“The pen is mightier than the sword.” - Edward Bulwer-Lytton
The first time I heard it I was like, “Oh daumm, so true!”
Words have the power to heal, incite wars, make people fall in love. And, most unfortunately, to exert power and enforce the dominance of few while suppressing many.
Language that uses phrases like “it” or “thing” or “resource” when it comes to the natural world, automatically strips the title of “being” away from the plants, animals, water, etc.
Because viewing these intelligences as “beings” would require that they have rights. And when beings have rights, they can’t be exploited.
One way we can support our home is to shift the language we choose when referring to the natural world. Over time, those shifts will take root in others’ minds and get passed on like seeds, eventually replanting our entire culture.
Language has the ability to lift up and equalize power again--helping all to see that the planet and all her beings are alive and worthy of respect. Not for what they can give us, but by simply being.
Start to do this by using names, either generally accepted ones like sugar maple or a personal name like Grandmother Maple. Use pronouns like she, him, they, or kin instead of “it.”
Notice as you do, these “things” you share your life with become family members. Family members worthy of love and protection.
It is our gift as humans to speak for the land because the land has no tongue; let us use this gift! (Yes, I stole this from Dr. Seuss, The Lorax)