Gale sends link to a video of a talk given in 1992 by a then 12 year old girl.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki, when she was age 12, traveled from from Vancouver, Canada to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and addressed the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. With her repetitive refrain "I am only a child..." said, "If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it." She was founder of ECO (the Environmental Children's Organization). "I'm here to tell you adults, 'You must change your ways'."
Then, concluding her address:
"My father always says "You are what you do, not what you say." Well, what you do makes me cry at night. You grown ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words. Thank you for listening."
It is a long and difficult practice, this learning to listen.
Some days it seems that adult humans are very hard of hearing. Maybe this increasing deafness is because so much of what we hear is deafening drivel. Curiously, instead of learning to listen, we are becoming adept as a society in the manipulation of others. We teach persuasion and spin, how to talk over someone else who is speaking, and the paramount skill of pundit and politician -- namely, saying: "Look...!" -- and changing the question, diverting attention from the issue at hand, and rotely enumerating talking points that hammer home the agenda of the speaker.
Discourse, meaningful relational conversation, and authentic debate are fading from our culture -- replaced by derision, dismissal, and denigrating 'talking-at' instead of talking-with.
There's a great need to listen to and hear words that are true and real. Severen's were true and real in 1992. (Listen to them.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g8cmWZOX8Q&NR=1
Here are some playful/serious quotes worth listening to aloud:
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France
"No heaven will not ever heaven be; Unless my cats are there to welcome me." ~ Unknown
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~ Immanuel Kant
"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language." ~ Martin Buber
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself." - Josh Billings
"The more I see of men, the more I admire dogs." - Jeanne-Marie Roland
"I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul." - - Jean Cocteau
"Some people say man is the most dangerous animal on the planet. Obviously those people have never met an angry cat." - - Lillian Johnson
"There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer
Maybe we have to start with the animals. Then plants. Only to arrive, after prolonged practice, at human beings. Start being kind. Then caring. Finally responsible, loving, and even wise to the needs of all living sentient beings.
We could start earlier. We might begin with rocks and stones. We'll gather them, stack them, rake the small ones into patterns pleasing to the eye. We will practice not throwing stones, not using them to hurt one another. We'll build wonderful dwellings of stone and let the trees rest and re-group for a generation. We'll roll the rocks, then rock and roll with the sounds of brook and stream, river and ocean.
We'll begin all over again.
Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble
pricked and the green thread
nibbled away, the petal fell, falling
until the only flower was the falling itself.
Water is another matter,
has no direction but its own bright grace,
runs through all imaginable colors,
takes limpid lessons
and in those functionings plays out
the unrealized ambitions of the foam.
(--Poem by Pablo Neruda)
Today in Maine water falls from the heavens. Upon the place beneath, we are twice wet. Old dog and I come back from mountain rain-walk, entering through barn with wet cat into kitchen.
Birds can rest and eat. (Cat snoozes at foot of bed.)
We have not yet learned how to speak relationally, listen relationally, live relationally.
Tom R. said last night: "Truth stands in itself."
Learn to stand again.
What is itself is compassionately interdependent, relationally no-other.
To be truth where it is "it's own bright grace."
We must change our ways!