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Living at Peace with the Earth

April 20, 2010

Peace on the planet: "If Mama (terra) ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"

When we think of “Peace on Earth”, we usually think of peace amongst the planet’s human inhabitants. But how often do we wonder “Can we live at peace with the earth itself ?”

We have all the evidence we need to come to the conclusion that it really does seem that we’re at war with the planet. We fight wars to maintain control over resources that we then use up in order to further pollute the planet and to fight more wars. These wars not only kill humans, but typically destroy life of all kinds, and at worst, make the land itself uninhabitable for generations to come. And this begs the question: who do we think we are — as human beings — if not a natural outgrowth of so many millions of years of planetary evolution? And who do we think we are to imagine we can do without the Earth that made us and that continues to sustain us despite every effort to distance ourselves from it through technologies of all kinds? Even the minor, banal and everyday unsustainable acts we engage in — like driving or using a plastic container because it’s convenient (when replicated billions of times every day on our planet) starts looking a lot like an act of war against… well, ourselves. With the double effect of population growth  and the average human’s using more energy in daily living, it seems that drastic measures will have to be taken in controlling climate changing emissions in order to continue living in civilized societies. Two centuries ago Thomas Malthus predicted dire consequences for out of control population growth when he stated:

“The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man”.[7]

But with dramatic differences in how many resources people use in different parts of the world, population reduction won’t go very far to solve the food problem, let alone the excessive pollution that was not a problem 200 years ago.  On the flip-side, billions of  repeated small acts of respect toward the planet can improve the situation.

Many of these ideas are raised in the film “Suzuki Speaks” (screening at 7 pm in multiple locations around the region), and form the link between Peace and Earth Day 2010. The Peace Poem project is a big part of this year’s events, with a Peace Walk set to take place at Willingdon Beach trail, followed by readings and the planting of a peace tree by Powell River’s Mayor Stewart Alsgard near the band shell at Willingdon Beach park. Please join us in celebration and reaffirmation of peace toward all things.

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