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This week, April 19-22, more than 7,500 people from 100 countries are gathering in Cochabamba, Bolivia for the People’s World Conference on Climate Change. Bolivian president Evo Morales has called for the gathering, and people there are discussing everything from whether capitalism is responsible for climate to change to new scientific discoveries on protecting the environment.
There are some “hm” political overtones around the conference, but I was utterly moved by what I read in the official program about how indigenous nations are working to have their voices heard in the global Earth Day (and every day) conversation. Take it in for yourself, and contemplate the idea of living in a world where “We have always considered nature to be just as important as ourselves.”
From the program:
We, the indigenous nations, want the world to listen to us. We seek dialog and debate and want to spread our principles, codes, values, and culture, which is the Culture of Life.
We, the indigenous nations, believe that all of us living beings live on the skin of the Mother Earth. We nourish from her milk, the water. At the same time, we know that she needs us to be able to continue living in full health. We nations that live in harmony with nature have always respected the earth, water, air and fire. We care for nature in the same way that we care for ourselves. We share with her, and we never take more than we need. She is part of our life, and we are part of her.
Since the time of our parents and grandparents, we have been a people who feel and respect our potato, our cassava, our maize, our mountains, our days, and the nights with all the stars. The animals, rocks, stars, and even the dewdrops are our brothers and sisters. Since time immemorial, we have been accustomed to speaking to and respecting our waters, our sun, our moon, our winds, our cardinal points, and all the animals and plants which accompany us in our lands.
The basis for what we currently are lies in our principles. We have always considered nature to be just as important as ourselves. The water that we receive from the sky, the mountains, the forests and the lands still live in the hearts of our people. We, the indigenous people, still taste the sacred flavor of the living water.
In relation to our Mother Earth, we have learned to read the fog, the cold and the heat, the slight trembling of the earth, and the eclipses. We have learned to interpret the sound of our rivers and to talk with the wind that comes from the natural wells and subterranean rivers, in order to be able to interpret natural phenomena and plan our activities for the year.
We now realize the grave threat that climate change represents for the existence of humanity, for living beings, and for our Mother Earth. We reaffirm that our wisdom and our way of life tied to the earth is the only alternative for the world in this Global Crisis.
In Copenhagen, our President said, “we are the ones called to lead this fight to defend the Mother Earth and to make the Mother Earth be respected.” Following our principles of solidarity, justice and respect for life, we, the nature indigenous nations, are obligated to take up the challenge for uniting the world’s people to save humanity and the Mother Earth.
(image via: http://stantonssheetmusic.wordpress.com/)
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