In my humble opinion, if  there is only one organization that has the power to save this planet from environmental collapse and to promote worldwide social justice, it is Avaaz. Having said that, I believe they need to move away from national and localized concerns and move into international and planetary concerns. The whole world, in effect, has to be seen as one community with all problems affecting all its citizens. Each and every petition should be an international petition directed to all world governments and perhaps to the UN.

The current role of Avaaz is noble and just. Avaaz gained 35,000,000 members by doing something right and that was by showing individuals that they could make a difference when they combined their voice with the voices of others.

All social and environmental problems can be placed in one of 26 categories (or there about). Immediately following are a few examples of some of the issues within these categories. All are vital and all need international attention and perhaps international treaties with penalties forthcoming for failing to ratify or noncompliance.

Toxins – within 25 years ban the use of depleted uranium in all weaponry, but start with removing lead from lipstick or hormone mimicking chemicals from face cream                                                  .

Plastic – within 25 years ban the use of all plastic except as deemed essential but start with the labelling of food containers with plastic liners, or elimination of coffee cup covers and drinking straws.

Democracy/Voting – within 25 years implement proportional voting in every country that does not already have it, but first stop hassling citizens trying to exercise their voting franchise.

Energy – within 25 years cut the waste of energy by reducing the HP of domestic vehicles, but start by making it illegal to own and operate a noisy polluting leaf blower anywhere on the planet.

Fishing/Whaling – within 25 years put a fishing/whaling treaty in place that guaranties that species have a chance at survival, but first stop the use of plastic fishing nets (also eliminates a plastic product)

Genetic Engineering – within 25 years stop the use of all genetically modified organisms but first just demand labelling of GMO products.

Human Rights – within 25 years prepare for the movement of millions of people due to environmental collapse, but first just ban genital mutilation of girls. (Jail anyone who practices this barbaric act)

Population – within 25 years find ways to reduce population demands on the planet, but first just get this topic on the table for discussion.

Make similar 25 year plans for Air degradation, Drugs, Farming/Forestry .Food, Health, Land/Soil Degradation, Non-personages, Nuclear Issues, People’s Commons/Natural Resources, Public Broadcasting/Freedom of speech/Right to Knowledge, Species (or biodiversity),Trade and Labor, Transportation, Waste/Recycle, Water resources. (This list in not carved in stone)

At the moment Avaaz’s campaigns are reactionary and not long range planned. To be effective in the long term the plan must be extensive and all-inclusive. To be all-inclusive the plan must extend well into the future – 25 years is a reasonable time frame. All concerns must be systematically categorized, prioritized, debated, and distributed for approval and signatures. Avaaz is well versed at gathering the support needed. But the distribution must go well beyond the shaming of a single government or individual into action. Any action must be seen as logical and necessary and for the needs of the many.

To be consistent each category could present one petition for consideration each year in the same week of the year. Member/supporter/subscribers could choose to consider a petition every second week of the year or simply participate within their pet or favorite issues.

With the 25 year plan as suggested here, every concern could be conceivably be addressed. That should go a long way to resolving some environmental and social issues everywhere – which is the key.

All NGOs and organizations have difficulty changing course once they are established. I’m not suggesting they abandon their ways but perhaps an additional division dedicated to developing a 25 year plan might go a long way to saving this planet from ourselves.

Please join and support Avaaz if you are not a member here –

There are a few more ideas on this subject at

By Matt Foster – civis mundi sum April 29th 2014

Listen to the Visitor

A week or two back there was an article in the Guardian Weekly to which I responded with a letter to the editor. You can read the article here

This was my letter.

Listen to the visitor

Regarding your 20 November story Crowdfunding plan to tackle ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’: we need to look at our world as a visitor might.

A visitor to our planet might see the plastic crisis we have created and ask, “What are you going to do about the plastic that is endangering life in your oceans?” We might respond, “Well, we are thinking of trapping it and then recycling it back into more consumer products.”

Our puzzled visitor shakes his head and asks, “Have you considered banning it completely where there are alternative materials?” To this we might respond, “Just how you would propose we do that?”

The visitor continues: “Considering that it is the people of the entire planet who will bear the consequences of inaction, my advice is to ask the people from all your 190-plus nations to formulate the plan. Together, list everything made of plastic, and have the people decide just what they can live without. Start simply while you gain public support and then tackle whole groups of things such as toys, building materials and packaging. Be determined and ignore those with a monetary interest in the status quo.”

To which we might reply, “Seriously, what should we really do?”
Matthew R Foster
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Taliban/Cancervative Ideology


There was an article in the paper today about the Taliban. As I read it I came to the conclusion that their radical ideology is pretty much the same as that of our Conservative Party – or as I call the “Cancer”vative Party for obvious reasons. (It seeks to destroy every structure of our society even if it dies itself in the process)

The Taliban is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish but the Big Cs are increasingly Islamophobia and more than willing to advertise the fact. One should remember that atrocities in Germany started by the promoting of hatred for the way some German citizens dressed in public places.

So what else is comparable? In point form I offer the following; with a few at the end that are exclusively Big C ideology:

Objective of gaining and retaining power at all costs



Pro-religious dogma

Anti-women rights


Blatant Homophobia

Anti-family planning


Pro-disenfranchising voters



Anti-public broadcasting

Divisive politics

Space Exploration

Space Exploration

Recently I heard a comedian on TV say; “I cannot imagine any situation where meeting aliens from space would turn out well.” Neither can I. And apparently Dr. Steven Hawkins is like-minded.

Although the exploration of our solar system is really exciting, inspirational and educational, I think that we really do need to consider what we are doing within and beyond our solar system, before we do something that cannot be undone.

We have been exposed to countless novels and movies where we have met alien life forms. In these fantasy encounters, we meet species as though they we meeting “one on one”. The reality is however that we as humans contain millions of bacteria, virus, fungi, and even little mites living in our eyelashes. We are literally a walking and breathing ecosystem. At least 500 species of bacteria, weighing about 3.3 pounds, live inside our gut. Our skin supports about 1 trillion bacteria of various varieties. In total, most of the time we share our bodies harmoniously with about 90 trillion or so microbes.

If we ever eventually meet a space visitor, we can assume that he/she/it will come with an equal number of worrisome and uncategorized organisms living on its body. Undoubtedly a lot of these alien organisms would see humans as a source of substance or a place to feed their offspring. This begs the question, “How could we ever expect to adapt overnight to a host of threats to which our body has no evolved defenses?” In addition, how could any extraterrestrial-being hope to adapt to the threat we ourselves would present?

Our Native Americans did not cope well with the exposure to just a few diseases that the Europeans brought with them to their world – not to mention our brutal and cruel behaviour toward them. I think (in the case of meeting extraterrestrial aliens) that life of all humanity, and of the aliens alike, would be in grave peril.

In ‘The War of the Worlds’, by English author H. G. Wells, the Martian invaders wreak mayhem and havoc but eventually die off because of an Earthly bacterial infection to which they had no defence. (maybe measles) Wells might have just as easily have written that Earth inhabitants died off from some Martian bacteria which the Martian invaders brought with them.

This week (as I write this) NASA showed us Pluto. As expected it was round with some lumpy bits here and there, and with some flat bits here and there. As I watched in fascination, I could not help but wonder how many bacterium and viral passengers were aboard our little space craft as it passed Pluto and headed off into outer space – perhaps to ‘seed’ another planet or possible infect another planet with its microscopic passengers from Earth. Seriously, I was one of the curious people waiting for the photos of Pluto to arrive, but at the same time, I’m just not sure we should be taking the risk of endangering any potential life forms that may or may not exist ‘out there’.

Some statistics from:

A very English revolt

A very English revolt

The Guardian Weekly had an interesting article on June 6th. The title, “a very English revolt” with a lead in, “The people of Frome in Somerset call it ‘flatpack democracy’ and it has seen party politics cast aside in search for local solutions. See Guardian article here (26 June)

The basic aim seems both simple and benign: (says author John Harris) “Taking political power at a local level, then using it to enable people to have a greater say in the decisions that effect their lives” He further writes – But the results have been explosive: the routing of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives from Fome’s town council, and the arrival in power of a coalition of self-styled independents, united by belief that democracy needs a dramatic revival.

This movement to take charge was initiated when it was evident that the town council could not come to terms with environmental issues in any meaningful way. Like-minded residents came together and decided to use the democratic process to take total charge. They ran candidates in all ridings and these “independents” took all 17 seats on Frome’s council. Interestingly, several other towns have had similar movements to take over their local city councils.

When I read this article, I immediately felt that this grass roots idea was what we need to address the thousands of social and environmental issues that threaten our very survival on this planet. I was somewhat surprised when my letter was printed as I suggested a worldwide movement. I will paste it here just as it appeared:

The solution to everything

Within the article A very English revolt (26 June) is shown the key to addressing all (Yes! All!) of the thousands of social and environmental issues on the planet.

For years, I have been advocating that we need a worldwide movement to counter the power that business interests have over people and planet interests. The “Frome movement” suggests that to this, we need to add a political party element.

There are many voices that advocate change through revolution or civil disobedience to promote change. In Frome, these ordinary citizens have shown that what we need is people participation with the goal of making democracy work for both the people and planet.

How about we form a global support and advisory movement with a name like Civis Mundi? “World Citizen”(envision this in all language equivalents) is something we can universally rally under. And how about a political movement called Terra Cotta; as “burnt earth” seems to convey the message and urgency for some people-backed changes.

Just one suggestion: No prayer before meetings.
Matthew R Foster
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

If anyone wants to discuss or debate this idea, my email is on the site under Bio and Contact info, and my phone number is on 411 Canada



Earth Triage

Earth Triage

If there was an organization which sent you and its members a petition with worldwide significance, would you review it and add your support to the effort if you were in agreement with the objective?

If this organization sent you a new issue/petition, at the same time each year, would that be too often?

If you received the following (sample) petition which would be not only forwarded to all Canadian members of Parliament and Senate, but would be sent to each and every legislative assembly on the planet, would you consider signing it?

Sample one.

Category – Human rights – Issue – Female Genital Mutilation of young girls – Petition wording – We the undersigned believe that Genital Mutilation of girls is a crime against humanity and must be made illegal in all 196 nations –

Signed  _____________ (FGM is happening here in North America/Europe/as well as the Middle East and Africa)

This first sample is from the Category designated as Human Rights. It is obviously a social issue whereas some categories would be classed as environmental issues. (In this proposed concept)

The proposed concept would allow for 26 categories of issues. Human Rights would have equal weight to all other categories in this plan. If it was assigned to have its issue/petition placed in the first week of January 2016, then it would present its second issue/petition to its worldwide membership in the first week of January 2017, and so on for the next 25 years of the suggested plan. If human rights were the only concern a member had, then he/she would only need to review one petition per year.

Sample two.

Category – Plastic – Issue – Plastic used as fillers in food packaging – Petition wording – Plastic is itself a great waste of a natural finite oil resource; to use it as a means of deceiving the public should be made universally illegal, as it is deliberately dishonest and unjust. We the undersigned demand that our elected/appointed/governing representatives stop the use of plastic fillers in food packaging.

Notes – It should not be made illegal in Canada alone. It should be made illegal everywhere on the planet. The first and all subsequently proposed petitions would impact on issues of global concern.

In this particular category we might just as easily have considered many things. We might consider the decimation of albatross fledglings that perish in agony when the parent feeds them a diet of bottle caps, throwaway lighters and other plastic waste. We might consider the lost plastic fish nets, and lines, that drift the seas and kill forever by entangling great whales, turtles, and other marine life. We might consider the canning of food in plastic lined cans that leach chemicals into food or the issues of plastic toys or signage. There are lots of choices in this oft overlooked tragic and devastating category.

In normal triage procedures one would select the most severe problem first. We cannot do that unfortunately. Choosing the first issue in each category must be done carefully, remembering that membership will be low at this initial stage. This packaging issue should be easy to defend in the public arena where we need to show that a new movement has been started, while we hint at our objectives. This issue is one that should cause the least threat of the inevitable corporate criticism and backlash. There will always be critics and short sighted naysayers.

Plastic is just one of the 26 categories suggested. Like the previous category of Human Rights, it would be assigned a place on the calendar with equal weight to Human Rights. Those who champion this category, like me, might understandably like it to have more weight, but this cannot be the case.

Sample 3.

Category – Water Resources – Issue – Ground water contamination – Petition wording – We the undersigned believe that there is no need for embalming of human corpses in a ritualistic interment process, as the carcinogenic chemical eventually seeps into, and contaminates, groundwater.

Signed  _________________

Notes – The wording in these samples is intended to give a quick snapshot of the petition. Obviously in the final product, there would be supporting information and the member would have ample time to read up on the subject and make an informed decision.

Obviously not all worldwide members will speak English, so the site would have multi language capabilities just like the UN site. Each proposal would be translated by accredited volunteers from satellite sites around the planet.

So far we have seen three samples of issue/petitions that might land in your email box. Anyone could subscribe to participate in one or more categories of issues. If we are real concerned and energetic we might evaluate and participate in all 26. They would arrive as email each 14 days. They could remain open for signatures indefinitely and only are forwarded when sufficient people have had their opportunity to participate.

Here are the proposed categories that might be used. There are actually 23 listed here with a place for three more.

  1. Air quality
  2. Democracy/Voting
  3. Drugs
  4. Energy
  5. Farming/Forestry
  6. Fishing/Whaling
  7. Food
  8. Genetic engineering
  9. Health
  10. Human Rights
  11. Information & Education
  12. Land/Soil Degradation
  13. Mining
  14. Nuclear Issues
  15. People’s Commons/natural resources
  16. Plastic Dangers
  17. Population
  18. Species (or biodiversity)
  19. Toxins
  20. Trade and Labor
  21. Transportation
  22. Waste/Recycle
  23. Water Resources


I’m sure that many readers here will note that this concept has hitch hiked on the concept and model used by Avaaz. Unlike Avaaz, and a number of similar organizations, this new organization would focus on issues that affect worldwide social issues and the planet’s ecosystems. It would not be dedicated to resolving injustices in single countries by individuals, groups of individuals or corporations. It would be methodical and hopefully not reactionary. Issues would be chosen after careful selection, deliberation and by consensus of members. Priorities could and would be changed by consensus as circumstances dictate. Remember that a full twelve months is available between issue/petitions in a category.

I am an enthusiastic member of Avaaz and a couple of other such groups. I marvel at their ability to attract new members. (41,000,000 at last count) I attribute this to the fact that we can sit at our computers, and evaluate an injustice that is taking place in real time anywhere on the world. We, as truly global citizens, can then add our voice to the hundreds of thousands of likeminded people and know that our petition will be speedily sent to the legislative body that can take appropriate action. Like Avaaz, millions of participating members from every nation, and speaking with a single unified voice, should be our ultimate objective, if this is to succeed.

There is indeed no shortage of individual organizations independently working to resolve social and environmental issues. This fragmentation is indeed a major problem as we all try to be heard all at once, on all issues. They all have their own agendas, their own memberships and their own methods of raising money. Just imagine for a moment that all of the issues represented by all of these groups could be combined into one. While still leaving all existing groups to continue their independent agendas, we would call on the expertise and dedication of such groups for categorizing, prioritizing and participation in the new process. Indeed NGOs and groups of NGOs and activist groups could form the nucleus to spearhead specific categories of issues.

Categorizing, and reaching a consensus in establishing a priority list could be the job of members and the existing NGOs. NGOs have a wealth of information, in thousands of data bases, which can be used as a resource, along with their staff expertise and enthusiasm.

I could conceivably write multiple papers of just why our leaders, our politicians, our political parties, our corporations, the UN, our NGOs, our activist groups, our climate change conferences, our scientists, our media outlets etc. all fail to make much difference in altering the course of government action, particularly when it comes to environmental and social change. We need to accept that we need a different approach. Noam Chomsky said that “all change comes from the bottom up” while we seem to think we will get results by doing the same things that have proven to be ineffective over and over and over again. We are destined to stay on the bottom and be trodden upon if we do not stand up and make our unified voices heard. Avaaz has shown us how to get people engaged; we need to follow their lead.

In closing, I believe that all members is a new organization should be encouraged to support at least one other NGO or activist group. I like to look at it as hiring someone to do a job, for which I have neither the time nor talent.

To contribute ideas to this proposal, please visit Perhaps we can find a way to turn this basic idea into an adventure.



There is a book our called Global Chorus (365 Voices on the future of the planet) The contributors include Jane Goodall, David Suzuki, Archbishop Tutu, Stephen Harkins, the Dalai Lama and Matthew Foster. (That last one is me) There is also a web site where you can see the full list of contributors and the instructions for contributors. Just search for Global Chorus if you want more info.

When I first heard of this idea, I thought ‘now here is an important work – perhaps the most important work of our time. If only we can take the collective ideas and move them into some sort of long range plan we might actually make some concrete inroads on social and environmental issues.’

One by one, I have been slowly going through the articles and trying to reduce each contribution into its basic message. There is a contribution for each day of the year – So far I have read through to the end of March. Here are my condensations

  • There is an urgency that we do something.
  • We need to get people involved.
  • We have the knowledge.
  • The barrier to success is political and economic.
  • We need to correct the failings in our democracy.
  • We need to educate politicians.
  • We need to get by on less.
  • We all share in the problem.
  • We have the technology to get organized.
  • We need to work together.
  • There is futility in working alone.
  • We need to reduce our expectations.
  • Education of people is the key.
  • We need to admit to ourselves that there is a problem.
  • Big business is the problem.
  • Fossil Fuel is the problem.
  • We need to work locally.
  • We have to create global citizens.
  • We need to create political will.
  • We need to stand together. 

My contribution is placed at Oct 25th and reads as follows

The people and planet have many dire problems. We must accept that there is only one key with which to effectively tackle these problems. We have given the scientists, corporations, politicians, and the UN, the opportunity at resolving the global social/ecological crisis; now it is the people’s turn to step directly into the process in a more effective way.
From the Rio Earth Summit/1992, until now, we’ve seen little meaningful progress. We must ultimately react more quickly and resolutely.
We know the issues; we have unlimited knowledge accumulated within several million NGO data bases; we have the means and knowhow to communicate globally; we know the power of social media.
We are fragmented and all trying to be heard in our various political systems which are unfortunately highly influenced by powerful international market forces and are unreceptive to our concerns. It is indeed a bad situation in which the whole world shares, but it is not hopeless. Collectively we can propose and significantly influence meaningful changes if we can simply get organized into a cohesive, worldwide movement and —
• Develop a social media site dedicated solely to social/environmental issues.
• Incorporate multi-language capabilities to communicate with the world.
• Categorize all social/ecological issues into manageable groups (26 Max)
• Prioritize the issues in each category through debate and consensus and put them into a 20/25 year plan.
• Use the new site, and/or allied sites, to put the issues to the world`s people for approval in a logical format with a consistent approach. (I.e. One issue in each category every two weeks equals the addressing of 26 separate issues per year)
• Forward the duly considered petition, with the names of the signatories, concurrently to the legislatures of all nations, as this is a crucial worldwide emergency that affects everything.
• Require every category unreservedly to have equal weight and equal opportunity to put its particular issues to the public for debate and consideration each year in its turn.
• Accept that time is our unforgiving enemy.

If I can condense my contribution into a few words it would be – “A long range plan to address all 26 categories of problems”

All proceeds from the book go to charity.


You are the key

You are the key

To make a better world we need to establish just two things. One – we need to ascertain what has to be done and two – we need to ascertain who is responsible for making it all happen.

If we systematically list all of our concerns and then put them into categories we will find that we then know what has to be fixed, and then we can prepare a plan. Later on, we can prioritize the list into a comprehensive 25 or 30 year plan.

If we look to whom is responsible for the dire mess we are in, we will surely see that we need to look elsewhere for a solution. It is not hard to find the answer as it is ultimately you and I who are the key. That is, you and I, and all like-minded people worldwide.

As an example, let’s assume that in step one we decided that PLASTIC was a category that needed to be addressed. If you watched today’s news regarded the pollution of the oceans with plastic you might agree that this would be a suitable, and essential, category. The newscaster suggested that the problem lies in the world’s recycling and waste management programs. This is a grave error in reasonable thought as plastic and the manufacturing in plastic is the problem itself. It is a problem so destructive that it threatens every aspect of all that exists.

Can we eliminate all manufacturing in plastic? – Not realistically or likely! Can we eliminate manufacturing of drinking straws in plastic? Why not? Using waxed paper straws would not diminish my lifestyle at all, but it would be a small step for correcting earth’s ecosystem.

Using the above logic, after demanding “No manufacturing of plastic straws” we could demand “No manufacturing of citrus, onion and garlic bags.” Manufacturers and suppliers could revert back to twisted paper code bags. My life style would not be diminished.

As you will note, we would prioritize the problems. We could put the “no brainer” ones first and gradually add the more difficult ones as the movement grows.

Next might come “No excess plastic may be used as fillers in packaging of food stuffs”. My life style would not be diminished.

As we progress we might demand “No manufacturing of toys in plastic”. Kids would still have toys to play with, as manufacturers look to alternative material. Life would not be diminished what-so-ever.

Let’s try tackling something that might be more contentious. “No packaging of toothpaste in plastic tubes” I’m not sure that this could ever be accomplished but really, if my tooth paste came in powder form in a little tinned or cardboard container I’m sure I could survive. Also, more than one billion tubes would be essentially removed from the ecosystem each and every year, forever and ever. (Imagine the number of albatross that might survive because there were fewer plastic caps to feed (and kill) their fledgling offspring)

Here are a few more (you are welcome to offer more.) “No plastic in razor manufacturing”, “No plastic coat hangers”, “No plastic stickers on fruit and vegetables”, “No plastic inserts in bottles”, “No injection molded chairs” etc. Again my life style would not be diminished.

In this exercise, I have addressed only one category of problems and only a few issues within said category. Altogether, I suggest 26 categories be used in this plan so that one of the 26 categories would put forward one issue, to the public, for consideration, each and every year. Over the course of one year all 26 categories would demand action on one issue. They would have their chance to gain public support and action in this first ever exercise in worldwide participatory democratic action.

In summary you are the solution to the problem. Your participation, your opinions, your input, your voice added to one larger worldwide voice will be the key to turning things around. We can make a difference.

If you would like to write a paper on any category of your choosing let me know. Together we can formulate an all-encompassing plan.

Sincerely – Matt Foster world att golden dott net


The Scorpion and the Frog

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”

I have often wondered why we do so much that is detrimental to other people and the planet. If we look to the Aesop fable above we might believe that “it is in our nature” or at least in the nature of some of us.

We fill the oceans with plastic without concern for the consequences; likewise we fill our food and environment with thousands of chemicals and hormone mimicking chemicals and are told that everything is under control. I could give thousands of examples of our stupidity but I hope that is not necessary to get across a simple point.

Let’s for a moment divide all of humanity up as frogs and scorpions. Can our characters be so easily defined? On the one side we find that the frog has agreed to do work for another. It has contracted to do something for the scorpion that it is incapable of doing itself. It may have agreed to do this as a friendly gesture or for compensation.

The scorpion agrees to do no harm with this contracted business. The labouring frog is assured that he will suffer no grievous harm from his contract with the employer.

As I see it, the frog has the character of someone from the left political spectrum. It is courteous, compassionate, it performs the task assigned; it only asks for fair play; it is sociable; it is tolerant of other groups within society.

The scorpion, on the other hand, has the characteristics of someone from the right political spectrum. (Very much like a Canadian Conservative) It has a grandiose sense of self-worth, a lack of remorse, it is deceitful, has a callous lack of empathy, it is cunning and manipulative, irresponsible and pathologically untruthful. It is truly his nature. People like this should never be in control of our welfare, or our country.



The world is coming apart at the seams and at some point will almost certainly be unable to adapt to, and sustain our excessive numbers, abuses and demands. While this is assured without some dramatic changes, the majority of us feel helpless and do nothing, when we should be collectively looking for a unified solution, and more importantly formulating and tabling a long range plan. The reality is that we have to take action, and without having a long range plan, we will just keep spinning our wheels and nothing will get accomplished.

There is always a small part of society that grasps the injustice of any given situation and reacts to it. The issue could be racism, homophobia, apartheid and injustices such as the Viet Nam war. The driving force is generally from the meeker side of society fuelled by passion coupled with compassion. In the greatest social and environmental challenge ever to face humanity, we need to awaken and focus this meeker segment of individuals in all societies worldwide.

Today’s worldwide dilemma is complex in the extreme. Trying to get the attention of politicians with our million complaints and suggestions all at the same time has the opposite effect to what we desire. To gain support, the message must be singularly specific and the goal must be clearly defined, practical and attainable. In addition, while the concerned individual is all important, he or she must have the power of numbers to be taken seriously.

The pressure for meaningful action and change must come from the people themselves. This is the key that is being overlooked. The findings of conferences, scientists, activist groups, the UN, or anyone else are meaningless unless the people are moved, in great numbers, to clearly support and voice such support for such findings and initiatives.

Trying to address the whole challenge as a single issue is ineffective and futile. This multifaceted and global challenge needs to be broken down into its component parts so that they can be addressed logically, systematically and consistently. Saying something like “Stop Global Warming” is like saying “Cure my fever” without first identifying the underlying cause. The latter is a symptom with perhaps several causes. The former is a symptom with thousands of causes – each of which needs to be identified, action proposed, agreed upon and prioritized.

Changing the direction of politicians is fundamental to success. Unfortunately politicians, for the most part, are as frail and frustrated as the rest of us. Just as we acquiesce to our superiors and bosses, our elected officials acquiesce to the Party leaders, who acquiesce to right winged pressure, influence and power. While citizens collectively think that our elected officials will act in the interest of society, this is seldom the reality. Willingly or unwillingly, they in fact are very much under the influence and direction of highly organized and powerful forces.

This simple paper makes no effort to expose the countless right winged influences. These influences are complex and cover almost every aspect of our daily lives. Fortunately in today’s world, information, and knowledge, is everywhere even though it is withheld from the general public to a large degree. Providing information must be part of this proposed plan for change.

Democracy itself also has many flaws, and in its present form often fails to produce legislatures which reflect the aspirations of a cross section of society. Identifying and correcting these basic flaws will be one of the objectives in the overall plan being envisioned here. (As an example, here in Canada, we have the Conservatives with 100% power, obtained with 39.6% of the vote in our flawed, so-called, democracy. No party, or individual, should ever have this unlimited and potentially devastating power.)

Is civil disobedience the answer to the problem? I advocate that we do not need to ‘take to the streets’ so much as we need to take to “social media” – but while we are considering how such a venue and forum might work, we first need an all-encompassing plan. Then it can be made available to everyone, everywhere through the suggested site. (Well! to almost everyone)

If we await our politicians, in our respective 300 or so countries, to address global concerns we will achieve nothing of consequence in a thousand futile years of trying. Unlike the sophistication of the right wing influences we are amateurs. Together worldwide, we have the research; we have the knowledge; we have the talents, but we are as a million individual voices all trying to be heard; all at the same time. It is time to change all of that. To be effective, it is time to make a plan, get organized and be really heard. The right has the power of money but the left has the potential power of people.

THE PLAN (which awaits your input, should you choose to do so)

First – We must identify the problem. The opening paragraph offers one for consideration.

Second – we must take all of the social and environmental problems that we can envision and place them into 26 categories or less. (The reason for this will become evident)

Third -we must take the issues in each category and prioritize them into a 25 year plan. (Starting with issues that are not too disruptive, while business and societies adapt to the changes that are imperative and essential)

Fourth – we must develop a dedicated social media site where the plan can be translated and displayed in all major languages. (If we see this as a global problem then we must inform and solicit input and debate as one worldwide society)

Fifth – we must allocate a two week period each year to each and every category, so that everyone will know precisely when any category (complete with its current prioritized issue) will get its opportunity to be considered. (And acted upon)

Sixth – an easily identifiable name and banner and mission statement should be chosen for this movement. (Preferably a Latin name to remove the stigma that can be attached to English etc. – for consideration, I offer Civis Mundi or Terra Cotta – meaning world citizen and burnt earth)

Seventh – using the technique of other organizations, or in collaboration with other groups, we could provide a petition related to the designated issue. (This would be chosen by those participating in the process)

Eighth – To provide direct contact with all politicians (and governing bodies) on the planet, we then direct the petition to only those who can act on our behalf. (If they fail to react, we must do everything in our power to put them out of work and replace them with people who truly represent society’s needs.)

As a place to start here are 24 categories of concerns – all of which need our collective and immediate attention. We just need to put them in order; prioritize the issues within; and collectively demand action from our respective politicians.

Category Ideas. (open to revision so long as we do not exceed 26 groups)

1. Air degradation

2. Democracy/Voting

3. Drugs

4. Energy

5. Farming/Forestry

6. Fishing/Whaling

7. Food

8. Genetic engineering

9. Health

10. Human Rights

11. Land/Soil Degradation

12. Mining

13. Non-personages (Influential groups)

14. Nuclear Issues

15. People’s Commons/Natural Resources

16. Plastic Issues

17. Population

18. Public Broadcasting/Freedom of speech/Right to Knowledge

19. Species (or biodiversity)

20. Toxins/toxicants

21. Trade and Labor

22. Transportation

23. Waste/Recycling

24. Water Resources

25/26 Open

In conclusion,

we need to arouse the passion, and compassion in the generally non-demonstrative and meeker side of the world’s peoples. They alone can gather and exert the power to affect change. Probably more than half of the world is rather meek. Meek does not have to mean weak. Inspired we can be a force for change but nothing can be done without a plan.

The ‘Stupid’ Albatross

The ‘Stupid’ Albatross

There is a heartbreaking video on YouTube web that shows the plight of the splendid albatross on Midway Island. See –

The parent birds comb the ocean for food for their chicks. They pick up our discarded plastic waste and bring it all to the nest to disgorge into the waiting beaks of their offspring. Of course the chicks wither and die agonizing deaths when the ‘food’ provides no nourishment and clogs their collective digestive systems. The unfortunate chicks rot in the sun and the released plastic returns to the environment to potentially kill again and again. We may well think about how unfortunate it is that these ‘stupid’ birds cannot learn from this cause and effect experience.

This unfortunately is but one example, with one single species, but it plays out similarly with many fish, turtles, mammals and birds – E.g. Pick up coloured plastic waste – eat it or feed offspring – consumer dies – slow erosion of the species – eventual extinction – poor stupid creatures!

Of course the ‘stupid’ albatross will never learn from the experience as it is beyond its ability. Only we ‘advanced and evolved’ humans have the capability to reason out this simple cause and effect equation and resolve it. However, we humans appear to be as helpless and as unwise as the lowly albatross. If we examine this plastic crisis, we know without a doubt, that we are headed for certain disaster. We however expand our use of plastic at a horrendous rate and (like the ‘stupid’ albatross) we feed it our planet, and every organism upon it, at an ever increasing rate. We then fly off, again and again, to purchase more to use, discard, corrupt, poison and kill.

Before you shrug your shoulders and say “it’s not my fault, and I cannot do anything about it” let me suggest that you can do something, and that you must do something.

First have a look at the ideas expressed at Read closely and if you think there is any merit in the basic ideas, then ask your friends to help debate, refine, and expand them.

Only when we categorize the whole range of problems; list the issues under the headings; prioritize the issues into a long range plan of at least 25 years; unit the people worldwide under a common banner with a common mission to resolve the issues one by one; resolve to make our elected politicians represent our collective interests; stand united in our resolve; only then will we make any headway.

Pass this on if you do nothing else. Show the world that we can do something tangible. Let’s create a worldwide movement that will put the common people in charge of our own destination and survival.

Remember that time, above all things, is now our greatest and unforgiving enemy.

Matt Foster – civis mundi