Sunday, June 5 is World Environment Day, an opportunity for all of us, wherever we live, to turn our attention to the central importance of Mother Earth in our lives.

The event was established 50 years ago by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (June 5–16, 1972).

This year’s golden anniversary will be commemorated by a follow-up gathering, Stockholm+50. It will focus on a healthy planet for the prosperity of all, and more specifically on our responsibility and our opportunity for global environmental action.

The interfaith delegation at the Stockholm+50 meeting will bring four new “Rs” to the discussion to deepen and strengthen our commitment to the environment. They focus on raising awareness of the place of human beings in an interconnected natural system.

Up to now, the existing four “Rs” have encouraged us to change our lives in practical ways based on the principles of: Rethink, Recycle, Reuse, and Refuse.

The new principles comprise: reconciliation between human beings and creation; recognition of the role of values in shaping our consumption and production patterns; rediscovering the moral and spir-itual roots of humanity and human rights; and resetting our mindsets away from a sense of human superiority to one of humility and acceptance of our place in the whole, complex web of nature.

When we celebrate World Environment Day, we celebrate our day: Human Being Day. In truth, as physical beings, we are dependent on nature for the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and much more.

The soul itself is independent and eternal, but in connection with our life on earth and its expression, we depend on Mother Earth. That is why she is called the mother she provides endlessly and abun-dantly.

Yet, our Mother Earth has now become an old lady with difficulties breathing, eating, and walking. She is ageing and needs a lot of care. For our own honor, we provide that care. We make sure we do not waste resources and we handle all matters with respect and gentleness. For example, we eat what we need but not more; instead, we share what we have with others whose needs are greater.

In addition, we do not waste thoughts, because ultimately, that will affect our dear mother. As we think, so goes the world around us.

Let us celebrate World Environment Day with the awareness of care and compassion for all living beings and nature. Let us celebrate the beauty and harmony in nature. And wherever we see that it has been destroyed, we can bring it back to life by first creating beauty and harmony in our minds.

Perhaps one way of celebrating would be to visit an older person in your family or network and spend the day with them. To share a meal, to share good memories and love. By restoring our minds to a healthy state, we can help restore Mother Earth.

Sonja Ohlsson is an experienced meditator and teacher of meditation, based in Copenhagen. She is the International Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative.

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