By Sister Edia López
“There is enough for everybody’s need and not for anybody’s greed.”
Mother Earth is a goddess, venerated by indigenous peoples. Mother Earth is much more than the soil we walk on. It is the wind, the fire, the water, the element that we breathe and that sustains life and prosperity.
Unfortunately, we’re not doing much to protect her. The Pachamama, the Incan fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting, and embodies the mountains and causes earthquakes, is suffering.
That is why I am joining people around the world in action today, September 20, 2019. The care and protection of our “common home,” of Mother Earth, is a sacred duty of us all.
Indigenous populations, including the Ngabe Bukle people, in my country, Panama, seek to live in harmony and well-being. The earth, the rivers, the seas, the trees, the creatures of all creation are interrelated. We all want to live together and enjoy beautiful communities. However, we now face the threat of climate change. As we all know, climate change brings destruction to the Pachamama: rising temperatures, more frequent forest fires and prolonged droughts in different parts of the world.
Governments are granting the use of rivers for mega hydroelectric projects or for electricity production, or for mining activity, polluting water and Mother Earth. The presence of large corporations and the permanence of these mining industries on our lands strengthen the capitalist system with its new face: extractivism.
We know that the result of this activity is not development that takes the needs of people and all beings into account in a way that is equitable, harmonious and participative. True development distributes riches and resources in a way that avoids privileges and the concentration of goods in a few hands and at the expense of the dignity and well-being of the majority. In our eyes, it is evident that false development brings destruction, pollution and degradation of the Earth, of natural goods and, in the worst cases, poverty, marginalization, exclusion, human displacement, contaminated water sources, deforestation and toxic waste. It results in the deaths of poor people and the killings of activists committed to the right to a dignified life and to health and well-being.
I ask myself: Is there no respect for the life of the people and of Mother Earth? And for good health and the well-being of all? There is only one answer left to this question: To protect and care for Mother Earth, as well as myself, because we are one.