. . . near where “we” — in anthropocentric parlance — need to be. That is what more and more climate and ecological scientists, and throngs of activists (Student Climate Strike, Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, etc.) in much of the world, are saying about reducing the level of ongoing destruction of the Earth that supports our lives.
Along the way, the word “ecocide” has been used more and more to describe the unraveling of Earth’s web of life. Yeah, that’s what’s going on, according to the alarm — among the latest — sounded by a United Nations report made public on the sixth of May: one million plant and animal species on the verge of extinction. I think humanity must be one of them.
In a way, it seems crazy, except that one’s gotta what one’s gotta do, according to one’s skills and training. Crazy as in advocating for legal rights for Earth. That’s what Ecuador did, once upon a time, though what one hears from there lately in relation to the oil industry doesn’t sound like the legality has taken root.
These things take time, and indications are that time is short for doing anything on a large enough scale to make a significant difference — if such is even possible — in terms of ecological protection / restoration or climate remediation. Still, it fits with what might be termed the Aquarian Shift — a pronounced and rapid shift of awareness and behavior — represented astrologically by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (at one degree of that sign) in December 2020, followed by Pluto entering Aquarius in 2024.
One of those who has advocated most strongly for such legal rights is lawyer Polly Higgins, from the United Kingdom. She sought to expand the legal responsibility for ecological damage and destruction, in a vein similar to the International Criminal Court. In 2009 the effort she led succeeded in persuading the United Nations to draft an Universal Declaration for Planetary Rights. Then, in 2011, a mock Ecocide Act was drafted and tested in the UK Supreme Court. And this led, eventually, to the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to End Ecocide in Europe launched 22 January 2013. And that was facilitated by a provision of the Treaty of Lisbon, in European Union document, agreed to 01 December 2009.
That’s where the Aquarian Shift comes into this story: December 2009 was the time of a Jupiter – Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. The planetary / sign combination offers the potential for expansive and visionary concepts recognizing a sense of interconnectedness, including in a legal sense.
Jupiter – Neptune has a far different energy tone from, say, Saturn – Pluto, which is prominently in play currently. Jupiter – Neptune is the other major signature for this year, 2019. All the writing astrologers are writing about Saturn – Pluto, though: It’s a big deal, and it has scary overtones about it. As in prospects of extinction. And the need for a group calling itself Extinction Rebellion.
Charles Harvey, writing “Cycles in Practice” within Mundane Astrology (1984), agrees that Jupiter – Neptune “has a strongly idealistic, humanitarian and ideological quality about it.”
And so it was, back in ’09.
The next Jupiter – Neptune conjunction is set to occur in 2022 in Pisces. By referring to the key significances of planets and sign, one may safely anticipate episodes of loss and suffering on a large scale. (The previous one in Pisces was in 1856: Neptune’s cycle is that long, remaining in a given sign for fourteen years, while Jupiter spends one year in each. 1856 was the year of the John Brown-instigated Pottawatomie Massacre in Kansas, a small-scale atrocity that foreshadowed the War Between the States; the initial formation of the Republican Party; and the high-water mark of the Know-Nothing Party: the nomination of former President Millard Fillmore as its candidate for president.)
The word “ecocide” was first recorded at the Congressional Conference on War and National Responsibility in Washington DC on 20-21 February 1970. The extraordinariness of those days were marked energetically by a partial lunar eclipse (visible throughout North America) 2 Virgo at right angle to Neptune at 1 Sagittarius.
On that occasion, American-born plant biologist and bioethicist Arthur Galston — recognizing the vast destruction of Vietnam under chemical assault to defoliate the dense forests and render the Vietnamese “enemy” visible — proposed a new international agreement to ban such practices. (Remember that Vietnam was the venue for testing and deploying a new round of machines and chemical agents on a large scale, and the astrological time frame was the epochal Uranus – Pluto conjunction in the efficiency-oriented Earth sign of Virgo: the first conjunction of those planets since 1851.)
Galston was born 21 April 1920 in New York City — how fitting that his personal “solar power” would come from Earth sign Taurus. He had powerful astrological armament to be an eco-warrior: one capable of acting effectively to defend the boundaries of Earth from invasion and wasting. For one thing, his first-degree Taurus natal Sun was exactly opposite Mars, the planet associated with warriors, in the first degree of Scorpio: Mars’ nocturnal sign (Aries being the diurnal sign), through which the fierce energy could be directed in a more inward and self-mastering manner.
A visionary outlet for Galston’s warriorship and leadership is represented in the Jupiter – Neptune conjunction in early Leo: at right angle to the Sun – Mars axis. Translation: Capacity for energized, grounded idealism.
Add to that a close Saturn – Uranus opposition, signaling at some point in his life a crisis regarding whether to go along to get along, or strike out on a more individualistic path. That axis was being strongly triggered by the eclipse in 1970. Note also the political planets Saturn and Jupiter in opposition in the sky and aligning with natal Sun and Mars, respectively. It truly was his moment.
Galston had been there near the beginnings of Agent Orange in the laboratory, in the 1940s. According to Wikipedia, “Galston studied the use of 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA) to encourage the flowering of soybeans, and noted that high levels had a defoliant effect.” Reports of massive use of the chemical in Vietnam compelled him to speak out against its use as a weapon of war. “He was clear about the devastating impact of their use on the environment, and warned of the likelihood that they were harmful to animals and humans as well as plants. Galston visited Vietnam and China, viewing the environmental damage in Vietnam first-hand.”
Amazingly, in view of recent and current functioning of the U.S. government, Galston’s testimony actually led to then-President Nixon’s decision to ban the use of Agent Orange. These days, he’d more likely be overwhelmed in a Twitterpocalypse.
Now, most of the action in the US of A along this line is occurring on state and local levels, and there really is plenty going on. One recent news item was of a sweeping climate resolution by the New York City Council on 18 April that includes major reductions of building emissions — Trump-associated properties being among the prime offenders. And around that time: the UK and Irish parliaments declared official climate emergencies.
All so, so late in the game. And Nature bats last.