By Chom Greacen, Community Rights San Juan Islands
Dear Earth, Dear Salish Sea,
We love this place — your rippling sea, the lush trees covering the hills, the bounty of a summer garden. We love you like a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat.
Every part of you is precious and sacred—every shining fir needle, every beat of a cormorant’s wings, every rumble of your waves crashing ashore.
We are part of you and you are part of us. The perfumed flowers sweetening the air are our sisters. The orca, the sea urchin, the great eagle are our brothers. The rocky crests, the fiery storms, the body heat of a sea otter, the heartbeat of the human being, we all belong to the same family.
We are writing to say we are sorry, well aware how feeble “sorry” is. We have lost our way. We have forgotten that all things are connected. Forgotten our place in the whole of life. Forgotten that we did not weave the web of life, but are merely a strand in it. What befalls you, Mother Earth/Salish Sea befalls all.
We have been blinded by the shininess of money and things. We have become callous toward you. Thinking we were outside the web of life has left us isolated, exposed and in fear about our future and the future of our children and grandchildren, our beloved islands, and you the Salish Sea.
The current of privilege is strong; we enjoy its speed and power. But, more frequently now we find ourselves trapped by eddies of awakening that leave us heartbroken to see the high price you pay for our pleasures.
Our good fortune of belonging to such a place pulls harder and harder against our blindness to your needs. What will happen if our brothers, the salmon don’t return? What will happen when seals swim in an oil slick or the herons’ wings are coated with tar? How could we say goodbye to our relatives, the majestic resident orca who, after thousands of years in the Salish Sea, may no longer survive? How will our grandchildren play on sandy shorelines when they are tainted with plastics and sewage, or are submerged under a rising sea? How do we reconnect, restore balance, and regain unity and well-being? How can we care for each other?
What if we reorient our ways, starting with a more generous, more caring way of being and treating one another? Recognizing the inherent rights of the Salish Sea to thrive is a step we can take toward reimagining a gentler future and repairing the web.
By recognizing the Rights of Nature and the Salish Sea, we embody a way of seeing, being and relating that our children know intuitively and that our hearts know to be true. We strive to walk in balance and beauty, guided by the wisdom of those who have come before us and in honor of the obligations to our children and grandchildren, and to all our relatives in the Salish sea.
Because it makes our hearts soar, and our spirits sing.