• Seva Corps

TO SERVE MOTHER EARTH IS TO GET BACK IN TUNE WITH LIFE ITSELF





An indigenous woman with her back turned and standing, wearing a blue and red poncho and with flowers on her back, walks hand in hand with a small child up a mountain.
Photo by Azzedine Rouichi on Unsplash

In these two years of pandemic and work focused on serving those who serve and generating connections between Seva's projects, we have realized that our greatest example, the one that inspires us the most, is the way nature behaves with all beings, through service.


And in these times of uncertainty due to the coronavirus and the climate crisis, there is a global awakening that our way of life should be less individualistic and more sustainable. It is urgent to re-establish a loving, harmonious and respectful relationship with the earth, with women, and with all that refers to the feminine, if we really want to make sense and continue our existence as a species.


So when we honor the women in Seva Corps, we also honor our mother, the Earth! We want to make an invitation to work on our relationship with Her from now on, following examples that lead us along this path, and to encourage us to serve her, as she serves us, unconditionally.


Starting with this proposal, we share the example of the "Buen Vivir", a pluralistic worldview and ancestral practice of the native peoples of the Andes, whose principles* prevail among the indigenous communities of Latin America and are shared by different cultures around the world.


General image of green mountains stretching into the distance.
Photo by Qingbao Meng on Unsplash

"Buen Vivir" comes from the original Quechua expression "Sumak Kawsay" and Aymara "Suma Qamaña" (traditional languages of these native peoples of the Andes), which means living in fullness ("Sumak" fullness and "Kawsay" living).

This principle of life that is based on the ancestral worldview of these Andean peoples holds, like the South African concept of ubuntu, that the well-being of an individual can only be achieved through harmonious relations with the wider community, which includes people, the environment, other living beings, their ancestors, the spiritual world, and the cosmos.


From a practical point of view, this worldview implies an organized, cooperative, co-responsible, sustainable, and dynamic set of economic, political, socio-cultural, and environmental systems, where there is a different relationship with nature, privileging it and taking into account the interconnectedness of all the elements that together form the "whole," thus ensuring the realization of "a full life," the realization of the "Good Living".


It is, therefore, an alternative to the development model based on a capitalist approach, of the culture of progress. The "Pacha Mama" or mother nature has a limit, which prevents growth at the expense of the "other," the unlimited development; so it is urgent to return to a model that is in harmony with nature, to understand and apply the interconnection of all elements, with complementarity and cooperation - not in the logic of accumulation.

Thus, Good Living is a way of being in the world that is being considered by communities outside of the original peoples, and that we invite each one that makes up our network to experience and embrace, through the social and environmental principles that translate our language: food sovereignty, land rights, environmental justice, economic solidarity, and protection of local biodiversity, among others.


Illustration of planet Earth from a distance, shrouded in clouds, in daylight.
Photo by Sergey Nivens on Getty Images

*without knowledge or wisdom there is no life "Tucu Yachay"; we all arise from mother earth "Pacha Mama"; life is whole "hambi kawsay"; life is collective "sumak kamaña"; and we all have ideas and dreams "Hatun Musky".

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