In Guatemala, I am a guest of the Hermanas de la Sagrada Familia (Sisters of the Holy Family). They are a sister community to my Loretto community. These are great Guatemalan women, tracing their community roots to Belgium, and they now have sisters in Africa. (Yes, Mary Ann McGivern is a Loretto friend and NCR blogger, as well!)
At the Global Rights of Nature summit, Vandana Shiva, an internationally renowned physicist and environmental activist, led the ritual Thursday on our last morning in Otavalo, sharing some of India’s poems and hymns to Mother Earth. One began, “Whatever, I dig of you, O Earth, may that grow quickly upon you.”
Lucky me. I am in Guatemala for a series of meetings between my community, Loretto, and Sagrada Familia here. Thursday we traveled to La Puya, a mine about an hour outside of Guatemala City. The local villagers have been encamped there for 22 months, prepared to block mining equipment from digging wells and starting operations. Earth studies show that gold and possibly uranium lie under the earth.
The sun warmed our faces as again we began the third day of the Global Rights of Nature summit with a morning ceremony, led by Tom Goldtooth (Dine’ and Dakota) and Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca), expressing gratitude to Mother Earth for the life that animates and sustains us.
The Sufi practice of “adab” means reverence for all things, including objects and animals.
Reverence, my friend Fred Brussat of Spiritualityandpractice.com argues, is an even more important value than compassion. Wow, what a rivalry.
The sun was beginning to cut the chill of the Andean morning when the group gathered around a fountain in an outdoor courtyard. This is how the summit of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature began, with Tai Ta Carlos, an elder from this territory, leading a ceremony of thanksgiving to Pachamama, Mother Earth, for the life that sustains us.
Speaking of the damage we are doing to Earth, he said, “We must recognize that we are part of the natural world.”
We traveled three hours by bus northeast from Quito, Ecuador, climbing winding roads up the highlands of the Andes Mountains, past craggy canyons, hillside farms and village settlements. Our destination was Otavalo, at the foot of the Imbabura volcano, where we joined nearly 50 leaders of the emergent “rights of nature” movement for a four-day global summit.
Eco Catholic: Last week, a coal-cleaning chemical poured into the Elk River, leading the state to issue a tap water ban affecting 300,000 people.
Beginning Monday, key leaders of the emergent "rights of nature" movement are holding an international summit in Quito, Ecuador. Adrian Dominican Sr. Elise Garcia will provide updates to NCR’s Eco Catholic blog while attending the summit, which aims "to devise a unified global strategy for advancing the Rights of Nature movement around the world," according to a press release.
Eco Catholic: "They need water. Good, good water," goes the line from The Who. Who knew California's bishops would be singing the same tune?