The DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church exists as a beacon of liberal religious thought and practice. Amid the challenges and changes of a chaotic world, we aspire to proclaim and embody the possibilities of meaning in human life, of freedom in human thought, and of peace and justice in human community.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Seventh UU Principle—Respect for the Interdependent Web of All Existence of Which We are a Part

Human rights, equity, justice, tolerance, respect, and a peaceful coexistence among all peoples of the world, are important values to me. Nature is something I appreciate, value and respect also—a peaceful coexistence with nature is part of my belief system, too. The seventh UU principle—respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part—is an important tenet to me. Its presence as a stated value of Unitarian Universalism weighed deeply in the decision I made to embrace this church. I believe that we are a part of the earth—not apart from the earth, and  try to live my life in coherence with this idea.

Planet Earth is a wondrous place with incredible physical formations, abundant natural resources, and biodiversity of which we should be in awe. Multiple interacting systems exist having achieved dynamic equilibria over billions of years. Yet a multitude of problems now trouble our world because humans have not learned to live in harmony with Earth’s formations and resources, its biodiversity and those interacting systems. We have used natural resources as if all were in infinite supply, without regard to the needs of future generations, and taken nature’s capital and ecosystem services for granted. We live as if we are apart from the earth, not a part of the earth.1 It is critical that we educate ourselves and other citizens about the problems human civilization has brought to this planet, yet equally important, we must utilize our knowledge of science, engineering, and technology, in tandem with our creativity, innovation, spirituality, knowledge of human psychology, and the law, to change our human places and practices. We need to think globally, yet act locally—in our homes, schools, and places of worship, in addition to where we earn our livelihoods, and carry on the other businesses of our human civilization. In short, we need to live as a part of the earth if we are to live sustainably. Indeed, we need to respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

In subsequent posts DUUC Green Sanctuary members will blog about environmental issues, local green events, and everyday actions we can take to live our seventh principle.

Susan Camasta

1 I recall this idea from reading John Marshall III’s, To You We Shall Return: Lessons About Our Planet From the Lakota (2010).

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