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Importance of Earth to non-eurocentric cultures

Throughout the world, different cultures have their own ways of celebrating the earth and advocating for the conservation of the environment.

The U.S. dedicates the month of April to bringing awareness to sustainability and how to be more eco-friendly in everyday life. Likewise, at California State University, Long Beach students can attend different events during the month to learn about the university’s efforts to go green.

On April 22, Earth Day is celebrated in the United States, falling on the same day or day of the spring equinox throughout the rest of the world, according to National Geographic.

Many cultures have a special relationship with the earth, not only on this annual holiday. For people of non-eurocentric cultures, the earth plays a role in religion, tradition, celebration, and more.

In Japanese culture, there is an ancient religion that is still practiced by at least five million people today called Shintoism.

According to the United Religions Initiative, followers of Shintoism believe that spiritual powers exist in the natural world. Participants of the religion believe that spirits called “kami” live in natural places such as in animals, plants, stones, mountains, rivers, and people (dead or alive).

In Native American tribes, their rituals and practices are heavily influenced by nature. Certain parts of each tribes’ rituals can be different but they are all closely connected to the land. In tribes like those of the Plains, men would establish a relationship with a divine element or power for good fortune during life. The degree to which the power of nature is individualized differs among various tribes.

Pacific Islanders and their culture hold a deep connection with the earth as well. Their view of nature as sacred becomes a view of life, but a way of life as well, according to a 2005 article written by Rachelle Dickie in the Journal of Undergraduate Research.

This can be seen in their myths, traditions, ceremonies, speech, and respect for nature. Dickie wrote that Pacific Islanders believe people belong to the land and not the land to the people, and with this have gained a strong sense of identity.

People within cultures like these are those who are passionate about protecting our planet and its future. Respecting their traditions and listening when they are advocating on the subject is a way to learn more about their culture and how to take care of our planet.

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