"#metoo is just the tip of the iceberg in our powerful fight for consent, not just over our own bodies but over the body of our planet."
There is lots of anger in our world right now, from the fires in the Amazon to the dehumanisation of refugees, #metoo, racism, toxic leadership, the gender pay gap, modern-day slavery and the terrifying acceleration of climate change.
There is much to be angry about.
And this anger is better than the despairing silence and apathy that many of us feel when we think the problems are too big and too complex to solve.
As humans, we are built for survival and have managed against the odds to keep reproducing for hundreds of generations. We will find a way through but I think we may need to engage with our rage and use that to spur us on to constructive action.
But it’s not easy to engage with rage. It is an uncomfortable emotion that is judged harshly by a world that thrives on our consent.
There is nothing wrong with rage. It is the emotion that arises when justice has not yet been done when we feel powerless and silenced.
I think this modern rage is our gift and that we should use it very wisely.
This rage is coming from many different places.
I think some of it is coming from a reaction to a thousand years of disrespect for our planet, from our pain at watching nature's silence used as consent for taking and taking and never giving back.
#metoo is just the tip of the iceberg in our powerful fight for consent, not just over our own bodies but over the body of our planet.
Planet earth has been given no rights, no legal identity. She is there only for our pleasure, for commerce, for mining and fracking and fishing, and farming.
This planet is not our property - she is not our resource she is our mother and we are all lessened by her enslavement.
And our collective rage is not appropriate - is not polite, is not rational but yet it exists in each one of us because we know the way we are living is fundamentally flawed.
So can we direct our rage into something that will make a difference?
In December 2010 Bolivia passed the Law for the Rights of Mother Earth.
The law defines Mother Earth as "...the dynamic living system formed by the indivisible community of all life systems and living beings who are interrelated, interdependent, and complementary, which share a common destiny; adding that "Mother Earth is considered sacred in the worldview of Indigenous peoples and nations.
The law also establishes the juridical character of Mother Earth as "the collective subject of public interest", to ensure the exercise and protection of her rights. By giving Mother Earth a legal personality, it can, through its representatives (humans), bring an action to defend its rights. Additionally, to say that Mother Earth is of public interest represents a major shift from an anthropocentric perspective to a more Earth community-based perspective.
This Bolivian law needs to be embraced by every government on earth, starting with New Zealand. If we can direct our rage about lack of consent in our own lives and in the life of the planet into lobbying for this law, and all the societal changes it entails then we may have a chance to bring things back into balance before it is too late.
We think we have time but our survival as humans on this planet is at stake. Mother Earth has time frames that we cannot even comprehend. She can wait us out without effort and her body and systems will regenerate quickly once we are gone.
But we have a chance to turn it around. To finally start living on this planet the way our ancestors did, the way the indigenous people of this planet have been living for thousands of years, in a delicate and ever-evolving balance.
Living on this planet is about give and take, it is about understanding that nature and Mother Earth are what sustain us. There is a balance that must be created through new ways of looking at our lives, through the community, through building our lives sustainably, and through the navigation of what consent means for both our bodies and the larger body of Mother Earth.
On a practical level we can start with bringing the need for a Law for the Rights of Mother Earth into our consciousness. Let's learn about it and think about it and talk about it with our families and friends, debate it, and understand the concepts behind its creation.
We can draw great wisdom and strength from our own indigenous guardians, our Tangata Whenua who have preserved ancestral knowledge and culture in a unique and powerful way. It is time we used that knowledge to lead us back into a reciprocal relationship with the planet on which we live.
Let's look at how this law works in Bolivia and lets lobby our own politicians to implement the same idea in our own countries.
This is an achievable step. It is a way to bring the needs and rights of our great mother into law so that she is afforded the same basic dignity that we as humans enjoy every day.
The Native American tribes make each decision based on how it will affect the next seven generations.
When we bring the rights of our mother earth into our law-making, we are ensuring that her health and preservation are carried forth so that our grandchildren are able to inherit this planet and act as caretakers of their living, breathing, sacred and unique home.