On 21 March 1960, a peaceful crowd of South African citizens were subject to open fire from the police. They were protesting in solidarity against Apartheid’s discriminatory Pass Laws. Every year on the 21st of March, we commemorate the ordinary people that fought for the recognition of our basic rights as human beings. As a nation, this day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the progress made in the promotion and protection of our human rights. Every single person regardless of age, race, gender or creed is entitled to these rights and they are ours by the simple virtue of being human.
All around the world, we as human beings distinguish each other’s worth on the basis of our differences. Mother Nature does not – in her eyes, we are all the same and are all worth the same. Being in nature alongside other human beings very quickly strips us of our separateness and powerfully unites us on the basis of humanity, freedom, justice, and peace. We very quickly become equals in the wilderness experience.
“The most powerful part of taking a game drive with guests is that it is the ultimate leveller. In the presence of an elephant, our individual wealth doesn’t matter; our separate nationalities don’t exist; our varying belief systems fade. In that moment, we are all purely human. Together.” Past EcoTraining Student
Mother Nature does not discriminate and this is more evident than ever in the COVID-19 pandemic that we are all currently experiencing. The virus is affecting everyone, regardless of where we come from, who we are or what we believe in. Now more than ever we need to stand united as a human race in facing the challenges that this pandemic has thrown at us. We need to act in service of the greater whole and more importantly, we need to recognise the message that Mother Nature is sending us. A huge change is in order. We need to forget about the divisions we have created between ourselves and work together in protecting our planet, our home. We need to stop sabotaging nature’s natural resources in the pursuit of self-gain and need to begin sharing what we still have.
We are all hyper-aware that certain of our human rights are being threatened amidst the chaos of COVID-19. Freedom of movement has become restricted, our right to life is insecure, freedom of trade becomes almost impossible for certain businesses, access to health care is under huge pressure and with most schools closed, access to education is temporarily interrupted.
Our only choice is to dissolve the barriers we have built and to change the way we do things – as one united human spirit. We need to drastically reduce the pressure we are putting on Mother Nature. We need to care for her and each other deeply. We are her guardians now more than ever and it is our responsibility to act now.
Today, on Human Rights Day, let’s stand together and embrace EcoTraining’s vision of reconnecting people to nature and creating custodians of the wild. Let’s band together and see this as a beautiful opportunity. What responsibility are YOU willing to take?