I had the privilege of joining with several hundred thousand people who love the planet and all its inhabitants on September 21, 2014, in New York City. We walked through Manhattan Island singing, sharing, praying, debating, and generally having a wonderful time expressing our shared concern. I would like to share some of my personal concerns from a perspective not commonly found in the news reports.
We have seen the outrage that erupts when someone burns a Bible, a Quran, or any holy book. It is an act of profound violence.
For many, God's creation itself is a Holy Scripture as well. His species, His oceans, His climate, the delicate balance that nourishes all the living systems of our Mother Earth constitute a profound scripture written directly without human intervention. The Sacred Mystery of Life lives in every miraculous page.
Killing species and destroying ecosystems desecrates the pages and chapters of this holy scripture, which is magnificent and precious beyond our reckoning and perfect in expression, formed by a hand unseen.
The irresponsible, unregulated development of economies, including--but not limited to--the United States and others following our example punishes life itself at a nearly unimaginable rate. We are causing species destruction at between 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal background rate of about five species per year, killing off dozens per day. By midcentury, if we don't change, 30-50 percent of all living species could be annihilated by human activity. 65 million years ago, the great dinosaur die-off occurred. But the dinosaurs did not do it to themselves.
By our own greed and arrogance, the vast, living, irreplaceable scripture called Earth is being burnt.
Unlike the Bible or Quran, we cannot reprint this burnt book.
The burning of this sacred book must stop. Our reading is not done. Our lessons are not over. Our children's lessons are not over, nor those of their children. But there is one great lesson we are now learning: We can only stop the burning of this scripture by turning from the love of illusory power to the power of real love. And we love this Earth that God created. That is why we were in the streets of Manhattan this weekend.
And without this peace with nature, there can be no peace among nations.
The grand, collective madness that is burning the world is a shape-shifting lunacy with a variety of forms that must be discerned and healed wherever it exists. The very existence of thousands of nuclear bombs prepared to rain fire and death proposes another, perhaps more terrible burning of our Holy Mother Earth by our own choice.
To protect an institution we have created--nation-states--we risk all future lives. Every one of the nine states with nuclear weapons are either modernizing or expanding their arsenals. Some are doing both.
The 16,300 of these horrific devices presents fast death on a scale beyond human imagination. Yet, over 125 states have called for negotiations to eliminate them, representing billions of people who know it is time to do so.
In New York and around the world, we are witnessing an awakening wave of caring. The admonition of the wise has always been to treat all lives with respect and see the human family as one. This spiritual insight might very well be a necessity today.
The cooperation needed to protect the climate is the same cooperation needed to eliminate the awful threat of nuclear weapons. Only a deep and profound sanity will find and eliminate the causes of global warming, heal the earth, and create a truly sustainable security future.