Indebted to Earth

Human arrogance
has done what we could
to subdue our Mother Earth,
extracting what we dubbed her riches –
the wood, coal, and oil to fuel
our frantic race for comfort and convenience,
the spices, sugar, tobacco, tea, and coffee
to sate our ravenous appetites,
the gold, silver, palm oil, cobalt, and lithium
to serve our overtorqued technology
and our obsession for wealth.

The time for taking is done,
and leaving it as it is prolongs mass murder.
Earth is screaming her intolerance
with rising heat, wildfires, drought,
torrents of rain, floods, merciless hurricanes.
Did we think Earth would not notice our abuse of her?
Did we assume her submissive, even dormant?

Arrogance hides ignorance,
and we humans may be the only species
capable of such deception.
Earth’s protests don’t, can’t, lie,
and most of its inhabitants,
including Indigenous humans,
know that.
None of them have ever stopped listening,
be it the silence of a drought,
or the roar of a hurricane,
the absence of bird song,
or the rumble of tectonic plates.

The din and stomp of industrial growth
have muffled these,
and distracted us from our indebtedness
to Earth.
We must repay her
by ceasing our tearing
at her vital organs
and poisoning her regenerative fluids.
We must shrink our demands on her.
We must replenish what we’ve taken.

About Michaela McCormick

Michaela McCormick is a white-bodied transgender activist currently working with Extinction Rebellion, and a Buddhist student/teacher drawing from many wisdom traditions. Her political/liberatory work includes teaching and organizing for the transformation of white supremacist, colonialist, patriarchal, earth-spoiling capitalism into just, compassionate, regenerative systems and relationships. For 25 years she worked as a teacher, trainer, and practitioner of conflict resolution and public dialogue. She has written two memoirs and now writes poetry and essays on social and spiritual themes.


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