Hey, Mother Nature is talking to you
It is Mother Nature. Remember me? It was I who carried you and protected you for nine months in a human balloon of love you know as mother. I took care of you with tremendous pleasure, I fed you at any hour of the day, I made sure you were comfortable and I ushered you into this world, with a 24-hour room service. Once you were born, I offered you the fruits of my nourishing Earth, the quenching of my fresh water and the beauty and richness of a planet and its magical life that sustains you and fills your heart. Today, you are reading my words because I want to remind you of that bond we have; the story of nature, life and humanity.
You have heard from me before. Maybe you remember in 2006, when I warned of the dramatic consequences of climate change and depletion of resources in “Mother Nature’s last call?” Or perhaps you remember the detailed and terrifying inventory I drew in 2010 of overpopulation, food and water security and climate change in “Unsustainable human strain on our planet?” I spoke to you of overfishing and the poor in the “Old sea and the men,” and I repeated my urgent call to you in 2017 in “Mother Nature is calling you,” telling you, my children, that it was time for you to rein in your greed in overexploiting the resources I had so generously offered you, making the rest of the planet suffer for it. Clearly, I was not heard.
I certainly heard you talking about me in Glasgow in recent weeks. It is always heartening to see that some people are paying attention and trying to do the right thing, but I fear that you have only made your situation and mine worse through these talks, which did not lead to any significant decisions in line with the urgency of the breakdown you face. Perhaps your delegates at these conferences should just get outside to smell the air, check the water and witness the ecosystems that you are destroying. It is not only yourselves, but every other form of life on the planet that you are endangering. As Mother Nature, I will eventually recover, but you and all the rest of my children you are holding hostage on this planet may not.
I will spare you the litany of numbers and statistics detailing the destruction humans have caused to this planet. Too often, I see you glance at them and then act as if they existed only in an alternate universe. But look at the havoc being wreaked by humans and climate change already: Your planet’s beautiful ice caps melting away, once-rich seas turning into gray emptiness, an absence of fresh water and arable land to sustain all my children, and a daily loss of dozens of species from the beautiful diversity of this planet. By reducing natural habitats, you have multiplied the circulation of deadly viruses between animals and all the way into humans.
It is not only yourselves, but every other form of life on the planet that you are endangering.
Hassan bin Youssef Yassin
By ignoring the noxious gases your industrial societies are emitting, you have also brought extreme flooding, terrifying fires, heat waves and hurricanes upon yourselves. When are you going to react and make this stop? Only when you have eliminated all life, including yourselves, from this planet?
As delegates from Glasgow returned home essentially empty-handed, I was amazed to see how quickly you tried to create even more trouble for yourselves. Here a country thumping its chest about a new supersonic missile, there another massing its troops on the borders of a neighbor, and elsewhere a new alliance setting the superpowers and their allies against one another on a war footing. There is a general feeling of impending doom and a return to the days of hot war and Cold War. Are you as blind to war and aggression between humans as you are to the environment and the plight of other species? Wake up, boys; for my girls, who have given life, understand far better the strength of caring and the pain of losing. A mother’s tears never stop flowing after a loss.
I, with the power of Allah, gave you life on this planet, with its great beauty and richness, because I care for you. But I am exhausted, I am drained, I am depleted after what you have done to me and your planet. I still harbor hopes of humankind changing; I have seen you reach such great heights of generosity, feeling and creativity. There is so much good and so much beauty on this planet and within humans themselves. It would be devastating to see it all go to waste. I want you to come together and fight for this, to fight for your Mother Nature, who gave your life. I am talking to you today because I need every one of you to meet that challenge together. Each one of you must be participants in saving humanity and your planet, for there is nothing more worthy of fighting for than your mother.
— Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked closely with Saudi petroleum ministers Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani from 1959 to 1967. He headed the Saudi Information Ofﬁce in Washington from 1972 to 1981, and served with the Arab League observer delegation to the UN from 1981 to 1983.