Creation Corner Column, December 2017
Advocacy for Sustainability and American Indian Wisdom
Advocacy: supporting, recommending, promoting, championing, backing, pleading, arguing in favor of, defending a cause or proposal.
Sustainability: the endurance of systems and processes for long-term ecological balance; the quality of not being harmful, or permanently damaging, to the environment, or depleting natural resources.
Advocacy for sustainability takes many forms, as within the Lutheran (ELCA) and Episcopal churches, and with the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" promoted by the United Nations. The latter includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and both religious denominations share a similar vision.
Clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; climate action, life below water and life on land are five UN examples (see others at www.globalgoals.org . The Lutheran and Episcopal emphases encompass those of the UN, so as to create a "sustainable and sufficient world where there is enough for all to thrive." These churches seek to do this by "working through their service, reconciliation and justice ministries." The Lutheran effort may be seen at www.elca.org/prayfastact .
Those who lived on our soil of this USA nation prior to Europeans, and whose descendants live here still, were advocates of sustainability and from whom we can learn much, and we would be wise to pass along their wisdom to our children and grand-children, our descendants.
Consider the Iroquois: "In our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
Chief Seattle: "All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the children of the Earth."
Chief Seattle: "This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth."
Chief Seattle: "Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it."
Shawnee Chief Tecumseh: "No tribe as the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers. Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?" (in a speech to William Harrison, Governor of the Indiana Territory, on August 11, 1810).
Cree proverb: When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money."