The planet will survive without humans, but human survival is dependent on the planet. Just like the water cycle, which feeds itself through the constant evaporation, condensation and flow of water around the world, all life is part of an interconnected system. We are the water that we drink, as are the couds, the prairies, the rivers, and the ocean. We breathe through it, eat from it, and must preserve it to preserve ourselves.
On 2 November, a diverse alliance was brought together at the Paris-based Conseil Economique, Social et Environnemental under the patronage of French President François Hollande to address and lend support to the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities for Humankind. They included scientists, religious leaders, civil society, lawyers, youth and businesspeople. Green Cross, which has long been engaged in the declaration’s development, was among those present.
“So what does this declaration tell us?” asked Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris. “It reminds us that we are all part of the same planet, that there is no ‘Planet B’, and that the past, present and future generations all have their parts to play in humanity’s existence. If humanity is to survive, each generation must respect the needs of those who will succeed it.”
Beecause of the necessity and urgency to act, the declaration calls on humanity as a whole – each and every person – to work towards the planet’s preservation. The efforts proposed to mitigate and adapt to climate change must be equal to the challenge.
“This Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities for Humankind is essential to the protection of the planet,” said Christian Leyrit. “It’s the only way to establish a guarantee of collective commitment to preserve our ecological capital, and to prevent it being drawn down. Everyone should sign the declaration and help support it ahead of the Paris COP21. There’s less than a month left, but we can get there.”
President Hollande, speaking by video (as he was in Beijing), said: “This Universal Declaration puts forward the idea of inter-generational justice, ethical responsibility and dignity. It sets the boundaries of that responsibility for the current generation, and establishes itself in the same vein as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is our objective to have this declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, but first and foremost we hope it will be taken up and brought forward by civil society.”
To support the declaration, go to http://droitshumanite.fr and add your signature.
For videos of the 2 November event, go to: http://www.vimeo.com/GCFT