Photo: What's peace got to do with it?

By guest blogger Jess Robertson

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. It's incredibly important for us tree-huggers. Yet even those of us deeply committed to sustainability and actively fighting to protect the environment let it pass unmarked on our calendars.

International Human Rights day is the birthday party for the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which came into being three years after the UN was founded in the aftermath of World War II. It was written to be shared. And it's still alive as the most translated document in the world. It works primarily through educating as many individuals as possible about their many rights to peace, including freedom of expression.

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What does peace have to do with environmental protection? Everything. Creating peace through engendering freedom, through becoming peaceful ourselves and innovating peace-production can all contribute to better protecting the natural world. As Annie Leonard clearly demonstrates in The Story of Stuff, so much environmental destruction in the world goes hand-in-hand with human rights violations. Protecting and sustaining peace and the wise and sustainable use of the world's finite resources are inextricably linked.

For many of us in North America, human rights are luxuriously forgotten. It's easy to move through life without even thinking about peace. Yet hundreds of local activists are killed each year for protecting some of the world's most precious natural habitat.

In the Moksha yoga community where I teach, we celebrate with a campaign called Speak Your Peace. This year, all our proceeds from the week (we hope upwards of $40,000) will go to the David Suzuki Foundation.

So it's a birthday party, and we're all invited. It happens every year. We can, as activists, think about the Declaration, maybe give it a read. Is thinking enough? Is pondering peace going to change anything? Well, no. But it's certainly a start. So fellow tree-huggers, let's grab our iCals and select repeat event: December 10, International Human Rights Day. Our awareness will lead to peace, our peace to intelligent action and our action to change.

December 10, 2012

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1 Comment

Dec 10, 2012
2:42 PM

So happy to see Moksha line up with such a great pioneer in the field of mindful living. We have the power to make a difference IF we get together and speak our peace, Thanks Jess, for another reminder that it is incumbent upon all of us to leave this world a better place for our children and our children’s children. We must think at least unto the 7th generation not only of today!!

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