Suppose for a moment that you have been chosen to make a one-way journey into deep space. Because this journey will take the whole of your life, everything that you need for survival must be planned for in advance. You have been charged with the responsibility of stocking the ship with all of the essentials of life. So you set about the task of designing a system which will perpetually provide you with food, clean air and fresh water. A lot of time, thought and energy goes into this design and you are rightfully proud of the system and what it an do. After installing the system in the ship you lovingly refer to it as the "MotherShip", realizing that it will take care of you in the same way a mother takes care of her child, providing all of the essentials for life.

With your ecosystem in place, you are ready to set off on this new adventure. You arrive at the launch pad and find out that you will have company on this trip. Thinking about your systems design, you are thankful that it is capable of handling a large contingency of people.

After an exciting lift-off everyone begins to settle in and enjoy the ride. It is not long, though, before people fall into a routine. Complacency sets in. Soon you notice that people have take to throwing their trash wherever they want with little or no regard for the ship or the people on it. How long will it be before the ship is filled with refuse and debris?

A group of people has decided to start manufacturing some of the items they miss from home. They start pulling pieces out of the ship to use for this venture. They build smelters and foundries and soon the air is filled with the smell of progress. That's what they call it, but you are worried about the MotherShip and the ecosystem's ability to handle all that is being put into the air.

Next you notice that people are dumping their chemical and biological waste into the water system. Even though you designed the system with the ability to renew itself, you are aware that the system has its limits. It was never meant to deal with the high level of demand that is being placed on it now.

Every day more of the ship is stripped and gutted to take care of the people's ever-growing demands to make more goods. More chemicals are being produced and they are finding their way to the air, food and water supplies. Trash floats in the reservoirs and litter is collecting everywhere.

Going to your computer, you run a systems diagnostic check in an effort to look at future projections. What comes back to you sends chills down your spine...


* * *

..... Anyone who is bothered by the thought of what happened on this spaceship and appalled at the behavior of the people making this journey should be horrified to know that this is exactly what is happening at this very moment. Right here. Right now. This is not an event happening to someone else. This is happening to you and me ... and this is NOT a drill.

Each of earth's inhabitants has been charged with the mission of caring for and maintaining what could be called Spaceship Earth. This IS the MotherShip. We are on a one-way ride with no way off of this planet. Earth is designed to care for us and provide us with food, water, fresh air, clothing and shelter. The earth is indeed our Mother in this regard, but there are limits to this system. Our survival as a species necessitates the evolvement of our parasitical ideas and practices.

The definition of a parasite is: an organism that feeds off of its host without contributing anything to that host. The bad news is that humans fit that description. The good news is that we were created with the ability to evolve. Beginning with our awareness, we can progress from a species that merely consumes the earth to one that maintains a healthy environment through mutual reciprocity.

Our responsibility to the gift of life and to the generations that follow is to ensure a sustainable future by caring for the Mother that cares of us.

I think that many people feel that there isn't much that one person can do, so they do nothing. But can we afford to stick our heads in the sand and wait for someone else to handle the problem for us?

With the government pandering to special interest groups, don't you think it's time that earth became a special interest? It is time to hold our government and the agencies in its charge, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, accountable. It is time they do the job that they were elected to and promised to uphold.

How can you help?

* By speaking up for the Mother who cannot speak for herself.
* You can also work to become a responsible consumer. By reusing and recycling, you can lessen the burden that the Mother must endure.

But nothing beats the sound of a nation's voice clamoring in the ears of its leaders...

If you say nothing, then you must accept the path and the future that is determined for you by others. Those who are too afraid or too lazy to speak up should quietly accept the birth defects, disease, cancer, mercury poisoning, extinction of species and the continual loss of the earth's natural resources that are the consequences of this complacency.

You have one life - one shot - at this journey on the MotherShip. What will you do?

Author's Bio: 

Ralph P. Brown is a Mohawk Indian of the Akwesasne tribe. He currently resides in Nebraska, creating his art and delivering his message from Earth Lodge Studios. Ralph is a self-taught artist who uses a stipple style to create the pointillistic impressions of his cultural and spiritual ideas. He is the author of "Awakening the Eagle: A Guide to the Medicine Wheel" and "13 Virtues to a New Life: A Journey Around the Medicine Wheel". Visit his website at for additional insight, stories, lessons and visual creations related to many Indian stories. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Please contact the author at the website mentioned above for permission to reprint.