Interpretation of a River by the Hills by Sindhura Dutta, Issue 5, The Tiger Moth Review
We carry the river, its body of water, in our body. I do not mean to
invoke the Droste effect—this is not a picture of a river within a
picture of a river.
I mean river as a verb. A happening. It is moving within me right
—Natalie Diaz, “The First Water Is the Body”
I have never been one to celebrate Earth Day. Growing up in a working-class home, environmental justice was simply not one of the concerns at the forefront of my consciousness. Yet, looking back into my childhood, I find glimpses of environmentally-aware habits instilled into our lives, not from the love of nature or a desire to conserve the environment, but from sheer necessity. My mother in particular was frugal and instructive with the way we consumed electricity, water, and food at home, as resources saved meant money saved, a financially prudent way of surviving on a single source of income.
What did I know about Earth Day then? What relevance did Earth Day have to my life?
As an adult now, I still don’t celebrate Earth Day in any active way. Most times, I don’t even realise when it comes and goes—perhaps this might come as a surprise or shock to you, coming from the editor-in-chief of an eco-journal. The fact is that to me, the way you live your life every day, the choices that you make each day, leaves a mark on the earth in the form of a carbon footprint. This is the reality whether or not we choose to commemorate the earth on any given day (aka Earth Day). The rivers continue to flow, the trees keep us alive, the earth never shuts her eyes for one second. Nature is always in motion. She was here before us, and she will continue long after our bones turn to dust.
Nature too teaches us about symbiosis and reciprocity, how we are part of a larger ecosystem of being on earth, how we are kin with our fellow beings, human and non-human, with whom we share this One Earth. This Earth Day, I recognise that perhaps my contributions to eco-social justice is through my editorial work, in making space for diverse voices to be heard, in creating a platform for others to sing back to the earth. That is, after all, the true heart of an editor, to open herself up, and in the words of Persian poet Hafez, to become an oasis for all things.
I’m learning that solidarity can come in many shapes, and here I’m excited to share a new work-in-progress, forthcoming publication this November with Ethos Books—an ecofeminist anthology of personal essays that gathers the voices of women from diverse backgrounds. Making Kin (with its title inspired by the words of Donna Haraway) contemplates the Singapore woman writer’s place on earth from the perspective of the domestic and private to re-centre the woman in the discourse of politics, environment, ecology and nation. Locating gender in relation to other socially constructed markers of identity like race, class, culture and nation, Making Kin’s intersectional ecofeminism questions how these dialogue with pertinent environmental issues. I’m so thankful to be able to do my little bit for the earth through my editorial work, and I hope you find your own way too.
This Earth Day, I ask that you let the river move within you right now. And then ask yourself, what does she say?
Editor-in-chief & Founder
The Tiger Moth Review
(From April 3, 2021)