Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Simple Suggestion #128... Declare your interdependence

On June 21st, my daughter's class had a sleepover out at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre. We went out for their hotdog supper. While parents were sitting and visiting around the campfire, I wandered to the edge of Bennett Lake and discovered a family of Canada geese, two parents and three babies. I must have stood there for a half hour, watching them come and go, eating tender plants off the bottom of the lake. It was a magical time, and I found myself thinking about how the geese and I depend upon this beautiful planet for our lives... and how important it is that we humans try to live in balance with nature as much as we possibly can.

Just over twenty years ago, the David Suzuki Foundation came up with the Declaration of Interdependence that I've copied below. It affirms the interdependence of all species, acknowledges the mistakes that human beings have made, and expresses the desire to live in harmony with all of creation:

We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us.
We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins.
We are the breath of the forests of the land, and the plants of the sea.
We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell.
We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes.
We share a common present, filled with uncertainty.
And we share a common future, as yet untold.
We humans are but one of thirty million species
weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world.
The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity.
Linked in that web, we are interconnected —
using, cleansing, sharing and replenishing the fundamental elements of life.
Our home, planet Earth, is finite; all life shares its resources
and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth.
For the first time, we have touched those limits.
When we compromise the air, the water, the soil and the variety of life, 
we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.
Humans have become so numerous and our tools so powerful
that we have driven fellow creatures to extinction, dammed the great rivers,
torn down ancient forests, poisoned the earth, rain and wind, and ripped holes in the sky.
Our science has brought pain as well as joy; our comfort is paid for by the suffering of millions.
We are learning from our mistakes, we are mourning our vanished kin, 
and we now build a new politics of hope.
We respect and uphold the absolute need for clean air, water and soil.
We see that economic activities that benefit the few while
shrinking the inheritance of many are wrong.
And since environmental degradation erodes biological capital forever, 
full ecological and social cost must enter all equations of development.
We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase.
So where knowledge is limited, 
we will remember all those who will walk after us,
and err on the side of caution.
All this that we know and believe must now become the foundation of the way we live.
At this turning point in our relationship with Earth,
we work for an evolution: from dominance to partnership;
from fragmentation to connection; from insecurity,
to interdependence.

Today's simple suggestion is to come up with a personal version of this... especially the resolution part. How do we resolve to live more lightly on the planet? What changes can we make in order to "remember all those who will walk after us, and err on the side of caution"?

Here's my personal version, short and sweet because I like Simplicity in words, too:

I know I am but one life form among the myriad created by God.
I believe that I am called to live gently,
so as not to break the web of life that connects all living things.
I resolve to use as few of the earth's resources as possible, 
and to leave the planet better than I found it, to the best of my ability, 
living simply so that others can simply live.

I just read my personal declaration of interdependence aloud as my pledge to the planet.

You're most welcome to join me in this exercise... Now, I think I'll go cook a vegetarian meal.
“Our present ecological crisis, the biggest single practical threat to our human existence in the middle to long term, has, religious people would say, a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God, not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our convenience.”
- Archbishop Rowan Williams
Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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