Tuesday, December 24, 2019

NON-HUMAN RIGHTS



The wild things have gathered in council,
a council for all beings,
to confer about the state of things on the land.

Ms Mountain Goat speaks first.
Those who tromp in heavy boots
through our forest
talk about their rights: human rights,
the right to own what can never be owned,
the rights of the multinationals
to rape and pillage and pay nothing back,
the right to work, the right to hold money
as their God,
as if they are the only ones who have rights.
What about non-human rights?

The animals all nod and murmur.
Mr Bear moves to the center of the circle.
What about our rights? he asks pleasantly,
dipping his paw into a honeypot, then licking.
I have a harder time each winter
finding a quiet spot to rest.
The Mrs has a terrible time
keeping the youngsters safe
Everywhere are the big machines,
the grappleyarders, destroying our habitat,
and the metal creatures on rubber feet
that kill so many - human and non-human alike -
on the highways.

Yes! non-human rights!
how do we make them hear us?
All of the animals are animated, and chattering.

This is when the Standing People,
the Talking Trees, who have been listening,
finally speak:
Our numbers are diminishing and,
along with us, our tree wisdom,
and the ecosystems which help all to live.
The oceans are filling with their garbage.
The air is filling with their polluted smoke.
The earth is warming from
their addiction to fossil fuel.
They do not realize - though it is clear to see -
that they will choke to death, or drown,
alongside the rest of us.

The critters exchange glances.
Tall Tree has spoken truth.

Who will take this message to their leaders?
asks Rabbit.

It will be a child, for only a child has eyes
clear enough to see, replies Tree.


Ha. Methinks Greta is the one they were speaking of. A poem from 2014, as this year winds to a close and we consider the plight of our non-human companions on this planet, who are suffering in all corners of the world because of our out-of-control appetites. I fear it wont be until more humans are suffering globally (as many millions already are) - until we in the First World begin to suffer from the climate crisis - before our kind will wake up to the absolute imperative of living with the natural world as we were intended to, in the ways that worked for thousands of years until this last devastating one or two hundred.

Hoping for opened eyes and minds among world leaders in 2020 - a faint hope, at this point. But until changes are legislated, humans and corporations will not comply. We need to insist the leaders replace the dollar signs in their eyes with the goal of planetary survival.



1 comment:

Thank you so much for visiting. I appreciate it and will return your visit soon.