers and their customers.

I must also address you, the ordinary human. You too are complicit. You may feel helpless in the face of this monumental challenge, but there is much you could choose to do. Rethink your choices, and desist from supporting anyone whose key purpose is to despoil me. Stop voting for pillagers. Stop buying from polluters. Become an advocate for the protection of your mother in your circle of influence, no matter how small. Teach your children this, so that they do not continue the insanity of your generation.

You cannot destroy nature without also destroying yourself. Is this simple truth beyond your intelligence? None of you will be safe if I become truly angry, not even those who think they can perch on mountains of money. My torrents and blazes will find you wherever you are. 

Consider this a final warning. I will stabilize myself again, with you or without you.

(Sunday Nation, 12 May 2024)

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