UNESCO & Cardinal Paul Poupard Foundation
International Symposium 2013-2014
Care for the Earth
St. Andrew’s College, Bandra
Concept Note: “As inhabitants of the earth, we are nourished and sustained by Mother Earth who provides us with our food and all the resources for life. If she is healthy and well, we will be healthy and well. Our fates are intertwined.” —Dharma Master Cheng Yen
In Malaysia there’s a family of four who, for over 30 years, used to run a noodle shop selling meat noodles. They turned to vegetarianism and switched to selling vegetarian food, despite a decline of earnings as well as customers. In Taiwan, a volunteer who was running a very lucrative business selling disposable tableware closed it down, forgoing the profit. What made these people change? These are people who love the environment and Mother Nature. They’re making adjustments to their lives so they can better protect the Earth. This is because they understand how our life is connected to Mother Nature and how our daily lifestyle impacts the environment.
Our Earth is a very beautiful planet. Among all the planets in the universe, the Earth is the loveliest, with mountains, oceans, and all manner of environments, each a home to many kinds of creatures. Mother Earth sustains all life on it, including us humans. She provides all the food we eat and the material goods we use.
But her health is declining and she’s losing her ability to protect and provide for the creatures living on the land. Natural disasters, such as floods, mudslides, wildfires, drought, and earthquakes, cause damage to the Earth. Crops are destroyed as a result of drought or flooding, leading to food shortages and famine. People lose their lives and their homes as a result of natural disasters. Mother Nature can no longer provide a safe environment for us to live in.
Global warming is causing natural disasters to happen more frequently. The rising of the Earth’s temperature has disrupted the order of Nature, resulting in abnormal climates and natural disasters. The increasing global temperature is caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trapping the Earth’s heat. Despite the call by the United Nations to industrialized nations to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions, in the past few years, we’ve seen a continued increase of greenhouse gases. If this goes on, our planet will continue undergoing destruction, jeopardizing the lives of all creatures, including us humans.
We all live on the same planet, so we all share the same resources. Depletion of the Earth’s resources will impact the whole of humanity, our collective quality of life, and our own collective resources. Let us do something for Mother Earth. If we change our consumerist lifestyle and become more environmentally friendly, we can improve the condition of our environment. By not eating meat and eating vegetarian, we can help to reduce greenhouse gases. By reducing our consumption and doing recycling, we can help reduce pollution, conserve resources, and prevent mountains from being destroyed. Conserving electricity and water also helps prolong these resources.
When we switch to eco-friendly living habits, we reduce our part in the harm done to the Earth. Our eco-friendly living habits may seem insignificant in tackling the planet’s environmental problem, but when one person changes to an eco-friendly lifestyle, that’s one person protecting the Earth. When two, three, five, a hundred, or a hundred thousand people switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle, that’s a hundred thousand people protecting the Earth. When more and more people switch to eco-friendly living habits, our collective efforts can protect our planet. One person alone cannot do this; it takes the joint efforts of all people. When everyone switches to eco-friendly living habits we can really curb pollution, mitigate global warming, and save the Earth’s resources. As inhabitants of the Earth, let us protect her so that she can remain safe and well. Only when our planet is well can we humankind be safe and well. To give back to the Earth for all that she has provided to us, let us all take care of our planet together.
The International Symposium was held on the 28th of January 2014. His Grace, Archbishop Felix Machado was the Chief Guest, Heidi Kuhn, founder and CEO of ‘Roots of Peace’, which is a humanitarian non-profit organization which turns minefields into beautiful vineyards and orchards, was the key-note speaker, and the Guest of Honor was his Excellency, Dr. Liu Youfa, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China. The symposium featured a talk-show brilliantly conducted by Rev. Dr. Gilbert De’Lima and included eminent panelists like Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Dr. Horni Dhala, Dr. Lalita Namdoshi and Prof. Surinder Kaur. The entire symposium was fabulously compered by Dr. Sr. Teresa Joseph.
The yearly journal was also released during the session entitled “Ethics and Society: An International Journal Religious and Cultures for Peace and Harmony” – Volume 2.