Barrett: Could we get back to subduing, not worshipping, Earth?

Barrett: Could we get back to subduing, not worshipping, Earth?

May 1st, 2011 by Steve Barrett in Opinion Columns

Dear Earth,

You lack consciousness, so you won't care that I'm writing you a letter. But I missed your big day Friday before last, and, well, I just wanted to say I'm sorry to you and to all the people who conspicuously set aside a few moments to seek forgiveness for using your resources.

On CNN, a broadcaster by the name of T.J. Holmes wrapped up an Earth Day Eve segment by declaring, without irony: "I'd like to confess my sins. I drive a Chevy Tahoe. It gets 15 miles to the gallon in the city. While some people have SUVs to haul their large families around, it's just me driving by myself to work every day. ... In the winter I crank the heat up to 75 or 76. All the light bulbs in my house are still the old-school, less efficient incandescent bulbs."

He carried on in that vein for a while, but I won't burden you with the full transcript. Just say "Blah blah blah" a few times, and you'll get the gist.

So, Earth, as you can see, I know what the environmentally aware folks were doing April 22, and I'm all torn up about not joining them.

But I had this commitment I couldn't get out of. Wouldn't you know it: Earth Day happened to fall on the same day that we mark the Crucifixion of your creator, and how that set the stage for the redemption of mankind. And don't take it wrong, Earth, good buddy, but it always seemed to make more sense to me to worship the one by, through and for whom all things were created, rather than created things.

Plus - and I really mean no offense here - his Father made it clear that you exist to serve us, not the other way around. You know, that whole thing in the Garden of Eden when he told the first man and woman to "replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

'Fraid there's no getting around it, Earth: You're our servant, not our master. The one who made you didn't just suggest that we subdue you; he commanded it. Sure, we should use your bounty judiciously, but that's for our sake, not yours.

Then again, I don't blame you for all the neopagan fribble frabble that gets showered on you around this time each year. You and your resources are not sentient beings. An ear of corn couldn't care less whether it dies on the stalk or gets made into tortillas and eaten by hungry children in Honduras. A cubic foot of natural gas doesn't mind a bit if a family in Manitoba uses it to heat their chilly home.

It's not your fault that some call you their "mother," either. That was more understandable when it came from isolated peoples who instinctively knew they should revere someone greater than themselves but had not yet been blessed with a proper introduction to that Someone. Such squishy nonsense is less quaint, however, when employed by otherwise intelligent people today to guilt trip us into thinking we're injuring a kindly old woman every time we harvest timber for the chimenea or fry a breaded bluegill to golden perfection.

Fact is, it's no more rational to fret about your feelings - much less worship you - than to fuss over the dainty sensibilities of a socket wrench or set up an altar to a can of Slim-Fast.

But happy belated Earth Day anyway, Earth. And keep the blackberries coming.


P.S. Just a heads up: I may be jabbing you with a shovel in a couple weeks to plant hostas.

De-motored voter

Quick! Pick the one that is more likely to disenfranchise the poor:

  • Laws that require photo ID so you can't vote fraudulently. (You know - laws, such as the one in Georgia, that have been shown not to disenfranchise voters.)
  • Or the president's crackdown on domestic energy production, which boosts gas prices and will make it costlier for the poor to drive to the ballot box to put him on an Amtrak back to Chicago come 2012.