The quote that begins Chapter 7 emphasizes that everything in the universe is “Godseed,” and that “Earthseed is all that spreads Earthlife to new earths.” In her diary, Lauren writes that she has finally found a name for her religion: Earthseed. The name comes to her as she is gardening; she thinks about the fact that seeds cannot move on their own, yet are still spread across the world, and that this is how plant species survive. She believes that one day a lot of people will be part of Earthseed, and they will have to “seed” themselves far away from Earth in order to survive.
This passage relates Earthseed to one of the most important symbols in the book: the acorn. Like acorns, seeds in general convey a sense of hope in the future. Life on Earth is characterized by death and destruction, and therefore Lauren is convinced that people must travel beyond Earth in order to embrace the possibility of growth and life.
Lauren doesn’t believe that she has invented Earthseed; rather, it is something she has developed based on observation. She has encountered a paradox in the fact that the universe exists to shape God, and God exists to shape the universe. She says this feels like “the truest thing I’ve ever written.” She has begun gathering all the notes she has made about God and Earthseed into a single book, and hopes that one day she will be able to teach other people based on these verses.
Although there are ways in which Lauren resembles a prophet of her new religion, she is careful to emphasize that—unlike prophets from existing religions—her ideas about Earthseed have not resulted from direct divine inspiration. Rather, they have arrived indirectly through Lauren’s observations about the world and God. In this sense, Earthseed can be seen as a scientific religion rooted in nature.
Lauren has packed a survival pack for herself, including almost a thousand dollars in savings, which will be enough to feed her for two weeks or less. However, she knows that the price of food keeps rising. She wishes she could pack a gun and asks her father to let her keep one in her room, but he refuses. Lauren knows that her father worries about her brothers finding it, and concludes that he might be right to worry. She asks him where they would go if they were forced out of the neighborhood, and her father says that the college where he works has temporary accommodation they could stay in. They would then have to work on finding and rebuilding a new home. Lauren asks if he would ever leave voluntarily to go north, and he says no. In her Earthseed notebook Lauren writes: “A tree cannot grow in its parents’ shadows.”
Lauren still relies on her father for resources, guidance, and support. However, the gulf between their different worldviews is growing. Lauren’s father remains deeply invested in the communities and institutions that have protected him and his family so far—namely, the gated neighborhood and college where he works. However, Lauren is convinced that these communities will not protect them for much longer, and that they must therefore prepare for change and survival in a new environment. Although she is still inexperienced, Lauren’s youth allows her to focus on the future in a way that her father cannot.
Lauren listens to a radio report about an Anglo-Japanese moon station that has found planets orbiting other stars that could possibly bear life. She pays close attention to this kind of news, as she firmly believes that there is life on other planets. She thinks it might only be possible for humans to live on these other worlds if they had no connection back to the “parent world,” Earth.
Lauren hopes that humanity will be able to move to new planets and survive, and interestingly connects this idea to a kind of “parent-child” relationship. Just as Lauren herself must break free from her father to live fully and find the truth, so these hypothetical new worlds can only thrive when severed from their “parent world” of Earth.
It is the day before her 16th birthday, and Lauren can’t wait to be older. Tracy Dunn has disappeared; ever since Amy died, she has been talking about wanting to die, and now people believe that Tracy walked outside the neighborhood wall. Lauren’s “birthday gift” to herself is a sentence of scripture: “The Destiny of Earthseed is to take root among the stars.” At the moment, this destiny seems impossible, as President Donner and other leaders are dismantling their countries’ space programs. Lauren doesn’t know when or how, but is certain that Earthseed will get to “heaven” eventually.
Lauren is surrounded by hopelessness. This is shown both by Tracy Dunn’s apparent suicide—her decision to walk beyond the neighborhood wall is understood to mean her death—and by President Donner’s dismantling of the space program. The adults around Lauren have clearly lost their belief that the world could get better. Lauren, however, is convinced not only that another way of life is possible, but also that this way of life could even be akin to a kind of “heaven.” Although it is not yet clear exactly what Lauren means by this, her belief in heaven combines religious ideas about a divine afterlife and the physical “heavens”—i.e. outer space.