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Achieving Justice for the Earth
“Discover your fantasy of what you need the most, what you would want someone to do for you the most, and then go out and give it to someone else.”
In a world in which the environment is perishing and people and animals are having grave injustices done upon them, it can be easy to throw your hands up and say, “Hey, I can’t change the world.” But it can also be inspiring. It can give you a purpose in life.
Consider the quote above. What does it mean for you? What is the number one thing that you wish somebody would give you? For me, it is justice. I want justice for the things that I have suffered at the hands of others.
Being an environmentalist, I at first wondered how I could use this to help the environment. Then it came to me: I should find justice for Earth, for Creation, for Gaia, by getting people to formally apologize for the injustices they have strewn upon the Earth in the form of plastic bags, toxic chemicals, and lost biodiversity.
This must start with myself. I have already created a Pledge for Environmental Justice, which I have signed and stored away, but that was a pledge for my future, not for my past. I need to apologize to the Earth for what I have done to it already. You may think that this is harsh, seeing that I, not yet being an adult, have not had proper options and an understanding of how my actions make a difference. No matter. I have still harmed the Earth, knowingly and unknowingly, and for that, I must apologize. If somebody accidentally harmed me, I would still greatly appreciate an apology. True, there are some things that all creatures must take from the Earth, simply to survive. And, unable to truly boycott such things as driving and paper consumption until I am out of school and living on my own, there are still some sacrifices that I will continue to make, at least for a few years. These, however, will be left to a minimum, so that, I hope, my negative impact on the Earth may be flipped around and turned into a positive impact.
How will I do it? How can I apologize to the Earth effectively, while truthfully promising never to do a great deal of harm to it again? As it happens, I have already begun this process, with my Pledge for Environmental Justice. In the Pledge, I have promised that I will do the following: reduce my negative impact on the Earth, devote my life to protecting the environment, treat all creatures with respect, hold fast to the deep beauty of the Universe, and fight for environmental justice until I’ve won, or until there is nothing left to fight for.
To continue on my journey, I must remain as unaffected as possible by material possessions and look at my promise objectively.
To make amends for past wrongs, however, there are more actions to take. I must acknowledge the wrongs that I have done. How to do this? It depends on how one wants to express oneself. For me, I will express this through writing and music. I shall write an official apology to the Earth, asking for forgiveness (but I’ll leave out the apology for the wrongs I have done in possible past lives!). I will also compose a song as an apology.
Once I have done all this, there is one last step, and this one is the most important of all: I must live the life that proves my commitment to the world. Not only is it the most important, it is also the most difficult—to walk the talk is always harder than to simply talk.
Again, what does the quote at the beginning of this article mean to you? What do you want, most of all? How can you give it to the Earth?
I may never receive the justice I am looking for. But that does not matter, ultimately, for when we find justice for the Earth, all the wrongs of the past will be washed away like water rushing towards the ocean underneath a starlit sky, never to be seen again.