D Report

Team member D gives report

“My assigned question was as follows — Will you make a rough list of identifiable problems in everything from GLOBAL WARMING, PLASTIC, TOXINS, HUMAN RIGHTS and the like? Don’t neglect anything as we will sort out the priorities later on. Just start by making a big long list in no special order. Nothing is too small or controversial to consider.”

Team Leader – “If anyone reading this report would like to help please contact me here

 

D REPORT .

have prepared a list of problems as I randomly found them. It has about 300 social and environmental problems all together. There are many more not on the list. A copy is attached.

I think that it is necessary to address both social and environmental issues together as very often one hinges on another – which I will try to make clear as we go along.

The rough list I have compiled was broken out into 25 categories – this can be refined up or down as we progress. Some may not be as relevant as others but all are important in the grand scheme of things.

  1. CLIMATE CHANGE is the most often sited problem in the media and with the environmentalists, but as this is a symptom of the problem then perhaps MISUSE OF ENERGY or simply ENERGY might be a better heading. Let me list the headings alphabetically. In an effort to be brief, I will not speak to some categories.
  2. AIR QUALITY –
  3. DEMOCRACY/VOTING – There are a lot of issues with this category, from Gerrymandering, robo callling, fraud, voting periods, ballot complexity, crazy ID rules and on and on. There are forces that work hard to distort the wishes of the electorate, particularly in countries with first past the post electoral systems.
  4. DRUGS – I put this here as pharmaceuticals end up in all water and elsewhere where they still affect other life forms. Maybe a global commission could look at this.
  5. ENERGY – a primary concern that will not be resolved by driving electric cars alone. We need to stop the waste starting at the well head where they indiscriminately burn off excess gas. We need to curtail the nonsense of tourism space travel before it gets a foot hold; we need to turn down the thermostats and turn off the AC; we need to slow down and reduce engine sizes. We need to make travelers pay for their waste of our primary resource. Realistically we will never stop people from travelling but we can restrict how they do it.
  6. FARMING/FORESTRY-
  7. FISHING/WHALING –
  8. FOOD – a few words of this. There are forces at play that could care less about what is in your food so long as you buy it. These forces are as bad as those of the tobacco industry. They need regulations generated by the people who use the products. More about this is in INFORMATION/EDUCATION
  9. GENETIC ENGINEERING – similar to food argument. They don’t care what happens in the long term as long as there is money made in the short term.
  10. HEALTH – money that should be spent on health of society is squandered on “middlemen” insurance interests. Also health is jeopardized by food interests etc.
  11. HUMAN RIGHTS –
  12. INFORMATION & EDUCATION – I think that we need to start to systematically educate people primarily through dedicated TV. There are no shortage of NGOs with experts and prepared documentaries to satisfy every aspect of every issue. All peoples should demand that our representative governments provide this service and pay for it. That is what democracy is supposed to do.
  13. LAND/SOIL DEGRADATION – lot to be done to protect the soil that provides our food. E.g. stop embalming corpse’s and corrupting ground water.
  14. Mining,
  15. Institutions – I put this here as there are a lot of institutions that work against the interests of people from blatant usury to false information
  16. Nuclear Issues,- like depleted uranium usage
  17. People’s Commons/natural resources – simple -stop wasting finite resources.
  18. Plastic Dangers – possibly as big a problem as energy waste. Again we have a situation where manufactures could care less for the continuance of the planet if they can make a profit today. Recycling plastic is a farce perpetuated to make us feel like we have it under control.
  19. Population – the problem that no one wants to talk about. We need a commission to report on this.
  20. Species (or biodiversity),
  21. Toxins – thousands of problems from many sources.
  22. Trade and Labor –
  23. Transportation – we cannot stop mobility and transportation but we can regulate and tax it.
  24. Waste/Recycle – important to extend resources but plastic usage should be curtailed as recycling is a joke.
  25. Water Resources,
  26. Open category,

“At this point I should mention that I have made a spreadsheet that has room for all of these categories. It has room for 25 categories and runs out for 25 years. The space for year one is for the priority that would ultimately be penciled in for attention. There are enough spaces for 625 problems overall.” – “25 times 25 equals 625.”

“I have prepared a list. It has about 300 social and environmental problems all together. A copy is attached at the back. “

Team Leader – “I guess that penciled in would be the right term as it would take some negotiating and consensus to finally ink in a priority. II like the concept of actually seeing a plan on paper so that everyone knows the extent of the crisis we face. As you said it will take more than a switch to electric cars and banning drinking straws – for that matter.”

MEETING AT U of WATERLOO RE SYMPOSIUM

Address to students for Jan 16th 2019

This is the spread sheet that is associated with the Civis Mundi plan for addressing social and environmental problems over 25 years.

First off, I am not a specialist in environmental or social issues. My background is in manufacturing and more recently in poultry incubation as a research and development Director. I ask that you keep that in mind.

About 30 years ago I decided to look at the problem of our inability to resolve both social and environmental injustice. I set a goal of 1 year in which to do this. Somehow after 30 years I am still at it.

First I looked at political parties including both business interest parties and people interest parties, corporations, NGOs, activist groups, the education system, communications, democracy itself etc.

It didn’t take long to see that all of these fail us for a variety of reasons. The reasons we fail are many but I believe that most can be overcome with concentrated people power.

I next started to create a long list of all of the problems that I found as I watched the news, read the paper, or scanned the internet. I also read every book that I could find at the library. I won’t say that I found them all by any means, but I had enough so that I could divide them into categories. I searched for headings and found that by combining I could whittle it down to about 26.

MADE LIST OF CATEGORIES.

I went through the list and put them into the 26 categories. Some categories had a large number of issues whereas others had few but as I do not profess to be all-knowing, I left this open so that others could refine the lists.

PROPOSED LIST OF 26 CATEGORIES FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

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. Institutions, 15. Nuclear Issues, 16. People’s Commons/natural resources, 17. Plastic Dangers, 18. Population, 19. Species (or biodiversity), 20. Toxins, 21. Trade and Labor, 22. Transportation, 23. Waste/Recycle, 24. Water Resources, 25. Open category, 26. Open Category

LONG RANGE PLAN PROPOSED

I thought that we obviously needed to have a long range program to resolve such a large number of issues so I chose 25 years as an optimistic time frame.

HOW MANY PROBLEMS ARE THERE THAT NEED RESOLVING?

If we look at the categories as being 26 and the program as being 25 years into the future we need to compress everything into 650 separate and defined problems.

WHO ARE WORKING ON THE PROBLEMS?

Next I looked into how many NGOs and activist groups were trying their best to resolve all of these problems. I found that Wikipedia suggests that there are 10,000,000 NGOS both great and small with about 1.5 M in the USA. There are undoubtedly many more activist groups.

HOW WOULD I PROPOSE THAT WE SPACE OUR DEMAND PETITIONS?

If we decide that 26 categories is the number we need then we could address one every 2 weeks for the next 25 years. More frequently would be hard to manage and going every 4 weeks would take 50 years to address everything.

WHAT WOULD A DEMAND PETITION LOOK LIKE

I’m using plastic here as an example, as I see it a major problem. I have a list of the major problems with plastic on my site under Plastic.

The first global petition on PLASTIC might look something like this: 

Directed To: The governments of all 193 (more or less) countries of earth. 

“As concerned citizens of this planet, we urge you, our political representatives, to immediately ban the food industry’s use of plastic identification stickers from fruit and vegetables grown, packaged, imported and distributed within all countries on Earth. Clear and effective action is needed immediately to reduce the flow of plastic waste from our collective landfills, water-ways and food chain and the subsequent harmful effects of such stickers — (the list of problems created by plastic would be added to support the demand) ” – Of course the first item proposed need not be fruit and vegetable stickers – it could be microbeads, coffee cup covers, coat hangers, egg cartons or drinking straws. The important thing is to get a start. (And to start with something that is easy to support – annoys many people – could easily be substituted with other materials. Not to mention THE inevitable backlash) Remember – we would also be relatively unknown and need to grow quickly

PUTTING A CATEGORY INTO ORDER OF PRIORITY

If we want to reduce all PLASTIC concerns to the fewest number possible, there needs to be some combining. I will again continue to use plastic to develop a (rough draft) sample 25 year list.

  1. YEAR ONE – labels on fruit and vegetables plus Plastic straws,
  2. Plastic microbeads
  3. Plastic netting as on garlic, onions, potato bags, wine bottle sleeves etc.
  4. Plastic fillers in food packaging plus the elimination of plastic signage
  5. Plastic inserts in bottles plus plastic seals in beer and beverage caps.
  6. The elimination of plastic in all toy manufacturing (as we now tackle a complete industry)
  7. The elimination of plastic in the snack food industry
  8. The laundry and cleaning products industry
  9. The appliance industry
  10. The elimination of plastic in the fast food industry
  11. The indoor and outdoor furniture industry
  12. The beverage industry
  13. The health care industry
  14. The stationary industry
  15. The apparel industry (manufacturing and packaging)
  16. The shoe industry
  17. The plumbing and electrical industry
  18. The automotive industry
  19. The waste collection and recycle industry
  20. The throwaway products industry
  21. The aviation industry
  22. The building industry
  23. The eyewear industry
  24. All other industries using plastic.
  25. other

WHAT IS THE USUAL APPROACH TO RESOLVING A PROBLEM?

Every group doing their own thing; Raising money, recruiting, emailing, direct mailing, demonstrating, organizing, petitioning, writing letters, phoning politicians, boycotting, etc. – in every community, state, nation etc. but no one taking their PRIMARY issue to potentially of all the planets people (who have access to social media) and then delivering the resultant demand-petition to every legislative assembly on the planet.

DO WE NEED TO PUBLISH OUR DEMANDS?

It is very important that everyone on the planet knows what is being planned for action – everyone must be forewarned

WHAT IS PROPOSED?

I am currently using this email tag line to explain the concept – CIVIS MUNDI Recommending an entirely new approach to resolving social and environmental challenges

If I may quote Greta Thunberg here; as she is saying what I have been saying for some time.

One – “Imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to”

Two- “real power belongs to the people

What is proposed at CIVIS MUNDI is a single social media site where we put all of the issues to the world’s people one by one, until we have addressed all 650 problems in a logical sequence.

End of part one

If there are any Engineering students here they might give me their thoughts of using a Gant Chart to set our goals and timetable. We might start with the following considerations initially and refine them as we gained input from the vast libraries of knowledge and research available in a million or more NGOs data bases – In the following I may repeat some of the steps I mentioned earlier.

  • Define the problem and the objectives.
  • List all of the elements of the problem (In our case it is social and environmental issues that negatively affect all of earth’s people in all 193 nations.)
  • Separate the issues into distinct categories (not to exceed 26 if possible)
  • Reserve one category for issues that arise unexpectedly or are hard to categorize.
  • Contact all related NGOs and activist groups and include their concerns. (This generally is a problem that should go away once they see the benefits of cooperating while they give up nothing)
  • Using the consensus of all, prioritize the issues in each and every category.
  • Establish criteria (a few simple rules) for the inclusion of issues, as it is easy to be distracted by emotion and forgo logic. Perhaps something like these renderings- — does this action benefit the welfare of the planet, and does this action undo or prevent an injustice against all humankind?
  • Select one issue from each category to be the one which will start the program (It will by necessity be something minor and easy to defend as we garner support. (Take baby steps as we learn how to walk – remember that initially it will be easier to eliminate the manufacture of plastic straws than to eliminate the manufacturing of all toys in plastic )
  • Be prepared to update the list of issues as groups and individuals offer more issues for consideration and inclusion. (there will be one year to decide the next issue after the first is offered for consideration.)
  • Be determined to give each category equal weight within the plan as my concerns will be different from yours and others.
  • Develop a social media site dedicated to the movement’s objectives. (like saving the planet for human habitation)
  • Define a mission statement which is simple to understand and readily translatable. (E.g. STOP = save this our planet, and actual stop signs could be used as a place to hang ribbons which identify our movement anywhere on the planet.)
  • Choose a name for the movement – something in Latin would be nice as it should have few adversaries.
  • Choose a logo and a colour theme to rally under – I will suggest the colour of terra cotta, as it means “burnt earth” and that seems to be appropriate
  • Consider the promotion of visibility for supporters – Like putting on a uniform E.G. displaying something in the chosen colour. (Cap, kerchief, ribbon, sock, etc. – one pair of socks for two people works for me)
  • Consider promotional ideas –e.g. Membership cards, (Use humour to some effect – Eg ?) Stickers for cars and mailboxes, ribbons on street signs, paint on tree trunks etc.
  • This link is from my old site – Consider having a register where supporters and members can show their commitment to the cause and get their “regimental number” (maybe include the county code of members as part of the id.)
  • Publish a full list of the movement’s objectives, as no one should be unaware of our concerns, demands and our timetable. (i.e. Put the whole world on notice)
  • Make rules regarding civil disobedience (Mischief will be necessary as it always is in such efforts)
  • Prepare a translation for the movement name in all languages to show the international aspect. Done
  • Consider how translations of the objectives will be handled. (kind of like the UN site)
  • Consider just how the initial issues will be put to the membership for consideration.
  • Consider whether we are gathering names either for petitions or to make actual demands of our government representatives – demands with consequences. Note E petitions are now Ok in Canada
  • Consider how we can take our demands directly to our government representatives all at the same time. (Not to a single legislative body but to all 193 legislative bodies at the same time)
  • Prepare for backlash, ridicule, opposition and SLAPP lawsuits. (Strategic lawsuit against public participation)
  • Consider how frequently an issue will be presented for consideration – I suggest we consider once each two week period so that all categories can address one issue per year.
  • Allow members to choose the categories that concern them personally so they need not be subjected to issues which do not concern them
  • Consider how the name, objectives and logo might be used in other ways e.g. political party names, awards programs, product endorsement (not recommended) drop in centres, seniors groups, TV network, TED talks, Wikipedia page, a foundation, etc.
  • Consider a membership “medal” made from a bit of the most precious material of all – a bit of fired earth.
  • Garner media attention whenever possible as growth is paramount
  • Cultivate relationships with philanthropic individuals and celebrities as money and media attention are helpful.
  • Remember that seniors could very well want to participate with funding and promotion. Remind them that they made the mess w ae in.
  • Consider crowdsourcing for funds
  • Many issues can be cross referenced –IE Plastic chocks, clogs, leaches, suffocates, kills fish, and notably the albatross etc., so they can be cross referenced to TOXINS, WATER RESOURCES, SPECIES, FOOD, HEALTH, FISHING/WALING AND WASTE/RECYCLE

NOTES

Most E petitions I have read, would not meet the criteria for this movement — Browse petitions

Remember the whole idea is to have symposium to see if this can lead to a youth driven movement

In closing, our present approach is like ants attacking a Sherman tank. It is not a “fair fight” like David and Goliath where David at least has a chance. We need to get millions of ants inside the tank where our numbers can effectively stop the seemingly unstoppable.

Sincerely Matthew R Foster -Civis Mundi Sum

Maybe mention that Canada eliminated lead in water pipes in Canada but it took the Montreal Protocol to ban Freon worldwide.

Dissidents are seen as a threat to power and this will be no different

Translations of WORLD CITIZEN here

Categories and list of problems here

Spread sheet for 650 issues over 25 years

G Report

Team member G gives report

“My assigned question was as follows — – “I am going to guess here that we will have a lot of categories of problems once we have compiled the list and broken them out into separate and identifiable groups. Will we probably need a new international organization? Estimate how big it would be?”

Team Leader – “If anyone reading this report would like to help please contact me here”

 

G REPORT .

“This crisis is probably far bigger than most environmentalists have imagined and it is certainly much too complex to approach without an overall long-range plan. As mentioned there are about 25 categories of problems.”

“To be effective there should be a single organization with a single global membership and a single web site; there would have to be hundreds, if not thousands, working in the background gathering input and setting priorities. Drafting of petitions would require research and legal expertise plus translation into every language just like the UN. People would have to find contact info for all lawmakers in all 195 nations; that alone would require a lot of research in itself.”

“Breaking it into individual groups responsible for each separate category would be the best idea I think.”

How big it would be is open to speculation but saving the planet, humankind and all life was never a requirement before. The task at hand would need an organization much larger and much more complex than anything that now exists.

 

F Report

Team member FE gives report

“My assigned question was as follows — – Let’s assume we will start a new global movement to address all of the problems- what would our mission statement be? How would we motivate people to work with us without annoying the hell out of the population with all the demonstrations and unhelpful hollering? I want you to think about a name, a logo and anything else that brings about comradery and a sense of purpose.

Team Leader – “If anyone reading this report would like to help please contact me here

 

F REPORT.

I believe that there should be a different approach for different levels even if the priorities are set through a specialized body of individuals. Let’s assume that we had students who pressured school boards and universities to clean up their act first. They could look at heating, cooling, supplies, transportation, and landscaping, cleaning supplies – whatever.- maybe even banning annoying leaf blowers.”

“We could then have any citizen work with or on a Citizens group to get City Hall into the game. e.g., road salt, community tree planting, clothes lines, housing and feeding of the poor and homeless, board of works practices, plastic election campaign signage etc.”

“There could be similar efforts at Provincial level but the issues would be tougher E.G. power generation, roads, sidewalks (which might be made and maintained like cobblestones that do not get discarded when torn up for work below and could be maintained with a man and a shovel and a wheelbarrow)”

“At the Federal level we have Citizen Assemblies with a much higher responsibility E.G. pipelines, power transmissions, dams, fisheries etc.”

“There could be Citizen Assembles that are given the responsibilities to work with business and corporations to offer ideas on process and materials, transportation etc. These assemblies could come from retired executives and engineers with experience. We could pressure directly for removal of plastic components, excess salt and sugar – anything. It would appear that no one has considered just asking for help from these people. There could be some arm twisting with treats of public boycotts etc. “

“Now all priorities that are set for all levels might come from a priority list put together and maintained by a single universal group so that there would be no shortage of ideas to call upon for any group.”

“The Global level needs a different approach even if everyone is identified with the same overall objectives. I cannot possibly see how a Citizen Assembly would work globally. This is where the Demand/Petition concept could come into play.”

MISSION POSSIBLE

Preamble:

Let’s pretend that my boss came to my office and said, “The world cannot survive the insults were are throwing at it and still continue to support life as we have known; I want you to come back to me with a report on what we must do – put together a team and report back in a couple of weeks – Okay?”

“No problem boss, I’ll start right away”

I hope this little drama is seen as a serious exercise, even if it is written by a person unfamiliar with everything that faces us –but who is? For this task I will need a team, so I call in nine colleagues to outline the task at hand.

First I will assign questions to each person on my new investigative team, and then I will give the summary of the reports, and conclusions, to my “boss”.

So! First the report as drafted for the boss; to be followed by the questions and subsequent nine reports as prepared by the team – if you care to read them.

Part one: Report summary:

After presentation of all reports and vigorous debate, the following summary was drafted for presentation to the boss.

Title: DRAFT “PLAN” – HOW TO ADDRESS SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNANCE OF 195 NATIONS.

  • 1 To be effective and taken seriously, we think that the first thing that is obvious is that we are going to need a very large earth-spanning organization and an international following of perhaps an initial membership of one hundred million or more members.
  • 2 There needs to be action initiated on at least 6 levels with each level addressing a distinct set of local, regional, domestic and global problems. The following levels are proposed: SCHOOL, MUNICIPAL, PROVINCIAL or EQUIVALENT, FEDERAL, CORPORATE and INTERNATIONAL.
  • 3 The first 5 levels would be composed of CITIZEN ASSEMBLIES whereas the international group would use DEMAND/PETITIONS signed by an international membership and forwarded to every lawmaker in all 195 nations simultaneously.
  • 4 Problems at the international level would come from a wide variety of categories, each addressed in a sequence with a predetermined time interval between problems. (not less than two weeks)
  • 5 Global issues would require a massive organizational structure complete with name, logo, mission statement and everything one can imagine to create comradery and sense of purpose.
  • 6 Public visibility of participants is deemed to be of utmost importance to instill the aforementioned comradery and sense of purpose for our mission.
  • 7 Each level of activity would come from a single plan where all problems have been categorized and prioritized by debate and consensus utilizing, in part, the expertise of established NGOs and activist groups)
  • 8 At the international level, everyone would be working from a single spreadsheet, prepared with space for 25 years of problems. (Open to amendment as the situation dictates)
  • 9 Problems that need to be addressed would be assembled and categorized into about 25 groupings before attempting to determine year one priorities.
  • 10 The responsibility of each category could be assigned to separate and distinct groups of NGOs and activist groups who in turn could provide advisors and information.
  • 11 A spreadsheet could be used to first prioritize a problem in each category. Subsequent priorities would be established after confirming the first priorities and getting the movement under way.
  • 12 Every individual, including every politician and corporate executive, would know what the far-reaching objectives are as there can be no secrets as our very survival is at stake.
  • 13 A year may pass before a new priority is addressed in each category. (As lawmakers need time to react to our demands)
  • 14 It is assumed at this stage that all categories would be addressed in each and every year following the start of the program, perhaps in sequence. (perhaps due to the urgency for remedial action)
  • 15 NGOs, activist groups and individuals could offer their priorities for consideration, and decisions would be by consensus.
  • 16 There would be only two rules to determine if an issue met the necessary criteria for inclusion in the international program. (Regional issues would not be considered at the international level but assigned to Citizen Assemblies within each sovereign nation)
  • 17 Priorities could be set for all six levels of people-action so that everyone would have a list of priories to work from.
  • 18 Global action would require the formation of a large umbrella organization and movement; larger than anything imagined so far. (perhaps with more people than the UN but without a building and without government participation)
  • 19 Membership would come from all 195 nations. (It would appear that all individuals over 15 have a pretty good idea of the urgency and could be participating members.)
  • 20 Access to social media would be necessary for engaging in the international level movement.
  • 21 NGOS and activist groups would not give up any aspect of their structure to participate. All would benefit as the new movement would in fact be doing the will of most all groups.
  • 22 At the global level, problems would be put to the membership through a Demand/Petition which would require signed approval.
  • 23 Signed Demand/Petitions would be sent to the lawmakers in all 195 nations simultaneously.
  • 24 I repeat – This global group could very well entail the efforts of perhaps thousands of individuals, Including legal scholars, translators, scientists, programmers. (Perhaps rivaling the UN staff in size, but operated totally without governmental interference, and all trough social media)
  • 25 Like the UN, all communications would require multiple languages.
  • 26 Individual members would opt in for the categories that concern them and would not receive petitions that they do not want.
  • 27 Political parties that work against the plan because of business or religious reasons need to be identified to members and to the public at large. The enemy must be subdued in not tamed.
  • 28 There is profound urgency

 

The balance of this paper is available at civismundi.net

Part two (ASSEMBLING A TEAM AND ASSIGNING TASKS)

 

When the team of nine was assembled they were given the following tasks.

  • A –“I want you to tell me why we cannot seem to make any headway with social and environmental issues. Look at everything you think is relevant.”
  • B – “See if you can find any groups that have effective ideas and movements. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel here if it is not necessary. It might be the small groups that have the best ideas.”
  • C – “Civil Disobedience is advocated by some groups. There is also a lot of chanting and shouting. Please look into this and report on the effectiveness of such programs. What are the negatives of this approach?”
  • D – “Will you make a rough list of identifiable problems in everything from GLOBAL WARMING, PLASTIC, TOXINS, HUMAN RIGHTS and the like? Don’t neglect anything as we will sort out the priorities later on. Just start by making a big long list in no special order. Nothing is too small or controversial to consider.”
  • E – “As I understand it there are thousands of NGOs and activist groups out there. They all have research data bases, agendas, memberships, fund raising and so on. I want you to start contacting them and ask them what their top priorities are in this ever growing crisis.”
  • F -“Let’s assume that we need to address these problems at all levels of government. Could we use volunteer or appointed Citizen Assemblies to work at City Hall level, at Federal level and all levels starting with school boards if possible? Think about how we could organize at the Global level as there are about 195 nations that need to be working together and not against one another’s efforts. The global effort may need a different approach from the national level. One idea may not suit all levels. OK?”
  • G – “I am going to guess here that we will have a lot of categories of problems once we have compiled the list and broken them out into separate and identifiable groups. Will we probably need a new international organization?; estimate how big it would be?”
  • H – Let’s assume we will start a new global movement to address all of the problems- what would our mission statement be? How would we motivate people to work with us without annoying the hell out of the population with all the demonstrations and unhelpful hollering? I want you to think about a name, a logo and anything else that brings about comradery and a sense of purpose.
  • I – “Would you look into religion’s role in democracy and politics? I think that there are wolves in the flock that are up to misguided mischief. We need to know if this will hamper our efforts.”

Team Leader to team – “Ok team, you all have your assignments. Be brief, but thorough, if that is possible.

Team member A gives report here

Team member B gives report here

Team member C gives report here

Team member D gives report here

Team member E gives report here

Team member F gives report here

Team member G gives report here

Team member H gives report here

Team member I gives report here

 

Message to Extinction Rebellion

I would like to offer some suggestions on how we should be working as individuals and groups; how we should be prepared to work at every level of society, from schoolboards, city councillor, Provincial legislatures, Federal lawmakers, and internationally; I will suggest how to use NGOs and activist groups to contribute to the success of our goals.

First as individuals we need to be prepared to show the world that we are concerned and are working together in all 193 nations. We need to visually display to all that we have one mission even if our particular objectives many be different.

To do this we need to adopt a symbol that we are prepared to display openly on our person so that all will know our objective. We need to do it all the time and not just on rally days.

I have chosen to wear the XR hourglass symbol on my hat. As I could find no source for the symbol I made my own with old campaign buttons (of which I had quite a few.)

I made several with the hourglass, one with Greta’s  HOW DARE YOU and one that simply says “SENIOR CITIZEN FOR CLIMATE’ for those who do not recognize the XR group and wonder what the heck I am doing.

As an individual I will display my XR buttons everywhere I go. No one has asked me about it even though I have my morning coffee in the university restaurant with students and staff coming and going.

As an individual, I write to councillors and politicians and anyone I think might be swayed by my ideas.

As an individual, I tagged along with students and others at a rally of Cambridge City Hall. I was prepared to offer suggestions to councillors should any venture out to talk with me – none did. (more on this later)

As a member of a student group (or seniors for that matter) they collectively might actually prepare a list of things they expect the city Councillors to do if we ever get to speak with them. What is the point of hollering for attention and then having nothing specific to offer when asked?

As a place to start, how about asking city level lawmakers to pass a bylaw that eliminates plastic signage during elections or passing a bylaw that regulates minimum and maximum heating and cooling levels in municipal buildings.

As a group we might actually prepare letters to send to corporations asking them to be better corporate citizens. Like taking plastic out of tea bags, taking plastic stickers off of fruit and vegetables etc. These requests (for corporate participation) could be made without legislation of any kind.

At the Provincial level we might ask for legislation for the protection of arable land or for natural burial that eliminate embalming and the subsequent leaching of chemicals into ground water resources.

As groups, at the Federal level we could address bigger and bigger problems. In the category of human rights we might demand action of female genital mutilation; we might demand that oil and gas companies refrain from burning off waste gas as it is wasteful of a natural resource and creates greenhouse gas.

We could ask NGOs and activists to share data bases and resources to categorize and to make prior zed lists of what the heck they want done and when.

As combined concerned citizens of 193 nations we could use the Avaaz model and create demand petitions on a regular timetable and repeating order to address the priorities set by mutual consensus, to all nations simultaneously.

We need to work at every level in a better organized manner if we are ever going to put some structure into this challenge; and we need to make our personal concerns visible just as if you were proudly wearing a uniform.

There are more ideas at civismundi.net

Democracy/Voting

This page has been prepared by Matthew Foster. It will be regularly revised.

If you are knowledgeable on this topic or on any other please feel free to edit.

Democracy/Voting

Many years ago I found this entry credited to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The entry actually addresses two issues with this single entry — the British style electoral system and Representative Democracy:

“The case for Proportional Representation is fundamentally the same as that for representative democracy. Only if an assembly represents the full diversity of opinion within a nation can its decisions be regarded as the decisions of the nation itself.”

This is one of many American quotes that state much the same thing.

“Legislatures should be an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large, as it should think, feel, reason, and act like them.”

— John Adams

These both are noble quotes and express what many believe to be true to British, Canadian, American, and many other, democracies, but the truth is quite removed from what we believe. Democracies which use our method of counting votes can never ever achieve a full diversity of opinion within our nations and that is just the way business motivated people want it to remain. Only by forming a movement which is actually powered by people will we overcome politicians and governments powered by elites and their moneyed cronies.

If you have ever wondered why some nations have universal health care, free college and university, subsidized childcare, maternity leave, shorter work weeks, longer vacations, better working conditions, longer life spans, less incarcerations, lower infant mortality, more gender equality in business and government, lower remuneration for corporate executives, better worker wages, better infrastructure, better education, better environmental laws, less pollution etc. etc., you need look no further than to the way votes are counted and the way some groups (including the Religious Right and Left) interfere with the process of voting; be prepared to act on these problems or be prepared to leave a bitter future as a legacy of our being here in these crucial times.

This is where some will jump in and assume I am a ‘Pinko Commie Socialist’; they regularly use a host of other words meant to demonize any contrary ideology, but to my way of thinking people are pretty much the same everywhere on the planet and those that have compassion for others are not all socialists.

There are a minimum of 18 ideology positions on my political chart. (which I will deal with separately)

There is the Left and Right which makes two (Remember that if you ask a radical Conservative who is a socialist he will tell you that is anyone with less than radical views even if they are also Conservative.)

There are the Centrists who move back and forth trying to find something that matches their aspirations but most of the time they stay home and don’t vote. This makes a minimum total of three.

If you look at the Right it again divides into two as they look for Conservative values or Free Market ideology. This makes 8 when one further divides them into Acceptable, Tolerable, Radical and Fanatical factions. This makes it a total of 8 on the Right.

If you look to the Left side we have the same Monistic and Pluralists subdivided into Acceptable, Tolerable, Radical, and Fanatical factions. This makes it a total of 8 on the Left.

If we then throw in the Environmentalists (Greens) we have 18.

Unfortunately there are people who will never see their views represented in the current voting system so – if we really want to see our governments reflect a cross section of society we need to change to a Proportional Representational system where almost all votes elect representation.

Before going further, let me explain what happened in Canada in the last two Federal elections. Whenever I mention to someone that we now have a Canadian Liberal government that received 39.5% of the vote and has 100% of the power they look at me somewhat skeptical. When I tell them that the last Conservative government received 39.6% of the popular vote and got 100% of the power, they generally ask “how is that possible?” The answer is all in how votes are counted and not in how people voted.

We in Canada and the US have what are known as WINNER TAKES ALL systems. (generally called FIRST PAST THE POST in Canada) Much of the world uses what is known as PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATIONAL systems. In a Proportional Representational System there are always more political parties – never just 2, 3 or 4. When the votes are counted, (Using the Canadian election as an example) if the Liberal Party received 39.5% of the vote it would get 39.5 % of the seats in the Parliament – not the 54% which they actually received. The Greens with 3.5% of the vote would have received 10 seats and not just one. If that isn’t enough to get you interested in PR consider the additional ways that the privileged screw us around.

Gerrymandering – by manipulating the boundaries of ridings it is possible to turn a 40% public support into a win of 60% of the seats.

Caging lists: This is sneaky way of disqualifying registered voters.

Robo calls: Used to direct people to the wrong polling station or telling them that the election is won and that it is not necessary to vote. see Canadian scandal.

Manipulate the media: Have so-called experts tell the people that their candidate will win easily to make them complacent.

Create line ups at polls: create delays at selected polling stations to frustrate voters into leaving and never voting

ID Requirements: A tactic used to challenge voters, to frustrate and embarrass voters, so they leave and do not come back the next time.

Intimidate aliens: Falsely informing aliens that it is illegal for them to vote and frighten them into staying home

Purge registered voter’s lists: If a voter has the same name as a criminal simply purge him or her from the list making them prove they are not the criminal if and when they come to vote. This is where the provisional ballot comes into play

Pulpit endorsement: Religious groups acting as agents of a political party should perhaps lose their tax status.

Financially support a fringe party: This works well if you want to take a vote from the left and give it to a Green, thereby reducing the vote count for the candidate who might otherwise have won.

.Provisional ballots: apparently don’t often get counted according to investigative reporter Greg Palast.

Other Tactics: include stuffing the ballot box, forging absentee ballots, falsifying tallies or conspiring to prevent people from voting by intimidation or other means. Yes – there are more. Sever candidate registration rules, bribery with alcohol , and drugs, orchestrated foreign influence,(possibly by operatives of opposing parties), Conservatives running as progressives when progressive parties are in favor,

Summary: One would think that democracy should be all about fair play but it is not. Only the force of people working together and determined to put things right can actually create legislations which can closely mirror a cross section of society so that it thinks, feels, and acts just as they would act. After achieving the ultimate goal of getting Proportional Representation, (or perhaps a Mixed Member Proportional system) citizens can expect to achieve the same policies as other nations using such systems.

Democracy and voting is one of the 26 categories for consideration in the long ranged plan. It is not for me to say what needs to be considered in the scheme of things, but here are some thoughts. Never forget that business interests will always favor anything that offers a profit and will fight against anything that hinders such opportunities for profit. In the minds of many, democracy is not sacred and is and will continue to be manipulated against the interests of people.

Before we condemn democracy we should do everything in our power to strengthen it as business interests will continue to do everything in their power to make it theirs. Someone said that the cure for democracy is more democracy, and that means that its weaknesses need to be exposed for what they are, and corrected through public action.

Another category in the proposed plan will be INFORMATION AND EDUCATION. It is mentioned here because business interests have a strangle hold on information so what you are highly influenced by their unrelenting efforts. You are in fact programed to be their servant from birth to death. If you support changes to Democracy, so that the resultant legislations closely resemble a cross section society, then support anything else that can help you in your efforts.

Consider the failings in everything and prepare a 25 year plan to correct them.

Recommended reading:

The Spirit Level

Video links by others (What are you suggestions?)

Fairvote Canada Video

Groups reporting on this category (what are your suggestions?)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-palombo/why-oh-why-ohio_b_4873715.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html

Wikipedia article  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system

Center for Voting and Democracy http://www.fairvote.org/

Fairvote Canada http://www.fairvote.ca/

The World of Electoral Systems http://www.idea.int/publications/esd/upload/esd_chapter2.pdf

International IDEA http://www.idea.int/publications/esd/upload/esd_annexes.pdf

 

It would help if you supported some of these groups

JUST IMAGINE

JUST IMAGINE

Preamble

There are 10,000,000 million NGOs according to Wikipedia and probably many more activist groups than that. There being that many is not the problem, the problem is that they collectively have no single platform where their demands can be taken to an international audience of all 193 nations in an orderly fashion.

Just imagine that there was a social media site dedicated to social and environmental issues; assume again that this new upstart simply asked these groups, and concerned individuals, to provide a list of their concerns. These would then be separated into 26 categories (more or less)

Next through consensus, the list would be prioritized so that they could be spread out over 25 years into the future.

As an example of this I will use the category of PLASTIC. Let’s assume again that we have gathered all the problems which range from, plastic straws to microbeads to complete industries like toy manufacturing to plastic fish nets or construction materials. We now have a list that needs to be prioritized. As we are still a small upstart movement we might put microbeads as our number-one priority. It is something that most agree is a problem and should easily gather public support for a ban.

To illustrate how this would work, think of it as Avaaz on steroids. BUT rather than gathering support and sending it off to a single legislature, we would send it off to every legislative body in all 193 nations. In effect we would demand a ban which would make it illegal to make, sell or profit in any way from microbeads anywhere.

After two weeks we would go to another category and do it all over again until we have addressed one issue in each and every category.

If all of PLASTIC groups told their member about our collective effort they would hopefully tell their members to support it. This alone could be millions of supporters all waiting and wanting to have their voice heard. If all NGOs and groups did the same as their issue was due for action, the movement would no longer be just and upstart.

Part 1

So, if we need to empower the meek and the weak people who have little or no voice in what is happening, what would such a movement of empowerment look like? Well, as a former Director of R and D, I can be pretty sure that it would start with determining the full scope of the problem and then discarding all of the things that don’t work; then we can make a preliminary plan to resolve the problem. In my varied career choices, I have had numerous projects that needed a plan and this is no different; installing a porcelain enameling plant with virtually no experience in the process; moving a few manufactured product lines between facilities or working on a project where we recorded sounds from under a broody mother hen and then replayed the sounds in an incubator to improve hatchability of chicken eggs – they all had to have a plan. (And yes, chick embryos do communicate with the mother hen through the shell and viscera)

If we consider using a Gant Chart to set our goals and timetable, we might start with the following considerations initially and refine them as we gained input from the vast libraries of knowledge and research available in a million or more NGOs data bases –

  • Define the problem and the objectives.
  • List all of the elements of the problem (In our case it is social and environmental issues that negatively affect all of earth’s people in all 193 nations.)
  • Separate the issues into distinct categories (not to exceed 26 if possible)
  • Reserve one category for issues that arise unexpectedly or are hard to categorize.
  • Contact all related NGOs and activist groups and include their concerns. (comparable to herding cats perhaps, but necessary)
  • Using the consensus of all, prioritize the issues in each and every category.
  • Establish criteria (a few simple rules) for the inclusion of issues, as it is easy to be distracted by emotion and forgo logic. Perhaps something like these renderings- — Does this action benefit the welfare of the planet, and does this action undo or prevent an injustice against all humankind?
  • Select one issue from each category to be the one which will start the program (It will by necessity be something minor and easy to defend as we garner support. (Take baby steps as we learn how to walk – remember that initially it will be easier to eliminate the manufacture of plastic straws than to eliminate the manufacturing of all toys in plastic )
  • Be prepared to update the list of issues as groups and individuals offer more issues for consideration and inclusion.
  • Be determined to give each category equal weight within the plan as my concerns will be different from yours and others.
  • Develop a social media site dedicated to the movement’s objectives. (like saving the planet for human habitation)
  • Define a mission statement which is simple to understand and readily translatable. (I have ideas but I will try to refrain from using them here.)
  • Choose a name for the movement – something in Latin would be nice as it should have few adversaries.
  • Choose a logo and a color theme to rally under – I will suggest color of terra cotta as it means burnt earth and that seems to be appropriate
  • Consider the promotion of visibility for supporters – Like putting on a uniform E.G. displaying something in the chosen color. (Cap, kerchief, ribbon, sock, etc. – one pair of socks for two people works for me)
  • Consider promotional ideas –e.g. Membership cards, (Use humor to some effect) Stickers for cars and mailboxes, ribbons on street signs, paint on tree trunks etc.
  • Consider having a register where supporters and members can show their commitment to the cause and get their “regimental number” (maybe include the county code of members as part of the id.)
  • Publish a full list of the movement’s objectives, as no one should be unawares of our concerns, demands and our timetable. (Put the whole world on notice)
  • Make rules regarding civil disobedience (Mischief will be necessary as it always is in such efforts)
  • Prepare a translation for the movement name in all languages to show the international aspect.
  • Consider how translations of the objectives will be handled. (kind of like the UN site)
  • Consider just how the initial issues will be put to the membership for consideration.
  • Consider whether we are gathering names either for petitions or to make actual demands of our government representatives – demands with consequences
  • Consider how we can take our demands directly to our government representatives all at the same time. (Not to a single legislative body but to all 193 legislative bodies at the same time)
  • Prepare for backlash, ridicule, opposition and SLAPP lawsuits. (Strategic lawsuit against public participation)
  • Consider how frequently an issue will be presented for consideration – I suggest we consider once each two week period so that all categories can address one issue per year.
  • Allow members to choose the categories that concern them personally so they need not be subjected to issues which do not concern them
  • Consider how the name, objectives and logo might be used in other ways e.g. political party names, awards programs, product endorsement (not recommended) drop in centers, seniors groups, TV network, TED talks, Wikipedia page, a foundation, etc.
  • Consider a membership “medal” made from a bit of the most precious material of all – a bit of fired earth.
  • Garner media attention
  • Cultivate relationships with philanthropic individuals and celebrities as money and media attention are helpful.

Part 2

If this humble message reaches an audience, I would ask for serious evaluation of the principles and process so that it can be refined and made acceptable to a wide segment of 193 societies. It needs a lot of input and refining but I think it will be worth the effort.

Sincerely Matthew R Foster

Appendix

Here are the 26 categories as a place to start debate. (Needs refining)

  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. Institutions, 15. Nuclear Issues, 16. People’s Commons/natural resources, 17. Plastic Dangers, 18. Population, 19. Species (or biodiversity), 20. Toxins, 21. Trade and Labor, 22. Transportation, 23. Waste/Recycle, 24. Water Resources, 25. Open category, 26. Open Category

TWO YOUNG LADIES

Imagine a world where 10,000,000 NGOs and uncountable social and environmental groups from 193 nations would agree on what needs to be addressed over the next 25 years, and displayed it on one social media site – all categorized and prioritized in a concise plan of action. That is the objective of civismundi.net JUST IMAGINE that such a platform already existed!

Two young ladies explain the worldwide movement to a skeptic-

I thought that rather than try to explain why and how we needed to come to the aid of people and planet through a unified worldwide movement, I would write this as if it had already happened; this then is how it would be discovered by someone yet unaware of what has transpired. So to set the scene – it is 2020 and social and environmental crises are only getting worse. The planet is unable to cope with our toxins, waste and our ever increasing numbers. The planet is dying. There appears to be no hope in changing the direction in which we are headed when –

I am driving on a country road when I see a young man painting a bright color band on a tree trunk beside the road; he is wearing a cap of the same color as that on his brush. A little further on I notice what appears to be a mother and young daughter standing beside their bicycles at an intersection. They in turn are tying strips of cloth onto the posts of stop signs. The cloth is the same orangey-red – the color of clay pottery. I am now curious and I pull over on the shoulder and ask “what are you people up to?”

The young lady comes to my window and says “We are trying to save the planet for the future, would you like to help?”

I smile politely and somewhat patronizingly I ask “What does the ribbon signify?”

“This is the color that was chosen to represent our worldwide movement – it is called Terra Cotta and it means Burnt Earth – kind of appropriate right? – considering the mess we have made,” she says as the young girl joins us. I note that she is wearing a kerchief of the same cloth while the lady has a terra cotta ribbon pinned to the shoulder of her blouse.

“If you would like to support our movement, I can give you a Terra Cotta paper sticker for your mail box or your car bumper,” kerchief girl says. “It will show that you are willing to consider remedies to anything that diminishes our hopes for future generations.”

I smile again and say, “girls, I have a drawer full of campaign ribbons, lapel buttons, political badges and even a few kerchiefs from every sort of activist, environmental and political group you can imagine – why should I wear this one?”

Ribbon lady says “Well – for a start this simple color is our ‘uniform’ – we wear it, or display it in all 193 countries, so that we are readily identifiable to one another anywhere we go – Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas – everywhere. Because we are visible we can share ideas and show solidarity with whoever has a concern for both the environment and social issues – If you have a concern that needs to be addressed then you are one of us”

Kerchief interjects, “It means we are as mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore – it means listen to the voice of the people – it means we are putting politicians everywhere on notice – it means pass some laws to fix the problems or we will put you out of office and put someone in who will fix them. It means that the wealthy and powerful cannot protect their own interests at the expense of the rest of us. For corporations we are saying you are being given notice that things are going to change. Wear the ‘uniform’ and you are automatically a part of the Civis Mundi community and movement”

“And what does Civis Mundi mean?”

Ribbon lady says “In English speaking nations we are known as World Citizens but International we are known as Civis Mundi simply to avoid any animosity where one language is favored over another – in Quebec and France we are proudly identified as Citoyen du monde – in Germany we are Weltbürger – every nation uses their own words for world citizen”

Kerchief looks at me and asks “In all seriousness, do you have an issue that bothers you? – one you would like to see addressed on a global scale?”

Glumly I said “Yes – plastic in the environment – particularly in the oceans is a threat that is killing everything and we cannot seem to accept that we need to severely regulate manufacturing in this deadly and toxic material – manufacturers should be charged a tax of $1,000,000 for every pound they use just to cover the cost of removing it from the oceans”

Ribbon lady says “Plastic is one of the 26 categories of problems we at Civis Mundi consider – one issue from each category is addressed once each and every year until we eventually get it under control; we suggest a long range plan of 25 years overall – one issue per year – we would start with something we all can readily agree on, like stopping the use of plastic micro beads and then moving up to tougher and tougher problems.

I try to counter her enthusiasm with ”How can you possibly hope to find resolutions to every problem on the planet with one small group of people? – that’s insane!”

Ribbon says “That’s not the way it works – consider your category of plastic concerns. All of the hundreds of NGOs and groups working on plastic issues come together separately and independently; they are asked to come to a consensus as to what is the one single issue that they want addressed in year one and perhaps in years two and three. They write up their decision and give it to the Civis Mundi site for presentation to the membership. The membership either support it or they don’t support it but once it is signed it is sent off to all legislative bodies on the planet – all 193 nations – it is not just sent to your local city council or your provincial or federal legislation, it is sent to every legislative body that considers problems and makes legislation – like it or not, these are the only people that can change things”

“OK” I say “I get that – pollution and social problems have no borders. Can you tell me why you have tried to put all of the issues into 26 categories?”

Ribbon continues with “There are 52 weeks in the year so each of the 26 categories would get a chance to be considered once per year – there is a two week period between categories – no single category would be dominant – all would have equal weight – Water, Human Rights, Waste and Recycle Programs, Population, Land and Soil use, Toxins, Food to name some – all are equal.”

“How can I possibly get involved in so many issues?” “You only subscribe to the categories you are interested in and you can add or delete categories whenever you like. You won’t be overwhelmed with information unless you ask for it; you will only be asked to consider the categories and issues you have selected from the 26 categories – personally I subscribe to Nuclear Issues, Genetically Modified Organisms and Water Resources – my friend here has other concerns like Democracy and Voting as she wants to get a Proportional Electoral system and for her vote to count for something – you may wish to be informed only when Plastic issues are addressed which would be once per year.”

“How large is your group?”

With a big smile, ribbon girl says, “We have been active for about a year now and we have close to 25,000,000 members. At the rate we are gathering support, we expect to pass 500,000,000 in two or three more years; I think that with this many we will be taken seriously”

“Amazing! How do you handle translations?”

“The Civis Mundi web site is something like the United Nations where everything is in every language. It is all done by volunteers” she adds.

I question – “So you send your petitions to all legislations?”

“These are NOT petitions. These are DEMANDS – do something about this or find another job”

“Is there a role to play in the movement for us old folk? We’ve got time on our hands and generally more assets than young people”

Seniors could put their talents and time to good use. Knitting skills could be used to make terra cotta toques and socks for new members. Old sewing machines could be brought out of closets and used to make terra cotta ribbons and turn old cotton shirts and sheets into handkerchiefs – Just think of the trees that alone would save. I like the idea of sewing on a terra cotta colored pocket on shirts as a ‘uniform’ – who doesn’t need an extra pocket for sunglasses or cellphone? I’m sure you could find something to do; here is my membership card; it has the paint code number on it if you want to get into mischief.”

I am now getting more enthusiastic and ask “It sounds like something worth considering – do you advocate civil disobedience?

“Civil disobedience is perhaps necessary in extraordinary times – like today; we are here “defacing” these trees and posts with our ribbons, but violence and property destruction are not tolerated. I know that a lot of acts of civil disobedience were justifiable when looked at it in hindsight – look at what rights and privileges we now have because others took it upon themselves to disobey the law or convention.”

“Yes, look at history” I add. “We can learn a lot from Gandhi and his mission to free India from Imperialistic Britain. The Indian people took direct action and would have to share and endure the physical, and the verbal abuse of those in control; in addition, they accepted the scorn of fellow citizens who were truly afraid of the unknowns that independence might bring. They accepted the initial hardship, and the prospects of future hardship, from their action – whatever the hardships might be, knowing full well that the cause of independence for India was worthy of their efforts and physical pain – if you want to change the status quo you had better be prepared to get pushed around, tear gassed or even jailed for your efforts.”

Changing the subject back to my plastic concerns, I said “I have often thought that I would like to put paper stickers on fruit in the grocery store that says “Do not buy fruit with plastic stickers attached” I said as I grinned at the prospect of this 80 81 year old getting unceremoniously escorted out of the super market.

“That would make a really great campaign” Kerchief girl said enthusiastically. “We could do that anywhere on the planet – they are cheap to make and not polluting, providing the glue is safe of course – how about you put them on the doors and windows of the store and see how much they like removing and recycling them – when they take them off you could put more on the checkout conveyors so they go around and around for all to see – we could have a thousand campaigns that used this one idea. The stickers could be terra cotta in colour of course”

“OK I’m sold on the idea – where do I sign up?”

JUST IMAGINE IF THIS WAS ALL TRUE.

If you have any thoughts on how we might continue with our little story please contact me.

War! What war?

 

 

WAR! – WHAT WAR?

If I were to suggest that that the whole world was at war would you smile, tap you finger on your temple and roll your eyes? Well, I am going to try to explain why I see things that way; then I am going to ask you to put on a uniform and join me and fight back.

If there is a war, and we are in it, it begs the obvious question of who are the belligerents and what are the ultimate objectives?

As I see it, here are the two sides in our current conflict: On one side we have the plutocrats, oligarchs, multinational corporate leaders with their hopeful horde of yes-men and increasingly, religion’s theocrats.

On the other side, there are the six or seven billion poor, meek, frustrated, disheartened individuals from about 193 distinct and separate nations.

What are the belligerent’s objectives?

  • To create an occupation force in every nation possible so the whole world works for the financial gain of the aggressors; like the aggressor of occupied France during the last big war, they generously allow the leaders and populous a perceived freedom of being in control of their own affairs.
  • To systematically take over control of the governments of all countries so that the politicians and leaders are in fact de facto puppets who do the bidding of the belligerents, who in their ever-helpful manner will even write up all laws and trade agreements for them. (Trust us – we are the experts – we know what we are doing)
  • To control democracy itself so that it can never truly represent a cross-section of society, while doing their best to maintain the illusion that we are in control.
  • To disenfranchise anyone who might vote against the aggressors and the objectives.
  • To control and exploit the entire world’s natural resources for the benefit of the aggressors.
  • To manipulate and control manpower and wages and to cripple and destroy labour unions by any means possible.
  • To take total control of any “liberal” public media by withholding funding and appointing boards that support neo-conservative values so that news and information is indistinguishable from the corporate owned, controlled and edited media.
  • To join forces with fundamentalist religions so that the love of money and possessions becomes virtuous and part of the conservative/fundamentalist doctrine. (Eg. Prosperity Christianity – You do know that God wants you to be rich, don’t you?)
  • To exploit human frailty and anxiety over such ‘primeval’ issues as science, family planning, birth control, Darwinism, creationism, xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, communism, socialism, intellectuals, minorities, racism, abortion, euthanasia, women’s rights etc.
  • To undermine and stifle the efforts of the United Nations when it does not serve their global objectives and interests.
  • To keep the world on edge and fearful by finding a terrorist behind every rock and tree.
  • To create the highest wages and bonuses possible for themselves at the expense of shareholders’ and society’s interests.
  • To do everything possible to avoid paying taxes on their own wages, bonuses and other capital gains. (Contrary to the granting of a charter to operate a business – at the detriment of the infrastructure and social benefits to people)
  • To negotiate trade pacts that interfere with a government’s ability to control business and which give corporations the right of multinationals to sue governments (I.e. The people) for perceived lost earnings for any number of reasons.
  • To do everything possible to avoid environmental regulations, laws and responsibilities.
  • To spy on and to keep secret files on anyone who disapproves of their actions.
  • To keep societies constantly on edge by exposing threats to their views on ‘our way of life’.
  • To exploit patriotism and nationalism to their advantage.
  • To remove or stifle all progressive judges who might expose and undo their web of deceit.
  • To encourage family members and citizens to “rat” on those who try to expose them.
  • To play the tough-on-crime-bill-card and to fill jails to overflowing.
  • To advocate for small visible government, while building and financing a vast gang of lobbyists to influence fewer and fewer politicians.
  • To oppose any and all social programs that might make the lives of citizen’s better and more secure.
  • To dismantle any existing and established health care, elderly benefits/tariffs/labour laws/unemployment benefits/public, support of sports, arts, education, culture etc. whenever and wherever they can.
  • To sell off national institutions to private individuals and concerns whenever and wherever possible so that they can be neither recovered, nor rebuilt by a country.
  • There’s more but that will do for now.

If there is such an adversary that we acknowledge but do not readily see, then the same can be said for the opposition to this worldwide destructive adversary of both social and environmental concerns. Sure, I see them when I am at a demonstration or protest of some sort. I hear and read of them in the news and see them on TV carrying their placards and shouting their various chants and singing their songs of protest. Unfortunately however I never see them when I walk through town or sit with my coffee in the café every morning as I read my hard copy Guardian Weekly. We good guys and gals are just as invisible as those that corrupt the very air we breathe and ruin the water that sustains all life, from the humblest organism to homo-sapiens. I could write a list of the thousands of things they and we do; both consciously and unconsciously, but that is for later. As for making people visible I would like to change that situation once and for ever, now! – immediately! I would like to look at someone, whom I have never met, and know instantly that we are kindred spirits with regards to social and environmental issues. I would like to know that I am not alone in this city and world with my anxieties. But just how do we make a concerned person visible? – By giving them a ‘uniform’ of course.

Putting on a uniform like a soldier is not what I have in mind, so bear with me. Suppose that we all sewed something onto our clothing that was as immediately recognizable to others as a company logo. That something would have to be distinct and readily available to people in the poorest of nations. How about considering and using pottery clay? It is readily available and it is dirt cheap. It could be made into small everyday buttons and fired in a kiln into a more permanent form. They would then be distinctly little coloured “Terra Cotta” buttons. The name is perfect as it translates as “burnt earth”; which seems appropriate enough considering that our earth is burning up in the process of our activities; even if global warming is but one symptom of our diverse problems. For other individuals a terra cotta coloured neck tie; a right-hand shirt pocket of distinctive terracotta coloured cloth; a handkerchief for those a little shy; a terra cotta medallion to hang on a string around ones neck; the possibilities are extensive. – mugs, caps, socks, neckerchiefs, scarfs, toques etc. A very diverse uniform indeed! I love the contrasting terra cotta coloured shirt pocket idea, as who doesn’t need an extra pocket for comb or sunglasses? It could even be emblazoned with the words “CIVIS MUNDI SUM”. “I am a world citizen” tells it all.

So we now all have our subtle but distinct uniform; we can perhaps approach one another and gain an insight into their anxieties and get their suggestions for remedial action. (I cannot promise you will meet the girl or boy of your dreams simply because they were wearing a terra cotta ID, but who know? – You can approach them with something more original than “what’s your sign?” You might even say “Civis mundi sum?” “Are you a civis mundi?”

WHAT’S IN A NAME? A lot!

Next I would like to suggest a name for our far-flung gaggle of activists with their terra cotta ID proudly identifying them as having a sense of purpose, and a defined mission. Let’s consider this name idea as it relates to both people and planet or social and environmental. These two words (also in Latin) are CIVIS for person and MUNDI for world. Together we have CIVIS MUNDI © or world citizen. (A Hungarian would say Világ állampolgár perhaps) To be called a ‘citoyen du monde’ in French speaking nations is an honourable title which I would adopt in a Nano-second. Others would adopt 世界公民, वैश्विक निवासी, гражданин мира etc. in their own language, but universally we would be known as CIVIS MUNDI. As this name is in Latin, a decidedly dead language, it should not create a lot of friction or hostility. As I see it, the words CIVIS MUNDI can only indicate compassion for mankind and our planet earth, in its broadest sense.

GOING TO WAR

What persuades people to go into combat? My father left my mother and two children the day the Second World War broke out; just as his father had done at the start of WW1. My grandfather never made it out of France and my dad was injured in training so he never served overseas; much to his lifelong disappointment. Following tradition, I joined the Air Force at 17. Why do we do this sort of thing? Not that I had any great hardship during my service but those in the two world wars and Korea suffered for their countries. They slept in the mud; ate rotten food; suffered dysentery; watched their buddies die. We do not have to die in our conflict, but we do have to commit to do something so that others will not suffer from our inaction. So how do we get people to become united in a worldwide movement for justice and plain common sense in this generation’s ultimate and horrific crisis? How can we instil a sense of comradery, adventure, excitement and purpose in this generation? Actually joining together to do something significant might be a place to start.

Joining the CIVIS MUNDI © movement (if that is the name chosen) is really important as it shows a personal commitment. Putting ones name on the dotted line and seeing it added to an expanding list of like-minded people would visually show that something tangible is finally happening. One could see their comrades-in-arms listed, one following the other, from 190 nations – a truly international movement; all colours, all languages, all sexual orientations, all religions, and all nationalities; with one strong voice. In this scenario, people could actually be given a ‘regimental number’ from the order that they signed on. How unique and personal is that?

WHAT WEAPONS WILL WE USE?

First we have to use our brains to defeat this adversary; because there are no gung-ho generals to force you out of your foxhole into battles of their choosing. You will make the decisions of what battles you want to fight or not fight. Your weapons will be your brain, your computer, your participation and your signature. Let me elaborate:

HOW WOULD THIS ALL WORK? Here is the simplified version.

IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS

Collect and write out all of the problems that need addressing so that the depth of the overall situation is clear to one and all. I can guarantee you that there are more active NGOs then there are problems, and that there are many problems that have no defenders or representatives whatsoever.

CATEGORIZE THE PROBLEMS

Next we need to put the problems (separate issues) into categories. I am going to suggest that there are be no more than 26 categories for reasons that will be apparent later although this is not absolutely essential.

PRIORITIZE THE PROBLEMS

Prioritize the issues within each category and put them into a 25 year plan. Don’t worry, as the priorities can be changed and rearranged as data comes in and membership grows.

CHOOSE THE FIRST ISSUES

It may be best to put something relatively simple at the top of the list rather than the most ominous issue/problem, remembering that it will take time for this new organization to gather significant worldwide member support. (I will put examples for a single category at the end just to show how this would work)

Simple mathematics will now show that we have 26 X 25 issues to put to the membership for their personal input and consideration; the total equals 650 separate issues spaced over 25 years. (A good start)

USE EXISTING INFORMATION

NGO’s and other groups have a lot of information in their data bases with which we can make informed decisions. These groups will be important to the new organization and movement as they can help with identifying and prioritizing and establishing the first and subsequent issues that will be put forward.

PUT THE CATEGORIES INTO A REPEATING ORDER

Take the 26 or so categories and put them into a sequence so that they can be presented to the membership for input and consideration one at a time. If we use 26 categories, and allow a two week period between publication and email distribution of a new petition to the membership, we can address an issue in each and every category in each year of the plan; This is not absolutely essential.

ESTABLISH A SET TIME FRAME

It is important that the membership is not overwhelmed with action requests too frequently. A minimum of a 14 day interval is suggested as this allows time to research, ponder and sign. Also, governments receiving such petitions will not be overcome on a daily basis from multiple sources.

PUT THE WORLD ON NOTICE

Remember that we must visualize the whole world and all the people as one community with all problems affecting all its citizens’ welfare. Once the categories and issues have been established, the whole world including business leaders and politicians everywhere on the planet, will effectively be put on notice that we (Civis Mundi) are determined to press for remedial action now and in the foreseeable future, or until the job is done. Anyone, anywhere, will be able to see for themselves what is in the proverbial “pipeline” and slatted for corrective action.

SEND E- DEMAND/PETITION TO THE LEADERS OF EVERY NATION

Email the E-Demand/Petition to every participant for consideration and signing. If the member agrees with the suggested petition’s objectives then it is signed and the totals tabulated. After a designated time frame the signed e-petition is sent to every political legislative power (lawmaker) in each and every country.

WHY CATEGORIES?

I personally have a great desire to see reductions in the unrestrained use of PLASTIC for reasons I will make clear below. Alternatively hormone-mimicking chemicals in products create a host of problems beyond the scope of this paper. I also have concern for FOOD safety. In the category of HUMAN RIGHTS I would like to see a worldwide ban on female genital mutilation. Therefore, I would enthusiastically subscribe to the categories of PLASTIC, TOXINS, FOOD and HUMAN RIGHTS. With these choices I would then be asked to participate and consider only 4 petitions per year. If I choose to support others in their causes, I could then simply change my settings to include or perhaps exclude categories at any time. Someone who hates the phony governments produced by plurality/majority voting might sign up for DEMOCRACY/VOTING as they push for proportional representative voting, and laws to curtail the many ways of disenfranchising voters . The same person may dislike nuclear power plants and add NUCLEAR ISSUES to his or her list. Another might prefer WATER RESOURCES and LAND/SOIL LOSS DEGRADATION as they push for natural burial of the human body to prevent formaldehyde from leeching into ground water. Another might choose POPULATION CONCERNS as it gets little attention from anyone. Eventually all categories would have their champions.

SET CRITERIA FOR E-DEMAND/PETITIONS

Most groups that currently use e-petitions are reacting to human rights violations within single nations. Other petitions may be to protect a species like a butterfly (always the Monarch) or bees and other pollinators. (Category SPECIES) Our petitions however must meet more stringent criteria. I suggest that the following two questions be asked before an issue is put to the members.

Does this action benefit the welfare of the planet?

Does this action undo or prevent an injustice against all humankind?

DEVELOP MULTI LANGUAGE CAPABILITIES

As this is a global effort we need to have multi-language capabilities just like the UN. As the movement grows, volunteers would provide translation services.

AVOID POLITICAL AND MARKET FORCES

The UN is awash with political intrigue and corporate pressures. Powerful nations exert their will on the less powerful and use money, economic pressure and veto power to get their own way. Assassination is also now an accepted policy of many nations which includes all of the permanent Security Council. This new organization must avoid such outside influence and stick with the concept of one member, one vote. Every citizen on the planet can participate if they have access to social media. (I suggest that everyone over the age of 15 should be able to patriciate)

STEAL GOOD IDEAS FROM OTHERS

AVAAZ and others use e-petitions quite effectively. They also have a good record for gathering members to the cause. They have an enviable 50,000,000 members at last count. Unlike AVAAZ we would cover all 26 categories and e-petition all 193 nations whereas they cover only a few categories and e-petition single legislations or corporations.

EXAMPLE OF HOW THIS MIGHT WORK

As an example of how this might work, let’s assume that in step one we decided that PLASTIC was a distinct and separate category that needed to be addressed. If you watched a recent documentary regarded the pollution of the oceans with plastic you might agree that this would be a suitable and essential category. The program suggested that the problem lies in the world’s recycling and waste management programs. This is a grave error in judgment as plastic and the manufacturing in plastic is the problem itself. It is a problem so harmful that it potentially threatens all that exists and those who perpetuate and profit get off scot-free.

Can we eliminate all manufacturing in plastic? – Not realistically or likely! Can we eliminate manufacturing of drinking straws from plastic? Why not? Using straws made of waxed paper would not diminish my lifestyle at all, but it would be a small step for correcting earth’s ecosystem. So, we make it an issue for inclusion and our collective attention somewhere in the 25 year plan.

Using the above logic, after demanding “No manufacturing of plastic straws” we could combine several related issues and demand “No manufacturing of plastic net bags for citrus, onion and garlic.” Manufacturers and suppliers could revert back to twisted paper code bags. Sure, some manufacturers will cry foul and that is unfortunate. We survived the problems they created when they destroyed our shoe industry, our appliance industry, our textile industry, our ship building industry etc. They will adjust just as they forced us to adjust.

Next might come “No excess plastic may be used as fillers in packaging of food products.” 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 attempting 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 cope. Also, billions of empty non-biodegradable 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 billions fewer plastic caps to feed (and kill) their fledgling offspring)

Here are a few more to consider. (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 plastic to be used in vegetable/olive oil containers” “No injection molded chairs” etc. Again my life style would not be diminished.

We eventually get to harder and harder issues. It we look to the problem with manmade fibers we will find a singularly horrendous problem. All clothing and carpets break down and shed fibers. Millions of tons of these fibers are washed into the oceans where they become part of the food chain that reaches ever upwards. This ocean of toxic soup is a crisis that can be reduced because we know what is causing it. We have about 35 natural plant and animal fibers that can be used as replacements to synthetics. We just need to accept the obvious and make some dramatic changes.

In this exercise, I have addressed only one category of problems and only a few issues within said category. NGOs, individuals and other groups could put together a much more comprehensive list.

IN CONCLUSION

No problem was ever successfully resolved without an analysis of the problem and an overall plan. In our case we have enough information to categorize and make a list of what needs to be done. Then we need the determination to “tackle that at thing that everyone says cannot be done and just do it.” OK civis, where do we sign up for duty?

Before I waste time on this I would like to ask a question:  if I had a registry where you could sign up as a world citizen, who you sign up?