A few weeks ago, during an outside play date, just after the other mom scolded her child to be more respectful, I watched her casually trying to swat a fly that was bugging her with her flat hand. It hit me as being somewhat ironic and fairly hypocritical. How can a mother demand respect from her offspring when she herself fails to show it towards a mother of far higher significance than her own? Of course it is Mother Earth I’m referring to and although declaring a simple house fly a symbol of her greatness may seems somewhat far-stretched, the point is: If we don’t make chances on the tiniest scale, how are we going to change the big picture?
I’m certainly not claiming to be without failure or a ferocious saviour of all living beings. The wasp trap in my garden currently holds about 100 dead bodies and I have done my fair share of insect killing in self-defense or as a result of my protective mother instincts. I have contributed to an infinite number of animal deaths under the apologetic blanket of nourishment. I’m not vegan, not even vegetarian and never intend to be. In a way, that does make me a hypocrite, or maybe simply a mammal that knows it can only do so much to honour our ultimate mother.
In my opinion, this is where a level of awareness and gratitude comes into play. I do feel thankful for the animals that lost their lives for my consumption, despite the fact they didn’t do so willingly. I try hard not to, but it has happened before where I flushed a bug down my toilet at 11:30 pm because I was too tired and lazy to head outside and place it on a leaf. It’s senseless killing and exploit that I detest, and humans who still believe that we are the top of all creation and therefore entitled to treat nature as we please.
Sure, good ol’ Darwin proclaimed survival of the fittest and he had a point. In our case, fitness came equipped with consciousness, responsibility and reflection. Call it a curse, call it a blessing – we have choice. Although choices our society and science made in the past, driven by our inherent strive for power and consumption, have brought us to a point where our choices of today aren’t really choices anymore. We need to act, and we need to act quickly, do we wish to keep this ship called planet earth from sinking.
Change of Perspective: What if a gigantic bug came along?
Of course we all know today how to recycle, conserve energy, not to litter and we usually even teach our children to follow those rules. I believe though it goes way beyond that, to a level of true understanding, love and respect for all that nature brings forth. We need to understand that natural catastrophes are not an unlucky, unfair, even cruel coincidence but evidence that there is still a “survival of the fittest” scheme in place, and this time it doesn’t work to our advantage. We need to realize that we are one and united as children of a mother that doesn’t put different values to a fly or a human. We need to acknowledge that he have no – make this NO – right to kill any creature, regardless whether it may be out of annoyance, a feeling of supremacy or worst, boredom.
The last time one of my sons tried to step on a potato bug for fun, I asked him how he would feel if a gigantic bug came along and did that to him. Call that extreme as you wish, but it had the intended effect on him. This is the awareness I want to cultivate in my children and the respect I need them to show towards our Mother.