The Earth is not an object

A poem from a midterm project in my "Self and Other: Race, Culture and Psychoanalysis" class.

The Earth is not an object

I believed in the future of agriculture
I believed what they said
Farming was a lifestyle
And agriculture wasn’t the problem

Maybe it wasn’t the issue
That may have been true
But it was certainly a solution
And we needed to realize that too

Were people not paying attention?
As drought struck other countries
And rains flooded through the Midwest

The Earth is not an object

The climate isn’t changing
The science isn’t real
The crops are failing
But this climate cycle happens every 20 years

We need to feed the world they said
As if local communities couldn’t do it themselves

We need people to eat more meat they said
As if the world didn’t already consume enough

98 percent of farms are family farms they said
As if those farms weren’t controlled by agribusiness

Monocropping is the answer they said
GMOs are the answer they said
Small farms working with agribusiness
Are the answer they said

The Earth is not an object

Meanwhile
The Earth had something else to say
But we were too busy
And stuck in our ways

How could we look to the Earth like this?
For some reason, money was the answer
And we used people to get there

The Earth is not an object

An object that colonizes international food systems
Because developing markets are more important than humanity

An object that says we need migrant workers to do hard labor in the fields
But not to sit at computers in our offices or teach in our classrooms

An object that subjugates others into enslavement
Because we want the money and power agriculture can produce

An object that steals land from the “other’s” families
And sends them to internment camps of desolation

An object that constructs a Thanksgiving for colonizers
So turkey farmers can thrive at the expense of First Nations

An object that builds luxurious condo towers to the heavens
Because progressive institutions are more important than gentrification

The Earth is not an object

An object of capitalism and oppression
That’s what they were really trying to tell me

An object for rich, white people in power
That’s what they were saying

An object of extraction at the disposal of humanity

Who are we kidding?

The Earth has always been constructed as an object

At least for certain groups of people

And its people were extracted as objects too
At least for the people in power

How else could all of this happen?

Because if people in power understood
People are people
And people are subjects
Not the other
And a part of the cosmos

Would the Earth still be an object?

Some of us already know this
And many of our ancestors did too
And yet the question remains

Is the Earth supposed to be an object?

If the Earth is me,
I am the Earth

If the Earth is you,
You are the Earth

If the Earth is us,
We are all the Earth

Then the Earth must be a subject
And the subject is all of us

The Earth is not an object

...and neither are we.