Friday, September 23, 2011
Keepers of the Earth
A decade ago my husband and I decided to move from our home in the city to a house in the country. We searched for a place where we could enjoy at least an acre of land and be in nature. For at least five years, we had the pleasure of watching deer grazing in the back fields behind our home. The first spring when we moved in I remember being kept awake all night by the mating sounds of the caribou. It was extraordinary to have long night discussions over how to keep the raccoons out of the garbage or how to keep the groundhogs from digging up our yard. Red cardinals, blue jays, wood peckers, hummingbirds and many other birds came to visit us every day. Something I didn’t see in the city. There were several reasons for moving away and nature was one of them. Also, I was tired of being on top of my neighbours. I wanted space, privacy, and I wanted lots and lots of mature trees.
After six years, I started noticing a trend. Our neighbours began to sell portions of their acres of land to developers and they built homes. Eventually our peaceful little rural area grew into a mirrored image of where we came from: The suburbs. I keep seeing construction everywhere and I often wonder where all of these people are coming from? Why is there such a huge increase in population? G points out every woman who’s pregnant or pushing a carriage.
“In 20 years” he reminds me “that baby is another adult looking for his or her apartment.”
When our kids were little we often told them “the Earth was over populated.”
“You can choose to not have children,” we often told them often making it sound like it was a responsibility of sorts as Keepers of the Earth.
We gave them permission to be different. We encouraged it. There’s no doubt in my mind we literally program our kids as they are growing up to procreate. At some point it was the Church who made sure women would constantly have babies. I remember my grand-mother telling me this story about how a Catholic priest showed up at her house almost a year after the birth of her third child, to lecture her on her duties as a woman.
“He told me,” she said with a frown, “that I had to have more children. God would be upset with me if I didn’t.”
In the ‘90’s when I had my children the Quebec government had a program in effect for young Quebecor families. You would receive 5,000$ if you committed to having a first child and 500$ for the second. This was separate to the family allowances. It was incentive. Statistically, Quebecor families had less children than immigrants coming into the country. The idea was to even the score (so to speak). The program obviously didn’t last very long. It was too costly. I don’t have to tell you how many people took advantage of the “little push in the back.”
Still today, peer pressure or social pressure plays a role in human procreation. I often come across young women in the early 30’s who mourn their unborn children even more so than a missing life companion. I’ve known gay couples who have worked over time to have children; and single women who have gone as far as paying donors to have babies. The idea of “a biological clock ticking” and calling women to motherhood is probably the best example of how we’ve brainwashed women for centuries to believe that they “are nothing if they can’t produce an heir.”
This summer our next door neighbour sold his 4 acres of land to developers. We recently heard they presented a plan to the city to build five homes in the field behind our house. I don’t have to tell you that each house will have less than 6,000 square feet of back yard. In order to accomplish this project these developers need to take down the house; which is already built on the land. They need to make room for the construction of a road. They also need to get rid of a pond; which right now is the home to crickets, snapping turtles, frogs and visiting gray herons. They will also bring down a few incredible, beautiful, mature trees. Two of them are weeping willows. No matter how outraged we are, we were informed by the city, that we hold absolutely no recourses. These people can legally massacre this natural habitat simply because they are the owners.
My ancestors used to believe “nobody could and should own Mother Earth.” When my husband and I moved into our house a decade ago, I started dreaming about all kinds of traders. In these dreams there were First Nation people as well as settlers who appeared on a trail to offer me money or goods in exchange for a promise. They all asked of me night after night that I protect the land I live on and be good to it. It was only once I agreed to the contract that the dreams stopped. Recently, I’ve asked myself the question: “Were those dreams predicting what is happening next door?
This week, a few weeks before a referendum (in our region – Oct.2nd) on environmental protection as well as tougher laws against developers our neighbours have decided to destroy their pond and their house. The last few days have been hell. The noise and disruption has created a fog of mosquitoes; which makes it impossible to leave our home without being eaten alive. I keep reminding myself: “How it would feel if I was being robbed of my habitat and literally massacred?”
It’s horrible to sit by and be unable to do anything. Even if I vote at the referendum I no longer see how it can make a difference. It’s one thing to have a voice against this destruction but it still short of being a solution and an action. We’re always too late when it comes to saving animals and trees.
Perhaps, it’s our time to move again. We’ve been looking at homes in neighbouring rural areas. We’ve been looking at older homes and making sure that “we don’t invest in the work of developers.” It’s important to protect the land around us and to make sure to save some land for animals, birds and insects alike… It’s important for us now to find a way to be Keepers of the Earth in the true sense of the world and make it work.
I’m not sure how it will all translate in the end. Will the planet blow apart in December of 2012? Or will we persistently as humans destroy our abundance and our future with perpetual fears, programs and illusions? Is it possible for a small group of people to band together and focus on one thing and one thing only: Sacred living?
P.S. Please refer this blog to friends and family. I'm hoping to reach more people and count them as regular readers (followers). I'd like to gather more and more people together -- under a common umbrella of new perspective and new consciousness.
Tahau! and Thank You for being here.