With Earth Day just passed, Mother’s Day coming, a planet with a low-grade fever and a cold economic climate, I am wondering what needs to be done to get people to take the environment more seriously within the context of a floundering economy. Economics and the environment are not mutually exclusive concepts, and both should be on our minds in terms of “crisis” right now.
I wonder if part of the problem rests in the imagery of Mother Nature. It is good symbolism, the Earth Mother with her loving arms encircling us and providing a stable, nurturing environment and unconditional love, in which we can blossom and grow.
As a mother myself, and a daughter of a mother, I am aware that moms are often under-appreciated. We love and abuse our mothers, and don’t realize how important they are and how difficult their job is until we become mothers, or until they are gone.
I appreciate how difficult it is to raise two children, while keeping six plants alive, so I bow to the superiority of Mother Nature sustaining billions of each. She shouldn’t be taken for granted.
The very idea of having to at-tend Mother Nature’s funeral would be horribly sad, as we watched from an international space station, lamenting the loss of grass between our toes and the smell of cherry blossoms in the wind.
If the problem is in the metaphor of earth as a mother, then perhaps we need the following rebranding exercise to get the message across . . . first corporate, then religious, then relationship focused, then back to the family.
ANNOUNCING NEW LEADERSHIP: CEO, EARTH
For immediate release: After years of dedicated service, we are pleased to announce the promotion of Mother Nature to CEO, Earth. Reporting to her, will be every person on the planet. She is focused on the bottom line and everyone will see a reduction in their consumption, with compensation based on the new management by objectives plan.
Quoting a letter accompanying the release of the planetary financial statements, M. Nature said: “Dear Shareholders, the last 100 years have presented serious challenges as the assets on our balance sheet were depleted, and our machinery was pushed beyondmaximumcapacity to serve short term interests. This is not progress.
“Dividends of clean air, water, and soil will not be declared this year or any year until the company completes a major maintenance and upgrade program reflecting clean energy and sustainability.
“You will see in the notes to the financial statements that the preferred share structure, formally owned by corporations, has been abolished. Each planetary citizen is now equal in access to and allocation of all resources.
“I will soon be announcing country closures, unless drastic realignment to global policies can be established. For example, let me make it clear that coal is not clean and shifting banned substances and toxins to other divisions will no longer be tolerated.
“Furthermore, global pricing policies will be revisited this quarter, to reflect fair costs of labour, pollution cleanup, and disposal costs, henceforth signalling the immediate termination of ‘dollar stores’ and the groups producing the crap to fill them.”
EARTHLY SINS AND THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
“Honour your father and your mother” would be revisited to include Mother Nature. Not coveting anything that belongs to your neighbour would stress natural resources (oil, minerals, water, cod). The creators and worshipping masses of false idols called “brands” would be chastised. Pollution would be looked at through the “thou shalt not kill” angle. There would be no more absolution for planned sins against the earth.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Dear John (Q. Public):
I gave you everything I had to give, and yet you still wanted more.
It is over. Good bye.
YOU’RE GROUNDED . . . GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM
I didn’t want to do this, but . . . wait until your father gets home!
You’ve been taking advantage of Mother Nature’s kindness by treating your siblings badly, leaving the tap running and the lights on, by picking flowers from your neighbour’s garden, and by not cleaning up after yourself. (Moving garbage to your sister’s room under the rug does not count!)
Father Planet is on his way home and is going to “clean house.”
You thought that Mother Nature’s hurricanes were vicious? Look out. If I were you I would smarten up before he lays down planetary law.
A THREATENING NATURE . . .
Regardless of the rebranding metaphor that works for you, economic growth and environmental protection are not separate concepts. A bad economy is not a hall pass to smoke in the bathroom and do damaging things in the name of “growth.”
Respect your mother and treat her right. Or else.