Parenting a Planet
So here’s the thing about parenting. A certain amount of it is pretty practical: the day-to-day caregiving activities, the reiteration of basic instructions (“no, yesterday’s teethbrushing is not ‘still good’”), the bragging on accomplishments and guiding through failures and losses. But there’s also the other piece, the harder and more strategic piece. The “wake up in the middle of the night,” “cold sweat at the thought of the dangers out there,” “wanting to freeze time or roll it back” piece. Parenting is about, as best we can, reveling in the first part and coping with the second.via Pixabay

Planet parenting is no different. 

  • You’re a planet parent if you wake up at 3 am and worry about your planet. 
  • You’re a planet parent if you feel like your planet’s gifts are underappreciated by most people. 
  • You’re a planet parent if sometimes the beauty and wonder of this thing you’re caring for completely blows your mind and melts your heart. 
  • You’re a planet parent if you do all the day-to-day caregiving stuff: the recycling, the carbon offsets, the water conservation; and still worry, in the dark early morning, that it’s not enough.

Generally, we have two dominant narratives about the Earth. One is that its a giant ball of resources to be exploited, hurling through space for our pleasure and destruction. The other is that is a Mother, providing for us benevolently and generously and never asking for nurturing or support in return.

We’re trying to change the story. The first narrative is fatally arrogant. The second is potentially passive, and gives our little planet credit for more strength and resilience than it really possesses.

We need to see the planet differently. We need to see it as fragile. We need to see it as wounded, but with huge potential. We need to see it as vulnerable. Even more importantly, we need to see ourselves differently: not as dependent and needy children, not as conquerers, but as responsible and connected caregivers and nurturers. We need to see ourselves as planet parents.


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