Earth day

Image: Anna Shvets


Forgetting our union with the Earth was the mistake of rationalism in all its forms of expression

On April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. It has now become the great and obscure object of human concern. We realize that we can be destroyed. Not by some glancing meteor, nor by some natural cataclysm of fantastic proportions. But because of irresponsible human activity, especially the dominant capitalist mode of production.

Three death machines have been built that can destroy the biosphere: nuclear danger, systematic aggression against ecosystems and climate change. Due to this triple alarm, we awaken from an ancestral torpor. We are responsible for the life or death of our living planet. The common future, ours and that of our dear common home, depends on us: the Earth that we deeply love.

As a means of saving the Earth, ecology is invoked. Not only in its palm and technical sense as management of natural resources, but as an alternative worldview, as a new paradigm of respectful and synergistic relationship with the Earth, seen as a living superorganism (Gaia) that self-regulates.

More and more we understand that ecology has become the general context of all problems, education, the industrial process, urbanization, law and philosophical and religious reflection. From ecology, a new state of consciousness is being developed and imposed on humanity, which is characterized by more benevolence, more compassion, more sensitivity, more tenderness, more solidarity, more cooperation, more responsibility towards the Earth and its preservation.

The Earth can and must be saved. And you will be saved. It has already gone through more than 5 major devastations. And it has always survived and safeguarded the principle of life. And it will also overcome the current impasses. However, under one condition: that we change course, from masters and owners to brothers and sisters among ourselves and with all creatures. This new perspective implies a new ethic of shared responsibility, care and synergy towards the Earth.

Human beings, in various cultures and historical phases, have revealed this safe intuition: we belong to the Earth; we are sons and daughters of the Earth; we are Earth, therefore, as they say in Genesis, we came from the dust of the Earth (Gn 2,7:XNUMX). Hence man comes from humus. We came from Earth and we will return to Earth. The Earth is not before us as something distinct from ourselves. We have the Earth within us. We are the Earth itself, which in its evolution has reached the moment of self-realization and self-awareness.

Initially, there is therefore no distance between us and the Earth. We form the same complex, diverse and unique reality.

This is what several astronauts witnessed, the first to contemplate the planet from outside the Earth. They said it emphatically: from here on the Moon or aboard our spaceships we notice no difference between Earth and humanity, between blacks and whites, democrats or socialists, rich and poor. Humanity and Earth form a single splendid entity, shining, fragile and full of vigor. This perception is radically true.

Said in terms of modern cosmology: we are formed with the same energies, with the same physical-chemical elements within the same network of connections of everything with everything that have been operating for 13,7 billion years, since the universe, within an immeasurable instability (big bang = inflation and explosion), emerged in the form it exists today. By knowing a little about this history of the universe and the Earth, we are getting to know ourselves and our ancestry.

Five great acts, cosmologists teach us, structure the universal theater in which we are co-actors.

The first is the “cosmic”; The primordial energies and elements that underlie the universe erupted. The expansion process began; and as it expanded, it self-created and diversified. We were there in the virtualities contained in this process.

The second is “chemical”: within the great red stars (the first bodies that densified and were formed at least five billion years ago) all the heavy elements that today constitute each of the beings were formed, such as oxygen , carbon, silicon, nitrogen etc. With the explosion of these large stars (they became super novae) these elements spread throughout space; They constituted the galaxies, stars, planets, Earth and satellites of the current phase of the universe. Those chemical elements circulate throughout our body, blood and brain.

The third act is the “biological”: from matter that becomes more complex and coils upon itself, in a process called “autopoiesis” (self-creation and self-organization), 3,8 billion years ago, life broke out in all their shapes; it went through very serious decimations, but it always survived and came to us in its immeasurable diversity.

The fourth is the “human”, subchapter of the history of life. The principle of complexity and self-creation finds in human beings immense possibilities for expansion. Human life emerged and flourished in Africa about 8-10 million years ago. From there, it spread across all continents until it conquered the most remote ends of the Earth. The human showed great flexibility; it has adapted to all ecosystems, from the coldest of the poles to the most torrid of the tropics, in the soil, underground, in the air and outside our Planet, in spaceships and on the Moon.

Finally, the fifth act is the “planetary”: humanity, which was dispersed, is returning to the Common Home, to planet Earth. It discovers itself as humanity, with the same origin and the same destiny as all other beings. It feels like the conscious mind of the Earth, a collective subject, beyond singular cultures and nation-states. Through global media, through the interdependence of everyone with everyone, a new phase of its evolution is inaugurating, the planetary phase. From now on, history will be the history of the species homo, of humanity unified and interconnected with everything and everyone.

We can only understand the Earth-human being if we connect him with this entire universal process; In him, the material elements and subtle energies conspired so that he was slowly gestated and, finally, could be born.

But what does our Earth-dimension mean concretely, beyond our ancestry?

It means, firstly, that we are part and parcel of the Earth. We are the product of its evolutionary activity. We have Earth elements in our body, blood, heart, mind and spirit. This realization results in an awareness of deep unity and identification with the Earth and its immense diversity. We cannot fall into the rationalist and objectivist illusion that we place ourselves in front of the Earth as in front of a foreign object or as its lords and owners. At first, there is a relationship without distance, without vis-à-vis, without separation. We are one with her.

In a second moment, we can think about the Earth, distance ourselves from it to see it better and intervene in it. And so, yes, we distinguish ourselves from it so that we can study it and act on it more accurately. This distance does not break our umbilical cord with her. Therefore, this second moment does not invalidate the first.

Having forgotten our union with the Earth was the mistake of rationalism in all its forms of expression. He generated the rupture with Mother Earth. It gave rise to anthropocentrism, in the illusion that, because we think about the Earth and can intervene in its cycles, we can place ourselves on it to dominate it and dispose of it at our pleasure. Here lies the root of the current ecological crisis.

Because we feel like sons and daughters of the Earth, because we are the thinking and loving Earth itself, we experience it as a Mother. She is a generative principle. It represents the Feminine who conceives, gestates, and gives birth. Thus the archetype of Earth emerges as Great Mother, Pacha Mama, Tonantzin, Nana and Gaia. In the same way that everything generates and reproduces life, it also welcomes everything and gathers everything into its bosom. When we die, we return to Mother Earth. We return to her generous and fertile womb.

Feeling that we are Earth makes us have our feet on the ground. It makes us perceive everything about the Earth, its cold and heat, its strength that threatens as well as its beauty that enchants. Feeling the rain on your skin, the refreshing breeze, the overwhelming typhoon. Feeling the breath that enters us, the odors that intoxicate or bore us. To feel the Earth is to feel its ecological niches, to capture the spirit of each place (spiritus loci). Being Earth means feeling like an inhabitant of a certain portion of land. Inhabiting, we become, in a certain way, limited to a place, a geography, a type of climate, a regime of rain and wind, a way of living and working and making history. Configures our rooting.

But it also means our firm base, our point of contemplation of the Whole, our platform to be able to take flight beyond this landscape and this piece of Earth, towards the infinite Whole.

Finally, feeling Earth is seeing yourself within a complex community of other sons and daughters of Earth. The Earth does not just produce us human beings. It produces the myriad of microorganisms that make up 90% of the entire network of life, insects that constitute the most important biomass of biodiversity. It produces water, a green layer with an infinite diversity of plants, flowers and fruits. It produces the countless diversity of living beings, animals, birds and fish, our companions within the sacred unity of life because the twenty amino acids and four nitrogenous bases that enter the composition of each life are present in all of them.

It produces the conditions for subsistence, evolution and food for everyone, on the ground, underground and in the air. To feel Earth is to immerse yourself in the earthly community, in the world of brothers and sisters, all sons and daughters of the great and generous Mother Earth, our common Home.

These are the feelings of belonging that we nurture on this Mother Earth Day.

*Leonardo Boff He is a philosopher and writer. Author, among other books, of The Earth Option (All time lap record). []

the earth is round there is thanks to our readers and supporters.
Help us keep this idea going.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis