Tag Archives: United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

Honoring Mother Earth and our Native Communities

We love nature! Ever since we were young, Dean Evenson and I have enjoyed camping, hiking and just being in nature. Dean was an avid bird watcher and even achieved the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout with its associated merit badges. I used to explore the trails in the woods behind my house, imagining the Indians who walked there in a long ago age before cities, suburbs and super highways.

Dudley Dean mt lakeIt seems that time has only increased our love of the natural world and it doesn’t take much to get us out into wilderness areas. Last week, on a warm sunny day, we found ourselves high up on Mt. Baker near our home doing what we love to do – photographing, videotaping and sitting quietly on the mountainside with its vast vistas and sense of peaceful stillness.

It was our early exposure to the philosophy of Native American cultures that inspired us to consider the planet as a living body, our Mother Earth. In 1972, a couple years after the very first Earth Day, we attended the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and met 15 Native Americans who had been sent over by Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog.2 UN Earth SummitsHe had arranged for them to offer their influence on diplomats and environmentalists, to share their wisdom about Mother Earth. Dean and I videotaped them and were profoundly impressed with their powerful message, so different from the others at the conference.

This week, four decades after that first exposure, we were honored to participate in the Indigenous People’s Day celebration at the Lummi Indian Nation, a nearby Native American tribe. 

It was inspiring to see how far our Native brothers and sisters have come back to their traditional ways and how proudly they carry the message of the Earth. This beautiful mother planet that we all share was the initial impetus for the music Dean and I create through our label Soundings of the Planet. Nature was our first inspiration and many of our recordings include the sounds of the natural world. May we learn to care for this Earth, our living home, and find ways to give back to the planet and to the original people and all who struggle here.

Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments and thoughts. When you comment here I will send you are free mp3 music track!

And please check out these albums and DVDs on sale at soundings.com.
Native Healing
4 Earth CD

4 Earth DVD
2 U.N. Earth Summits: 1972 & 1992

 

Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Mothers Everywhere

Curtis Print Comanche MothersThis picture of Comanche Mothers was taken in 1927 by E. S. Curtis and is an original print that was given to us many years ago in appreciation for our work. It was actually the negative holder for this wonderful image of mothers and their papooses, taken during a time when Native American traditions were still somewhat in tact.  We have much to learn from those traditional ways. All mothers everywhere have the same need – to care for their children.  And for mothers to be able to care for their families, they also need to be well cared for.

In 1972, my husband, Dean Evenson, and I attended as videographers the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden.  I was five months pregnant with our first child but that didn’t stop me from hauling a backpack, tent, sleeping bag and our 35-pound video deck connected by a cable to an eight pound camera.  Of course Dean carried much of the heavy load and we managed to get around the conference, videotape and hitchhike throughout Sweden.

At the conference, we were fortunate to meet the 15 Native Americans who were sent over by Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog.  They were there to speak about Mother Earth and how the planet is a living being and how her human children are destroying her with their consumptive, polluting ways. This was the first time we had heard the phrase ‘Mother Earth’ and we were fascinated.

Over the four decades since then, we have been with and videotaped many Native brothers and sisters who echoed the same plea to save our precious Mother Earth, the only home we have.  The Earth is the source of all our physical beings and we are totally dependent on her for our survival.  Our very being depends on the health and wellbeing of our planet.  This message resonates even more strongly today as we witness the destruction brought on by climate change, extreme weather and carbon emissions from our overuse of fossil fuels.

So during this season of celebrating mother, we ask that you also consider the Earth and honor her sacred being by respecting her and finding ways to ‘give back’ what you have taken.  Consider switching to renewable energy, growing your own food or supporting organic, non-GMO farming and gardening and taking the time to educate your children, your grandchildren, and all those you come in contact with about this very important way of appreciating nature.  Mother Earth, Mother Nature, whatever you call this precious planet, our very lives depend on how we treat the Earth today.

Also for a limited time, I am giving away a free download of our nature music for those who comment on my blog about our music or about how you find ways to ‘give back to the Earth.’ And for those of you who would like to purchase some of Soundings of the Planet’s relaxing, nature-based music, we are having a super sale on all our CDs at only $9 through May 15.  Use this code at checkout to get the discount – MOTHERSDAY15.

Thích Nhất Hạnh: A Message of Peace in the Midst of War

In 1972, Thích Nhất Hạnh, was a young Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and outspoken critic of the conflict raging in his homeland.  During the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden he spoke candidly about the war in Vietnam and the need for peace.  He called for people to re-examine their lives and take responsibility for the causes of war.  This interview was recorded in half-inch, black and white video on a Sony Portapack and appears on the DVD ‘2 U.N. Earth Summits: 1972 & 1992’ by Dean Evenson.

Transcription:
“Pressure should be made in order to stop the flow of weapons in Vietnam either by the United States and other countries, whether capitalist or socialist.  But that can be done only when there is already a commitment by the United States to withdraw in a certain period of time and the cessation of the killing.  I’m not talking about North Vietnam or South Vietnam, Hanoi or Saigon.  I am talking about the people in Vietnam whom I know, those people who are dying every day, who are suffering every day.  I am talking for their sake.

“And if you want to ask me the question of what they want, the most is that you stop the bombing, you stop the killing and then if we are alive we will pursue our struggle for other things like human dignity, freedom, independence and so on.  But if you think that you have to go on fighting and dying, then you are wrong.  I don’t think it is only the American government that is responsible for the war.

“Most of you know that the political-economic system there has been causing things like war in Vietnam.  That is why not doing anything about the system and only demand the government to do everything, that is not enough.  And I’m afraid that even if you get another new president, he may be doing the same thing as the present one.

“That is why for the people to re-examine their lives, themselves, to know whether they are participating in the strengthening of the present system in the United States is a very crucial point.  If you continue to support that system, continue to consume, continue to live that way, and then you cannot say that you are not responsible, that you are upholding the government in doing things in Vietnam.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh is the founder of Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in southern France.  On November 11, 2014, he experienced a severe brain hemorrhage and was brought to hospital. There are signs that a full recovery may be possible.  We are praying for his perfect health.