Bolivia is about to pass a law through Congress recognising Mother Earth rights. The law also gives all living things the same rights as human beings have. The law's main goal is to find other ways for economic and social development while being environmental friendly while assuring the possibilities for life regeneration, pure air and water and avoid artificial genetic modification. It is a law similar to the changes made in Ecuador in 2008 where nature has the right to regenerate according to its vital cycles in the process of evolution.
How are these two countries going to deal with pressure from the international mining industry, the banking and financial sector (you know all those nice guys), and international investment will be interesting to see. Very likely both countries will be labelled as out dated socialist idealist or simply as a very risky country to invest (and exploit their natural resources). The first manoeuvre to choke their economies. The banks that had to be rescue by what can be describe as the average citizen, will try to make their way understood (or imposed) on those “third world countries” (euphemism that has substituted the tag of “underdeveloped countries”), even though they make great amount of money from precisely the fact that there are third world countries.
Both Bolivia and Ecuador have a large native indian population that has never been part or benefited from main stream economic thought and practices. Now, based on their traditional believes they are trying to give Mother Earth the opportunity other “advanced systems” have not.
Two different world views facing one another with their different ideas of what development and evolution should be.
At the core we have two different ideas of the humanity and its relationship with nature. One sees nature as sacred, and alive. It should change according to its natural laws and human beings should protect nature from the abuse it has gone through. The other sees natural resources as something to be used by humanity. The best of them care and acknowledge some responsibility too. On the extreme are those that believe that at the end, the market will balance it all out. For example; by buying carbon emission rights from countries that don't reach the CO2 emission quota.
Regardless of the many ecological, economical, social or political debates that may arise from these issues, it would be of benefit to consider what is our personal relationship with nature. Are resources there to be used, abused or protected at any cost?
Are we as human beings' something different, even alien to nature and Mother Earth? The question is not naïve. Recently a TV documentary showed how the majority of kids in kindergarten believed that milk came from the refrigerator. Well, that is totally natural and right, if we consider that a large number of city dwelling toddlers have never seen a cow, much less have experienced the milking process. Of course they know cows exist but that doesn't mean they know that they are milked. From their experience, milk comes from the fridge.
Following that line of thought: what is our relationship with nature?
The answer will depend on our experiences, knowledge and awareness. According to them, natural resources are to be used (even abused), or they could be sacred and have the same rights as human beings do. We know that in some countries due to their traditions, cows can be holier than girls.
So again, what is our personal relationship with nature? are we alien to it or part of it?
Maybe when we consider that there is no difference between nature and human beings, for we are also nature, and that fossil fuel, minerals, vegetables, forest, animals and people have a specific role to play will give us a more balance outlook. Responsibility goes hand in hand with awareness and a good conscious.
Time to be aware, responsible, to have a good conscious and to enjoy what we really are: nature.