The Queens Christmas speech: A message to save Mother Earth

POSTED: 12/27/11 4:18 PM

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix read her 32nd Christmas speech on Sunday – and this is one to remember. Before an audience of 1.4 million viewers in the Netherlands, the Queen made a stand for the environment and against greed. The inevitable Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders showed once more what he’s made off by twittering shortly after the speech, “My goodness, has the Queen secretly become a GreenLeft-member?” But in general the speech received positive reactions.

This is the complete text:

“Christmas, the party of light and darkness, triggers expectations of peace and wellbeing. Today the longing for this can help us to overcome feelings of frustration and to make an effort for a life in harmony with our fellow man and with nature.

Many in our world live under pressure and in insecurity about their existence. Unrest and concerns about the day of tomorrow prevail in Europe and in our country. There are not only concerns about individual prosperity but also about the wellbeing of all and the earth’s management. We are careless with our precious planet and we distribute badly what she gives us. Poverty and inequality affect livability and threaten social cohesion. Selfishness and the tendency to overindulge make blind for damage to our natural environment and undermine the community spirit. We’re losing track of the finiteness of what the earth is able to give us and of our society’s sustainability.

No country is able to prosper when people are only focused on their own gain. In determining the value of everything more must be taken into account than just money. Greed and enrichment distort the economy’s purpose. We should not ignore the needs of those who are unable to stand up for themselves. Everybody must be able to share in prosperity in a way that links the human wellbeing continuously with the general interest.

In every decision-making process the future’s quality must be considered. That quality is found in the protection of nature and environment, respect for the cultural heritage and acknowledgement of the immaterial values that give sense to civilization. With the considerations that are taken now the life of those who come after us is at stake and nobody should close the eyes for this. We are able to arm ourselves with knowledge and information. Not fear should be the driving factor, but a new sentiment of universal responsibility.

In the Earth Charter this point of departure is worded as follows: “The earth, our home, is a unique living community. The global natural environment with its finite natural resources is a concern for us all. Protecting the earth’s vitality, diversity and beauty is a sacred assignment.” They call that sustainability these days. This does not only require new demands and rules for sustainability but also a conscious way of dealing with what nature gives us. The earth that feeds life but cannot speak for itself must get a voice. It will have to be heard in all decisions, small and large.

The many initiatives to execute good intentions are encouraging. Economic energy and water use is within reach of everybody. It appears that buying consciously and critically is able to influence the supply of goods and services. Entrepreneurs focus increasingly on responsible production and take consequences for the climate into account. Many people are making efforts to protect nature and to teach children about the earth’s irreplacable treasures. Many are also enthusiastically making efforts for the bond between agriculture and the environment. We are able to call each other on all these possibilities. Old and new media inform us and call on us to take responsibility, each on his or her own level. What starts small has the abilty to develop into a new culture of concern for the future. Those who want to change the world have to begin with themselves.

All  these hopeful initiatives for change from within the society receive less attention in the news than the worries about money and possessions. A diffuse feeling of discomfort charaterizes the current confidence crisis. In their daily work people often experience a lack of vision and ideals. :Lack of space for individual responsibility discourages personal initiative. Feelings of powerlessness trigger anger and disgust about rhetoric and rules. But fight nor flight offers a perspective for the reform of structures and lifestyles. The challenge remains to be involved with the community and to do something together with others. Everywhere people are taking initiatives for a more conscious way of living. That offers hope and an new perspective for the future. Especially young people are able to spur us on today. With the power of conviction, courage and self confidence they are looking for supporters and inspire their environment with a positive momentum.

Mahatma Ghandi once said: “The earth has enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s desires.” As creatures gifted with sense and conscience we are expected to translate this in daily care for the earth and efforts for a just society. Jesus has given us the example of a bond with our neighbors and the world around us. With the message of peace and comfort Christmas is able to lift us above the fear and uncertainty of our times. Let us say what we hope and do what we can.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas.”


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