A Life of Activism Gives You Hope, Energy and Direction
A Life of Activism Gives You Hope, Energy and Direction
By Maude Barlow / commondreams.org
Jun 30, 2014

Do not listen to those who say there is nothing you can do to the very large and very real social and environmental problems that beset our world. I am not now talking about a false sense of optimism based on ignoring the several very real crises we face.

But there is so much room for hope and such a need to bring joy and excitement to our commitment to a different future. I swear to you that it is true -- the life of an activist is a good life, because you get up in the morning caring about more than just yourself or how to make more money. A life of activism gives hope (a moral imperative in this work), energy and direction. You meet the best people. You help transform systems and ideas and you commit to leaving the earth in at least as whole a state as you inherited it because every generation has the right to breathe clean air and drink sweet clean water.

And you may very well find yourself inside an important fight for all humanity. Recently, I was part of a delegation to the United Nations, where we presented a new idea to the Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and the General Assembly.

Because our civil society movements believe that there are no human rights if there are no protections for the earth, air, water, forests, wetlands and other species, we presented the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which we hope will become, with time, the companion to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This concept was met with great enthusiasm from the Secretary General and many country delegates and I believe with my heart that it is only a matter of time before it becomes a cornerstone of public policy both at the United Nations and in every country and community in the world.

As Cormac Cullinan, a leading advocate for the rights of nature, explains: The day will come when the failure of our laws to recognize the right of a river to flow, to prohibit acts that destabilize the Earth's climate, or to impose a duty to respect the intrinsic value and right to exist of all life will be as reprehensible as allowing people to be bought and sold. We will only flourish by changing these systems and claiming our identify, as well as assuming our responsibilities, as members of the Earth community.

The great American scientist and environmentalist, Carl Sagan, once said: Anything else you are interested in is not going to happen if you cannot breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out! Do something! You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.

Maude Barlow received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto recently. This is an adapted excerpt from her speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony.

© 2014 Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow is the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, chairperson of Food and Water Watch in the U.S., and co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which is instrumental in the international community in working for the right to water for all people.

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
7 Signs of Tyranny
2 min · 10,294 views today · Consider yourself warned.
Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More
Josh Jones · 4,998 views today · Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have a access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, self-actualization…? Everyone seems to have...
How Independent is Hollywood?
4 min · 4,269 views today · A huge number of big-budget Hollywood films, especially those featuring war, conflict or terrorism, are influenced by Hollywood's close relationship with the United States...
How Comedy Can Disarm Bullies
3 min · 2,788 views today · As long as you're funny, it can get you out of almost anything - even getting mugged, as co-founder of Between Two Ferns Scott Aukerman recounts. Unfortunately, not everyone...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 1,977 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Why Would Any of Us Want to Live like a Savage?
Juan Pablo Quinonez · 1,905 views today · Let’s not be romantic. Industrial civilization is no utopia. For every creature comfort we have, something or someone pays the price. The wilderness is no fairy tale either...
4.1 Miles
21 min · 1,695 views today · Kyriakos Papadopoulos is a 41-year old local captain of the Greek Coast Guard. He has two wonderful young daughters Vivi and Melissa, and before the refugee crisis exploded in...
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 1,268 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Immigrants For Sale (2015)
33 min · 1,175 views today · The detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products. The Corrections...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 970 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 953 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 853 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 831 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 808 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 619 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 492 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 470 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 412 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
What It Takes to Change Hearts and Minds
Colin Beavan · 382 views today · To get someone’s support, you need more than just facts.
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 325 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
A Life of Activism Gives You Hope, Energy and Direction