However, the same is true when our actions are free from self-clinging, not bound by anger, greed or ignorance—when there is no attachment. Dogen says that when some- one gives, that giving communicates subtly to others. And so when our own mind is stable, and our actions are coming from wisdom, compassion, selflessness, generosity and patience, that encourages and helps to bring forth those same qualities in others. To show concern, to be selfless, to offer kindness,
to be courageous is a most powerful way to affect others. It's a way of body teaching: to embody and actualize virtue rather than speak about it. And in that body teaching, each of those actions is an act of regard, of turning towards, closing the distance, acting in accord with the natural order of each being. In a sense, it is affirming and supporting of that being's inherent right to live freely and without conflict.
Recently I read an article in which a representative of the U.N. was quoted as saying that they had "decided to set aside pressing issues of international peace and security to devote an entire day to debating the rights of Mother Earth." That one statement reveals so much. An entire day devoted to debating the rights of Mother Earth which evidently, according to this spokesperson, have nothing to do with international peace and security. Clearly this is not the case. This effort was largely led by Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, which in January became the first nation in the world to grant the natural environment rights equal to those of human beings. According to the article, this movement is heavily influenced by the indigenous people of the Andean world, and it establishes eleven rights they feel are inherent to Mother Earth, including the right to live and to exist, to have pure water and clean air, to not have its cellular structures genetically modified, to have nature's processes be free from human alteration. And it establishes a ministry of Mother Earth to act as an ombudsman in the process.
Emboldened by Bolivia's success, President Morales is trying to garner support to bring forth a charter, a bill of rights for the earth. And as he says, part of his campaign is focused on dealing with the destructive actions of capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. Critics say it is a total waste of time and resources to grant the same rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Mother Nature and to all things non-human.