Heard recently: “I really admire and appreciate everything you all do, as Friends of the Earth. The Earth needs more friends. I have a bokashi bucket at home, that I put my food scraps in. That’s how I do my bit for the Earth.”
This sounds like a messed-up idea of friendship. Imagine describing a friendship with a person like that. “I’m a great friend of Joe’s. I put things in a bucket, that’s how I help him out.”
How’s this for a more realistic representation of friendship: “I’m a friend of Gaia. We spend a lot of time together. We sing, and dance, and we play together. I take long walks with her, and she tells me many stories, of the places and beings that we encounter along the way. I can sit for hours, in silence, just being present with her. She is so wise, and has experienced so much. I’ve learned everything I know from her. Yet there are parts of her I don’t understand, and maybe never will. Sometimes she scares me. She means the world to me. I would do anything to protect her. I would give my life.” Gaia might be the name of a person, an animal, a river, or the Earth.
We could all do with more friendships like these. We can all be friends with forests, insects, mountains, oceans and spirits. Friends with the Earth.
Friends of the Earth doesn’t share my understanding of friendship. They advocate injuring, cutting and poisoning their so-called friend, creating toxic fumes that make it hard for her to breathe. They call her a resource, and promote ripping her apart, to build machines. Machines to make electricity. Machines that are built by mining, extracting oil, manufacturing, transporting, polluting. Poisoning towns, rivers, farmland and air. Machines that destroy the lives of humans, nonhumans, rivers and Earth. Forever. They call these machines Renewable Energy.
The Earth doesn’t need renewable energy, or plastic buckets. She needs true friends. Friends who will protect her. Friends who listen, and sing, and dance, and play with her. Friends who will give their life.