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Does the Earth have rights and who is allowed to protect them ?

  • Jan 23, 2014 · 6:00 PM
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Maureen suggested a controversial topic and I think we should try to exchange our ideas about it.

"Who has the right to exploit the Earth's resources and should people be allowed to protest against this exploitation to protect the Earth?"

Do we humans have the right to do whatever we want with the earth, just because we can ? Can we take all the resources, destroy the forests, pollute the air and the oceans, poison the soil with fertilizers and pesticides because our hunger for consumer goods is insatiable ? When is enough enough ? When do we need to be concerned about vast fields of plastic debris floating on the oceans, radioactive water flowing into the sea every minute, the air we want to breath being polluted with gases that are poisonous, species of animals and plants vanishing from the earth every minute ?

What is humanity's role on the planet ? To use it up until nothing is left ? To consume it ? Or do we need to change our attitude towards the earth ? Do we need to realise that we are part of it and that we need to become stewards and protectors of it ?

What do you think ?

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  • Maureen

    Thanks Peter, wouldn't it be wonderful if more people were mindful of this and actively practised it.

    January 27, 2014

  • Ziggy

    Thanks Peter, good to be able to have this declaration in black on white. I shall print it out and hang it on my wall. Seems like we're not doing a very good job in following these declarations.....

    January 24, 2014

  • Peter E.

    'With due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the present generations should take care to preserve the cultural diversity of humankind. The present generations have the responsibility to identify, protect and safeguard the tangible and intangible cultural heritage and to transmit this common heritage to future generations.'.
    —UNESCO, Declaration on Future Generations Article 7

    '1. The present generations should ensure that both they and future generations learn to live together in peace, security, respect for international law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
    2. The present generations should spare future generations the scourge of war. To that end, they should avoid exposing future generations to the harmful consequences of armed conflicts as well as all other forms of aggression and use of weapons, contrary to humanitarian principles. '.
    —UNESCO, Declaration on Future Generations Article 9

    January 24, 2014

  • Peter E.

    Here is a part of the UN declaration I was talking about:
    UNESCO Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations

    Proclaimed on November 12, 1997, the UNESCO Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations is an international agreement (potentially part of international customary law) which includes provisions related to the common heritage of mankind.[23]

    'The present generations have the responsibility to bequeath to future generations an Earth which will not one day be irreversibly damaged by human activity. Each generation inheriting the Earth temporarily should take care to use natural resources reasonably and ensure that life is not prejudiced by harmful modifications of the ecosystems and that scientific and technological progress in all fields does not harm life on Earth.'.
    —UNESCO, Declaration on Future Generations Article 4

    January 24, 2014

  • Peter

    Sorry I'm going to have to bail. Would have been an interesting conversation and remember to be nice to one another :)

    January 23, 2014

  • Peter E.

    What a great clip and huge achievement. That shows how strong we could be.
    And our government changed the law to make demonstrations more difficult and sometimes even illegal. But allowed Deep Sea Oil Drilling.

    1 · January 17, 2014

  • Ziggy

    If anyone is interested to see what peaceful protests against exploitation of the earth - in this case the Great Barrier Reef - can achieve, watch this clip:

    And in reply to Peter's comment: It's not that "the earth will someday change to make us feel uncomfortable", we are changing the earth every day every minute and we make ourselves uncomfortable by destroying its gifts to us.

    January 17, 2014

  • Peter

    We are the result of a long line of evolution both geological and genetic. As a result the Earth is currently in a temporary state to support us and our evolutionary peers and will someday change to make us uncomfortable or even extinct. To me the question is one of self interest and how do we preserve the environment for our own comfort and longevity on this planet.

    January 16, 2014

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