Photo by Brian J. Skerry/National Geographic Creative.
No hot water, no toilets, no lights But Whitey's on the moon... You know I just about had my fill Of Whitey on the moon
- Gil Scott-Heron,
from “Whitey On The Moon”
Why don't you cool out Can it be so hard to love yourself without thinking someone else holds a lower card
- Bruce Cockburn,
from “Free To Be”
In the late 1970s and into the ’80s “save the whales” became a popular slogan which led to a partial stop to the killings.
“The effects of nearly a century of commercial whaling have had long-lasting effects. Luckily, a 1986 ban made commercial whaling illegal worldwide. But there is still work to be done to save the whales. A few countries — namely Japan, Norway, and Iceland — continue to ignore a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. Every year, these three countries kill thousands of whales, selling their meat on an illegal black market.”
At one time, the Whale was to the Shinnecock Nation (of so-called Long Island) akin to what the Buffalo to the Plains Indians/Nations. The high demand for oil as gasoline brought in a new commercial, de-spiritualized energy age.
The psychology that decimated a core element of those two Native Nations has spread its psychosis so as to threaten the Earth as a whole. A current popular retaliatory battle cry is “save the planet.” While there certainly are areas and species needing saved or protected, the psychological positioning of the phrase with regards to the planet as a whole-being poses a danger. Since it is mostly human behavior that caused the traumas, it is more likely that the planet does not need saved rather that human consciousness and behaviors need re-adjusted.
Yet rather than delve into that dicey discussion, I'd rather explore some of the word associations that reflect who we are and what we do or don't do.
First of all, there are more than one so-called planets yet when it is said “save the planet” people inherently know this refers to Earth. Jefe Bozos (Spanglish for Chief of Clowns), the monetarily wealthiest man in the known universe, wants to go to space because he's concerned about the future generations of his family. While he doles out paltry raises for low-paid workers that can barely survive HERE, Bozos is more interested in saving another planet.
And, “Elon Musk to launch Japanese billionaire on Space X rocket to the moon”.
And, “[Trump's] NASA's 2019 budget request formalizes the agency's handover of human-spaceflight activities in low-Earth orbit to private industry, in favor of a shift toward the moon. The budget request, which was released... (Feb. 12), allocates about $19.9 billion to NASA, an increase of $370 million over last year's request.”
Cue the “Whitey On The Moon.”
What such wealth does is create psychological identities of humans who have the ability to come and go about (and perhaps off of) the Earth, to do as they please; yet this persona is a product of products, not some rare intelligence; this persona is a material lord without a seeming clue that the Earth – or more affectionately Mother Earth – has a spirit or non-physical energy. Why else would tons of people love to 'walk in the woods' so as to 'clear their heads'? Even if you deny the spirit in nature, you're left to reconcile Her hot solids and liquids at the core. How often do we think of that? Or are we simply of surface consciousness, distracted by appearances, entranced by veneers?
The uncertain etymology of the word:
“The word "planet" has meant many different things over the millennia and even still its definition is evolving. The word is typically traced back to the ancient Greeks, who believed the Earth was stationary at the center of the universe while objects in the sky revolved around it. The Greek term asters planetai mean "wandering stars" and described the tiny lights that moved across the sky more dramatically than stars when compared over weeks and months. These wandering stars, back then, amounted to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.”
This word is a mixed bag.
Some basic connotations are: store-up monetarily; preserve; Christian view of what souls need; postponing sex (saving one’s self for marriage or the ‘right’ person). In the context of “save the planet,” perhaps we’d be best to simply “love” or “caregive,” as “save” implies a point of success in time, yet who’s to say what that would be? “Save” implies that once the Earth is saved, we can go back to doing whatever it was we were doing... that got us in this mess in the first place.
As to the etymology:
“c. 1200, "to deliver from some danger; rescue from peril, bring to safety," also "prevent the death of;" also theological, "to deliver from sin or its consequences; admit to eternal life; gain salvation," from Old French sauver "keep (safe), protect, redeem," from Late Latin salvare "make safe, secure," from Latin salvus "safe" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept"). From c. 1300 as "reserve for future use, hold back, store up instead of spending;" hence "keep possession of" (late 14c.).”
“Make Whole” sounds good to me.
Even though I gots a BA in English I didn't know what the heck “the” is, so genius that I am did a websearch, or as my nine-year-old friend says to do: “Search it up!” Turns out “the” is a “definite article” (of clothing? in a newspaper?), and somehow it's not feminine because it's a “nominative masculine form” of a “demonstrative pronoun,” so I guess it's prone to “macho strong outward expressions of feelings." Perhaps “the” has been arrested at protests. Who knew the “the” was so feisty.
small and big pictures
Ok, so yes, save rivers, save backyards, save a fly or a spider by catching it in a jar and releasing it outside. Adapt to existing changes and Prepare for possible changes in your local area.
As for sacred sites, to my understanding they are like acupuncture points that have extra power as far as the energy-flow of the whole body of Mother Earth. One example is in the documentary “Aluna” where the Kogi (of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia) show, among other fascinating things, how sacred sites or hot spots that have been desecrated by building on top of them have already created severe repercussions from Nature.
At a Climate Change Symposium at the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center, I recently saw a documentary film clip from “In the Light of Reverence” (2001). The clip highlights Matȟó Thípila (Lodge of the Bear), a Lakota, Cheyenne, and Kiowa sacred site that has been abused by rock climbers. While climbers have been encouraged to be more respectful of the site, the punch-in-the-gut-line of the segment is when it's said that: Yet it's a crime to climb Mount Rushmore (also on Lakota lands). You've probably never heard of the sacred site because it was, like many other places, renamed with that most infamous of religio-boogeyman-monikers: “Devils Tower was the first United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt.”
The film's producer/director, Christopher McLeod, has made a bunch of documentaries about sacred land/sites and has two websites with more info.
more on slogan
Another thing I don't like about the “save the planet” slogan is that I rarely ever hear people saying with the same urgency: Save the Yemenis, Save the Iraqis, Save the Palestinians, Save the Black Peoples, Save the Original/Native Peoples, Save the transgenders, et al.
By objectifying Mother Earth as a Greek worded “planet” and as a thing that we have power to save reads like cultural preferencing and religio-Supermanesque delusion. The recent decimation of coastal towns by Hurricane Michael (plus the lack of help the People are receiving from the government – a pattern, not an isolated case), calls our attention to the powers of Nature that can dispense with man-made stuff in a matter of seconds; so who needs saved? And in this context, we would be more emotionally prepared to deal with climate change imbalances if we: Save our respect, Save our reverence, or some such word that connects us with the intangibles. Or better yet: Heal/Make Whole Mother Earth.
Perhaps the balance we seek comes both from the intangible and the statistics that are staring us in the face, for example, “60-fold drop of bug populations in Puerto Rico's Luquillo rainforest” ... “More than 300 mammal species have been eradicated by human activities, say researchers.”
Whatever words you use or don't use (though the choices may help save-your consciousness and thus make you more qualified to help others), you have the power to improve the lives of some people, be they of a particular skin tone or be they an insect. If we would empathize with Mother Earth and all beings, allow ourselves to feel grief rather than the mere intellectually rote reciting of an out-worn phrase, those feelings would move us to do something, to help make whole and heal Mother Earth.
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet at Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer and small press publisher, he travels a holistic mystic pathway staying in touch with Turtle Island. See his new book of nonfiction with a poetic touch, “photo albums of the heart-mind”.
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