hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
Human beings are not owners, but caretakers or stewards who are to image the Creator in their relationship to ‘Mother Earth’ and the other creatures.
My recollections of the adventures of life and living from the simple joys that came from having natural juices in Johannesburg, that juicy mango I ate, the refreshing coconut water and sugar cane juice I drank in Kingston, the brown stewed fish in Port Royal, the maple syrup glazed baked pacific salmon in Toronto, the banana shake in Bangkok and the juicy melon in Hong Kong; or the exhilarating feeling from biking in Seattle, jogging in Dublin, shopping in Montreal, sightseeing in Dubai, viewing the wonders that is Niagara Falls, walking in Barcelona or basking in the solitude of the Gardens of Versailles or sipping that aromatic cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee… the fruits of the earth and the great outdoors on this Earth Day reminds me how grateful I am for all the blessings I have experienced and have; and the opportunity to bask in the beauty of Mother Earth.
“Mother earth has an abundance for all her inhabitants and provides generously to all who are her stewards, not her exploiters and host to greed.”
The aforementioned recollections remind me that I am blessed to be and superb experiences I’ve had and that it comes with a duty of care. I have been given the legacy of my generations before me to be a good steward of all things, but moreso of Mother Earth; where all good things for living come from. The legacy of caring not just for oneself, but all creatures and mother earth emerge from narratives of my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents who paid homage by farming land, tilling the soil and nurturing it, because they understood that it was a relationship with Mother Earth, in her gifts of abundance to her stewards.
Stewardship is a belief that humans are responsible for the world and should take care of it; by utilising and managing all resources Mother Earth provides for its inhabitants and the betterment of all living things.
The lessons about stewardship of Mother Earth emerged from my teachings and the lessons learnt that human beings are not owners, but caretakers or stewards who are to image the Creator in their relationship to the earth and the other creatures. I am poignantly reminded of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet message in 1991 about ‘Caring for the Earth’, shared:
“The earth is not only the common heritage of all humankind but also the ultimate source of life. By over-exploiting its resources we are undermining the very basis of our own life. All around, signs abound of the destruction caused by human activity and of the degradation of nature. Therefore, the protection and conservation of the earth is not a question of morality or ethics but a question of our survival. How we respond to this challenge will affect not only this generation but also many generations to come.”
What emanates from the message is what my generation before me shared, the legacy of our interdependence with Mother Earth – our symbiotic relationship and the recognition of it. We all have a universal responsibility, whether we are ensconced in our homes, the office, the great outdoors on an adventure – sailing, skiing, swimming, driving, flying, biking, walking, farming or just being – we have a duty of care to Mother Earth, given that in all those adventures and experiences we are basking in her offerings to us and in Harmony with Nature:
Mother Earth – the Earth is a living system. It is an indivisible, interdependent and interrelated community comprised of human beings, nature, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the geosphere. Any substantive alteration of one of its components can affect other areas and the entire system. The Earth is the source of life. It is a system that coordinates physical, chemical, biological and ecological elements in a manner that makes life possible. Through the term Mother Earth, we express this relationship of belonging to a system and respect for our home.
Once we have an understanding of Mother Earth, we can develop approaches to practice stewardship to strengthen our relationship; I propose three steps to honour Mother Earth:
Everything around us is life and energy. Developing an attitude to foster and understand harmony allows for us to cherish all the things Mother Earth provides for us in her abundance, through stewardship, not destruction. By fostering harmony, we see the beauty of Mother Earth and what she gives – birth to, nurtures and sustains all life. Mother Earth provides us with our food and clean water source; she bestows us with materials for our homes, clothes and tools. Mother Earth provides all life with raw materials for our industry, ingenuity and progress. As human beings, we are an inseparable part of nature, and our well-being is synergistically linked to Mother Earth’s health.
We often take from Mother Earth but never give back. Have you supported a tree planting project, a beach, river or lake clean-up, participated in a cause to protect our forests, oceans, rivers and seas; or simple recycling effort or anti-litter campaign? As human beings, we need to recognise that we ought to cultivate respect for Mother Earth with thoughts, deeds and actions. This recognition is about that special relationship with the earth and all living things in it. As the First Nation people I interacted with the world over and my generations before me, they highlight that this relationship is based on a profound spiritual connection to Mother Earth that should guide how all people live – to practice reverence, humility and reciprocity. Respect for Mother Earth is the beginning and the foundation of our very existence as humanity. Respect allows for prudence in how we treat ourselves and by extension Mother Earth.
The recognition that a relationship exists between you and Mother Earth is the starting point. That’s where stewardship emerges for all things including Mother Earth. Mastering mindfulness helps us to take responsibility for our actions and allows for us to modify our way of being to find solutions to preserve, not to destroy and annihilate Mother Earth. We are stewards and vanguards for Mother Earth, as we are protectors of our children and those we love. How will you help find ways to preserve, not destroy life? Through mindfulness; it helps to enhance the relationship you have established with Mother Earth, your children and friends by allowing you to be present in the moment and be emotionally aware of your role as a steward. Mindfulness helps you to focus your energies, attention and awareness on the thoughts, behaviour and actions to become more responsible so a better earth and world will exist for our children and generations to come.
I am resonating the rising of the new approach to Mother Earth that stewardship beckons. By encouraging a new way for humanity to share collective responsibility and experience that emerges from harmony, respect and mindfulness. This will aid in fostering a renewed awareness that Mother Earth is our stronghold of hope for all, with a narrative of inclusiveness, respect, balance, conservation, stewardship, responsibility, justice, equity, love and humility be it on an individual, community or global stage. Let us all foster creating a legacy that makes our awareness of Mother Earth become of significance importance by preserving her resources for generations to come and their wellbeing.
In recognition of Earth Day, and everyday….I challenge you to foster stewardship.
© Hugh Anthony 2016
Hugh Anthony is a certified lifestyle speaker, author and lifestyle coach for executives, creative and transitioning professionals. He is committed to helping individuals transform their passions into possibilities to enhance value creation by harnessing their lifestyle and experience to be more meaningful, profitable and purposeful.
Hugh Anthony is the Co-Founder | Consulting Lifestyle Director of Consulate| Milieu®, a boutique lifestyle consultancy firm based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in coaching, live and virtual events, training workshops an avid lifestyle projects for its diverse clientele. He is an authority on public speaking and presents on topics relating to speaking and presentation, leadership and value creation. His forthcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Public Speaking: 7 Steps to Professional Mastery will be published Summer 2018.
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