Her Royal Highness Princess Owana Kaʻōhelelani, Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, Prime Minister of Tonga, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia and others speak on the World Visionary Forum, United Nation's World Environment Day 2020
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, President of FOWPAL, delivered welcome remarks, emphasizing the importance of conscience in environmental protection: “With conscience, we will become wiser and strike a balance between economic development and environmental protection . . . Let's treat our environment and all living things with kindness and promote the awakening of conscience in global citizens. Let's inspire everyone to change the world with conscience. Let's consolidate people's kind intentions to stimulate changes, allowing positive energy to spread across the planet so that the world will become stable again. Let's protect ourselves and help others as we foster world peace and environmental sustainability with love and conscience!”
Her Royal Highness Princess Owana Kaʻōhelelani of Hawaii mentioned that as Mother Nature sent a tiny virus to stop the global machinery and to slow us down we should ponder over our relationships with one another and with nature and think about our own salvation. She pointed out, “Leadership, policy, and governance appear painfully focused on the economy, rebooting global corporate extractive economies, oblivious of the unprecedented environmental recovery occurring along our shores, our rivers, our valles, and the very air that we breathe.” She also encouraged people to show respect for each other, for Planet Earth, and for themselves.
Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa, Prime Minister of Tonga, stated that “Today's World Environment Day celebration is an opportunity to reflect on our conscience in commemorating the International Day of Conscience, by uniting world leaders around the globe, to remind all citizens of our mother earth to uphold, and strengthen their conscience, to promote a culture of world peace and love.” He also mentioned that as FOWPAL's president Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze “calls for united hearts and conscience to overcome the challenges of the COVID pandemic, Tonga wishes to echo the sentiments of the esteemed President, and recognises that it is more crucial now than ever to embrace our diversity and join our strengths to overcome our weaknesses to this pandemic and the ensuing challenges for environmental protection.”
H.E. Ms. Rosalia Arteaga, former President of Ecuador, emphasized the importance of education in environmental issues. She shared that the behaviors of humans have destroyed the environment and polluted natural resources like water and air. “It's only through education that we can work, especially with kids, with teenagers, with young people. The only way to modify their habits is through education,” she said, urging people to be responsible for their impact on the Earth.
His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, addressed the importance of sustainability and accountability in human development and urged people to reflect on major environmental issues, such as deforestation, desertification, biodiversity loss, and waste disposal. He shared that “we have in our world the tools at hand to confront the existing problems. We have also the opportunity now to raise consciousness to effect good policies and to make sure that these are not done in vain but are seen as being sustaining and sustainable factors going ahead as we are the guardians for future generations.”
H.E. Mr. Teburoro Tito, former President of Kiribati and current Permanent Representative of Kiribati to the UN, encouraged everyone to protect the health and wealth of the global environment and Mother Nature, stressing, “We must begin the fight from within ourselves by doing away with attitudes, mindsets, perspectives and practices that harm the environment and by adopting a way of life that is more caring for and respectful of Mother Nature and by following the dictates of conscience supported by empirical evidence provided by the Natural and Social Sciences.”
H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius, stated, “Conscience-driven actions will ensure that our air remains pure through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. By doing so, we protect each other from all the ills of a changing climate. Conscience-driven actions will also prevent us from further destroying our forests, safeguard our biodiversity and give us cleaner oceans and waterways." "If we all make the pledge of conscience-driven actions, we will finally deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ideals of leaving no one behind.”
H.H. Prince Rostislav Romanov of Russia shared how the environment plays a special role in his life. He said that as a trained landscape painter, he noticed that the environment has changed rapidly throughout his artistic career. The storms have grown more powerful and destructive. He encouraged everyone to make changes so that a sustainable environment can be achieved.
H.E. Dr. Danilo Türk, former President of Slovenia, shared that biodiversity is crucial to our survival and has been adversely affected by global warming, urbanization, deforestation, desertification, etc. He urged people to protect water resources and biodiversity and stressed that “I hope that this year the biodiversity focus of the World Environment Day will help us to do more, will help us to ensure that biodiversity problems come to the attention of the media world and come to the attention of the global public in general.” “We have to save biodiversity to save ourselves.”
H.E. Mr. Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, former President of Trinidad and Tobago, shared that “Biodiversity impacts every aspect of human health as it provides clean air, water, food, sources of medicine and natural disease resistance and climate change mitigation.” He also stressed, “If we have an iota of Conscience, we should adhere to inter-generational and intra-generational principles, so that we leave planet earth a better place for the citizens of the world to come. Further, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) must walk hand in hand with corporate social conscience (CSC) to effect same.”
His Royal Highness Prince Michel of Yugoslavia wished that “we as a species would stop behaving as if we own the planet but realize we are part of it.” “We will only stop damaging our environment once we have raised our level of consciousness, once we have grown away from anxiety conditioned by fear that makes us seek escape in an extravagant consumer-based compensation. The higher the level of consciousness, to which we aspire, the more we will be in harmony with what surrounds us.”
H.E. Philip Bonn, Special Envoy of IEMO (UN IGO), shared, “World Environment Day . . . has been celebrated since around 1974, and today in this year of 2020, it is particularly striking that changes that have occurred in our world in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”