Celebrating World Environment Day
Connecting Humans and Nature with Love and Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
June 5, 2021
June 5 of each year is World Environment Day. This year's theme is "Ecosystem Restoration," with a focus on rebuilding humanity's relationship with nature. This year marks the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). The Sustainable Development Goals have a deadline of 2030. The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is widely seen as the last chance to avoid disastrous climate catastrophes.
The ever-increasing human population and rapid economic development have accelerated our exploitation of natural resources, pushing the Earth's ecosystems so far out of equilibrium that they are fighting back against us. Since last year, the world has been facing multiple crises. Natural and man-made disasters, be it the COVID-19 pandemic or forest fires caused by extreme climate patterns, have posed daunting challenges for us. The sustainable development of the ecological environment is not only a matter of repairing problems that have arisen as a result of environmental damage, but also of reducing natural resource consumption. Natural resource consumption and environmental pollution are two sides of the same coin, because rapid resource consumption and waste discharge into the environment add to the environmental burden. We must recognize the urgency to protect the ecosystems and come together to discuss how we can overcome the challenges of ongoing deterioration, conserve the environment, and ensure the continued existence of humanity at the same time.
Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said, “2020 was a year of reckoning, facing multiple crises, including a global pandemic and the continued crises of climate, nature and pollution. In 2021, we must take deliberate steps to move from crisis to healing.” The UN Environment Programme encourages people to take concrete actions to support ecosystem restoration, such as using environmental-friendly products, changing consumption habits and lifestyles, and speaking up for ecosystem restoration. This is a call for global actions. We can all contribute to this worthy aim no matter who we are and where we are. By bringing together everyone's kind hearts and good deeds, we will create a brighter future for the world.
The heart is the starting point for action. When people’s hearts are inspired, it's natural for collective actions to be strengthened. To restore our ecosystem, we must first inspire world citizens to protect and cleanse “their hearts.” They can begin by discovering, cultivating, and embodying conscience, then developing the love for human beings and the Earth, and restore a primal, harmonious, and balanced relationship with nature. As mentioned in the “Love of the World, A Declaration of Peace,” by means of the Declaration, we express the aspirations of all humanity and pray for the civilization of the new century to fulfill the responsibility of being a part of the Earth's ecosystem. The development of civilization in the century requires a complete ecosystem as the foundation. Love and peace are the most important cornerstones for the well-being of the world and the sustainability of the planet, and they are the foundation on which economic, social, cultural, spiritual, technological, and educational development can be consolidated.
To protect and restore the ecosystems, we must take practical actions. The seeds of conscience are deeply ingrained in everyone's hearts, but they are often forgotten or obscured by life's worries and difficulties. We can only reconnect with the environment and find a way to live in peace and harmony with nature if we find our conscience and follow its guidance. If we reflect more on our lives, we can hear a voice calling from within for every thought, every matter, and every distinction between right and wrong and between true and false. As our elders taught us that we should avoid doing evil and instead do good deeds to amass virtues and blessings. The reaction of conscience becomes intuitive through pragmatic reflection and action, which is gathered over time and fostered through education. The more people embrace the energy of conscience, the more swiftly they can exert positive influence and turn the world around.
Conscience is the wellspring of love. Listening to our hearts and caring for and changing the small things around us are the first steps toward ecosystem restoration. People have been compelled to take a break due to the pandemic. Nature, which has been ravaged, has been able to take a breath. As a result, people are forced to consider the balance between economic activity and natural resources. However, this is insufficient. Life in the post-pandemic era involves cherishing nature, reawakening awareness of the interdependence of humans and nature, and advocating constructive solutions to make the most of the time remaining before the 2030 deadline. Everyone needs to protect his/her own conscience and inspire the awakening of conscience in more people to practice love, tolerance, acceptance, selflessness, and care, as well as work together to safeguard the environment.
Will the Earth's and humanity's future be viable? The most crucial key is each world citizen's will and action, and we must embrace this moment and act now. When people act with conscience, they will work to improve the existing situation and reverse environmental degradation, fundamentally rebuild the relationship between humans and nature, connect humans and nature with love and conscience, and establish a balanced way to keep the Earth healthy for themselves and future generations. Let us apply our conscience and work together to restore the environment, safeguard the Earth, restore the green hills, and keep the water clean. Let us practice love and peace to secure a sustainable ecosystem and a happy and prosperous future for all!
May the environment be sustainable.
May the world be blessed with peace.
May everyone enjoy health and happiness.
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of UN World Environment Day