It is good to know there is one president of a state in this world who is up to speed when it comes to measures urgently needed to prevent the further crises affecting the world’s ecosystems, communities, food and other forms of security and the well-being of the planet in general. Speaking at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples yesterday, Bolivian president Evo Morales proposed 10 commandments to save the planet, life and humanity:

1. Stopping the capitalist system
2. Renouncing wars
3. A world without imperialism or colonialism
4. Right to water
5. Development of clean energies
6. Respect for Mother Earth
7. Basic services such as human rights
8. Fighting inequalities
9. Promoting diversity of cultures and economies
10. Living well, not living better at the expense of others*

Here is a more elaborated version of these commandments, an excerpt from the Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service’s UNPFII 7th Session Update No. 4:

” In the first-ever address to the Forum by a Head of
State, President Evo Morales of Bolivia urged the body
to develop a model for “how to live well”, to counter
an economic system where a thirst for wealth had
overwhelmed a sense of respect for sustainable living.
In a speech greeted by cheers from an audience
comprising leaders of indigenous groups,
representatives of Member States and officials from
United Nations specialized agencies, President Morales
proposed a set of “10 commandments” that would offer
an alternative to “egoism, regionalism and the pursuit
of luxury”.

The President said the Forum members should call for
an end to the current economic system, where, he said,
fossil fuels were being pillaged to fuel luxury motor
vehicles. The world should also denounce wars and rid
itself of imperialism and unfair competition among
nations. On that point, he said the Security Council
should be democratized, and questioned the validity of
having lifelong Council members with veto power over
rotating members.

The theme of power continued in President Morales’
fourth “commandment”, which touched on the need to
maintain full access to water for all, through an
international convention that would guarantee the
right to that life-giving resource as a matter of
human rights.

Returning to the theme of moderation in consumption,
he urged in an eighth commandment that people consume
only what was necessary and locally produced. His
ninth point centred on upholding unity in diversity,
while the tenth and final commandment stressed the
importance of living well, but not at the expense of

In a nod to the session’s special theme on the
stewardship role of indigenous peoples in managing the
environment, President Morales centred much of his
address on the notion of Mother Earth as the
wellspring of life, to be cherished and respected
rather than treated as a tradable commodity.
Indigenous peoples had the moral authority to shape a
new model for living based on that philosophy, he
stressed, having lived closely with Mother Earth and
defended it for ages.”

In Sápmi, the Earth Day passed without much clamour. While in many parts of the world, Earth Day also marks the beginning of the spring (or even early summer), in Sápmi we are still enjoying the best late winter cross-country skiing and snow bunting circus on the bird feeder. (Snow buntings, or állapat, migrate to North in April and on their way to breed on the mountains – though Kauto is on the mountains – they stop in human settlements to feed.) I wonder if it’s the abundance of sunflower seeds or the unusual depth of snow that keeps them from continuing their journey onwards… Two loads of seeds in the feeder is not nearly enough for these delightful and pretty but also blustering creatures that bully other birds and also each other. (One day I was wondering whether it was unethical to keep feeding the birds with sunflower seeds when the world is facing a food crisis…)

The snow buntings run around the snow and seem to be having lots of fun, spreading the seeds around to the nearby bushes, where in the evening when things have quieted down, there are also other takers. A funny story from another Sámi town, Anár/Inari where I was on Monday: I dropped in a local shop where I bumped into a acquaintance who had come in to buy birdseeds. The shopkeeper apologized for not having them – she told us that the wholesale agent had automatically stopped delivering them recently. The local shopkeeper reckoned that it must’ve been because in Southern Finland it was already late spring, no stores in the entire country need nor want birdseeds any longer on their shelves! This morning Philip went to the shop in Kauto also to buy more seeds, but they didn’t have any. I wonder if they have the same logic in Southern Norway too. If that’s the case, soon we’ll have snow bunting pickets on our bird feeder!



2 thoughts on “Earth day: 10 commandments to save the Earth

  1. thank you, Rauna, for the 10 commandments of Morales. So refreshing and heartening to find a head of state state the dreams of many as .. why, as national objectives. Earth day, like earth hour, can make a person feel cynical, as in, what’s the use of our 2 bits when the big boys continue full speed ahead with their capitalist “development”? So, I was glad to come across these 10 commandments on your blog. A re-claiming of the biblical commandments that have at their base dominion-over.

    I love your lintu photos!!! So sweet.
    Urho says hello. He is waiting for you to come to town.

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