Wake up! This is a call to action for ecophiles who are ready to fight for change. And to those who have not yet fallen in love with Mother Earth, I hope this cry will light the spark of passion within you. It is time to forge a deep connection with each other by engaging and learning about the assault launched against our own planet by humanity’s worst impulses. The good news is, you and I can defend her. We are going to take a clear and honest look at the now of climate change and the necessity of activism. Let us begin a journey that stretches back in time to discover what our ancestors have to teach us about the Earth, and into the future to emerge from the climate crisis victorious. Now, let’s establish a partnership to learn and adapt together.
An ecophile is “a person who is in love with the environment.” That may sound extreme, but if you’ve ever taken a walk among Nature and found yourself marveling at the wondrous beauty that is our Mother Earth, you are an ecophile. Or if you’re disgusted by extractivism—the excessive exploitation of fossil fuels to keep capitalism and consumerism alive—then, you too are an ecophile. Or perhaps you long for a simpler time when small, tight-knit agrarian communities were intimately tied to the seasons and weather patterns, then you might be an ecophile. Or maybe you worry that in the future your children may no longer play in the snow or have the chance to admire a coral reef. Then you too are ready to become an ecophile.
The term ecophile encompasses all of these examples and more. It delivers a message of interconnectedness with Nature and our fellow beings. It calls for a transition to a green economy that recognizes the importance of forests and oceans, both as natural resources and as magnificent landscapes. The Earth does not require us to exist. If we do not destroy her, she will certainly outlive us. In the meantime, we must do what we can to ensure future generations access to the same beauty we have been so fortunate to witness. We’ve never seen a dodo bird except in pictures. We don’t want our children to experience the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies that way.
Now this is where it gets weird, so bear with me. The suffix -phile connotes “love” in its strongest form, and I think that’s the perfect way to view the Earth. We refer to Mother Nature as such because she gave birth to us as a species. But we are not the same Neanderthals whom she blessed with big brains and thumbs; we are Homo sapiens sapiens – intelligent, creative, self-conscious. The student has surpassed the master, and we’ve become sociopathic serial killers, planetary destroyers, like aliens terraforming an environment inimical to human life. Now, it’s time to use these brains for creation instead of destruction. It’s time to grow up! We must continue our evolution and see Earth not as a Mother who tolerates our abuse, but as a Lover: a lover with whom we are on equal footing, equally capable of affecting the other (hence the Anthropocene).
But remember this: step out of line, and your mother may only scold you, but a lover will leave you. And we have crossed many lines. Lover Earth is getting ready to turn us out, and we are walking on thin ice—literally. I’m not going to go so far as to suggest we should engage in ecosexuality (although that’s a fun term too, perhaps a topic for a future entry), but it serves as a useful framework for how we can reimagine our relationship to the planet. We are going to spend some time learning how our ancestors imagined the world around them to achieve a sense of yugen, but we’ve already covered a lot of ground together, so that will have to wait for now.
So, the next time you take a walk in a park or in the woods, look up at the sky, become an ecophile and realize that this beautiful Lover Earth that we call home is worth fighting for.