written by Anais Maseda
We are firm believers that the way black women are treated within society reflects the way we treat our precious home, the earth. This observation makes it essential that we formulate a clear image of how women are treated within society then compare it to the treatment of Mother Earth. The very ideology of women being viewed as just bodies; therefore, being exploited in countless ways entirely reflects how Mother Earth is viewed and treated as replaceable. Mother Earth is too seen as "just another body" or object that can be mined, drained, polluted, and exploited.
Like our Great Mother, Black women are exploited, abused, and oppressed. We receive low and unfair wages, and as we experience habitual sexual exploitation via media representation, sex trafficking, rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Although black women are mothers, healers, nurturers in all societies, we are treated in a similar way that society treats the Earth. Like women and their bodies, the Earth is traded, tormented, and killed off for food, reproductive purposes, and sport. Humanity tears apart and destroy the land through deforestation for animal agriculture, which is the leading cause of species extinction, oceanic dead zones, water pollution, habitat destruction, and overall climate change. Habitat and land destruction exploit the homes of African peoples across the globe, further misusing their resources. We deplete and over-extract resources that took billions of years to form (Oil) and use that to kill off the planet even more. We do not share vital resources necessary for LIFE. We waste them and tax them to where it is nearly impossible for most beings on this planet to [rightfully] have (i.e., Healthy, nutritious food, and clean water).
Given the clarity on how Black women and Mother Earth are exploited in similar ways, how can we practice more compassion and take care of both people who inhabit this planet and the planet itself? How can we practice more compassion and taking care of the Women who inhabit this planet and the earth itself?
Both Women and Mother Earth give life and destructions, and both energies are needed to exist. The Earth is the womb of a woman. Within the womb of a woman and across the terrestrial landscape of Mother Earth, both women and Earth provide nurturance and support for growth. For a woman bares and raises a child and Mother Earth's soil provides nutrients for everyone on Earth to eat. Both women and Mother Earth are resilient, beautiful, and both experience unbelievable exploitation, and yet, are still living on and going strong.
As such, black women are born of Earth's riches, representing varying shades of color as Mother Earth is bountiful in color. Earth has protective layers as black women have melanin that is the very color of Earth, absorbing the light and warmth of the Sun while it illuminates our skin. Mother Earth has layers within its atmosphere that help keeps our planet warm. With varying weather patterns, both black women and Mother Earth are ancient vessels, rooted and connected to divine structure and wisdom. Both women and Earth have innate and natural cycles, for women bleed out of the womb in alignment with the cycle of the moon as Mother Earth experiences changes in seasons. The more we can recognize that women and Mother Earth are inseparable, the more we can start behaving in ways that honor and respect the relationships we have with black women and Mother Earth.
Furthermore, we must discipline our egos into realizing that Mother Earth does not need us as we need her. We must accept that we need and depend on Her, for She provides us, freely, all that we could EVER need to survive and thrive. Lastly, start being conscious about the decisions you make and contemplate if those decisions help perpetuate the ecological genocide of modern life. Ask yourself if your choices are bettering and empowering your community? If not, listed below are some suggestions that we, as black women, could begin practicing within our lives to encourage healing for ourselves, our sisters, and Mother Earth.
Let us engage in more self-loving and self-care practices. Self-care must be recognized as actions that tends to our NEEDS first and foremost, for as women, we often times feel we must put everyone else's needs/wants over our own:
Ever thought about volunteering at an urban farm? Maybe caring for the animals of tropical rain forests? How about gardening and food sustainability?
Travel! As black womem, this is vital. A change in environment and scenery, away from the constant exploitation of our bodies and our peoples, provides solace and rejuvenation for our souls.
Try engaging in more health-conscious practices, like plant based life styles or veganism. It may not be for everyone, however, becoming more health conscious -- that is, maintaining awareness about what it is we are allowing into our systems and the personal and even global effects of our wellness practices, generates more self-love and love for other beings and the environment. Whether or not one decides to practice veganism, becoming more health conscious activates higher consciousness of self: Veganism are not only better health wise, but are culturally connected to the ways in which our ancestors lived. There is a stigma attaches to these practices that they are solely for white folk, but vegetarianism and veganism is tied within OUR roots, as women of color, providing nurturance for our vessels.
Even further, veganism pushes against anti-racism and activates the process of decolonization and eco-sustainability. Try engaging in more literature produced by people and black women that shows the connections between these practices and overall self and eco-sustainability.
Mother Earth is exactly that -- a mother, to all of us, for she nurtures our beings and protects the power in our melanin. Therefore, we are her daughters, which makes us sistahs of the soil, and it is in our nature, our duty, to protect and honor ourselves, one another and our gracious Mother Earth.