By: Ben Schian & Jess Michalski
When holding ourselves accountable for the actions we take we must look at all individuals involved and ensure that everyone is consenting to the action being taken. Consent is the key to any acceptable action. Consent is an affirmative yes.
Individually, consent is an interwoven part of society (and one that is increasingly more discussed and brought into the light for importance). We consent that we would like to attend college, agree to make plans and consent to interpersonal relationships. But when it comes to the environment, humanity is often not aware that every time we make a decision it is part of consenting in the name of nature. Nature does not get to consent or agree to the choices that humanity makes. As we trash the Earth, cut down trees, pollute the air and poison the water, we are never asking the question, “Is this okay?” Just like anyone else who doesn’t get consent and advances their actions, this is what we’re doing to the planet. Corporations, and governments, who make these overarching decisions for the sake of themselves, and their profit, do this to the detriment of nature, with zero regard for the effects it will have down the line.
As individual people, we agree, or consent to the ways in which society works when we affirm them. In contrast, if we oppose them, we are not consenting. To be an environmentalist in the year 2019 is to say we must do more than the cliche examples of being eco-friendly: shorter showers, car-pooling, and changed light bulbs- we must hold these higher powers to a greater standard, and until they do so, oppose their existence. Rather than listen to the propaganda put out by these corporations telling us what we “need”, we should be listening to the Earth. Although She can’t speak to us she is telling us that She does not consent to our actions, by way of severe storms and intense weather the likes of which have never been seen in recorded history. If we listen to what the Earth is telling us we can be more respecting and caring for the planet we live on. But this does not stop at the individual level.
There are many individuals who carry a deep respect for Mother Earth, yet this respect alone will not heal Her. This is because the rapidly changing climate is not an individual problem, it is a systemic problem that is greatly influenced by a few at the top, and felt by everyone else. We should not only check ourselves and each other, but we must also hold the larger entities accountable. A sense of accountability for the people in power looks like: governments and major corporations knowing that the human citizens of Earth want a major change, and that we do not consent to the way that She has been treated for the sake of profit.
We would like the air clean and free of emissions, the waterways protected and free of polluted runoff and garbage, animals given freedom within their natural ecosystems, human-people without the fear of environmental diseases from hazardous wastes that consume them, and moreover Nature to be able to prosper as She should. But until we oppose those who are making the decisions to destroy these fundamental parts of the planet, then we are consenting to Her, and our own demise.