by Hannah West
Our poor planet has been choking on our pollution for a very long time. Microscopic bits of plastic are found from the deepest part of the Mariana Trench to the peak of Mt Everest. Furthermore, its total mass now exceeds that of every living mammal on Earth. Chemical pollution has caused mutations in amphibians for decades. And how can we clean up the thousands of “forever chemicals” that have been released over the past several decades? We’re losing biological diversity at an extremely alarming pace, with species are going extinct at a rate not seen for millennia. It’s not just the soaring temperatures, it’s everything we do from day to day that’s killing our planet…and therefore ourselves. Suicidal humans in denial…what could be more dangerous?
When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was a latchkey kid for a while. One afternoon after school, I found myself sitting in the living room, just being…spacing out as I watched dust motes drifting through the shaft of light shining through the curtains. At some point during this reverie, I heard a gentle female voice tell me that the time was coming when she wouldn’t be able to provide for me the way she had for everyone before. She sorrowfully explained that this was not because she didn’t love me or loved me less than those who came before, but because “I’m wearing out.” It was such a quiet, loving, yet deeply and painfully profound moment. And it broke my little girl heart. I don’t remember if I cried, but the message lodged deep within. I forgot about this encounter for a while, but it did come back to me. And when it did, it hit me so hard that I’ve never forgotten it since. I truly believe it was the voice of Gaia herself. A Gaia reverie.
Of course, now we know why she felt she had to warn me all those years ago. And she’s not getting tired due to natural causes. No, it is the sustained violence we have done to our beautiful planet ever since we switched on the very first electric light and started the first combustion engine. Ever since that childhood Gaia reverie, I’ve been waiting for this day and now it’s here. The days of human habitability of our planet are few if something drastic doesn’t change, and fast. Yesterday is already too late.