The Celebration of Mother

The Celebration of Mother

By Sophia Harmes, PhD.*

Spring heralds the time of year celebrations are held to acknowledge the love and nurturing gifts of Mothers.  This is not only the time to celebrate our physical mothers, it is also when we recognize Mother Earth.   Mother Earth is a term used to describe nature and its life-giving qualities supporting plants, animals and humans that populate it.  In April we celebrate Earth Day to bring awareness to the motherly tendencies that the Earth provides.  In May we celebrate the woman who gave birth and love to us and continues to do so, come what may.  She is a force that nurtures us throughout our lives.  There are various kinds of physical Mothers: birth mothers or biological mothers, stepmothers, adoptive mothers and mothers-in-law.  The discussion that follows compares the sentiments of Mother’s Day with those of Earth Day.  Followed by a discussion of life’s phases for our mothers and that of the Earth.

Mothers – Mother’s Day

When we think of Mother, we think of a person who loves and nurtures us.  She provides us with food, shelter, and clothing.  A Mother provides emotional and financial support.  She cheers us on at sports games and recitals.  She is a good listener and provides encouragement and advice.  As a nurturer she is also a teacher.  From the moment of birth Mothers teach about love and family.  Throughout our lives she teaches us how to do things for ourselves, how to act in society and how to take responsibility for our actions.  These are just a few of many characteristics that describe our Mothers.

Thus, we honor our Mother because of the love and guidance she has provide to us that has contributed to making us who we have become.  We show our appreciation for her by loving and nurturing her in return.  A special day is designated in May to acknowledge Mothers, Mother’s Day.  On Mother’s Day, we shower her with cards, flowers, and/or gifts.  We may also take her out to dinner to show how grateful we are for her.   These acts are performed to show how much she is loved and cherished.   We let her know we do not take her for granted.  The purpose of this day, Mother’s Day, is to express our gratitude for her and what she does for us.  This is the mentality we should have every day for our Mothers.  Mother Earth deserves the same kind of consideration.

Mother Earth – Earth Day

When we think of Mother Earth, we may think of nature governed by a Goddess or mother who nurtures the earth.  Stemming from the Greco-Romans, some of us correlate an Earth Goddess to nature, thus the terms, Mother Earth or mother nature.  Mother Earth is nurturing.  Like a physical mother, Mother Earth provides food, shelter, clothing, energy and warmth for us.  Without her we would not be able to exist.  There is trust that our mothers will take care of us, but we take for granted how the Earth provides for us.  Mother Earth produces the soil and water that humans need to raise food crops.  Not only food crops for humans but also for their livestock and pets.  When soil fertility declines or soil is lost to development, we lose the capacity to produce the amounts of crops needed to support human and animal populations.   Thus, food sources dwindle and sustainable production of food declines.  Therefore, as soil, air and water resources become degraded, Mother Earth’s capacity to nurture us diminishes.

Mother Earth provides the resources humans use to manufacture materials for constructing shelters and other buildings.  Resources extracted or harvested for building materials include trees, soil/mud, grass, stone and sand.  As population growth increases there is an increased demand for limited or fixed resources.  Unsustainable extraction or harvesting of these resources creates environmental destruction and the loss or depletion of that resource.

Our clothing is produced from materials obtained from nature.  As natural materials could not be produced fast enough to satisfy demand, synthetic fabrics became prevalent.  The production of these man-made materials creates environmental degradation during the processing and manufacturing stages.

We rely on Mother Earth’s resources to provide warmth during the winter and cooling through the summer.  Wood, coal, oil and gas, are combustible resources we use for energy.  The extraction of these resources is unsustainable.  Transportation of these resources to processing centers, distribution centers and homes and businesses adds to the destruction of the environment.


Introduced in 1970, we celebrate Mother Earth on Earth Day.  Unlike Mother’s Day, the focus of this day is about environmental awareness.  The attention is placed on how we can preserve and protect the environment.  Many of us are becoming aware of the alternative types of energy that can be used in place of combustible resources.  For hundreds of years humans have harnessed the power of water as a source of renewable energy.  Current popular alternative forms of energy are being promoted.  They include solar and wind power.  Further adoption of these forms of energy will help reduce demand for combustible fuels and subsequently a reduction in the environmental destruction of the Earth.

Earth Day has grown into a political agenda for bringing awareness to the world and politicians that policies need to be adopted and enacted that protect the Earth.  Strategies adopted and implemented must address how to stop destructive practices and find sustainable alternatives.  Earth Day provides an opportunity for researchers to encourage the change in habits and policies that support a sustainable Earth by challenging the general public to be proactive and involved and live a sustainable lifestyle with Mother Earth.  Earth Day 2020 marks 50 years of celebrating Mother Earth. 

Celebrating Transitions of Mothers  

Our physical Mothers go through life transitions much the same way that Mother Earth travels through her seasonal changes.  As we move into the spring awakening of life, the transition can be compared to the birth of a child and the nurturing mother.  With the unfolding of Spring, Mother Earth gives birth to life – plants and animals.  This is the season seeds are planted in prepared soil, flowers bloom, trees bud, birds sing, and wild animal babies are born.  Mother Earth provides the rain fall required to nurture and facilitate the growth of plants and animals.  Just as we were dependent on our physical mother during our early stages of life, we are also dependent on mother earth during this phase of the year.  

We can equate the summer season of early adolescence with the full bloom of nature.  The period of adolescence is usually the trying years in the life of teenagers and their parents.  Mothers continue to love and nurture us through all the frustration, anger and heartache we dish out as we try to find our identity.  Mother Earth continues to nurture us through all the destruction we cause to her to satisfy human wants and desires.  During the summer months the human ecological footprint increases as vacations and daily outings become popular activities.  Unfortunately, in our haste to satisfy desires, we are affecting Mother Earth’s ability to provide for and nurture life on Earth.  

Autumn can be correlated with adult hood.  By this time our physical mothers have given us enough nurturing, support and guidance that we can become independent individuals.  We rely less on our mothers for nurturing even though the love and bond between parent and child remains.  For some of us, the older we get, there may be a realization of the destructive and wasteful activities of youth.  We begin to understand the importance of nurturing our mother earth.  At this life juncture we should embrace the importance of nurturing and loving Mother Earth.  Our unsustainable activities have rendered Mother Earth impaired in many areas around the world.  When our physical mothers grow older and less able to get around, the role of nurturer and caregiver transitions to us.  Just as we realize we need to nurture and care for our mothers at this point in her life, we also need to apply this concept to Mother Earth.  When we take care of our physical Mother, we are returning the generosity of her love, nurturing and guidance she has provided us all our lives.  Mother Earth deserves the same thought and consideration.  Changing wasteful habits to ensure that we sustainably use the resources that mother nature freely provides us is the step in the right direction for Mother Earth and all life.

The approach of the winter season signifies dormancy and death.  The winter season symbolizes the last phase of our physical mothers’ lives.  She remains the driving force in our lives.  The physical Mother still loves us and we love her.  She continues to nurture and provide guidance.  What is different is that we transition into the phase when we become the nurturer and guide providing her with our love, support and encouragement.  If not present in their lives our mothers wither away until gone.  More than likely she is the only Mother we will have.  Much is the same with Mother Earth.  As we witness during the winter season, life dies or grows dormant.  It seems mother nature is taking a rest as nothing appears to be nurtured until the awakening spring.  If we continue to use Mother Earth’s resources in an unsustainable way, we risk the destruction of our Mother Earth and ultimately us.  She will no longer be able to provide drinkable water, produce food, support cattle and other animals, or enable vegetation regrowth.  She will no longer provide shelter, clothing, energy and warmth.  The ecological balance will be beyond the tipping point and Mother Earth will no longer be reliable and able to nurture us.  She IS the only Mother Earth we have!


As we remember and celebrate our physical Mothers, let us not forget our Earthly Mother.  We take for granted the benefits we reap from mother nature that sustains us.  We rely on Mother Earth to feed us, to provide materials to build our homes and vehicles, to produce water for drinking, bathing, food sources and recreation.  Many of us have witnessed the changes in weather patterns over time.  Sea levels are rising fast as glaciers melt and disappear.  Earth is impacted by the imbalance between humans and nature.  While we have become more environmentally conscientious there is much more that needs to be done to protect and take care of our Mother Earth.  If we do not celebrate Mother Earth and show our gratitude for her by taking care of her, our physical Mothers will no longer be able to properly nurture us.

*Dr. Harmes earned her PhD. in Energy and Environmental Policy.  Her academic background includes a BA in Geography and Economics, a MA in Geography and Environmental Planning and PhD. In Energy and Environmental Policy.  Her academic focus included human and physical geography, economics and sustainable development in developing countries.  Her Dissertation research studied the Chewa community in Eastern Zambia.  The Title of her Dissertation is “Developing Household Food Insecurity through Policies Reinforcing Dependency on Cultivating with Chemical Agricultural Inputs:  A Case Study of Zambia’s Chewa” 2011.  Dr. Harmes is the mother of 5 children, 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

First appeared in Therapeutic Thymes Magazine, Spring 2020, Issue 14.  http://therapeuticthymes.com/

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