Caring for the Earth

I am pleased to know the World Conservation Union is launching a world- wide campaign on the theme of Caring for the Earth on 21" October 1991.

The earth is not only the common heritage of all humankind but also the ultimate source of life. By over-exploiting its resources we are undermining the very basis of our own life. All around, signs abound of the destruction caused by human activity and of the degradation of nature. Therefore, the protection and conservation of the earth is not a question of morality or ethics but a question of our survival. How we respond to this challenge will affect not only this generation but also many generations to come.

In the case of such global issues as the conservation of the Earth, and indeed in tackling all problems, the human mind is the key factor. Whether they are problems of economics, international relations, science, technology, medicine or ecology, although these issues seem to be beyond anyone individual's capacity, where the problem begins and where the answer must first be sought is within. In order to change the external situation we must first change within ourselves. If we want a beautiful garden we must first have a blueprint in the imagination, a vision. Then that idea can be implemented and the external garden can materialize. Destruction of nature resources results from ignorance, lack of respect for the Earth's living things, and greed.

In the first place we must strive to overcome these states of mind by' developing an awareness of the interdependent nature of all phenomena, an attitude of wishing not to harm other living creatures and an understanding of the need for compassion. Because of the interdependent nature of everything we cannot hope to solve the multifarious problems with a one-sided or self-centered attitude. History shows us how often in the past people have failed to cooperate. Our failures in the past are the result of ignorance of our own interdependent nature. What we need now is a holistic approach towards problems combined with a genuine sense of universal responsibility based on love and compassion.

I offer my best wishes and prayers for the success of this project in creating a better awareness of the need to care more about the Earth.
 
This statement, dated September 20, 1991, marked the launching of a campaign on the theme of Caring for the Earth on October 21, 1991 by the World Conservation Union.

 

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