During the Defend the Sacred gathering, nearly 1000 people from 40 countries formed a huge human message at Odeceixe beach to protect the Portuguese coast from off-shore oil drilling.
In August 2017, activists from around the world gathered in Tamera Peace Research and Education Center in Portugal to collaborate and envision a global alliance to defend the sacred.
Intending to reconcile indigenous wisdom with futuristic thinking, activists, leaders of movements, indigenous elders and youth - including Standing Rock initiators - from around 40 countries came together to discuss what is sacred and how to defend it facing a system of war and exploitation, to hold ceremony and build community, to heal wounds of historic trauma and work on visions for a healed Earth. A key part was an powerful aerial art action and ceremony at Odeceixe beach, involving more than 800 people, to stop plans for off-shore oil drilling and fracking in Portugal.
The gathering gave rise to powerful inspirations and a manifesto for how a growing movement can stand up for life, water and a future worth living everywhere. Signed by a group of global visionaries and leaders, the documents lays out the possible foundation for a global alliance to defend the sacred:
What was seeded by the peaceful opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in 2016 must grow into a planetary movement; one that is globally unified and that transcends cultures, borders and beliefs. It is clear this is not only an indigenous issue, but a world issue that affects all of us.
Mni Wiconi – water is life. Life is sacred. It is this sacredness that we defend. To secure our future, we have no other choice. We must protect the very things that our lives depend upon. Humans have begun to separate themselves from nature, and to stand as a dominant species that is trying to control the natural world, unleashing global devastation. The result of this fundamental separation is an environ- mental crisis and an inner crisis, violence against the Earth and interpersonal violence, which are two sides of the same coin. We now unite as a planetary community to stand together for the sacred; to midwife a transition to a world in which humanity will no longer dominate but cooperate with all life.
In creating a regenerative culture, we find profound orientation in the wisdom of indigenous peoples who still live in close communion with the Earth. Ironically, these are the most threatened ways of life. The dominating culture is determined to exploit the Earth, her waters, resources and people, until the capacity of the Earth to support human life is totally exhausted. And all for the short-term profit of a few. However, it is clear we will not survive as a species unless we respect the Earth and her rights.
All beings, which are in the embrace of our living planet, form one unified, interdependent family. The future of our human journey depends on our commitment to honor and cooperate again with this sacred alliance of life.
Though it is difficult to see, there is an emerging and different vision for humanity. This vision foresees a world without violence as the next chapter of our collective evolution. It shows a future humanity inhabiting this planet as a network of interconnected, autonomous communities of trust.
This vision is clear. Yet standing between us and its realization we see a veil of collective trauma woven from millennia of unimaginable cruelty. This trauma has written our unconscious, automatic programming and will perpetuate itself in continued violence and separation until it is consciously addressed and healed.
Healing the wounds of the past is essential towards creating a culture of peace. This is why we collabo- rate on building communities of trust, on healing love and restoring the cycles of water. We support the emergence of research places to develop social, ecological and technological systems that realign the world we create with the world that has created us. (We can call them Healing Biotopes.)
We cannot defeat a system of domination using the methods of the dominators. We recognize there is a different power – the matrix of life that unifies and interconnects all that lives. By embodying this sacred matrix through thoughts, words and actions, we step into resonance with all beings. As we develop living systems compatible with this universal order, we help catalyze a global system change.
In the turbulent global transition in which we now live, it is critical to build diverse alliances between indigenous people, emerging Healing Biotopes, activists who resist injustice and people within the system who recognize the need for systemic change. Sacred Activism can help inspire and ignite the necessary unification of those who oppose injustice and are willing to work together for a fundamentally different, just world order. We stand ready to collaborate with everyone who shares this commitment.
We commit to defending the sacred – for the water, the earth, the air, for our children and all generations that will come after us.
The manifesto is part of a growing movement and conversation taking place around the world, and Tamera is encouraging people to study the manifesto with friends and community, and share insights, questions, and ideas on how we can work together to protect nature and all of life. For more, please visit tamera.org/defend-the-sacred.