Speech for Peace on Earth, Peace with Earth Day: -Be the Change!, a celebration of the 101st anniversary of Gandhi’s first public demonstration of non-violent, non-cooperation in
South Africa. I was asked to describe a vision of a Greener world. And VISION is the key!
Daniel Quinn, in his novel The Story of B, writes “If the world is to be saved, it will be saved by people with changed minds, people with a new vision. It will not be changed by people with old minds and new programs.” Folks, tinkering & technology alone will not preserve this beautiful Earth nor save the human community from cultural suicide! Each one of us must start to dream up a greener world - it is a marvelous task and one that will provide all of us years of joyful community life.
Of course this dream includes an earth free of runaway global heating, a world where there is no air or water pollution, and our children are able to play in and even drink the waters of our rivers and streams. A world in which the topsoil is accumulating instead of washing out to sea, - where the forests are maturing and not being clear-cut, - a world in which the coral reefs are not dying but teaming with life. And a greener world would be one in which all violence of human against human, both in the form of war and economic exploitation, have disappeared as the norm in human culture. A world in which all humans would have a right to meaningful work, and in which their needs for food, shelter, healthcare, recreation, and spiritual fulfillment would be considered basic rights and guaranteed by the community.
Yes – a greener world would be one in which life – human and other than human – would be valued for itself, in which all beings would have a right to life, habitat, and the fulfillment of their biological nature and destiny without mistreatment BY humans FOR human use alone. The time has long passed when humanity can just settle for being a benign presence on the Earth, when we think in terms of dominion or stewardhip. Our spiritual and practical task is, in the words of Thomas Berry’s, to transform our evolutionary destiny into one that is mutually enhancing to all life on Earth.
Well, - what would such a world look like, or better yet, - feel like – when each of us lived so that our actions would actually enhance the life of all of our fellow creatures. Fundamentally, we would need to undergo a change of heart, a transformation of consciousness, in which each of us re-imagined our life’s work in terms of service to the common good. Our economy would evolve into a right and truthful service economy. Maybe Dylan’s You Gotta Serve Somebody would become a world anthem.
The possibilities for unleashing our creative and moral imaginations are unlimited when we begin to envision of serving the greater good. And of course, in very practical terms, this will demand much real and hard work - wetlands, prairies, rivers, degraded farmlands, deserts would need to be restored, - degraded urban and inner city slums and industrial areas would need to be revitalized, - superfund sites would need to be cleaned up and be re-established as productive parts of healthy ecosystems. And very importantly, children would need to be educated not to become cogs in a global consumerist culture, but so that they could discover their gifts and talents and be able to express them in service to the common welfare. Imagine each one of us living our lives in gratitude for the beauty of the Earth - and in celebration of the awe, wonder, and diversity life. What a joyful world this would be!
When each of us dreams a destiny as the change we want to be, we will create a greener world where peace with earth will become peace on earth. Blessings and thanks for showing up!