It’s always been difficult for me to understand why people don’t have the same sense of urgency to help and protect the environment as I do. At my core, I have always believed that we have a duty to the earth and that we have to protect her for future generations. Maybe my connection to the earth stems from my Mohawk culture and growing up with the knowledge that we are all stewards of mother earth. That we all have a duty to protect her because she provides for us and gives all of us life. She provides all things: food, water, shelter, medicines. To me, that fact alone is enough for me to do anything in my power to protect her. Since I can remember it has been instilled in me that all water is sacred. All land is sacred. All air is sacred. I was told that water is life and that we actively have to choose to protect it. Keyword here is “choose”. It is our choice to protect her.

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that some people do not care and will not choose to protect her. I have had to learn that some people are entirely caught up in a materialistic society that’s only goal is to attain more wealth and more “stuff”. “Stuff” that is used to fill a void in our life or perhaps show others that we are of value because we have attained it. I won’t be a hypocrite and so I will admit that I too get caught up in this way of life. It is hard not to when social media runs the world and we are force fed this idea that in order for us to matter and be happy we must make a certain amount of money and live extravagantly. However, I’d like to believe that my ancestors bring me out of this mindset whenever I am out in nature. Sometimes I feel like I can hear them whispering to me as the wind whips by me or sometimes I can feel them as rain falls and gently wets my face. I feel like they are guiding me back to what it means to be human and the responsibility we have to mother earth. These short and fleeting moments fill me with hope and optimism for the future.

For me, it has always been a simple choice. Do your part to protect the earth and all she provides, for future generations, as one day we won’t be here and they will likely have to live with the consequences we have created. The problems that plague our earth are plentiful, ranging from pipeline oil and gas issues to increasing carbon emissions worldwide. It sometimes seems impossible to face them all. However, on Turtle Island (North America), there has recently been a larger push against these issues as more and more people are joining air, land and water protectors to end the problems poisoning our earth. Facing these issues doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. It is clear to me that our earth is still suffering and she still needs all of our help. My hope is that people will learn to and actively support all protectors of Turtle Island and all of Mother Earth so that she will continue to provide for us and for all to come.


Hannah Tosello is a guest contributor to MUSE. Want to submit? Click here.

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