People must learn to respect the world and its other inhabitants if there is any chance of a better future.
ILLUSTRATION: FOTOLIA/FREDERIC BOS
When, in the course of evolution, it becomes necessary for one species to denounce the notion of independence from all the rest, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the interdependent station to which the natural laws of the cosmos have placed them, a decent respect for the opinions of all mankind requires that they should declare the conditions that impel them to assert their interdependence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident that all species have evolved with equal and unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to insure these rights, nature has instituted certain principles for the sustenance of all species, deriving these principles from the capabilities of the planet's life-support system. That whenever any behavior by members of one species becomes destructive of these principles, it is the function of other members of that species to alter or abolish such irrelevant behavior and to reestablish the theme of interdependence with all life, in such a form and in accordance with those natural principles that will effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that cultural values long established should not be altered for light and transient causes, that mankind is more disposed to suffer from asserting a vain notion of independence than to right themselves by abolishing that culture to which they are now accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations of these principles of interdependence, evinces a subtle design to reduce them, through absolute despoliation of the planet's fertility, to a state of ill will, bad health, and great anxiety, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such notions of independence from other species and from the life-support system and to provide new guards for the reestablishment of security, and maintenance of these principles.
Such has been the quiet and patient suffrage of all species, and such is now the necessity which constrains the species homo sapiens to reassert the principles of interdependence. The history of the present notion of independence is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations all having in direct effect the establishment of an absolute tyranny over life. To prove this let facts be submitted to a candid world.
• People are proliferating in such an irresponsible manner as to threaten the survival of all species.
• People have refused to recognize that they are interacting with other species in an evolutionary process.
• People have fouled the waters that all life drinks of and they have fouled the air that all life partakes of.
• People have transformed the face of the earth to enhance their notion of independence from it and in so doing have interrupted many natural processes that they are dependent upon.
• People have contaminated the common household with substances that are foreign to the life processes and that are causing many organisms great difficulties.
• People have massacred and made extinct fellow species for their feathers and fur, for their skins and tusks.
• People have persecuted most persistently those known as coyote, lion, wolf, and fox because of their dramatic role in the expression of interdependence.
• People have warred upon one another. This has brought great sorrow to themselves and vast destruction to the homes and the food supplies of many living things.
• People have denied others the right to live to completion their interdependencies to the full extent of their capabilities. We therefore, among the mortal representatives of the eternal process of life and evolutionary principles, in mutual humbleness, explicitly stated, appealing to the ecological consciousness of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do solemnly publish and declare that all species are interdependent, that they are all free to realize, these relationships to the full extent of their capabilities; that each species is subservient to the requirements of the natural processes that sustain all life. And for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on all other members of our species who understand their consciousness as a capability, to assist all of us and our brothers to interact in order to realize a life process that manifests its maximum potential of diversity, vitality and planetary fertility to ensure the continuity of life on earth.