Dense trees in rain forest with tangled roots.

The human family is on a spiritual journey of discovering the consciousness that will bring peace and justice to people and planet.

I had the honor of attending the Rights of Nature Symposium and also have deep discussions on economic development with Latin American entrepreneurs at Nexus LatAm. I am convinced we need a universal declaration for the rights of nature adopted by every country as a basis for decorum with the living environment. It must be a universal declaration upheld by the concert of nations and future ages. And there is a precedent! Eleanor Roosevelt championed a universal declaration for human rights back in 1948. We can bring our common ideals to a higher human ground and message for people and planet.

This is a much-needed step for the human family! Our species has developed extractive legal and financial institutional structures border by border and country by country over and over again since the end of World War II.

And what are our outcomes? Global inequality at an all-time high! An existential climate crisis! And as Americans, our exit from the Paris Agreement and an inability to discover a more pure and guiding political spirit that is revealing so much about our lower natures and deemphasis on solidarity and humility for all, at the most inopportune time! Will our societies transcend, and that is, in spirit?

Will we embody a sense of being and a consciousness of the greatest good for the greater number?

We have sinned too long. Consumer society harms every form of capital in which we've ever been educated, from financial to spiritual. Ecological disasters are the news of the day. 

Earth has a spirit.

It is a living consciousness that is reminding us that our ecological negligence has social and economic consequences and violence. Our consumerism and extraction economic models must transition to a plan as explained by Joel Solomon in his book The Clean Money Revolution. We are to wrestle with the needed transformation that nature is asking us all to make. Will we do it before the rate of change is quicker than our capacity to adapt and preserve ourselves? 

Those of us in the west that are 20% of the planet population must find new lenses for economic growth and abandon expiring social contracts with the 80% of the people on this planet living on $10 a day or less. We, of that 20%, must take responsibility in legal and financial terms for the ecological crisis real-time and in real number. Nature is speaking a clear language with a bold message, she is unhappy with our self-assured being forgetting altogether we too are victims of the food chain of life. It's clear, we've taken for granted the abundance of nature and her generous ecosystems. 

We need a new know-how for development based on regenerative and circular economic structures. And perhaps, as necessary, we should adopt time-tested approaches, based on indigenous governance, to our leadership and power structures in government, business, and religion. The people's voice will rise in peace or with fists. The mountain will move toward justice. Earth is one alone and she will return to being a sacred being for all people in all places. 

Indigenous leaders at the Rights of Nature Symposium are clear that the basis of life on economic terms is inconsistent with the regenerative and generous function of living ecosystems of this planet. We have a poverty of spirit rooted in our hearts and minds. We must shift our relationship with this essential source of life. A universal declaration on the rights of nature is to improve human behavior toward a better version of well-being. A human nature away from our destruction and control of this precious life-affirming environmental resource for all people, in all places.

Life is Earth. Earth is life.

Lakes. Deserts. Mountains. Forests. Oceans. Jungles. A return to our terrestrial origin is required, with Mother Nature, the first things to say is: "Forgive us, can we discover harmony with you again?" 

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About The Author

Henry Cross's picture

Henry Cross grew up in sunny Miami, Florida. Upon graduating high school, he moved to the politicized Washington, D.C. and double majored in History and Politics at the Catholic University. He served as a social studies teacher in Prince George’s County Public School in 2008-2009. In the fall of 2009, he moved to New York City to continue and grow his work in education and service.

He joined Hosh Yoga in 2011 as a teacher and Program Director. And since 2013, he founded and expanded programming for the organization with Hosh Kids and Hosh Seniors. Henry's entrepreneurial spirit helped developed the organizational, program, and financial capacity of the nonprofit to deliver self-sustaining and self-supporting health and wellness services to over 3,000 children, adults, and seniors every month in a cost-effective and fairly-priced way. And from 2014 to 2016, he participated in a philanthropic role by expanding the programming, policy, and public advocacy efforts of the Sonima Foundation as Community Relations Director.

His work has been featured by the Huffington PostElephant JournalBlog Talk RadioThe NYC Social Innovation FestivalSocial Venture Institute, and multiple Brooklyn and Queens newspapers. He is an appointed New York City official of Community Board 5 in Queens, serves on a Department of Youth and Community Development Neighborhood Advisory Board, and on the board of directors of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association. And in 2015, Henry was selected as an business fellow and awarded Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Rising Star. He finds joy in his community work service everyday and loves ballroom dancing!

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