The whole notion of racism, sexism, and all the isms we have are really sad. I believe they evolve from our genetic drive to support our “tribe”. We have this drive to view “us” and “them”. Out of this comes our strong support of our family, sports teams, city, etc., and sadly to do this in terms of race, sex, religion, etc., which can lead to denegrading these “other”.
For most people globally we have come to accept that other people shouldn’t be held in slavery, that we can’t own other people. While it still happens, it is globally unacceptable.
This is not true of other species. (By other species I am referring to plants and other animals, but also to the soil, rocks, air, water, etc.) The dominant culture believes that we can own all of these things. We have divided up the Earth and say that different people or entities own a piece of the Earth. We believe we own the land and everything on it. We believe that the rest of the Earth is here for our species.
In reality we are just one of 10 million species on the planet. To say we own the planet is like saying my brain owns me. This makes absolutely no sense, the brain is simply part of who I am. We are a species of the planet totally dependent on the rest of the planet for our survival. One of the huge problems we face is this believe will very likely lead to our demise as a species.
Two quotes from Stephen Hawking, who died very recently:
“Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of.”
“I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space.”
I also believe that we are in serious trouble, and I believe it is due to our arrogance in believing that we are superior to all other species on the planet and the planet is here for us. Only if we reach a level of humility where we see how utterly dependent we are on the planet and how blessed we are to be a part of it will we change the way we are relating to the planet and save our species.
It is a tall order. I’m not sure we can do it, but I hope we do. I love being human, it is such a wonderous experience, and I would like to see thousands of generations after me have the experience of, as Thomas Berry says, to be “The Earth Conscious of Itself”.