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Ecospirituality is a natural philosophy that leads to a reassessment of the relationship the individual person has with the environment, where all living creatures, as well as the planet itself, acquire a value and dignity equivalent to that of humans. The individual is therefore not seen as an unchallenged dominator of the world he inhabits, but lives in brotherhood with all manifestations of life and with the planet itself, in a shared planetary experience which forms part of an ecosystem orbiting in space.--------------The Authors---Rosalba Nattero is a journalist, musician, writer and TV and radio presenter. She is the founder of the animal rights association, SOS Gaia, and devotes her numerous activities to the defence of the rights of animals and the achievement of an equal role for them in the human community. She also campaigns actively against prejudice on the grounds of species and dreams of a world where both human and non-human animals can walk side by side towards a better future.---Giancarlo Barbadoro is a journalist, writer and musician. He is a UNO delegate and represents six indigenous organisations. He was joined by Natives from all the continents in founding Ecospirituality Foundation Onlus, which is a non profit making organisation in consultative status with the UNO and works towards spreading the philosophy of ecospirituality, a revolutionary new way of addressing the issue of animals.
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THE ECOSPIRITUALITY PROJECT
THE IDENTITY OF ANIMALS AND ECOSPIRITUALITY
DO ANIMALS HAVE A SOUL?
ANIMAL RIGHTS AND ANTISPECIESISM
NATURAL PEOPLES AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER FORMS OF LIFE
THE QUESTION OF THE PLANT COMMUNITY
THE SUFFERING SHOW
EXPERIMENTING ON ANIMALS, USELESS AND HARMFUL TO HUMANS
A CARNIVOROUS DIET DESTROYS US AND OUR PLANET
THE MANY FACETS OF ANIMAL EXPLOITATION
ANIMAL RIGHTS AND SPIRITUALITY
ANIMAL RIGHTS SUPPORTERS IN HISTORY
ALL CHILDREN OF MOTHER EARTH
ALL CHILDREN OF MOTHER EARTH
Ecospirituality in the relationship with animals
Translation by Nick Youldon
Piazza Statuto, 15 - 10122 Torino
Tel/fax: 011 530 846
e-mail: [email protected]
web site: www.triskeledition.comwww.rosalbanattero.net www.giancarlobarbadoro.netwww.sos-gaia.org
1 st Edition 2018 © Copyright 2018 - Edizioni Triskel Ebook ISBN 9788895127521
Paper version ISBN 9788895127507
The animals that accompany our lives are discreet creatures, which go part of the way with us, stand alongside us and then discreetly leave. But in that short stretch they give us so much, and not only in terms of affection or gratification.
We human animals live our lives interspersed with thousands of ups and downs, which make up the history of Mankind. We interact with one another amidst thousands of battles, both great and small, from the wars within the four walls of our home, to those with our neighbours, right down to worldwide conflicts. We are a varied humanity, made up of idealists trying to build a better world and egoists, just looking for power, money and oppression. The history of Mankind is complex and full of wars, oppression and great ideals. But all of this takes place in a large theatre, which is nature, and beside us there are other creatures which we hardly notice as part of our scenario.
These creatures, though, are not a scenario. They are living and vital realities, they are “people” like us, even if they have a different aspect and their own culture, habits and customs, emotions and consciousness.
But who are those that we commonly call animals? One could say they are aliens, because they have a different form from ours, different habits and customs from ours and different cultures.
If we remove animals from their roles, which, even with the best of intentions, places them in a precise part (dog, cat, etc.), then we may discover something of a surprise.
Very often, absolutely in the best of faith, we consider ourselves superior to them, as if they were babies that have to learn something from us. They are not everlasting babies. Maybe we take them in as infants and for a while we treat them as if we were their parents, but then they grow up, they have their own life-span and, once they are adult, it is often them who support us, give us strength and ease our anguish.
But those that we commonly call animals are much more than that. Since they are not hidebound by dogma, prophets or religions, they are free, sincere creatures. They live in symbiosis with Nature and that is precisely why they prove to be extraordinary beings.
Animals often surprise us with their powers, for which thousands of examples could be given. One of many: during the Tsunami, in 2004, in the Indian Ocean, which caused thousands of deaths, the animals survived. All the animals. The trumpeting of the elephants saved hundreds of people. A man trapped for weeks under rubble managed to survive because he was fed by birds.
And yet we still fall into the old habit of feeling superior, of looking on animals in a paternalistic manner, as if they needed us. What if it was the other way round? It should not be forgotten that the pharmaceutical giants spy on the great apes, in order to uncover the secrets of their therapeutic herbs.
Humanity, the biggest parasite that exists in nature, has built a world with no room for animals. Majoritarian society has taken control of the fate of humanity and annihilated other cultures, something it has done with indigenous Peoples and, even more so, with animals.
Are we superior? If so, why have we not managed to learn their languages, while they appear to understand ours very well?
Animals seem to possess a harmony, an awareness, a serenity which seems to be lacking in humans. And one should ask why.
The concept of ecospirituality might answer this question. Ecospirituality makes up for this with a concept of the Universe, Earth and everything living on it, based on parameters that are totally different from those which we are used to in the majoritarian society. Ancient philosophies, which have nowadays been relegated to historical baggage with no future and no relevance to our society, display, rather, a conception of non-human animals turned completely on its head, when compared to that which we, unfortunately, are accustomed to.
In the ancient traditions animals play a sacred role, they are the guardians of the door to the invisible. They are seen as totemic animals, there to guide and protect us.
The supposed superiority of the majoritarian society over other species prevents us from taking part in the magnificent dance that animals invite us to join.
And yet, if there is any hope of building a more harmonious world, it may lie precisely in animals. They enter our lives and our homes and they improve us. So many people have changed after sharing their lives with an animal, becoming more sensitive and more supportive, not only towards animals but also towards other human beings.
Maybe the only hope for this sick humanity lies precisely in these different brothers of ours and it is up to us to try to be receptive to their teaching, starting with those who are closest to us, by ceasing to see them as our children or younger siblings, then trying to build a better world together with them.
Ecospirituality is a concept that arises from the experience of Natural Peoples, that is, those native peoples who have never been assimilated by the religions and ideologies of the majoritarian society. These are cultures in existence over all the continents, which have maintained contact with Mother Earth, understood as a reference for personal spiritual growth.
Ecospirituality is the philosophy of Nature, an experience of inner harmony that extends to everything surrounding us, respecting the environment and all life forms. It is a philosophy inspired by Nature in its global sense, understood as not only the manifestation of its natural cycles but also its mystic interpretation, a depositary of the great Cosmic mystery.
Ecospirituality leads to reassessment of the relationship of the person with the environment, where all living creatures and the planet itself come to assume a value and dignity on a par with that of humans. So, the individual person is not seen as an unchallenged dominator in the world they inhabit, but they find themselves in brotherhood with all the manifestations of life and with the planet itself, in a shared experience that is part of an ecosystem orbiting in space. Here is an opportunity for harmonious involvement in the environment, whether that is understood as a social dimension, a dwelling place or contact with nature, while respecting its harmony.
It is an experience of inner harmony extending to the whole of the surrounding environment, in a global interpretation, that does not stop with everyday life, but involves the totality of existence. The concept of “environment” takes on a metaphysical aspect, transcending the dimension of the senses of the tangible everyday environment. This is the “Shan” of the ancient druids, Nature in its immaterial aspect, as well as physical.
According to the conception of the Natural Peoples of this planet, ecospirituality is not to be understood as an ideology, but as a harmonious method of relating to the environment, inspired by an inner spiritual experience, both free and natural. Ecospirituality is development of the intuition that is felt when facing a starry sky, with no philosophical or religious ties, which takes concrete form in an experience of knowledge and life. It was on this basis that the current depositaries of the traditions of the Natural Peoples from various continents met to define a shared intention of disseminating the philosophy of Ecospirituality on the planet. This was the founding of Ecospirituality Foundation, a Non-profit Organisation in Consultative Status with the United Nations, which arose from an idea of the authors of this volume and works, through specific commissions, on issues relating to the so-called “Natural Peoples” and their unique way of interpreting the relationship between individual people, the environment and the mystery of existence.
One of its aims is safeguarding the traditions and cultural heritage of the Natural Peoples of the planet and the exchange of experiences in accordance with principles of brotherhood and equality between all living species.
The United Nations has granted Ecospirituality Foundation Onlus recognition as a “NGO in Consultative Status with the United Nations”, on account of its work in the field of safeguarding the traditions, the sacred sites and the spirituality of Natural Peoples.
The Ecospirituality Foundation staff includes representatives from native Communities from all over the world.
Ecospirituality Foundation has set up the “SOS Gaia” Commission, an animal rights and anti-speciesism organisation, which operates to safeguard other species by defending their rights, helping animals in need and promoting a mentality of giving just respect and due dignity to non-human animals, in as much as they are also conscious beings and children of Mother Earth, just the same as human animals.
This is the context in which the Ecospirituality Project was set up, being understood as a proposal for the application of ecospirituality in relationships with other species.
ECOSPIRITUALITY PROJECT Proposal of a moral manifesto
We consider Ecospirituality to be the answer to the suffering and problems on this planet.
Ecospirituality is to be understood as a philosophy that presumes an individual person having a harmonious relationship, arising from his or her inner harmonious experience, in tune with Nature, which is understood not just to be a manifestation of its natural cycles, but also to be a mystic concept and depositary of a great cosmic mystery.
We consider that inner balance is not derived from a pre-packaged doctrine, but is related to a pragmatic experience offered by nature, through the activation of its spontaneous evolutionary archetype, which we call meditation.
Ecospirituality means respect for Mother Earth and for all the life she has generated and to which she offers hospitality.
Nowadays, it can be seen how the rights of those Peoples who are in tune with nature, the Natural Peoples, have been trodden underfoot.
Just as the daily massacre of animals can be observed, animals used as “objects” for the benefit of the dominant species, humanity.
For this purpose we have founded Ecospirituality Foundation, to give a voice to those without one and do what can be done to help those in need. To make a contribution to a better world.
Ecospirituality in the relationship with other species
The principle of ecospirituality leads to granting equality and dignity to all living forms generated by Mother Earth during the course of its journey through space.
Therefore, all children of Mother Earth should possess the right to life, to the joy of life and to spirituality.
On this principle we would point out that the human species considers itself privileged and at the centre of the whole universe, while non-human species are totally abandoned to the mercy of recreational, sacrificial and nutritional interests of humans.
There are a great many sensitive people among humans, who tend to help animals in numerous ways.
Those who are helped and protected are fortunate, but the others? It seems like trying to empty the sea with just a bucket.
In other words, however much you work in this sense, it is impossible to save all the other animals left defenceless against the fury of humans.
So? Should one give up in the face of this conclusion? Absolutely not.
The compassionate works of all those who labour to defend animals, feed them, look after them and clean their beds is absolutely welcomed. But all this is not enough.
To save the myriad of other animals left defenceless, we have to reach the hearts of the multitude of humans who treat them as slaves. It is pointless protecting a cat with all your might, when it nevertheless remains at the mercy of someone just around the corner who will give it a kicking or even kill it.
A lot of volunteers are firing arrows against the horror. But it is not enough. However hard they may try, their shots miss the target. A good bow is needed, to give strength to the arrows.
Therefore the work of safeguarding also has to be allied to an operation of sensitisation to respect for other living species.
Every single day millions of our brother, non-human animals are kept as slaves, in unbearable conditions, in intensive farms. Every single day they are killed in slaughterhouses, they are used for vivisection, they are denied any dignity whatsoever.
In the not too distant past, slavery and inferior status for women were considered normal. Today, those conditions have been abolished, but at a high cost and with the blood of those who fought against discrimination.
Today, though, we are facing a battle on a far larger scale. We are fighting against the greatest abomination in history. What we are facing now is cruel activity of extermination unequalled in the history of humanity. Incessant activity, generating millions of new slaves every single day, for the purpose of exploitation and slaughter.
We wish to see justice and equality for our brother non-human animals. We will not allow the extermination of sentient beings who are capable of feeling pleasure and pain, just as we are, and are capable of consciousness and therefore possessing their own spirituality. We will not allow the massacre of our brothers to continue amidst general indifference.
One day the present condition of animals will be remembered as the greatest disgrace in history. One day the slaughterhouses will become a symbol of the most important battle for civilization ever fought by humans.
Safeguarding animals and the defence of their rights as “persons” do not just become a moral imperative in the face of injustice perpetrated by the human species, but they are also a lesson in love and freedom for all.
Animals feel fear, pain and emotions, just as humans do.
Animals possess sentiments and live in a social manner, just as humans do.
Animals possess intelligence and have their own culture.
They are sentient beings, just as humans are.
Animals are persons!
And they should be treated as persons.
Why allow this horrendous genocide, whose aim is just to gloat over presumed superiority of the human species?
We are all children of Mother Earth! Refuse to accept that our kith and kin should exterminated.
We wish to see justice and equality for our brother non-human animals.
Let’s spread the idea of ecospirituality to put an end to the suffering!
Let’s unite to change the world!
Giancarlo Barbadoro – Rosalba Nattero
Ecospirituality is a form of thought inspired by the ancient philosophies of the Natural Peoples of this planet. Under this philosophy humanity is not viewed as the absolute domineer of all creation, with powers of life and death over all other species, but is considered to be on a par with all life forms. The inner harmony enjoyed as a result of following the inspiration of the only true mother, Nature, leads a person to pass on this harmony to everything around him or her and show complete respect for the planet and all its inhabitants, whatever species they belong to.
Returning to this concept, we are then inevitably led to reconsider totally our relationship with the Earth and with other forms of life. We are all children of Mother Earth and this consideration inverts the relationship that we can build with our equals, our brother non-human animals.
Alongside the history of humanity there is another history, a horrendous parallel history, lived by populations composed of millions and millions of individuals with no rights, who have been turned into slaves and whose culture, together with their identity, is shown no respect. A continuous, incessant factory of slaves, obliged to be born for the sole purpose of being led to their deaths in the most atrocious of manners for the so-called human “civilization”.
How can this situation possibly be tolerated?
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