This is no ordinary Earth Day to celebrate. We are now both in a climate and health crisis. Each crisis threatens humanity’s existence.
WE are being asked to STAY. In the context of the health pandemic, we are being asked to limit movements and manage social distancing and STAY home. In the context of a climate crisis, we are being asked to be with our mother earth and to make it STAY.
As we are being asked to STAY, we are called to be still and reflect on what we have been doing to nature and how and why have reached this almost point of no return, where we, the human species are being threatened.
Planet Earth is a huge living organism composed of different lifeforms. It is alive. It is breathing. We humans are part of it. We are connected to other beings in this whole living system. Staying with planet Earth means we need to be with them – wildlife, rainforest, mountains, rivers, oceans and seas and animal’s habitat, with awe and reverence. To experience and understand their life dynamics. To ensure that we all STAY in good health and shape. To meld and blend with our surroundings of green, blue, brown and with all the wonderful colors in it and away from human activities that brings them destruction.
We are being called to PROTECT it. We are kin and stewards of our planet. Yet, we have failed nourish and nurture them. We brought them to a state where they are forced to take away our precious human lives through many natural disasters. We push them to deny us enough food, plenty of water or clean air, when we wantonly clear the forest, paved our mountains, or pollute our rivers and marine ecosystem in the name of profit and development. We forced them to give us deadly diseases when we tinker with the animals and wild. We cannot sit idly by and let the future generation suffer the consequences of our reckless and selfish actions.
We admonish all to WORK hard to change our ways. We cannot go back what is “normal” or what we use to do. What is normal is unsustainable. We cannot go on wantonly using earth’s natural resources like it will not suck dry. We cannot continue massively producing technology and machines from extracted minerals. We cannot push for human development without considering other sentient beings.
We, from the Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), a network of civil society organizations is pushing for a Paradigm Shift, in the way we relate and behave towards nature.
We are called to uphold an integrative sense of justice, “to hear the cry of the poor and the cry of mother earth. To have an awareness of our common home, of our mutual belonging and a future to be shared by everyone.”
We aim for a fundamental shift in economic and social governance structures, a new legal framework recognizing the Rights of Nature and a change in our personal habits and way of living. The shift requires a recovery of the lost paradigm believed and practiced by our indigenous brothers and sisters and our ancient religions.
Only when we can truly STAY with nature, PROTECT it unselfishly and WORK tirelessly towards a more harmonious, connected, inter-dependent life with other beings, will the celebration of an Earth Day become more meaningful.