My Turn: The Earth is alive

For the Monitor
Published: 12/8/2021 6:00:44 AM
Modified: 12/8/2021 6:00:16 AM

Driving north to Hanover the morning before Thanksgiving I viewed the moon setting above a brilliant crystal clear blue sky. The sight was so beautiful and unexpected. It filled me with gratitude for the gifts the natural world bestows upon us for simply being alive.

The experience reminded me that every thing that inhabits the Earth — on it, above it, within it — is alive, or once was. How odd is it, then, that while we view different parts of the Earth as alive, we consider the Earth itself to be a dead rock? How else could we treat it with such disdain?

Scientists recently discovered that lobsters and octopus have feelings. Duh! If they had watched the wonderful documentary My Octopus Teacher, the intelligence of these creatures would never have been questioned.

When I was young I went fishing for the first and last time. I balked at putting a worm on the hook. I was told that worms don’t have feelings. I was told the same about fish, that they don’t feel pain from the hook. I knew those were lies, just as science has now proven that plants and trees possess their own intelligence.

Scientists have shown that every thing has its own unique vibratory life force, including rocks and minerals. Every part of the living world has its own role to play in the balance of the whole. Just like our own body, the Earth’s intricate design is magical in its diversity, complexity and beauty.

Those who pillage the Earth for short-term profit want us to believe that except for humans and our pets other life forms are disposable and are here for our use, even to the point of extinction. They want us to believe this is ok, because these life forms have neither intelligence nor feelings. This is another of the Big Lies and an underlying cause of global warming.

When we collectively understand that all things have a life force and a role to play in our world, our focus will shift from rampant consumption and destruction to balance and sustainability. We will embrace our primary role as caretakers, of each other and the astonishing planet we are fortunate to occupy.

We would stop poisoning the place where we live, stop clear-cutting, strip mining and fracking. When we understand all parts of the Earth are alive we will stop wantonly removing its minerals. They are in the ground for a reason and could be integral to the proper functioning of the larger ecosystem, just as rainforests are not only trees, but lungs of the Earth.

In 1972, chemist James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis proposed “all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. The Gaia theory posits that the Earth is a complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and pedosphere, tightly coupled as an evolving system.”

If all forms of life play a cooperative role in the web, is it unrealistic to believe the Earth itself is alive and is itself intelligent? Is it reasonable to think anything else?

Indigenous people understand their connection to the natural world and live in harmony with it. We have much to learn from them. Instead we label them as “primitive” to justify destroying their way of life. We segregate them on reservations because their beliefs threaten the consumptive, industrial paradigm.

For me, it is no stretch to believe the Earth is intelligent. I struggle to understand why so many think otherwise. From this perspective, it is not surprising the Earth is adjusting to what it considers a full-fledged attack by a diseased organism — humanity. The evolving COVID pandemic, raging wildfires, droughts, rising sea levels, more hurricanes and tornadoes are ways the Earth is defending itself, attempting to restore balance to its systems.

It is shameful we are in this position. Our behavior has brought us to this point. The way out of our dilemma is to honor the Earth and all the life forms it supports. If not, we may end up living on a dead rock after all.

(Sol Solomon lives in Sutton.)

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