Happy 43rd Earth Day.
Let's celebrate our Mother, our life support system, and the only habitable planet that we know of that isn't inconveniently very far away. It is our only chance for survival, unless a sterile moon base is your idea of a good time.
While working toward changing this planet for the better, we would be wise to heed the words of indigenous people, some of whom continue to live sustainable lifestyles.
Who better to judge the state of our environment than the people that have been caring for it for thousands of years? Are they saying everything is fine? Hardly.
But they do have some excellent ideas for creating better, more sustainable ways of living on and with Mother Earth.
The following is from the World's People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Nature that took place in Bolivia this time of year back in 2010.
"Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger."
"We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.
The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.
Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.
Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.
Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.
It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings.
We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship.
To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:
- harmony and balance among all and with all things;
- complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
- collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
- people in harmony with nature;
- recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
- elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;
The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support.
- peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth;
Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has been already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole.
To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth." - source
We can ensure that the Rights of Mother Earth are respected every day in a perpetual celebration and practice of the principles of sustainability and harmony.