A Law for the Earth
30 Jun 2003
‘The real task is recovering a sense of the wonder of the universe and rediscovering inner fulfilment. Our way into the future is not through relentless industrial development but through the living forces that brought us into being and are the only forces that can sustain us in the coming centuries.’
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‘The real task is recovering a sense of the wonder of the universe andrediscovering inner fulfilment. Our way into the future is not throughrelentless industrial development but through the living forces thatbrought us into being and are the only forces that can sustain us inthe coming centuries.’
Thomas Berry © Ed Posey
Sosays Thomas Berry who was in London to support the idea of a Law forthe Earth. One of the world’s leading thinkers and writers on humanrelationships with the natural world, he says many legal and politicalsystems actually legitimise and encourage the exploitation of theEarth. We need to develop laws and political institutions thatstrengthen mutually beneficial relations between humans and the rest ofthe biosphere.
South African environmental lawyer CormacCullinan, inspired by Thomas Berry, has taken these ideas forward inhis book Wild Law and is working with other lawyers to develop legalstructures for an appropriate relationship between humanity and theEarth. He told the meeting convened by the Gaia Foundation: ‘I believethere is a strong logical argument for fundamentally changing thegovernance systems as well as the international legal and politicalorder. To halt and reverse the process of degrading the Earth, we mustcompletely revise how we govern ourselves. We must reject themisperception that we are separate from the Earth and recognise thatevery aspect of our wellbeing derives from it.’
Wangari Maathai,founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement and the new Deputy Minister forEnvironment is already working to get rights for the Earth enshrined inthe new Kenyan constitution. She told Positive News: ‘We are trying towrite the values we have cherished into the constitution so futuregenerations will know the value of embracing non-human species andgiving them a right to protection. And for the first time we want toenshrine the rights of the people to a healthy and clean environment.’
BrianSwimme, cosmologist and co-author with Thomas Berry of The UniverseStory, told a Green Spirit meeting in London: ‘We are living in acivilisation that has surrounded us by artefacts of trivia. Have wemade a fundamental mistake? Our whole civilisation has become very goodat making all these things and getting us to buy them. But when youthink that the universe is 13.7 billion years old with an infinitecreative intelligence, you begin to suspect that maybe we are here todo something more than make all these consumer purchases. We need todraw back from the way in which we have imposed ourselves on the worldso that we actually fit into the Gaian community.
‘Every second, thesun is turning four million tons of itself into light and because ofthat everything on Earth is possible. The universe organises itself sothat its deepest beauty and order can unfurl. Our challenge is to finda way to participate so our lives become a chord of the music.’
FURTHER INFORMATION : The Gaia Foundation Tel: 0207 435 5000
WEBSITE :http://www.thegaiafoundation.orgEMAIL: email@example.com
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