Earth E Ency can set you free
Please pronounce it with all four syllables: Earth E En-Cy, as if it were “Earth E. N. C.”
Finding the words
In a great recent article about climate consciousness, Joanne Roche asked for ideas to describe our need to become more articulate when it comes to the ever-increasing urgent needs of our planet, and our human need to comprehend our interactions with Earth. A new word is requested.
My humble entry is Eartheency. Again, that’s said like Earth E. N. C. However, like any useful portmanteau, it comes together , as one fluid, word.
Nature, as revealed by science is all about efficiency. If we could learn from Nature, we could learn not to produce trash, but only nutrients. Nature does not create trash, and in fact, no other entity on Earth — save humans — produces trash.
Our emissions, the pollution of greenhouse gases, is a kind of trash. Our inefficiency at being responsible with that trash is the problem as most simply described. Efficiency is our salvation.
Earth has the answers we need
Earth, our only living home provides the answer. Earth provides through inspiration, beauty, sustenance, and belonging. Earth’s efficiency, Eartheency, is what we need.
We just need to come to accept we can’t save earth, Earth can save us.
Nature has all the answers. Humankind has always learned from her, but also has learned to take her fantastic abundance for granted, and even begun over the last two centuries to overdraw from her resources and over run her limits. Efficiency means sustainability. Sustainability allows life to recover. We always had less than a billion people until around 1800, around the same time we learned to use fossil fuels to make many more of us survive.
Sustainability means we learn to live as all other more balanced organisms, to live in ways that all other organisms do: to live within our means.
There is certainly competition in nature to be sure, but cooperation in nature more than makes up for that. Even interdependent systems, such as the hydrological, weather, geologic, and biological systems on Earth are evolved together and function as one.
One bit of ‘anything by itself” we try to pick out, as John Muir puts it, “we find hitched to everything else in the universe.” We cannot pluck one thread without affecting the whole tapestry.
That is Eartheency. Maybe it needs to be EarthEency to emphasize the thing we most need to come back to: planet, E. Earth.
Joanne Roche talks about conscientiousness in her article. She, like so many of us, is aware that we consume, over use, and waste so very much.
So many C’s: Conflict, country, consumption, crisis, consciousness, but the big C, Compassion, is the one we need to heed
Rich countries pollute more than poor countries. The powerful take from the powerless. We are trapped in an economic system that disregards our human belonging to the rest of the animal kingdom. We degrade our soil, poison our pollinators, and then throw out much of what we produce. Within the sixth extinction we are losing crucial partners in our biosphere, and as we read each day now, we are running out of time.
This terrible awareness burdens us with sadness, guilt, loss, hopelessness, and anxiety. Yet, Earth, can help us out of this with elegant solutions.
Our species is only two hundred thousand years old. We are young. We are kinda stupid, or at least a bit immature. But, we are not evil. We can choose to snap out of denial, face the hard stuff head on, and get going.
We are young compared to the four billion and a half year old, wise, Mother Earth. Now think about an untrained, and inexperienced teen being given a racing sports car and no instruction. In this metaphor, we were handed the gift of fossil fuels before our emotional and mental maturity has reached a critical consensus of belonging to our Earth.
Rather than accepting our belonging, we thought to become masters of Earth’s resources, and in a reckless race toward a cliff’s edge we blew past all notions of stewardship. We even threw out nature’s diversity and opted for a strangling rigid hierarchy that suggested some are better than others: Whites better than blacks, males better than females, and humans better than other animals. We need to fix this if we are to fix our present challenges.
Some say the advent of agriculture ten thousand years ago ripped us away from our outdoor lives, and some say adding the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century poured gasoline on our fire. Then came more than one billion, doubling repeatedly.
The truth is, there are many factors, and laying blame doesn’t help so much as reaching out with compassion does. Compassion first for yourself, than for your fellow humans, than for your shared DNA kindred: our Earth.
Nature’s efficiency is inherent within us and can be rediscovered, but this is also hindered by our lack of everyday consciousness.
Language can be abstract, but also grounding
Words can both help, or liberate us. In words too, we must find the treasure and throw out the useless trash.
Language is an abstract thing. We use squiggles to make words, that suggest ideas. Then we take those ideas and grant them power. A few invented abstractions are “money”, “nations”, “economy”, “politics”.
Meanwhile real living objects get forgotten as they are taken for granted: “soil” “reefs” “life-sustaining biosphere”, “water”, “bees”, “trees,” “manatees” — to name just a few.
In no way will we give up abstract thought, and the ways in which we converted it to electronic zeros and ones that now link us around the globe. These innovations are part of our much needed tool kit, and indeed, it allows us to reach one another as never before.
We are clever little monkeys and I have to believe we can fix this. But to do so we must find words that describe all we really need to belong, restore, and re-balance. Only then, can we find our way back to the garden.