I am a firm believer that the way women of color are treated within society is a reflection of the way we treat our precious home, the earth. This observation makes it important that we formulate a clear image on how women are treated within society then compare to the treatment of Mother Earth.The very ideology of women being viewed as just bodies, therefore, being exploited in countless of 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, Women of color are exploited, abused and oppressed. We receive the 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 the similar way that society tends to treats the Earth. The Earth, like women and their bodies, is traded, tormented and killed off for food, reproductive purposes, and sport; we tear apart and destroy the land through deforestation for animal agriculture, and quite ironically, it is the leading cause of species extinction, oceanic dead zones, water pollution, habitat destruction, and overall climate change/global warming. Habitat and land destruction exploits the homes of indigenous 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; and we do not share vital resources that are necessary for LIFE and we waste them and tax them to where it is nearly impossible for the majority of beings on this planet to [rightfully] have (i.e. Healthy, nutritious food and clean water).
Given the clarity on how 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 ways of being compassionate and of taking care of not just the people who inhabit this planet but the planet itself?
Both Women and Mother Earth give life, give birth to creation. Both women and Earth provide space, home, and shelter. 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, strong, and both experience unbelieveable exploitation, and yet, are still living on and going strong.
The earth offers beautiful diversity. As such, black women are born of Earth's riches, representing varying shades of color as Mother Earth is bountiful in color. Earth have 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, and Mother Earth has layers within her atmosphere that helps keep our planet warm and with varying weather pattern both black women and Mother Earth are ancient vessels, rooted and connected to divine structure and wisdom; and 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 are able to 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 women and Mother Earth.
Furthermore, we must discipline our own 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 are either helping to perpetuate the ecological genocide of modern life. Ask yourself if your decisions are bettering and empowering your community? If not, listed below are some suggestions that we, as women of color, 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 women of color, 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 women of color that shows the connections between these practices and overall self and eco-sustainability (i.e. "Sistah Vegan" by A. Breeze Harper; " Sacred Woman: A guide to Healing the Feminine Mind, Body and Spirit" by Queen Afua; "The Inspired Vegan" by Bryant Terry; etc.)
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.
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