In Celebration of International Mother Earth Day
Taking Immediate Collective Actions of Conscience to Heal Our Earth
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Apr. 22, 2021
Today is International Mother Earth Day, which was established to remind people to practice environmental protection and work together for a more beautiful world. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, each year, millions of people around the world celebrate this International Day with actions supporting environmental issues. Many international environmental agreements, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, have come into force to combat air pollution, preserve biological resources, and protect the marine environment. Thanks to these efforts, environmental protection has become a universal value. The theme for Earth Day 2021 is “Restore Our Earth.” The United Nations calls on governments to adhere to international environmental conventions, advocate actions for "peaceful coexistence with nature," and initiate dialogue.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, on average, a new infectious disease emerges in humans every four months, and 75% of these diseases originate from animals. This shows the close interconnection among human beings, animals, and the environment, and how their health and development affect one another. Today, the devastation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet subsided, making us realize that the Earth and all living things are suffering and that humans must stop exploiting our planet. Our reckless destruction of the environment will permanently damage the sustainability of the Earth and our continued existence. We need to love and heal the wounds of Mother Earth and rejuvenate our planet.
We call our planet Mother Earth because it provides the environment and resources necessary for human life, and it nurtures human beings, just like the inseparable bond between a mother and her children. Human beings and other living creatures are in the same boat and are mutually interdependent like brothers and sisters. Learning from traditional cultures, we realize that our ancestors knew how to coexist and thrive with other living things. As stated in the Tao Te Ching, "Heaven and Earth treat all living things equally and let nature take its course," the development of all living things is in accordance with the law of nature, and all creatures mutually reinforce one another’s growth and continued existence.
Technological advancement has brought us many conveniences and enjoyment in life. However, we have ignored the need to maintain a balance between spirituality and technology. We forget to be thankful. We forget to cherish the resources of Mother Earth. We forget to treat other living creatures as brothers and sisters. The negative impact of climate change, dwindling biodiversity, and widespread pandemics resulting from human greed has been felt across the world, ignoring national boundaries, and many of us or our loved ones have been directly impacted. The Earth is “having a fever” and is seriously ill. We must wake up to the ugly reality of environmental degradation and take immediate actions to defuse the imminent living crisis and save ourselves.
Those who make the Earth sick should restore its health, and humanity’s collective awakening of conscience is the only solution to healing our planet. In addition to legislation, environmental protection requires moral elevation, a culture of conscience, and conscience-based educational policies. These three elements will have a positive impact on a country's environmental decisions and values as well as the exercise of self-control from human beings. No matter how good a piece of legislation is, it will not produce desirable results if people fail to set resolutions and put knowledge into practice. Only when people internalize their moral responsibility and a value system emphasizing coexistence with nature through a conscience-driven education, will they be motivated to take action to implement environmental protections. In addition to the promotion of laws and policies to overcome and prevent imminent disasters, the fundamental way to maintain a sustainable environment is to integrate conscience education into schools and society, through news, videos, role playing, and practice, so that "a sense of responsibility of global citizens for the environment" can take root in children and become deeply embedded in people’s hearts.
The key to change lies in the conscience in every world citizen. The power to make a difference comes from the collective small actions of each individual. We will earn a chance of survival when we are willing to activate our conscience as well as conscience-driven capabilities and efforts, unite with others, work together on solutions to the pressing problems, take conscience-driven actions, cherish the Earth and all living things with positive energy, and lay the foundation for global sustainability.
Let us pause for a minute every day to self-reflect. How do we repair the relationship between humankind and nature to restore the balance and security of our environment? How do we contribute to our common future? Let us put the answers we have in mind into practice. With concrete actions, we will allow the energy of kindness to spread around the globe, light up the lights of hope, and enable the Earth to flourish and thrive.
We have only one Earth. Only with a heart of respect and humility will we make right decisions and take correct actions for our environment. We must heal the Earth with love and conscience. We need to make conscience-driven education prevail through a comprehensive social movement of “the era of conscience.” Through the environmental protection actions in local communities, we can reconnect people with nature. Through the culture of conscience, we can purify our hearts and inspire everyone to start with doing good deeds every day. Corporations need to fulfill their social and environmental responsibilities, and governments need to implement policies and present their achievements in environmental protection. We also need to promote international cooperation to enhance global environmental awareness and action to save the Earth. We hope that mountains will remain green, and rivers will stay clean forever, and the planet will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Today, as we ponder the meaning of Earth Day, we reflect upon the teaching of the selfless way of Heaven as well as the unlimited tolerance of Mother Earth. Let us start with ourselves and work together to promote and practice the Declaration of International Day of Conscience. Let us inspire the awakening of conscience in world citizens and urge them to take collective actions of conscience to create a butterfly effect of goodness and a virtuous cycle. Let’s work together to restore and cherish our planet with genuine and selfless love so that all living things can coexist harmoniously, and Mother Earth can regain her happy smile!
Our immediate actions will bring blessings to all humanity. Our awakening today will bring happiness to our loved ones tomorrow.
Thank you all!
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of
UN International Mother Earth Day