UN-Designated World Environment Day
Conscience Creates Opportunities for Survival: Let’s Protect Our Only Earth
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, 2022
Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 1974, World Environment Day has been celebrated around the world on June 5 each year, bringing governments, businesses, and citizens together to solve pressing environmental issues. Its theme for 2022 is "Only One Earth," a call to promote cleaner, greener, and more sustainable lifestyles and to live in harmony with nature. Fifty years after the 1972 Stockholm Conference, the motto "Only One Earth" remains a core concept that must be addressed in the face of the increasingly serious environmental crisis. World Environment Day calls for positive changes: we as a society must reconsider how to best use the Earth's limited resources; businesses must develop a green economy; farmers and manufacturers must engage in sustainable production; governments must invest in environmental restoration; and students must be encouraged to take action to protect the environment through education. However, the most important thing is to raise awareness and take actions for environmental restoration.
Actions come from thoughts, and thoughts come from the heart. For centuries, humanity has depleted nature's resources without regard for the impact on Mother Earth. Humanity, nature, and all other things are all interdependent, but excessive exploitation for the sake of quality of life and the fulfillment of desires has upset the natural cycle and the balance of all things. Over-exploitation of resources has jeopardized nature's ability to "heal itself," and the overuse of resources and the destruction of the environment have caused an imbalance in nature.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction warned that humans have entered a "vortex of self-destruction." If we don't change, it is estimated that we will be hit by an average of 1.5 disasters a day, or 560 a year, on the current trajectory. This year alone, droughts, heat waves, fires, rainstorms, dust storms, and other natural disasters are raging around the world, threatening the lives of countless people. The severity of these disasters reflects the urgency for all world citizens to take action to deal with the climate crisis together! Starting with changing our lifestyles, we should do what is best for ourselves and for nature in order to protect the environment and sustain the world. We should all let go of our greed and selfishness. Greed and arrogance often lead people to lose touch with their conscience. Therefore, it is important to maintain inner peace and to listen carefully to the call of our conscience. With gratitude and hope for a sustainable environment and future in mind, we can think of ways for humans and nature to coexist and co-prosper, allowing us to take action to save the environment from crisis. When all the citizens of the world have such an awakening, the ecosystems in crisis will be revitalized and live on!
Starting with changing one of our thoughts, we need to make different choices and adopt different lifestyles. This is a crucial step in saving our hearts and the planet. In the midst of the fast pace of life and consumption, it is important to meditate and ask ourselves, "Is this what I need? "What do I need?" When our hearts are calm and clear, the emergence of conscience can inspire more ways and actions to truly benefit ourselves and others, and to save the environment from crisis. We should also always return to love and conscience, which is the wellspring of all concrete actions and the criterion for keeping all modes of development on track.
The Earth is our only home, and we must protect its limited resources, this can be achieved by applying the wisdom of balancing yin and yang to practice conscience, and promote a culture of conscience. The philosophy of yin and yang in the Tai Ji Men culture encompasses the wisdom of harmony and balance between all living things and the environment, which is the key to a sustainable future. Love and conscience are the foundation for achieving balance and stability among ourselves, people, and the environment. They are also the way to save the environment from crisis and the necessary antidote to achieving world peace, leading humanity to a better future of peaceful coexistence with nature.
We call on the world's citizens to take immediate action to encourage more environmentally friendly actions, to discourage ecologically destructive practices, and to strengthen innovation and development for environmental restoration. Only by applying our conscience, consolidating our thoughts, paying attention to the environmental impact, and immediately implementing action plans can we collectively handle the crisis and resolve it. Let us all embody conscience in our lives, be grateful at all times, strike a balance between ourselves and the environment, and create a world of love and peace with all citizens of the world.
Thank you all!
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in celebration of World Environment Day