Universal Responsibility, Human Duties and the Rights of Nature
Conference from Sofia Stril-Rever (synthesis)
6th international conference
Universal Responsibility, Human Duties and the Rights of Nature
United Nations, Geneva, 11-12 december 2017
Anthropocene, “the Age of mankind”, has witnessed the dawn of a planetary consciousness within the Earth ecosystem, requiring a new paradigm of inclusiveness, based on the interdependence and the indivisible community of life. In 2017 nature is increasingly recognized a subject of law, which involves to redefine human duties and commitments to it. In this context, the need to assume a universal responsibility should become a priority, as the Dalai Lama has kept reminding us from international forums as early as 1973, year of his first public lectures in the West. And in 1989, the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to him notably in recognition of his commitment to promote the concept of universal responsibility, as a guiding tenet for how human beings should treat one another and the planet they share.
According to the Tibetan leader, by failing to understand that we must become individually the change we want for the world, none of the great democratic or societal ideals heralded for centuries, has succeeded in bringing the peace, the social justice and the brotherhood they promised to implement. An external system of thought alone will not be sufficient. In front of the environmental emergency, in 2 recent landmark books, New Reality (2016) and A Call to Revolution (2017), co-written with Sofia Stril-Rever, the Dalai Lama is urging us to transform the Anthropocene into an Age of universal responsibility, by starting a Revolution of compassion, in order to become citizens of planet Earth, connected in a fraternity that extends to the whole biosphere and the natural life.
Sofia Stril-Rever, a French writer and lecturer, biographer of the Dalai Lama, is the founding spokesperson of the association Peace and Universal Responsibility Europe (P.U.R.E.). She teaches meditations of inner healing and universal responsibility.
"CLIMATE AND CONSCIOUSNESS"
Speaker : Patricia Savin President of Orée, Associate Lawyer DS Avocats
Madam President, ladies and gentlemen,
"Climate and consciousness", what a wonderful subject !
Are we aware that climate change can generate :
a vast amount of vector-borne diseases : cholera, Lyme disease ;
coastal floods two times more significant ;
heat waves in France approaching 50 ° by the end of the century ;
The list is still long…
According to UN estimates, by 2050, 250 million people could be forced into exile because of climate change.
To date, the world has three times more climate refugees than war refugees. Yet, unlike political refugees, climate change refugees do not yet have an international legal status, even though Paris lawyers are carrying a draft legal status for Environmentally Displaced People, which I can talk about with those who are interested in the topic.
Are we really aware of all these issues ?
I think that we have the knowledge of it through multiple studies, reports, publications, but we do not have the Conscience. Indeed, despite all this knowledge, scientists are constantly calling out desperate alarms.
In the Earth System Dynamics review of July 2017, 15 leading scientists launched a new call to become aware of the climate threat.
Despite the ratification by 145 states at the Paris Agreement and the publication of 189 national policies, we continue to warm up the planet at a very high rate creating a global climate insecurity and a source of conflict and major crises.
The climate carelessness meets the technological carelessness.
The call of climate scientists recalls the August 2017 call of a hundred industrialists and researchers addressed to the UN to urge it to act very quickly in order to oversee the development of autonomous weapons (armed robots). It’s urgent :
"Once developed, these weapons will allow armed conflicts to take place on a larger scale than ever before and in a time that is too fast for human understanding.
They can become weapons of terror, (...) it will be possible to hack them into behaving in an undesirable way.
We don’t have a lot of time to act. Once this pandora box is open, it will be difficult to close.
We are asking the United Nations to find a way to protect us from these dangers. "
The paradox is that among these signatories - whistleblowers - are companies that deploy large-scale artificial intelligence ..., such as Tesla with its autonomous vehicles.
Carelessness / climateunconsciousness,
Carelessness / Technological Unconsciousness.
How can we finally come out of our collective carelessness, of our "collective delirium ?", said our friend Michel Giran who left us this summer, after having worked so much for a better future, and to whom I pay tribute here.
Why so much slowness, inertia, carelessness ?
Is not the answer precisely in the difference between Knowledge / Science and Consciousness ? "Science without conscience ..." Rabela use to say.
Science is objective, it is knowledge and if possible a mastery of the order of things. Consciousness is subjective, it makes us think about ourselves, about our actions and the consequences of our actions. Consciousness invites us to contemplate our own subjectivity, and to identify what is really vital.
So how to regain Consciousness ?
How to wake up, to rehumanise collectively in order to avoid the catastrophe of a world with climate injustice ?
How to avoid the catastrophe of a world where we will fight for water, land, food, and this by means of autonomous weapons designed in the same carelessness and the same injustice, this time atechnological one ?
The great traditions of wisdom bring consistent answers.
In his address of November 8, 1997, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew asked about the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems.
He invites us to find solutions - not only through technique - but through a change in the human being, because otherwise we would only face the symptoms. He proposes to us to pass :
from greed to generosity,
from wasting to the ability to share, in an asceticism that means learning to give and not just giving up.
In his Encyclical of May 24, 2015, "Praise be to You," Pope Francis also highlights the human root of the ecological crisis.
He calls us all - believers and non-believers - to the "ecological conversion", considering that :
"It will not be possible] to engage in great things (...) without these inner motives that push, motivate, encourage and give meaning to personal and community action (...)
if it is true that the outer deserts multiply in the world, because the interior deserts have become very large,
the ecological crisis is a call for a deep inner conversion which supposes various attitudes that combine to promote a generous protection of the planet : gratitude and free of charge, will and recognition of the gift that constitutes our future planet, conscious of not being disconnected from other creatures, [consciousness] to form with the other beings of the universe a beautiful universal communion ".
In his Manifesto for Universal Responsibility of September 2015 written by his French biographer Sofia Stril-Rever, the Dalai Lama makes a very similar appeal. He invites everyone to 3 insights :
1. Inner peace and shared reality of life
2. Inner humanity
3. Force of truth
On September 13, 2016, during a meeting with the lawyers of the Paris Bar of which I am a member, the Dalaï-lama invited the legal community to get involved by fully integrating the issues of universal responsibility.
With my friends, Sofia Stril-Rever and Khoa Nguyen, president of the association "Peace and universal responsibility", we created in 2017, a cycle of meetings entitled "Law and Consciousness", to cross multi-disciplinarity with the big questions of societies and integrate the practices of interiority resulting from the meditative tradition and the latest discoveries of contemplative neuroscience.
The next cycle is currently being prepared and I would be pleased to welcome you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,
Despite the negative and alarmist forecasts, despite the general atmosphere that is sometimes very stressful, I remain convinced that we have the duty - individual and collective - to bring a positive and constructive message from the Society.
"What brings us together must be stronger than what divides us. "
What brings us together firstis our Earth and our Humanity.
Together - united, strong and convinced that another economic, human and environmental vision is possible - we will be able to support our society in its vital ecological, energetic and human mutation.
So, with Faith, Strength, Courage and Determination, let’s aim
to "be the change we want to see in the world", for those we love and for our planet.
"As for the future, it is not a question of predicting it, but of making it possible," said Saint-Exupéry. Together, let’s make this future possible ... in Consciousness.
Long live the climate justice