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W E L C O M E

R E V E R E N T I A L E C O L O G Y

F ROM T IM E TO T IM E people o f v is io n p u t th e i r heads to g e th e r and p ro d u c e a declar a t io n w h ic h becomes “ h is t o r ic ” . F o r e x am p le th e U N ’ s U n iv e r s a l D e c la ra t io n on H u m a n R ig h ts and T h e Am e r ic a n D ecla ra t io n o f In d e p e n d e n c e have such h is t o r ic re sonance. B u t these p ro c la m a t io n s o n ly em b o d ie d the co n ce rn s o f t h e i r t im e . T h e y a d dressed a l im i te d a s p ira t io n and met th e challenge o f establishing h um a n r ig h ts . T h e y le f t o u t the r ig h ts o f an im a ls , fo re s ts , r iv e rs a n d a l l o th e r fo rm s o f n o n -h um a n life .

Now, th a t m iss in g d im e n s io n has been rc o g n iz e d . A n in te r n a t io n a l g ro u p o f e n v iro nm e n ta l , social and s p i r i tu a l activists has come to g e th e r a n d d r a f te d th e E a r th C h a r te r w h ic h , in m y view, w i l l become a h is to r ic d o cum e n t . T h is “ d r a f t ” C h a r te r is w o r k in p ro g re ss . I u rg e re a d e rs to e x am in e i t c a re fu l ly . I f you have any th o u g h ts o r suggest io ns f o r im p r o v in g i t , th e n please w r i te to the d ra f t in g com m itte e .

T h is E a r th C h a r te r n o t o n ly re c ognizes the r ig h ts o f n a tu re , b u t im p lie s a re v e re n t ia l a t t i tu d e tow a rds n a tu re w h ic h is a s ig n if ic a n t step in th e r i g h t d i r e c t io n . T h e phrase “ Reverence f o r l i f e ” was co in e d by A lb e r t Schweitzer w h ile w o r k in g in A fr ic a as a doctor. H e saw th a t t r a d i t io n a l t r ib a l cu ltu re s had a deep em p a th y a n d re spect f o r th e n a tu r a l w o r ld .

I n th e W e s te rn w o r ld th e re is m u c h ta lk about th e “ E n v ir o n m e n t ” . People are w o r r ie d about th e consequences o f g lo b a l w a rm in g , ozone d e p le t io n , l im i t e d ra w m a te r ia ls , p o p u la t io n e x p lo s io n a n d m u ch m o re . H owever, a l l th is w o r r y stems f r o m the fe a r th a t th e re may n o t be e n o u g h in the w o r ld fo r u n l im i te d p ro d u c t io n and c o n s um p t io n to f u l f i l h um a n desires. M u c h o f th e e n v iro nm e n ta l m o vem e n t operates f r o m th is fear. T h is e n v i ro nm e n ta l is m is based on a u t i l i t a r ia n pe rs p e c t iv e . People w is h to conserve n a tu re because i t is u se fu l to th em .

B u t , in th e c o n te x t o f A lb e r t Schweitzer’s view, we need to th in k holistica lly . We need to realize th a t h um a n beings are p a r t o f th e web o f l i f e a n d a l l l i fe , h u m a n a n d n o n

SATISH K U M A R U t i l i t a r i a n e c o l o g y is f in e as fa r as i t g o e s b u t i t d o e s n ’t g o fa r e n o u g h .

Fungi on Mount Anne, Tasmania PHOTOGRAPH: PETER DOMBROVSKIS

h um a n , has in t r in s ic value. We need to develop a sense o f re ve rence fo r the n a tu ra l w o r ld , irre s p e c t iv e o f its u sefu ln ess to h u m a n b e in g s . We need to move f r o m “ u t i l i t a r ia n ” ecolo g y to “ re v e r e n t ia l ” ecology. Even scien tific ecology as advocated by E. O. W i ls on , w i th o u t reverence, is n o t enough.

THIS R EVERENTIAL w o r ld - v ie w in fo rm s the a r t a n d c u l tu re o f Aust r a l i a ’ s a b o r ig in a l p e o p le . I n f l u enced b y th a t t r a d i t io n , A u s t ra l ia n e n v iro nm e n ta l is ts have a h o l is t ic a p p ro a c h to th e e n v i r o n m e n t . J u n e a n d I have w r i t t e n an A u s t r a l ia n d ia r y to h i g h l i g h t th a t a p p ro a c h w h ic h we e n coun te re d in o u r re cen t v is it.

V ic to r ia K in g and M a t th ew S tu r gis focus on th e a rts o f a b o r ig in a l people and th e i r ancient t r a d i t io n o f e x p re s s in g a p r o f o u n d sense o f u n i t y w i t h th e c re a t io n t h r o u g h co lo u r, music, dance and cerem ony.

T h e A u s t ra l ia n geo lo g is t, James C am e ro n , re la tes h is s to ry o f tra n s f o rm a t io n f r o m “ u s in g ” to “ re v e r in g ” na tu re .

N o r th Am e r ic a n In d ia n s also had a g re a t u n d e r s t a n d in g o f b e in g at one w i th n a tu re a n d seeing n a tu re as sacred. B u t , m o d e r n c o rp o ra te Am e r ic a has made its p ro je c t o f conq u e r in g n a tu re a n d estab lis h in g econ om ic im p e r ia l is m o v e r the n a tu ra l w o r ld in to an obsession. T h e in t e r n a t io n a l c o n g lo m e ra te , M o n s a n to , re p re s e n ts th e g lo b a l d r iv e to p u t p r o f i t above sustainability. T h e a r t i cle by J e n n i f e r K a h n exposes th is m a n ip u la t iv e m in dset.

BUT THERE IS ANO TH ER Am e ric a , an a l te r n a t iv e A m e r ic a . T h om a s B e r r y belongs to th a t Am e ric a . Now in his e ig h tie s , B e r r y has been develo p in g ideas o f the sacred a ll his life . H e c o n c lu des th a t th e u n iv e rs e is no t a co l le c t io n o f objects, r a th e r i t is a c o m m u n i t y o f subjects. D a v id R o th e n b e rg is also a w o r th y m em be r o f th a t “ o th e r A m e r ic a ” . H is lo n g in g f o r th e r e t u r n o f th e s u b l im e is a t im e ly re m in d e r o f th e e te rn a l beauty o f th e E a r th .

M o v in g f r o m th e sublim e to the r id ic u lo u s , we see th e way the m o d e rn w o r ld is caught u p in an absurd a n d u n q u e s t io n in g v e n e ra t io n o f te chnology. N e i l Postman p o in ts o u t th a t the p rom ise s o f te chnology are f r e q u e n t ly u n f u l f i l l e d . Postm an is n o t against te chnology. B u t he re fu s es to bow d o w n to th e b e l ie f th a t te c h n o lo g y can f i x a l l p ro b le m s . H e re he p u ts fo rw a r d six searching and p e r t in e n t questions to p u t te ch n o lo g y in its place.

WE TRY TO m a ke each issue o f Resurqence as b ro a d as possible. T h is issue is no e xcep t io n . We deal w i th fo o d (J u d y G a h a g a n ) , w i t h m ed ia (D u n c a n S m i th ) , w i t h w ild e rn e s s (Jay G r i f f i t h s ) a n d w i t h c itie s (Jay Walljasper). T h e n Sophie Poklewski K o z ie l l pays t r ib u te to tw o in s p ir in g w om e n o f th e o rg a n ic m o v em e n t , Rachel C a rson a n d L a d y Eve B a lfo u r , a n d F re d M a ts e r in te rv ie w s T h o r H e ye rd a h a l.

We have e n jo y e d p u t t in g th is issue to g e th e r a n d we h o p e you en jo y re a d in g it. •

6 Resurgence No. 195 July/August 1999 E A R T H C H A R T E R

P r e a m b l e

N O U R DIVERSE YET in c re a s in g ly in te r d e p e n d e n t w o r ld , i t is im p e ra t iv e th a t we, th e p e o p le o f E a r th , d e c la re o u r re s p o n s ib i l ity to one another, to th e g re a te r c om m u n i ty o f l ife , and to f u t u r e generations. We are one h um a n fam ily and one E a r th com m u n i ty w i th a c om m o n destiny.

H u m a n i t y is p a r t o f a vast e vo lv in g u n iv e rs e . E a r th , o u r h om e , is a l iv e w i t h a u n iq u e c o m m u n i t y o f l ife . T h e w e l l-b e in g o f peop le and th e b io s p h e re d e pends u p o n p r e s e rv in g clean a ir, p u re waters, fe r t i le soils, a n d a r ic h va r ie ty o f p la n ts , a n im a ls a n d ecosystems. T h e g lo b a l e n v i ro n m e n t w i th its f in i te resources is a p r im a r y c om m o n concern o f a ll h um a n i ty . T h e p ro te c t io n o f E a r th ’s v i ta l ity , d iv e rs ity and beauty is a sac re d tru s t.

T h e E a r th c o m m u n i ty stands a t a d e f in in g m om en t. W i th science and te ch n o lo g y have come g re a t benefits and also g re a t h a rm . T h e d om in a n t p a t te rn s o f p r o d u c t io n and c o n s u m p t io n a re a l te r in g c l im a te , d e g ra d in g the e n v i ro nm e n t , d e p le t in g resources and causing a massive e x t in c t io n o f species. A d ra m a t ic rise in p o p u la t io n has increased th e p re s sures on ecological systems and has o v e rb u rd e n e d social systems. In ju s tice, poverty, ig no ra n ce , c o r r u p t io n , c r im e and v io le nce, and a rm ed conf l i c t d e e p e n th e w o r ld ’ s s u f fe r in g . F u n d a m e n ta l changes in o u r a t t i tudes, values and ways o f l iv in g are necessary.

T h e cho ic e is o u rs : to care f o r E a r th and one a n o th e r o r to p a r t ic i pate in th e d e s tru c t io n o f ourselves and th e d iv e rs ity o f life .

As a g lo bal c iv i l iz a t io n comes in to b e in g , we can choose to b u i ld a t r u ly d em o c ra t ic w o r ld , securing the ru le o f law and the h um a n r ig h ts o f a ll w om en , m en and c h i ld re n . We can respect the in te g r i ty o f d i f fe r e n t c u l tu re s . We can tr e a t E a r th w i th r e spect, re je c t in g the idea th a t n a tu re is m e re ly a co l le c t io n o f resources to be used. We can realize th a t o u r soc ia l, e conom ic , e n v i ro n m e n ta l and s p i r i tu a l p ro b lem s are in te rc o n n e c ted a n d co-operate in d e v e lo p in g in

I t is t im e t o u p d a t e t h e U N c h a r t e r o n H u m a n

R i g h t s t o e n s u r e t h e w e l l - b e i n g o f all life.

B E N C H M A R K D R A F T I I ,

A P R I L 1 9 9 9

PHOTOGRAPH: NASA

te g ra te d strategies to address th em . We can resolve to balance and h a r m onize in d iv id u a l in te re s ts w i th the c om m o n g o o d , f r e e d o m w i t h r e s p o n s ib i l it y , d iv e r s i t y w i t h u n i ty , s h o r t - te rm objectives w i th lo n g - te rm goals, e c o n om ic p ro g re s s w i th th e f lo u r is h in g o f ecological systems.

To f u l f i l these a s p i ra t io n s , we m u s t recognize th a t h um a n deve lo p m e n t is n o t ju s t about h a v in g m o re , b u t also a b o u t b e in g m o re . T h e challenges h um a n i ty faces can o n ly be m e t i f people e ve ryw he re a cquire an awareness o f g lo bal in te rd e p e n dence, id e n t i fy them selves w i th the la rg e r w o r ld , and decide to l iv e w ith a sense o f u n iv e rs a l re s p o n s ib i l ity . T h e s p i r i t o f h um a n s o l id a r i ty and k in s h ip w i th a ll life w i l l be s tr e n g th ened i f we l iv e w i t h re ve re n ce fo r th e sources o f o u r be in g , g ra t itu d e f o r the g i f t o f life , and h u m i l i t y re g a r d in g th e h u m a n p la ce in th e la rg e r scheme o f th in gs.

H a v in g re f le c te d on these conside ra t io n s , we re c o g n iz e th e u r g e n t need f o r a shared v is io n o f basic va lues th a t w i l l p ro v id e an e th ica l f o u n d a t io n f o r th e e m e r g in g w o r ld c o m m u n i t y . We, th e r e fo r e , a f f i rm th e fo l lo w in g p r in c ip le s f o r sustainable d e v e lo pm e n t. We c om m it o u r selves as in d iv id u a ls , o rg an iz a tio n s , business e n te rp r is e s , c om m u n i t ie s and na tio ns to im p le m e n t these i n te r re la te d p r in c ip le s and to create a g lo b a l p a r t n e r s h ip in s u p p o r t o f th e i r fu l f i lm e n t .

T o g e th e r in hope, we p le dge to :

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES 1. R e s p e c t E a r t h a n d a l l l i f e ,

re c o g n iz in g th e in te rd e p e n d e n ce and in t r in s ic va lu e o f a l l beings; a f f i rm in g respect fo r the in h e re n t d ig n i t y o f every person and fa i th in th e in te l le c t u a l , e th ic a l and s p i r i tu a l p o te n t ia l o f hum a n ity . 2 . C a r e f o r t h e c o m m u n i t y o f l i f e i n a l l i t s d i v e r s i t y ,

a c c e p t in g th a t re s p o n s ib i l i ty fo r E a r th is shared by everyone; a f f i r m i n g th a t th is c om m o n r e sp o n s ib i l ity takes d i f fe r e n t fo rm s f o r d i f fe r e n t in d iv id u a ls , g ro u p s and nations, d e p e n d in g on th e i r c o n t r ib u t io n to e x is t in g p rob lem s and the resources at hand. 3 . S t r i v e t o b u i l d f r e e , j u s t , p a r t i c i p a t o r y , s u s t a i n a b l e a n d p e a c e f u l s o c i e t i e s ,

a f f i r m i n g th a t w i t h f re e d om , know le d g e and p ow e r go re spons ib i l i t y a n d th e need f o r m o r a l se lf-re s tra in t; r e c o g n iz in g th a t a decent s ta n d a r d o f l i v i n g f o r a l l a n d th e q u a l ity o f re la tio n s am o n g people a n d w i t h n a tu r e a re th e t r u e measure o f progress. 4 . S e c u r e E a r t h ’s a b u n d a n c e a n d b e a u t y f o r p r e s e n t a n d f u t u r e g e n e r a t i o n s ,

a c c e p t in g th e c h a l le n g e b e fo re each g e n e ra t io n to conserve, im p ro ve and e x p a n d its n a tu ra l and

Resurgence No. 195 July/August 1999 7