By Charlee Rose Murtough-Coombes
“How sad.” they say when they look at the TV. They see the islands of rubbish and the oil spills, the dying reefs and the melting ice. They hear the complaints, the stories, the worries and concerns. Yet they just change the channel and ignore it. But I feel it. I feel myself suffocate, choking on the plastics, the fish nets, the glass bottles that they throw at me. I feel my animals rot away as they swim through the toxins and the old fishing gear that wrap around their necks. I feel the heat of the water on my already burning skin that kills my precious gardens of corals.
‘They would care if the animals were like them,’ I think bitterly. ‘They would care if my animals were human.’
“How sad. ” they say after every site is blown up. They see the gaping hole in the ground, the indigenous people on their hands and knees crippled in emotional pain. They see the national park signs, the names of streets dedicated to the original owners, the history books and acknowledgements. They hear the pleas of the rightful owners, the traditions and the chants. But I feel it. I feel the tears of my indigenous people mix with the blood of their ancestors. I feel the sinking craters in my skin that was once the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people’s ancient sites that held for them many secrets, legends and history. I see the nauseating appropriation of American indigenous people’s traditional clothing on tiny bikinis and halloween costumes. Every time a slur or insult is thrown the way of the indigenous of any country my heart aches. Some days my brain gets fuzzy when I try to remember Malta’s amazing history that has been slowly erased with every invasion and with every war they were dragged into. “They would care if their land or their culture was destroyed.” I think melancholy. “They would care if their homes were taken away.”
“How sad,” they say after every natural disaster. They see the millions of hectares incinerated, the hurricanes that devastate country after country, the oceans thrown onto the land and the earthquakes that bring down cities. They donate a couple of bucks and leave it without a second thought. But I feel it.
I feel the raging fires on my fragile skin, leaving gruesome markings in their paths. I feel myself drowning in the tsunamis that destroy everything in their way. I hear the sirens too, too late. I feel myself shaking and breaking from the inside out, my stomach ripping itself apart so it can tear down the great cities that my children created. It hurts so badly. It hurts because I do it. It’s my fault and I can’t stop it. Sometimes a bomb will go off inside of me and I break, sometimes Brother Sun becomes too hot and I burst. Sometimes my plates will grind and my whole being shakes. Even still, they sadden me with their carelessness and selfishness.
‘They would care if the disasters affected all of them,’ I think sadly. ‘They would care if they weren’t so selfish.’
“How sad.” they say when they look at the TV. They see the protests and the wars, the speeches and the campaigns. The kidnappings, the terror attacks, the murders and the intolerance. They hear the cries, the articles, the pleas. They just flick the channel and ignore it. But I feel it. I feel the blood of my children in my veins, the thumping of bombs and guns that make my skin throb. The screams of the victims ring through my ears for a millennium, yet the chants to end the disgraces are silenced much too quickly. The gasses they let loose make my eyes bleed and the merciless fires singe my hair, but the shrieks when a mother buries her baby shakes me to my molten core.
‘This affects them all, yet they continue to ignore it!,’ I think furiously. ‘They would care though if the killer was unseen. They would care if the killer wasn’t human.’
“How sad.” they say from the comfort of their living room. They’re more affected this time, yet they still don’t really care about anything but themselves. They see the deaths, the suffering and the overcrowded hospitals, the shut downs, the poverty and the job losses. They hear the reports, the announcements, the restriction PSA and they pretend to understand.
But I feel it. I feel the weight of the crowded graves on my heart, the cries for help from struggling hospitals that give me a migraine lasting weeks. I can’t rest though the broken peace from the foolish protesters who claim to want the best for their communities but in reality just want to golf. Sometimes when I wake up my entire body is covered in discarded masks that were made only to keep humans safe, yet they only harm my animals and my oceans. But none of this compares the days when I am awakened by the sudden emptiness in my heart. Sometimes that emptiness is the size of 20 people, sometimes 670, more recently 9000. Some days entire villages or towns are at risk of being erased, other days other countries like my beautiful Yemen. But they still do nothing. Media outlets focus on 4 countries and chose to ignore the struggles of the other 192 countries who are going through the same struggles. Whatever happened to the United Nations?
“I don’t understand,” I think, completely exhausted. “Why don’t they care? Why won’t they cooperate? Don’t they know that I am merely earth? That they were given me to look after? Yet they destroy my body, my precious animals, my oceans, my mountains and rivers. And they destroy themselves.”
“I am Earth,” I think to myself as I finally let myself rest. “And I am tired.”
- Charlee Rose Murtough-Coombes
- 14 years old
- Claremont Meadows, Sydney, NSW
- 970 words