Are you a
"I pledge allegiance to the Earth,
and all the Life which it supports,
one planet in our care,
with sustenance and respect for all."
"My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation's history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language or culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time."
Once it was enough to be a patriot of your cave or village. Then it became enough to be a citizen of a local region, a watershed, or a city-state. Then great empires were built, from the Roman Empire to the British Empire, which made for patriotism for the conquerors but did little for the self-esteem of the conquered! At least in the United States of America, the thirteen colonies banded together, and patriotism has become synonymous with freedom. But should patriotism be so fixed on a single nation-state to the exclusion of all others? We live in a global world, as the Apollo photographs of Earth showed us, and we are increasingly interdependent. It is time to broaden our sense of patriotism to encompass all humanity and even life itself.
It is time to grow once again, to be citizens of not just our country and nation, but our Earth. But we don't stop loving our nation-state just because we also love the Earth. We can be patriots of both!
In fact, it is not enough to be Earth-patriots. As humanity explores Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the rest of the Solar System, we increasingly must understand the truth of Adlai Stevenson's recognition that we are "passengers on a little spaceship."
From the perspective of the solar system, we must all be environmentalists. The Hubble Space Telescope is presenting pictures to us that ought to change our planet's culture as much as the Apollo pictures of the Earth first did in the late 1960's. And, as Alexander Skutch said, "Often a loyal citizen can do most for his country by giving his home town or county the benefit of his energy. Similarly, we can best demonstrate our cosmic loyalty by serving our home planet." We can help fulfill that ideal by endorsing and implementing the Earth Charter Initiative.
These pages are devoted to what I hope are some inspirational messages from those who have written and sung about the importance of loving and learning about our spaceship earth; even loving and learning about our solar system and the universe beyond. I call for a greater patriotism - that is, love - for the Planet we live on - for what is patriotism but love, and shouldn't love be boundless? We do not need to give up loving our own country just because we also love the planet! We do not need to give up loving humanity just because we also love wildlife! We do not need to give up loving our Earth just because we also love Mars and Phobos, Jupiter and Europa and Io, Saturn and Titan, and our own Moon. We do not even have to confine our love to our own solar system, we can be Patriots for the Universe! But for now, the best start is to stop looking at our own nation-state, and extend our patriotism to the entire planet. Like it or not, we are all in this together. We have to learn to share our Earth, with all people, including future generations, and all living things.
Let our capacity for love grow -- beyond the boundary of epidermis of humanity itself, to embrace all life-forms, great and small, with whom we share this terrestrial globe. Remember what Albert Schweitzer said: "Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
This ideal was confirmed by Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the United Nations in the 1950s, who said when visiting Muir Woods in 1955, "Persons who love nature find a common basis for understanding people of other countries, since the love of nature is universal among men of all nations."
The growth of theocratic fundamentalists of all stripes and of terrorism around the world testifies to the need for global Planet Patriotism (not jingoistic nationalism or calls to kill all "unbelievers"!). The facts of global warming, overpopulation, natural resource shortages, and mass extinctions make the transition to that global vision more compelling than it ever has been! As Bruce Hamilton of the Sierra Club says, "As the world today grapples with combating terrorism and man's inhumanity to man, we need to redouble our efforts to protect the natural heritage in which we all can take refuge." The natural world is our ark, and we all need to make a covenant to be responsible crew members.
Let our capacity for love grow -- beyond even the boundary of the Earth's atmosphere even, to what the toxic runaway greenhouse of Venus and the hell of Mercury to the frigid winds of Mars and the frozen mystery of Pluto teach us. Let us love our own Sun too, but recognize that it is only a moderately average star in a living cosmos that stretches far beyond all prior human understanding.
Let's continue to learn and to consciously evolve. Let us use science as a tool to expand our love, and art and music to celebrate it! Living is a multi-disciplinary enterprise!
Let us be responsible in our love -- patriotism implies responsible citizenship. In doing so, let's also have a good time! Life requires humor, especially the ability to laugh at oneself, and not take oneself too seriously.
How to begin implementing these ideals? An excellent place to start is with the authors and music offered on this website.
"My patriotism is not an exclusive thing. It is all-embracing and I should reject that patriotism which sought to mount upon the distress or the exploitation of other nationalities. The conception of my patriotism is nothing if it is not always, in every case without exception, consistent with the broadest good of humanity at large. Not only that, but my religion and my patriotism derived from my religion embrace all life. I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl on earth..."
- Mahatma Gandhi
Our loyalties are to the species---all the species—and the planet itself. WE speak for earth. Our obligation to survive [and thrive] is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we have sprung.
"We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent upon its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed for our safety to its security and peace, preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and I will say the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half-fortunate, half-miserable, and half-free in the liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all."
- Adlai Stevenson
"Preserving the resources we share is crucial not only for the quality of our individual environments and health, but also to maintain stability and peace within nations and among them."
- William J. Clinton
Well I'm a child of many worlds
and if I had to choose just one,
I'd say my home is the planet
that circles around the sun.
It's like a ship and we're on it for a ride
at the end of the night we're all on the same side.
We may be different in the ways we think
but if we don't hang together the ship is gonna sink.
- Erika Luckett, "Kindness," from Amaze
Me: Songs in the Key of Peace.
"What we now need to discover in the social realm is the moral equivalent of war: something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proved itself to be incompatible."
- William James, in The Varieties of Religious Experience
"Hatred never ceases by hatred; but by love alone is healed."
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
- The Earth Charter (2000)
"There is enough love for you and for me, there
is enough for the straight and the gay, there is enough for the people who
were born in America and the new immigrants, there is enough for the blacks,
there is enough for the whites, there is enough for the Latinos, there is
enough for the Asians, there is enough for the Muslims, the Christians, the
Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus. There is enough for everybody."
- U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (5th District, Minnesota, first Muslim member of U.S. Congress).
:We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."
- President Barak Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013
Other Sites by Harold Wood:
If anything here strikes a responsive chord,
I'd love to hear from you! Please e-mail me at:
harold at planetpatriot dot net