“Mom, does the Earth have the rights of personhood in the same way humans and corporations have?”
The snow kept falling and the grey sky ruled out absorbing any Vitamin D for the next 24 hours. We were housebound and looking for entertainment. Me and Maya watched mom shovel the path as we ran along the top ridge of ice.
Mom was taking her frustration out on the snow with her yellow Cadillac of shovels. Earlier she had been searching the internet for information that would confirm what she says should be a given, that the 14th Amendment of the Constitution recognizes the Earth and all her natural resources, including animal and plant species, as having the right of personhood; in the same way Corporations, such as Monsanto, enjoy the privilege.
At one point, immersed in thought, she tossed a shovel full of snow on top of Maya as she attempted to circumvent the path. I was laughing like crazy when that happened and Maya just shook it off and slid into a sinkhole. I don’t think mom even noticed as she began talking to herself, tossing the shoveled snow in all directions.
“A great question, Seamus and one our president should make a priority his last few years in office. I mean, how is it that the evil perpetrated on the Earth and all Earth species by companies such as Monsanto or General Electric, and let’s not forget the Koch Industries, can enjoy the protection of our Constitution while at the same time they work to destroy the natural resources we are dependent on for our very lives?”
“I know, mom,” I said poking my head up out of a snow drift. “And that’s only three out of the top one hundred corporations polluting the Earth. So, why can they be recognized as persons, but not Mother Earth?”
Mom was intent on a particular patch of ice blocking her shovel, so I looked around for Maya. I saw her off in the marshland communing with nature. Later she told me that she decided to ask Mother Earth how she felt about all the abuse and neglect she’s been getting from the human population. And boy, did she have a few things to say, but I’ll let Maya tell you what happened.
Listening to mom talk about Mother Earth, I thought, why not just ask Her. I mean put the question out into the crisp winter air and listen for whatever comes back. Why pussyfoot around, I said, just ask the lady Herself, go right to the source. So I stood in the marshland and called out into the wild.
“Earth Mother, you who gives all, what can the human community do to heal your waterways, your soil and air, the forests and plants, and all the animals and insects that work together as one world, one planet?”
And I listened, but nothing happened. No whisper of wisdom, no words of celestial song, nothing. In the silence I could feel the wind as the life breath of our planet circling, waving, moving round me, round the frozen trees draped in a blanket of snow.
Standing still in that moment it was not words that I heard, but rather the knowing in my heart that I am the Earth. I am the waterways and the air; I am the stones and the soil. Me, Maya, something so insignificant in the scheme of things, do matter to the whole balance of this precious ecosystem called Earth. She is alive, breathing, a life-centric planet that is slowly dying of a broken heart.
Then I heard Her whisper to me! “From the Earth springs all life; from this life comes the rain to grow your food, from the food comes life in all its varied and colorful forms. Without me you cannot continue to survive and it is ignorance as attachment to material greed that blinds the eyes and minds of human beings.”
The sudden silence made me gasp for breath; and then Her voice whispering again,
“Disconnected from Nature and from the Divine, little Maya, all my creatures suffer the fate of living isolated, self-absorbed, greed driven existences; moving towards ever more destruction. With every step towards a self-centered existence there will be more and greater suffering. The Earth as Mother, as Divine, must be returned to a place of honor and adoration.”
I was chilled to the bone hearing Her words whispered across the marshland. Is it so much to ask human’s to awaken to this understanding of Earth as the primary Person, essential to all our existence. Perhaps mom is right. It is long past time to change the 14th Amendment and grant Mother Earth personhood and remove Corporations from the protection of the law. Some balance will be restored and our Mother will finally have protection under the guardianship of Constitutional law.