You and I are Earth.
Today is Earth Day. A day to reflect on how we’ve treated our Mother. I created this video not long ago to cover some cold stone facts about the fashion industry and its problems. I thought today would be the perfect day to cover some more thoughts about the environment, and our relation to it.
What does today mean to me? As an Indigenous person, it’s close to heart. We have had our relationship to the environment taken away from us through removal of traditional land. We have had it taken from us through assimilation.
Honoring the Earth is not a trend, it’s a lifetime commitment. In my family it was something ingrained in us since birth, and I feel it was just apart of my natural identity. My Mother and Father always recycled, littering was a abhorrent practice, recycling everything from food containers, to ketchup packets (which we saved in jars instead of throwing out). There was always a deep appreciation for the environment in my life.
Buying second hand, or hand me downs, used vehicles, furniture, etc. was something that was a natural part of my life. Respect for plants and land go back to my days at my family cottage where everything was respected. At my family cottage we didn’t have running water. We never washed or bathed in the lake, even with so called biodegradable products. We only washed with cultivated rain water from rain barrels. We never used motorboats on the lake, only canoes, row boats, and paddle boats because my Parents always had concerns about how this would hurt the lake. We never burned garbage because of what it would do to the air. We would pick any up if we found it. I remember all of these things fondly from my childhood.
We were taught to let flowers, bugs, and all walks of life live and grow. I remember I was horrified when one childhood friend visiting my families cottage would break the legs of frogs to watch the fish eat them. Which could be a great analogy of how colonizers see the Earth.
Some of my other favorite cultural experiences was visiting the petroglyphs near Peterborough, ON. I learned the legend of Nanabush and my personal favorite the Thunderbird, and the creation story. I felt connected to this massive piece of rock and history, and sacred space.
I think I grew up in a home that always thought and deeply cared about how we would treat and respect the world and I was lucky. It was something I learned that others did not respect, especially on portage trips where people would shampoo their hair in the lakes. Or bring odd camping items like full on cordless coffee makers instead of pour over cups or percolators. Or when I was bullied for thrift store items as a kid. These were behaviors entirely foreign to me, and ingrained in me from a young age.
My Parents taught me how to do my laundry on off hours, or turn the lights off and keep that damn fridge door shut. Or how flushing repeatedly was a huge waste of water. These were minor annoyances to hear persistently as a kid, but as an adult it has worked its wonders in my life as a reminder how fragile the world is.
Though now in my life I believe that corporations are the true perpetrators of every climate disaster as well as the true problem under Capitalism, those small steps did help me learn how I can contribute on an individual basis.
I know that it can seem like we don’t have control over how our environment can change when huge corporate interest runs wild. It feels overwhelming, stifling, and anxiety ridden to think that we cannot see clearly what the future will bring for us and our children. Ultimately though, we need to carve out our space in the world so that we can find peace of mind. For myself, that’s with vintage clothing and the promotion of sustainability. I’ll continue to follow in my ancestors foot steps.
I hope if you haven’t found your space, you do. Learn what kind of impact you can bring to the table, do your part.