A Fable for our Times
There came a time when it was clear things could not go on as they had been. The people were hungry and clean water was becoming harder and harder to find.
But there were a few people, known as gold counters, who liked the way things were. They were accumulating lots and lots of gold. These gold counters could have anything they wanted: toys, vehicles, five or six homes, and trips to exotic places—maybe soon, even the moon. Every day, their stacks of gold grew. They were so busy counting their gold that they did not notice the weather.
It was changing.
Cutting down forests and drilling the Earth for her black blood had earned the gold counters lots of gold, but it had also changed the climate. In the west, fires raged. In the north, people froze. In the east there were floods. And in the south, fierce winds blew. People were hungry and losing their homes. Animals were also hungry and losing their homes. They tried to tell people this drilling and cutting just had to stop.
Whales called people with songs. Turtles came out from the sea. Trees whispered loudly, inviting people to come close, listen and learn. Birds swooped down from the clouds. Gaia spoke in myriad ways, “Wake up! Wake up! Come home to me now!”
At first, not too many people heard. Most were busy working longer and longer hours for shelter and food.
But there were some who did hear: mystics and scientists found out that plants can feel, think and speak. Whale singers and dolphin divers, bear dreamers and shamans, mothers and grandmothers, children who wanted to grow up in a world with giraffes and men who loved women all heard and began to wake up.
People started to say, “Maybe we could live in a different way.”
Friends and family asked each other, “What do we really need to be healthy and happy?”
Voices chorused in conversations all over the world, “Clean water and air. Food and shelter. Beauty, nature, music and art. Each other and the wildlife too.”
The people stopped buying things they did not need.
The gold counters were not happy. Their stacks of gold were beginning to shrink. “We have to do something!” said one man who, along with his eight friends, owned as much as half of the people on Earth combined. “We are losing money!”
So they made big advertisements and put them on radio, TV, and billboards. “Consume! Buy more! It’s a deal!”
But the people did not want their deal. With the money they’d saved by not buying things they just didn’t need, they were planting trees.
“Let’s buy the rights to all the fresh water,” said the oldest gold counter.
“We’ll profit on that,” agreed the one with the beard.
“Oh no you won’t!” said the people, and they sent the ones who knew the rule of law to speak in the courts of power so the water in holy springs, sacred wells, streams and lakes would be protected for all.
The gold counters looked down at their dwindling piles of gold. “We will start another war,” said the oldest gold counter. “That always boosts our wealth.”
“Yes,” said the one with the beard, “we’ll tell the people how afraid they should be of the other people across the sea.”
So they made big advertisements and put them on radio, TV, and billboards. “If we don’t kill them, they will kill us!” The gold counters said. “Send your sons and daughters to fight and we will give each one of them brand new boots and three meals a day.”
This time the people weren’t fooled. They’d gone outside and talked to the trees. They’d listened to birds and whales. They said, “No! We will not send our sons and daughters. Another war will not stop the fires, winds, or floods.”
“But…but…but you need our war,” spluttered the gold counters, “and you need to buy our stuff!”
The people shook their heads. They laughed. “We know what we need now,” they said. “Clean water and air. Food and shelter. Beauty, nature, music and art. Each other and the wildlife too. When you’re done counting gold, please come join us.”
The people went outside, linking their hearts full of love in a wave of light that traveled the world. They all rose up together and said, “We have only one precious planet. We need to care for the Earth.”
Earth Mother heard and she asked one of her favorite forests, “People are waking up now. Do you think they are ready for my miracles yet?”
“Yes,” said the forest, “they are planting more trees.”
Where a few trees were planted, whole forests sprang up. Birds, animals and fish came back. Woodlands changed the climate, bringing more rain. Springs and wells filled with fresh water.
Earth Mother smiled. “And now it begins.”