“The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity -- then we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.”
[BANNER PHOTO] Philippine Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Ging Deles lights a candle with a child of one of the government leaders during the Lights for Peace Ceremony with the Philippine President resuming the Peace Talks between the government and two rebel groups : The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the National Democratic Front. The lead artist and the interfaith community of the Muslim - Christian Peacemakers Association of Tala Caloocan co-created a mandala of candles made of clay to represent the shared earth to hold the ritual led by children calling for the end of armed conflict in their generation. Photo by: Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Earth Wisdom in Changing Times
Arlene Natocyad, an Igorot healer leads a ritual for EarthDance Manila 2010. The lead artist prepared the ritual space based on the seed, flower, and tree of life based on a mandala nest with "seeded eggs" inspired by natural farmer Masaru Emoto's seed balls. Without meeting the artist, the ritualist saw a vision of an eagle flying on the day of the ritual affirming the story of the nest earlier intended for the ritual space. (Photo by Minifred Gavino)
In the backdrop of climate change and resource based conflict, Mandala Earth Story probes into the role of sustainability in terms of consciousness, culture, and creativity. It intends to do this through stories of human and ecosystem relationships.
More and more as the tipping point of irreversible climate change increases in intensity and environmental movements are starting to measure the sustainability of their actions, we are forced to look inward and into shared meaning making. We are now observing the undeniably crucial role of the intangible and interior aspects of development. Twenty years since the UN Earth Summit in Rio, sustainability has now become a mainstream necessity ready to go beyond the aspect of survival as a development indicator. More and more, there is the emerging remembrance of integral sustainability involving consciousness, culture, and creativity as essential components for any socio-political or environmental intervention.
Application of integral approaches by some contemporary development practitioners uses the aspects of the interior self and collective (covering consciousness, culture, worldview, etc.) as key components to sustainable development. Personal well-being, cultural integrity within the objectives of economic security and environmental sustainability are some of recent applications in the global development frontlines proving healthy indicators of sustainable change. One of the major recognitions for the last decade was giving Mother Earth her identity with her own rights as initiated by Bolivia and Ecuador. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly—inspired by this constitution, they organized a conference on harmony with nature as part of Earth Day celebrations. Much of the discussion centered on ways to transform systems based on domination of people over nature, men over women, and rich over poor into new systems based on partnership. The U.N. secretary general’s report, “Harmony with Nature,” issued in conjunction with the conference, elaborates on the importance of reconnecting with nature: “Ultimately, environmentally destructive behavior is the result of a failure to recognize that human beings are an inseparable part of nature and that we cannot damage it without severely damaging ourselves.” 
Rooting back to Nature
Environmental Activist and Right Livelihood Awardee Vandana Shiva, Fritjof Capra, systems theorist and founder of the Center for Ecoliteracy, and Charles Eisenstein, one of the leading visionaries on sacred economics are some of the few global leaders bringing back the seeing of nature and living systems as guide in designing for sustainability. Their views along with emerging frameworks or approaches in sustainability using nature as reference (regenerative community development, permaculture, etc.) among others are actually grandchildren of traditional/ indigenous worldviews from around the world. As climate change and economic shifts are concerns growingrapidly along with the growing resource management that involves it, voices from the people on the ground and in the frontlines particularly the earthkeepers like indigenous elders are starting to get heard.
Indigenous/Traditional Knowing As Applicable Earth Wisdom
Anthropologist and author Jean Houston talks about the recognition of human capacities developed around the world under different environmental and social conditions. To her, these capacities are now becoming available to the entire family of humankind not just limited to the culture. The process of storytelling is key to accessing these potentials. Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching and the basic vehicle for the transmission of culture from one generation to the next. “We are story tellers,” she says. The currency of human growth is in stories. As they are told and retold, heard and reheard, they reveal their deeper meaning.
Mandala Earth Story uses stories to access Earth Wisdom that can be basis for tangible sustainable actions.
Earth Wisdom roots back to that worldview when the term “environment” did not exist for many indigenous or traditional cultures for nature is seen and understood in all forms of life and ways of living. All systems are interconnected. All parts - the inner outer, the seen and unseen; spirit and matter are part of one whole through this integrated design.
Earth Wisdom looks at the present that co-creates new futures. Relevance and application of earth wisdom from indigenous/ traditional knowledge and practices are key aspects the project hopes to help translate and connect to present day concerns through shared earth community solutions inclusively designed with socially innovative practices.
 Hochachka G. 2005. Developing Sustainability, Developing the Self. An Integral Approach to International and Community Development. A publication of Drishti-Centre for Integral Action with funding from IDRC. Retrieved from www.drishti.ca
 Shiva, V. (2011) Vandana Shiva: Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest. YES Magazine. Available: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/what-would-nature-do/vandana-shiva-everything-i-need-to-know-i-learned-in-the-forest. Last Accessed 2 December 2012
 Houston, J (2001 ). Culture and Human Capacities. Available: http://www.jeanhouston.org. Last accessed 7 June 2008