It’s not too late … 

Yonder Sky has witnessed the deeply disturbing and distressing deforestation, the degradation of land, the loss of biodiversity and the pollution of Mother Earth. Her land and freshwater ecosystems are being destroyed: the very fabric of life for all inhabitants of Mother Earth.

There is a great need to reduce biodiversity-loss by:

→ radically altering farming methods – land and sea

→ focussing on regenerating and restoring forests and wetlands

→ changing dietary choices

→ reducing waste

→  vastly reducing pollution

The world’s ‘leaders’ must re-evaluate the value of nature and make political, economic and societal changes. They need to acknowledge, learn from and work with other knowledge systems; the primary example is Indigenous Knowledge.

Yonder Sky is a tribute to all of the Indigenous Peoples and their love and respect for this wonderful and diverse planet. Hopefully, it will help draw attention to the indisputable fact that Mother Earth is not ours to destroy; it is ours to protect and it is ours to pass on, intact, to our future generations.

The objective of the next 3,000 or so words – expressed from an ‘indigenous’ perspective – is to hopefully demonstrate why we must help, why we must learn from and why we must work with indigenous peoples, in order to save our wonderful planet.

Yonder Sky is evocative of days gone-by when indigenous peoples were able to live, without hindrance, in balance with nature and the environment. Yonder Sky is also a beacon of hope for those who believe that everyone and everything will be able to live harmoniously in an equitable world: a sacred Mother Earth – free of environmental degradation and destruction – shared by all people, all animals and all of nature.

Yonder Sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and that which to us had always appeared changeless and eternal is changing. Today and tomorrow are increasingly overcast with darker and darker clouds.

My people love Mother Earth as a new-born loves its mother’s heartbeat. Everyone must learn to love it, as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it and preserve it for all future generations: Mother Earth is precious.

Every part of Mother Earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine-needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of my people.

Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is their mother and gave them being. Still, they love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays. They ever yearn over the lonely-hearted living in tender fond affection and they often return from the happy hunting-ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father. You must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred; that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

We are part of Mother Earth and it is part of us.

Mother Earth is precious.

When we arise in the morning, we give thanks for the morning light, for our life and for our strength. We give thanks for our food, and the joy of living. If you can find no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken. Increasingly, the secret corners of the forest are heavy with scent of many men, and the views of the ripe hills are blotted by talking wires.

Yet, the ‘Plunderers of Mother Earth’ do not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to them as the next – they are strangers who come in the night and take from the land whatever they need. They treat its mother, the earth, and its brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, and sold like sheep or bright beads. Their voracious appetite is devouring Mother Earth and it will leave behind only a desert.

All over Mother Earth, her rivers are full of oil and debris, enabled by a global system that finances all aspects of extraction for profit.

We are told that one litre of oil is enough to contaminate one million litres of water, placing our lives, the wildlife and nature at severe risk.

Often, we indigenous communities have to face the immediate consequences, while the world leaders fail to hold those responsible to account. The rivers quench our thirst; the rivers carry our canoes, and the rivers feed our children. You must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers and yours too; you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

For thousands and thousands of years, we have loved and cared for the forests: love in the deepest sense – reverence! The forests taught us how to tread lightly and how to take care of them; they have given us everything, simply because we have listened to them, we have learned from them and we have defended them.

Every one of us and indeed every life-form depends on the trees for survival: for the air we breathe, for shelter, for animals, for water, for food and for fuel. Forests are the lungs of Mother Earth, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to all. We are guardians of the forests and we implore the ‘Plunderers’ to live lives based on need and not on pleasure.

Yet still, the ‘Plunderers’ cut-down our forests so that more and more cattle can graze, so that plantations can be grown, so that cities can grow and so that the ‘Plunderers’ can consume and consume and make profits.

Most of your world leaders and most of the international conglomerates claim they are urgently seeking climate-crisis solutions, yet they continue trying to boost their economies via extraction and pollution industries. Most of them do not heed our advice, fearing that those economies and profits will suffer. Yet, we are the closest to the land, and we are the first to hear Mother Earth’s cries. We know that the only way to create a climate-positive planet is by working with nature to undo the damage.

How can you buy or sell the sky or the warmth of the land?

The idea is strange to us; we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water.

To us, the rationale of the ‘Plunderers’ is clear: the less you know about something, the less value it has to you, and the easier it is to destroy. And by easy, we mean without guilt, without remorse, foolishly, even righteously and pompously. It is quite apparent to us that they and their many ‘blind’ followers have lost their way; that they are in trouble and that they don’t fully understand it at this moment.

Their problems are, however, a threat to every form of life on Mother Earth. She will not continue to offer her harvest, except with faithful stewardship. You cannot say you love the land and then take steps to destroy it, denying it to future generations.

While the ‘Plunderers’ are planning their next moves to destroy our lands in order to stimulate economies and wealth that have never benefitted us, our elders are dying from coronavirus. Our elders are our teachers and, as indigenous communities, we are fighting to protect what we love – our way of life, our rivers, the animals, our forests, life on Earth – and it’s time that you listened to us.

You have forced your civilisation upon us and surely you must now consider the consequences: global pandemic, climate crisis, species extinction and, driving it all is a widespread spiritual poverty. In all those years of taking, taking and more taking from Mother Earth, you have not had the courage, or the curiosity, or the respect to get to know us, the indigenous peoples; what we know about life on Mother Earth.

Our peoples constitute some 5% of the Mother Earth’s population and occupy some 22% of its land surface, yet, we account for 80% of her biodiversity. We have always lived in harmony and in close proximity to nature; we have done so in a sustainable manner. Our passed-down ‘ancient wisdom’ informs us that all aspects of life are interconnected and should not be considered in isolation, but as a part of the whole. That knowledge incorporates spirituality, history, cultural practices, social interactions, language and healing.

We know that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; we know that a lack of respect for growing, living things soon leads to a lack of respect for humans, too. So, we keep our children close to nature’s softening influence. We know that everything is possessed of personality, only differing from us in form.

Knowledge is inherent in all things.

Mother Earth is a library and its books are the stones, the leaves, the grass, the brooks, the birds and the animals that have shared with us both the storms and the blessings. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns – to feel the beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and the snows. To do so would intensify human futility: whatever confronted us we adjusted ourselves to it without complaint, but with more effort and energy if necessary.

Your cities destroy and consume everything around them in order to feed their voracious appetites for growth until, eventually, they crumble and decay. Just the common sight of your cities pains our eyes; there is no quiet place in them. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect’s wings. The clatter only serves to insult the ears. And what is there to life, if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? We prefer the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

Knowledge is inherent in all things.

The air is precious; the beast, the tree and man all share the same breath. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports and the wind that gave our grandfather his first breath, also received his last sigh. The ‘Plunderers’ do not seem to notice the air they breathe; like a man dying for many days, they are numbed to the stench. But one day even they must surely pause in order to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.

We must all treat the beasts of Mother Earth as our brothers, for animals and people are interconnected. My people have always been careful and respectful of the natural lifecycles of the animals that share our lands – we do not over-fish, we do not over-hunt and we do not over-harvest.

Certainly, we do hunt and fish but only to the extent of what is required to feed our people.

What are we without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, we would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to us.

All things are connected.

My people were taught by the animals how to live close to the Mother Earth and in return, we have always given them equal status to us. They experience emotions, have personalities and the ability to feel pain, fear and stress; they must be shown respect, even when it is necessary to hunt them.

One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.

All of you must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children – the earth is our mother and whatever befalls Mother Earth befalls the children of Mother Earth. If you spit upon the ground, you spit upon yourself. This we know.

We did not weave the web of life: we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

All things are bound together. All things are connected.

We are all children of Mother Earth, sharing her rich and diverse bounty: an intricate web where all life can thrive together.

Unlike us, the ‘Plunderers’ do not share a caring relationship with Mother Earth; they continue to extract, produce and pollute without any real consideration for other forms of life, even their own. Their actions have resulted in a deep imbalance of our precious ecosystem, manifesting in ever-increasing crises, the breakdown of communities, and of course, outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Mother Earth is precious.

Mother Earth has suffered from the actions of ‘Plunderers’ throughout history but soon those scratches will have become deep scars. Only when the last tree has been felled, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will the ‘Plunderers’ realise that they cannot eat money. But they shall pass; perhaps sooner rather than later – contaminate your bed, and then one night you will suffocate in your own waste.

The ‘Plunderers’ often claim that God walks and talks with them, as friend to friend, but they will not be exempt from the common destiny.

We know – one day they will discover – our God is the same God.

You may think now that you own God, as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. The God of all of us has equal compassion for peoples of all colours and creeds. Mother Earth is precious to God, and to harm Mother Earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

We do know that Mother Earth is living: she can and she will avenge herself. Already there are portents and there is no time left for humankind’s ignorance, arrogance, sophistry and madness.

We do not understand why so-called ‘civilised’ people cannot grasp …

Where are the insects that pollinate our crops? Going

Where are the forests that hold back flood waters? Going

Where are the buffalo and other beasts? Going

Where are the fish in the rivers? Going

Where are the prairies and the ancient forests? Going

Where are the animals and the wildlife? Going

Where is the habitat for wildlife?Going

Where is our own life-support system? Going

Where is the love? It’s not too late

When you – the ‘civilised’ people – reached that fork in the road, did you really comprehend and prepare for the significance of your decision to choose your current path?

If you followed their prescribed course, your leaders reassuringly promised you a better world, a world free of conflict, hunger and unhappiness; a world ruled by benevolence that would ensure all of humankind would be treated with dignity, kindness and equality; you would all live in comfort and safety, without fear.

Now, instead, you have become aware of just how much the majority of you have been hoodwinked by those in positions of power: a betrayal of Mother Earth. Vast forests have been cleared; oceans over-fished; rivers polluted; animals vanquished and gone; wetlands have been built upon; you and we are suffering from disease. Mother Earth is in danger; life on Earth is in danger.

You do not have to continue along this increasingly dark path to a Barren Sky!

The latest virus has almost stopped all of us in our tracks but hopefully it has allowed you to gain some perspective and lucidity. You have witnessed the selfless concern and generosity of so many volunteers, people collecting food for others; hospital and car staff, cleaners and many others risking their lives on the front-lines, the vibrant colour and scent of flowers, the singing and proliferation of so many birds, the fresh, clean air and the beautiful radiant blue Yonder Sky.

You have the opportunity to reverse your steps and make Covid-19 the decisive turning-point.

Of course, the return journey will be tough; a minority of you, comprising the selfish and egotistical, will ridicule your decision to re-invent yourselves, to reconnect with each other and to re-establish your bond with nature.

But, you must return to that fork in the road and take the other path. It will be very demanding and you will need to make a sincere vow to show respect for Mother Earth; to live in harmony with everyone and everything around you. You must learn from us – indigenous communities from all over the world – because we have always enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Mother Earth; we know that the balance has to be preserved and to be kept alive for generation after generation.

In increasing numbers, you seem ready to turn back and start afresh; it is not too late; it will be hard but it will also be cathartic. The moment to alter your course is now.

My peoples have always understood that we must be strong no matter what tries to break us or to divide us: our cultures, our beliefs and our values constitute an unbreakable core.

Now, if you work with us, make use of our knowledge and of our inner strength, together we can save Mother Earth and all of her children. Remember, we do not inherit Mother Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. We take nothing but memories and we leave nothing but footprints.

Mark the truth of my words for they are like the stars that never change.

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Yonder Sky firmly believes It’s not too late … to help, to learn from and to work with Indigenous Peoples. Only then will everyone and everything be able to live harmoniously in an equitable world: a sacred Mother Earth – free of environmental degradation and destruction – shared by all people, all animals and all of nature.

Yonder Sky T-shirt Challenge:

Create more awareness by proudly wearing an It’s not too late … T-Shirt – certified 100% organic cotton, grown or produced in ways that do not harm people, animals or the environment.

Click here and then click again on the displayed T-shirt, to view the range of coloured garments.

Yonder Sky supports charities and not-for-profit organisations that understand and apply the principles of Indigenous Knowledge for the purposes of protecting and nourishing the environment.

Special thanks for indispensable contributions from:

Chief Seathl (Seattle is named after him)
& Professor Ted Perry

And invaluable quotes from:

Tecumseh – Shawnee, Luther Standing Bear, John Paul 11, Franklin D Roosevelt, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr,
Jean Malaurie

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