Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
Dear Teachers and Parents: Do read out this declaration to your children and sign and mail a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister given overleaf to him. Our children need to be involved in their own future…
This declaration was adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government has submitted it to the United Nations for Consideration.
Paraphrased version of Preamble and articles:
Preamble: We, the peoples and nations of Earth, considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny; gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and proviedes everything we need to live well; recognizing that the capitalist system and other other forms of depradation have exploited and abused Earth, putting life at risk through crises like climate change; convinced that, to guarantee human rights, we need to recognize the rights of Mother Earth; conscious that it is urgent to take decisive and collective action; proclaim the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and call on the General Assembly of the United Nations to adopt it as a common standard of achievement.
Article 1: Mother Earth is a living Being;
Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.
Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind – all beings have rights which are specific to their species and communities.
The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflicts must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.
Article 2 – Inherent Rights of Mother Earth
- Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:
- The right to life and to exist, the right to water, clean air and integral health and to regenerate its bio-capacity
- The right to be respected, to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct self-regulated being, and the right to not have its genetic structure modified.
- The right to be free of contamination, pollution, toxic and radioactive waste.
- The right to prompt restoration from violation of its rights
- Each being has a right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth and the right to well being and to live free from torture and cruel treatment by human beings
- After bringing out the 8th issue of Eternal Bhoomi , we felt it was time to take a pause and re-look at what we want this magazine to be.
Article 3 – Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth
- Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth. All humans, states and all public and private institutions must:
- Act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration, promote its full implementation and participate in its learning, interpretation and communication.
- Ensure that the pursuit of human well being contributes to the well being of Mother Earth, now and in the future.
- Establish and apply effective laws for the protection of the rights of Mother Earth and Respect, Protect, conserve ecological cycles, processes and balance of Moher Earth.
- Guarantee that damages caused by human violations of the rights of Mother Earth are rectified.
- Empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings, amd establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction and the destruction of eco systems.
- Guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
- Promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and support practices of respect for Mother Earth in accordance with their own cultures traditions and customs.
Article 4 – Definitions
- The term ‘being’ includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.
- Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.
Letter to the Prime Minister of India
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi – 110101
Sub: Stand up for the Rights of Mother Earth
India today may be reveling in its nearly double digit growth but it is forgetting its ancient legacy of reverence for Mother Earth and the need to protect nature for future generations. On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of India’s National Poet, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, let us also be reminded of his innate wisdom and warning that “the greed of gain has no time or limit for its capaciousness. It’s one object is to produce and consume. It has pity neither for beautiful nature nor for living human beings. It is ruthlessly ready without a moment’s hesitation to crush beauty and life out of them, molding them into money.”
On World Environment Day in 1972, the United Nations Conference on Human Environment began in Stockholm. Smt. Indira Gandhi, our then Prime Minister, was the only Head of Government who travelled to Stockholm to participate in it. She addressed the gathering by quoting our ancient scripture, the Atharva Veda, and said “O pure Earth, May that we utilize your soil well, without causing you injury or harm or disturbing any vital element in you.” This is our civilization’s legacy – for which we have stood up and spoken on behalf of the Rights of Mother Earth and her people, and against apartheid of any kind. You are the custodian of this legacy as our Prime Minister.
We have given the world the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutubakum – the Earth family which represents the democracy of all life. Our indigenous traditions of reverence for the earth are still upheld by our tribal cultures and rural communities. The Indian constitution has also reflected this spirit by adopting the PESA act. Across India, tribals are adopting resolutions under PESA, declaring: “We pledge that the resources of our village do not belong to an individual, they belong to the community… From today we will refer to the earth that sustains us as Mother Earth. Our Mother Earth is not a tradeable commodity.”
In the wake of Rio+20, twenty years after the first Earth Summit held at Rio in 1992, we urge you to uphold our moral, political and spiritual heritage and support the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth during the Earth Summit and be guided by its spirit in your action and policies as well.
We hope that our voices reach you and give you courage to represent our unique ecological civilization which has always stood for non-violence, peace and trusteeship of the Earth. We hope India will join the ranks of the people and nations who have the vision to endorse, support and champion the cause of the Rights of Mother Earth
For the Earth
(Add lists of names and addresses and send to our Prime Minister)