On this page you’ll find links to external sites chosen to represent the best on the web for offering an approach to ecology that combines practicality and spirituality. We looked for sites that bring together indigenous peoples and contemporary Pagans, but they seem few and far between. If you know of any not listed here, please let us know.
THE LAW OF MOTHER NATURE (Bolivia)
In 2011, the Bolivian government passed a law giving legal rights to our shared Mother Earth. This historic piece of legislation includes the following principles: “Harmony. Human activities, within the framework of plurality and diversity, should achieve a dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth,” and “No commercialism. Neither living systems nor processes that sustain them may be commercialized, nor serve anyone’s private property.” You can read the full text of this remarkable law here: http://www.worldfuturefund.org/Projects/Indicators/motherearthbolivia.html Having read it, you might want to consider sending this link to your local political representatives, asking when their party is going to promote a similar law. In the UK, you can find your local MP here: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/ In the US, you can find your local Congressman here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
INDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK
‘A network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions.’
A source for Indigenous Environmental and Social Justice issues with postings of current news, ongoing actions and calls for support. Includes an Archive section for learning more about historical efforts by government and corporations to exploit the resources of Indigenous people worldwide, IEN position papers, articles, press releases and more. The concentration is on North American Native communities, hence the Turtle Island logo. However, their partnerships extend to all of Mother Earth. CLICK HERE.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES & CONSERVATION: WWF STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Indigenous peoples inhabit nearly 20 per cent of the planet, mainly in areas where they have lived for thousands of years. Compared with protected area managers, who control about 6 per cent of the world’s land mass, indigenous peoples are the earth’s most important stewards. During more than three decades of conservation work, the World Wildlife Fund has been approached by many indigenous and rural communities seeking collaboration on issues like protected area management and the conservation of natural resources. Notable amongst them are the Hupa Indians of northern California, the Inuit of Isabella Bay in Canada, the Zoque Indians of Mexico, the Karen of Thailand, the Shona people in Zimbabwe, the Kuna of Panama, the Shimshali of Pakistan, the Phoka people of northern Malawi, the Imagruen of Mauritania, the Ewenk of Siberia, and many others scattered all over the globe. WWF is, or has recently been, working with indigenous peoples in all regions of the world: in Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. To view the WWF position statement on indigenous peoples and conservation, CLICK HERE.
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY & INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Supporting People and Places
Most of the world’s biodiversity exists in areas inhabited by people. Effective conservation cannot be achieved unless the people who live and rely on those lands are an integral part of the conservation process. For more than 50 years, The Nature Conservancy has depended upon partnerships with local communities to conserve some of the most biologically critical and threatened ecosystems on Earth. The Nature Conservancy works in all 50 United States and more than 30 countries around the world. In more than 30 of those programs, nationally and internationally, the Conservancy is working collaboratively with indigenous and traditional communities to help protect their lands for generations to come. Included in The Nature Conservancy’s seven core values is a ‘Commitment to People,’ which states that we ‘respect the needs of local communities by developing ways to conserve biological diversity while at the same time enabling humans to live productively and sustainably on the landscape.’ For more information, CLICK HERE.
UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES
A Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
by Lisa Bowen
‘We have always adapted. Our homes are designed to the environment. Where we live, no Kuna house has been destroyed by an earthquake or a hurricane because we know how to build to our territory.’ Onel Masardule, of Panama, spoke passionately about the need for indigenous people to have an integral role in international discussions about climate change. As the United Nations convened its Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues earlier this year, more than 120 representatives from indigenous and traditional peoples, from Norway to the Amazon, gathered for collaborative action to ensure that their voices are heard when it comes to the complex challenge of climate change. ‘Because we are concerned about climate change, like everyone is concerned, we want to share our knowledge with the world,’ said Ecuador’s Johnson Cerda, representing the Quichua Community of Santa Elena, a co-organizer of the event along with Conservation International (CI) and the U.N. Development Program’s Equator Initiative. The Indigenous People and Climate Change workshop brought together indigenous and traditional peoples with representatives from governments, funding agencies, and other nongovernmental organizations. ‘Indigenous peoples are very concerned about the lack of information they have that would enable them to be more engaged in the political discussions about climate change. There is definitely a movement, and will continue to be a movement for increased participation,’ said Kristen Walker-Painemella, Vice President and Executive Director of CI’s Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Initiative. Several indigenous leaders spoke during the workshop, including Norway’s Olav Mathis Eira, vice-president of the Saami Council. He described how climate change impacts indigenous people in Europe’s four northernmost countries, where reindeer herding is an important livelihood and traditional way of life. ‘My neighbor lost 70 reindeer two years ago. They just died and we couldn’t tell why. It turned out it was death by a parasite that usually dies during a cold winter, but it has survived with warmer weather,’ Mathis Eira said. ‘Also, the ice is unstable. We need thick ice, but with mild winters it is not that easy anymore. It makes it a problem to tell younger herders where to cross rivers.’ For more information, CLICK HERE.
RELIGION & NATURE
ReligionandNature.com is a source for information about the complex relationships among the religious perceptions and practices of the earth’s peoples and their diverse environments.
ReligionandNature.com hosts the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and features important scholarly works, including the award-winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, and the Society-affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture.
ReligionandNature.com’s Forum provides news and resources for the media, concerned citizens, and scholars who wish to keep abreast of developments in the exciting and raucously interdisciplinary religion and nature field. The Forum also will provide a venue for ongoing discussion, debate, and collaboration. We hope that all who are interested in the nexus of what is variously understood to be ‘religion,’ ‘spirituality,’ ‘nature’ and ‘ecology,’ and who wish to deepen their understanding of the relationships between ecosystems and religious perceptions and practices will find much of value, and return regularly, to our web site, CLICK HERE.
THE WORLD DRUM PROJECT
A Norwegian healer, Whitecougar, had a vision. A Sami shaman, Birger Mikkelsen, made a Drum; the World Drum; the heartbeat of our Mother Earth. The message it carries is that humankind must change our attitude and behaviour towards the Great Mother who feeds, supports and nourishes us, from one of exploitation to one of spiritual connection. From a first rite at the Norwegian Parliament in 2006, the Drum has travelled to indigenous, New Age and Pagan groups in more than twenty countries on four continents. From ceremonies these groups have made with the Drum, its song has sounded out, heart to heart, spirit to spirit; the voice of Mother Earth, crying to her children. To visit the World Drum website, CLICK HERE.
ANIMISM: RESPECTING THE LIVING WORLD
First, a definition: ‘Animism is the attempt to live respectfully as members of the diverse community of living persons (only some of whom are human) which we call the world or cosmos.’
The Animism: Respecting the Living World website is a companion for the book of the same name by leading Pagan academic, Graham Harvey. The site expands upon the book and includes further discussion, examples, elaborations and incitements that will enable more fruitful discussions about these ways of living respectfully within the wider community that is the living world. Plenty to think about and discover on this still-growing site, CLICK HERE.
SALTER’S DUCK: CLEAN WAVE POWER
Given the high price of energy, the volatility of energy markets, and plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a reliable source of cheap, pollution-free energy? Well, here’s the thing … we do … it was invented in the 1970s by Professor Stephen Salter of Edinburgh University and an independent study estimated that it could provide 85 percent of the electricity needs of the whole of Europe. It is an elegant, brilliantly simple method of harnessing wave power with an efficiency that puts other electricity generating technologies to shame. Salter’s Duck was developed by the Edinburgh Wave Power Group, on whose website you’ll find an invaluable archive of material from the Group, including details of the invention and development of Salter’s Duck along with explanations of how it works, illustrated with drawings, diagrams and photographs. It really is brilliantly simple. Check it out. CLICK HERE.
THE EQUALITY TRUST has a brilliant website (click here) promoting a simple truth that could, and should, revolutionise global politics, and providing ways in which we can all help make it happen. Drawing on 30 years of research, they look at eleven global problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage births, and child well-being. For all of these problems, they provide overwhelming evidence showing that outcomes are very much worse in more unequal societies.
They also present evidence on four other issues. One is how greater equality within rich countries can contribute to tackling inequalities between rich and poor countries. Another is a discussion of both the compatibility and relative merits of greater equality and economic growth as sources of improvements in the quality of life among rich countries. There is a page discussing how greater equality may contribute to policies designed to tackle global warming, and lastly, a page suggesting many ways of increasing equality within our societies.
Please go and visit the Equality Trust website, read what they have to say, then follow the links they provide for you to get involved. Together, we can make a difference.