It’s Independence Day here in the United States. My thoughts, though, given the ongoing climate crisis, are not on independence but on the need for interdependence.
And so I share today the following Declaration of Interdependence written by the David Suzuki Foundation for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Parts of this declaration were woven into the work of others to form the Earth Charter.
THIS WE KNOW
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.
THIS WE BELIEVE
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.
THIS WE RESOLVE
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.
Related Off-site Links:
On July 4, We Need to Prioritize Interdependence. Our Future Depends on It – Jade Begay (Yes!, July 4, 2021).
Beyond Fireworks: Celebrating Our Interdependence – Gregg Krech (Spirituality and Practice).
This Fourth of July, It’s Worth Pondering the True Meaning of Patriotism – Robert Reich (The Guardian, July 4, 2022).
How to Find Happiness in An Interconnected World – Sandra Pawula (Always Well Within, February 15, 2022).
Choosing Interdependence – Miki Kashtan (The Fearless Heart, July 4, 2012).
Supreme Court Limits EPA’s Power to Combat Climate Change – Robert Barnes and Dino Grandoni (The Washington Post, June 30, 2022).
The U.S. Supreme Court Has Declared War on the Earth’s Future – Kate Aronoff (The Guardian, July 1, 2022).
Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After “Disastrous” Climate Ruling by Supreme Court – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, June 30, 2022).
Joanna Macy on Loving the Earth and Cultivating Hope – Tricycle (May 2, 2022).
UPDATES: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Anti-Climate Decision in West Virginia v. EPA Impacts All of Us – Caitlin MacLaren (Common Dreams, July 6, 2022).
“Betrayal!” Uproar After EU Backs Industry Push to Label Gas and Nuclear “Green” – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, July 6, 2022).
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon Hits Record for First Half of 2022 – Jake Spring and Bruno Kelly (Reuters, July 8, 2022).
Biodiversity Destruction Imperils Natural Species Crucial to Humanity’s Survival – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, July 8, 2022).
Major Arctic Drilling Project Seen as Ultimate Test for Biden’s Climate Legacy – Jon Queally (Common Dreams, July 9, 2022).
“Europe Is Cooking”: Records Smashed as Historic Heat Alert Issued – Jessica Corbett (Common Dreams, July 15, 2022).
See also the related Wild Reed posts:
• Prayer of the Week – November 14, 2012
• Words of Wisdom on Indigenous Peoples Day
• All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer
• Biophilia, the God Pan, and a Baboon Named Scott
• Thomas Moore on the Circling of Nature as the Best Way to Find Our Substance
• Examining the Link Between Destruction of Biodiversity and Emerging Infectious Diseases
• Something to Think About – February 10, 2020
For previous 4th of July posts at The Wild Reed, see:
• Sweet America
• Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “America the Beautiful”
• Ibram X. Kendi: “Patriotism on the Fourth of July is Resistance”
• Michael Sean Winters on 2018’s Grim Fourth of July
• Queer Native Americans, Colonialism, and the Fourth of July
• Joan Walsh: Quote of the Day – July 4, 2015
• Photo of the Day – July 4, 2014
• Something to Think About – July 4, 2012
• Joan Mitchell, CSJ: Quote of the Day – July 4, 2010