Woman hugging Earth

Earth Day: Writing with Science & Social Consciousness

Today is Earth Day, which marks the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. And I might just be more cautiously hopeful for this day, and for our planet, than I’ve ever been.

Because, in the Biden Administration, our new Interior Secretary is Deb Haaland. An indigenous woman. In charge of and overseeing Indian affairs, our national parks, our land management, fish and wildlife, mine reclamation, mineral and ocean resource management, and so much more. For the first time.

It’s about time. And I’m over the moon about it.

For one thing, my favorite national parks are in Utah, and if we left it up to their state officials to protect the national and cultural environment, we’d be in big trouble for sure. Indeed, we already have been with the last disastrous administration and its corrupt, profiteering cabinet secretaries, plus the Environmental Protection Agency being anything but. But that’s another story of back-room dastardly deals of destruction.

In the past decade I published a nonfiction tome, Raising Questions. In it I posed the question: If you believe your god created Earth, why are you doing your damnedest to destroy it?

Perhaps the problem is that we’re dealing with a feminine symbol, as in Mother Earth, and so much of patriarchal religious dogma—across the spectrum of beliefs—sees women as second class citizens. Why treat the land that sustains you with respect when you show so little to the gender who gave birth to you?

Some might think I intersperse an environmental consciousness element (using actual science, not politics based on religion) in my Other Worldly series due to my environmental law background. Partly. Especially when it comes to petroglyphs, as in cultural resources, and the locations they exist, as in natural resources, and the importance of preservation and conservation of both.

But even as a kid back in the seventies, I was into that “anti-pollution” crusade. I loved stationery at the time, and it was a big deal to have cards with photos of trees that were printed on recycled paper. I know, there’s a catch-22 in there. There always is. It wastes a lot of resources and creates a lot of pollution to recycle plastic water bottles, among other things.

I don’t have all the answers, and I’m no scientist, but I believe I’ve tracked on the correct (and conscientious) side of history. I didn’t say right side of history, because the current political right has been everything but right—about anything. Gutting of environmental protections is just one of the atrocities they embrace, while pursuing almighty greed and pretending to serve a patriarchal god they claim created Earth but blesses only (white male) Americans.

Back in the day, it wasn’t always so insane. It was President Nixon who signed cornerstone environmental laws that sprang from his executive orders. Take the Clean Water Act, for example. If we didn’t have its implementing regulations, by now the Potomac River between DC and Virginia would be so contaminated you could literally walk across it. You practically could in the seventies, and it smelled horrendous. These days, safe drinking water and non-toxic, breathable air are things we’re still fighting for, especially in marginalized communities. Environmental justice has a long way to go. So does convincing Americans they should care about species other than themselves.

In my first novel, Alienable Rights, I touch on potential sensitivity to underwater noise of marine species, including sea otters, sea lions and seals. I also note how the US populace hasn’t quite figured out that littering is tacky, if trash scattered on our highways (and in my neighborhood gutters) is any indication. Destruction and depletion of natural resources is also a recurring mention. In Being Alien, coming later this year, the plight of the honeybee and its vital connection to the human food supply is addressed.

In Alienable Rights, an extraterrestrial being states, “Planets can be depleted by their own inhabitants, making them no longer capable of sustaining life. It is our intent that Earth learn from that.” My alien character was talking about the destruction of Mars, because if it can happen to another planet, it can and likely will happen to us.

The bottom line is, before we head into space to maraud the rest of the galaxy for their resources, why not take better care of Mother Earth?



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