During the 20th Century, Vietnam overcame some tremendous struggles: first in 1945, for National Independence against French Colonialism; and second in 1975, for National Self-Determination against American Imperialism. Now, in the 21st Century Vietnam has become part of the Global Capitalist Economy and faces the biggest struggle of all – the struggle against Consumerism, Over Consumption, and the Destruction of Nature. Just as in the struggles of the 20th century, Vietnam has needed to call upon the cultural and spiritual strengths of its indigenous ethnic minorities, now in the 21st Century it has had to do the same. Having preserved for centuries the natural forests that were their home, the indigenous ethnic minorities of Vietnam are now showing the way to preserve Nature for the benefit of the Vietnamese nation as a whole.
The strength of the indigenous people of Vietnam is that they have retained their spiritual relation toward Nature. Being animist in religion, they believe in Spirits of Nature and worship those spirits as residing in various landscape features such as forests, mountains, rivers and rock formations. Where these spirits reside the landscape is protected from human exploitation and therefore preserved in all their rich biodiversity. The effect is that, voluntarily, large areas of precious forest and landscape are permanently preserved as sacred areas.
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