In a world where everything is living, nothing can be thrown away. Where would you throw it to?
– Clark Strand, Seeds from a Birch Tree
It is the duty of the oppressor to divide, to differentiate, to cultivate and promote false distinctions and then profit from the inevitable false conflicts these distinctions provoke.
It is the duty of the oppressed to resist.
In that spirit, I identify myself not by gender, by skin color, by class, language, or sexual orientation. I am not the sports team I root for, the city I was born in, the religion of my parents, not even the species in which I am classified. And I certainly do not identify as a consumer, an employee, a taxpayer, or an American.
In the name of holistic justice and planetary rebellion, I am an earthling.
Before there were Yankee fans or Red Sox fans, there were earthlings. Before there were terrorists or pacifists, there were earthlings. Before there were Christian or Jews, gays or straights, humans or non-humans, there were earthlings.
Long after all these distinctions—or even the life forms that inspired them—there will be earthlings.
Earthlings include the trees being clear-cut, the marine life being fished out of our oceans, the honeybees disappearing, and the animals howling for mercy in the vivisection labs. The humans shackled at Guantanamo, dying in cancer wards, cowering in fear as predator drones scream overhead? All earthlings, too.
It’s not nearly enough to rise above the latest man-made conflicts and/or differences and proudly declare oneself a “humanist.” In the name of holistic justice and planetary rebellion, we must go deeper to identify as earthlings and stand—fists raised—in solidarity with all of our fellow earthlings.
The Tom Joad character in The Grapes of Wrath said: “Maybe we’re not all individual souls, but maybe we’re all part of one big soul.” Incredibly basic, sure, but within that simplicity lies the secret: If we were to look upon all earthlings as part—along with ourselves—of one collective soul, it would become impossible to live in denial.
To do otherwise is to deny homicide, genocide, and ecocide. Some might call that suicide. They would be the earthlings.