The global and local dynamics generated by our current globalized system have had social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental implications that have changed our lives. We are now part of an international economic experiment that is altering how humans connect not only to one another but also to their surrounding environment. Even our relation with the democratic system is changing as our own elected representatives tailor their policies to global and not local interests. The U.S. court’s decision to uphold the rights of Citizens United has even re-shaped our political world, allowing private global actors to intervene in domestic politics. Moreover, the aggressive rhetorical tone of the present primary elections has opened the door to racism, anti-immigration and gender inequality. Meanwhile the escalating nature of Free Trade initiatives as in the case of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the accelerated expansion of neoliberalism across the planet remind us of the unpredictable world in which we live today. A human centric world whose thirst for consumption is now risking the sustainability of Earth itself.
For centuries humans have been reminded of how interconnected their own survival is to nature itself. Before we became dependent on a highly industrial and technological world (I am talking about those living in the industrialized world and the one percenters across the developing world) we were, as a human race, conscious of our interdependency with nature. But we have slowly forgotten about this fact and have moved forward with an unregulated abuse of nature’s resources.
As it happened forty-six years ago when the first celebration of Earth Day took place here in the United States, we are once again reminded that the prolongation of the existence of the human race depends on our ability to live in harmony with one another and with the natural environment that surrounds us. This week all the countries of the world, in one creative way or another, are celebrating the Earth. The global citizens across the hemispheres are educating the public and building awareness around the issues that are troubling our Earth today.
Here in our local community we will also be celebrating the Earth. The Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine will be hosting the 22nd Annual HOPE Festival, centering on the theme of “Art and Social Change!” The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 at the University of Maine’s Student Recreation and Fitness Center. There will be theatre groups, documentary filmmakers, poets, sculptors, and interactive artists sharing how their art contributes or impacts social change in today’s globalized world. Food vendors and more than sixty regional and state organizations committed to the principles of Earth Day will also be present at the event. Families and children will also be able to engage in educational activities that center on the theme of “Art and Social Change!”
We look forward to celebrating the sustainability of our Earth with you this Saturday!