Unification News for March 1999
Preservation and Sustainable Development in the Pantanal
Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
This address was given at the World Conference on Preservation and Sustainable Development in the Pantanal, February 27, 1999 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Washington, DC
First please accept our deep and sincere gratitude to each one of you, not just for your contribution to this historic conference, but also for your life-long dedication to protecting and preserving this unreplaceable world treasure, the Pantanal.
We have been blessed with a place of endless beauty that is integrated into the world's ecology. It may have been safe in earlier times to take such a place for granted, but present conditions do not allow such luxury.
If we do not invest all our wisdom, expertise, and cooperation, this precious treasure will be threatened by all kinds of misuse and destruction. We must be vigilant every day, and it is your contribution of scientific study, environmental protection programs, and education, which are doing just that. I trust this conference is providing valuable information and relationships which will assist you in this great cause of protecting the Pantanal
I am sure many of you must have been surprised by the conference sponsorship; including a university in the distant land of Korea, a university in Northeastern United States, and a major news conglomerate in the world's most powerful capital. What possibly could bring such diverse sponsoring bodies into a joint project focusing on yet another distant system, namely the Pantanal?
Let me explain how this conference came into being. The founder of Sun Moon university, and major supporter of the other organizations, Reverend Moon, asked me to organize this conference on the preservation of the Pantanal.
But who ever heard of a religious leader requesting a conference gathering foremost experts from highly specialized arenas of science, economy, and other human enterprises, which are always thought of as anything but religious?
Finally let me ask, what could a religious leader from Korea possibly know about a Latin American ecosystem like the Pantanal? It is hard to think of any world religious figure who has trod the narrow pathways to even get to the Pantanal.
Well, for those of you who know anything about Reverend Moon, the one thing we surely know is that he is not a typical religious leader.
I am sure many of you have read all sorts of articles about Reverend Moon by people who claim to be experts. Or perhaps you have heard friends or colleagues speak with great confidence.
If so, have you ever read in any article, or has any colleague ever told you that Reverend Moon (now nearly eighty years old) spent most of 1998 on the rivers in the Pantanal, virtually alone. He traveled on a small boat through remote areas where he had to duck his head to get through the tangled brush over the river. He traveled on this boat so late almost every night that he would rely on a flashlight to make his way back watching the red gleam in the eyes of the half-submerged caimans.
Well, if such supposed experts cannot even tell you what Reverend Moon did just last year... what kind of expertise is that? What if you read an article on the Pantanal placing this wetlands system in Nepal? You would reject the article as nonsense.
No, I'm afraid that the story of Reverend Moon has not been well told. Many who claim expertise should be checked closely. You in the fields of science, economics and other refined areas have highly disciplined patterns of study and investigation of sources. You are well trained to avoid jumping at any old claim, presuming it to represent accurate knowledge.
The truth is that Reverend Moon's interest in the Pantanal, and his enormous investment in its protection and preservation are in every way a natural outgrowth both of who he is as a person, and what he teaches religiously.
In his heart, despite his world changing activities, Reverend Moon remains a boy from the farm. He continues to be informed by his original love for nature, his love for his childhood places where he would sit for days secretly watching a bird's nest to see the tiny chicks be born. And for times when he followed the tracks of a weasel on the winter snow throughout the night, so single-mindedly that he found himself several villages away, much to the alarm of his family and townsfolk. He wanted to understand where the weasel lived and where it was going.
It is only natural then that such a man eventually would gravitate to a world of original and pristine beauty like the Pantanal. And once having witnessed the rapture of its infinite wonder dedicate the full measure of his influence to preserve and protect this treasure from harm. And that impulse to protect this precious area means hard work.
If Reverend Moon knows anything he knows that no good comes from mere intentions. Good can only result from personal investment, heartfelt self-sacrifice, and systematic and principled actions. Reverend Moon believes that the Pantanal belongs to God, and that it exists to give joy and natural education to humanity. It cannot be abused or treated carelessly. Future generations must learn God's secrets from this vast ecology and wonderland.
Unfortunately, I do not have time here to explain more fully how Reverend Moon's religious teachings naturally led to him giving himself unconditionally to champion the careful and systematic preservation of the Pantanal. I hope you will find time and the means to study his simple but profound teaching. If you understand it, you will see how his teaching naturally leads to environmentalism.
Briefly the Divine Principle explains that God created humanity to grow to maturity, receive God's Blessing in marriage, form an ideal family, and rejoice in God's nature. These three aspects of life are called the three blessings. No step can be overlooked, and trying to jump over one, results in disaster. The cause of damage to the environment stems from human immaturity, and deformed families. Such people do not have the sensitivity to love and protect nature, even though they may have the intelligence or skills to control enterprise. The corporate rape of fragile environments may be seen as stemming from the same sort of insensitivity as a cruel child torturing one of God's creatures. Neither could be possible if that child, and later that adult were raised in an atmosphere and family of True Love.
The only place we can inherit enough loving care and sensitivity is from mature and harmonious parents. This is why Reverend Moon's life-long labor is to erect and glorify True Families. And this is why his passion for environmentalism is a natural outgrowth of this life-long work.
So far Reverend Moon has taken up two projects to protect the Pantanal. The first is the International Family Education Center in Jardim which is just outside the Pantanal. Here he has plans to establish an elite education center where experts from all areas can teach the ideals of True Family, and thereby slowly elevate people from all countries to live as loving couples and raise children in a loving way, so that they can inherit a natural sensitivity to God's environment and ecology. When this is done, it will be far more effective than external legislation trying to thwart fixed bad behaviors which lead to environmental violence.
Secondly, he has initiated a project in which all 185 nations take personal responsibility to protect and preserve a specific designated sector in the Pantanal. This is not a matter of land ownership or any such thing. Rather it is a matter of global stewardship, to guarantee that the pressing matter of preservation is not just left to chance. It will be at one and the same time a global support system, and a global watchdog to ensure that the pristine, environmental conditions are forever preserved.
This would best be served by the establishment of research stations from which scholars and environmentalists can monitor ecological conditions on a regular basis. These can be maintained by the World University Federation.
Also, he recommends nature exhibitions from these designated areas. These will show all the fascinating elements from that particular sector, through which the international community can be educated and have their love for nature sparked within them. After experiencing such an exhibit people will have a stronger determination to protect this precious area. Each nation's government and its appropriate ministries should assist with the creation of excellent and well thought out exhibitions of this kind. I hope you will support these ideas and proposals.
Thank you for your time and attention. Once again we are grateful indeed for your life's work, and we pray that God may bless all that you are doing for the Pantanal.
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