No one group or any individual has the solution to all of the environmental and social problems facing us and our planet, but here at http://civismundi.net there might be a spark of an idea as to how we might empower the people so that we (the meek, the weak, the underdogs, the ignored) have some say in our questionable future here on earth.
That’s it! It is all about empowering people on a worldwide basis. It’s about the development of one place where all social and environmental issues can be listed, categorized, prioritized and presented in a systematic and orderly manner for action in a long range plan. Imagine, people-powered action directed to all 190 nations, based on the wishes of the people away from the intrigue, influence and self-interests of politicians, oligarchs’, and corporations.
If this idea sparks your interest, I invite you to offer your input and advice.
Signed – Matthew Foster – civismundi (aatt) civismundi.net
Why we need to unite people (and NGOs) worldwide
I would imagine that it was fairly easy to form the organization we call the United Nations. One national leader suggested the concept to another and the idea escalated until all 190 plus nations were together under one roof trying to find ways to keep some semblance of peace on the planet. This is all well and good but what happens when the planet’s seas, fresh water, atmosphere, soil, biodiversity etc. are so badly degraded and poisoned that all life is threatened and diminished? On top of this we have rapid breakdowns of human rights, diminishing democracies, the increasing concentration of media and information, population problems, nuclear concerns, genetically modified organism concerns, and a plague of plastic turning the oceans into a toxic soup. In this dire and ever-expanding situation the people desperately have formed literally millions of NGOs and countless activist groups in pretty much every community on earth as they try to persuade our elected political representatives to please do something.
While we frantically organize and chaotically struggle for corrective action, we are hassled, hampered and patronized by moneyed market forces which have a strong interaction and collaboration with politicians and political parties, not to mention despotic leaders in non-democratic countries. (Where they trample on human rights, steal resources, expropriate the people’s commons and ignore environmental laws and practices.)
We socially and environmentally minded individuals and groups are completely fragmented and disorganized beyond all belief; consequently and regrettably we have little hope of effectively impacting on any of the disasters facing us unless we somehow find a new innovative way to make a significant number of our diverse and scattered world’s citizens collectively more influential and forceful. We have the will but we have yet to find ‘the way’. It as if we are knocking on closed and locked doors trying to be heard all at the same time. We are ignored while our political representatives and corporate power are inside forging our destiny without any significant input from us.
This dire situation could be much improved if we could just get ourselves established into a powerful enough cooperative worldwide organization with a shared universal mission.
The first questions we need to ask ourselves are “must we do something and is it worthwhile” To this I think it is obvious. Is success attainable? I think that it really is, providing we put the power of united world citizens both before and behind corrective initiatives and bypass the naysayers.
NGOs would still operate their organisations independent of any new org. They could collaborate if they wish, and together sort the issues and put them in order. They would be free to independently offer advice to legislations when it became apparent that the people are demanding action and that their expertise is needed to implement such action.
If the United Nations was seen as the hope for peace then why do we not see the need for a similar group; possibly called United World Citizens or something similar; as a means to correcting pressing social and environmental issues?
Let’s assume for a moment that we could somehow bring all of the problems to one place. What would we need to do?
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 overwhelmed 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 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-PETITION TO THE LEADERS OF EVERY NATION
Email the petition to every member 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 in each and every country.
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. 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 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.
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 42,000,000 members at last count. Unlike AVAAZ we would cover all 26 categories and e-petition all 190 plus 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.
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, the people themselves must become united and empowered if we are to make any headway. To do this we need an organization free from intrigue and political posturing; one where the meek, the weak, and the marginalized become willing to participate in the process and forge their own destiny, free from market and political influences.
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
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
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: http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/your-body-is-a-planet
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Air quality
- Genetic engineering
- Human Rights
- Information & Education
- Land/Soil Degradation
- Nuclear Issues
- People’s Commons/natural resources
- Plastic Dangers
- Species (or biodiversity)
- Trade and Labor
- 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 civismundi.net. Perhaps we can find a way to turn this basic idea into an adventure.
There is a book out 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
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
WE NEED A PLAN
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
8. Genetic engineering
10. Human Rights
11. Land/Soil Degradation
13. Non-personages (Influential groups)
14. Nuclear Issues
15. People’s Commons/Natural Resources
16. Plastic Issues
18. Public Broadcasting/Freedom of speech/Right to Knowledge
19. Species (or biodiversity)
21. Trade and Labor
24. Water Resources
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.
RELIGIONS ROLE IN POLITICS
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. ~Seneca the Younger
“I do not fear the man who does not read, I fear the man who reads only one book.” Anonymous
As I recall, the Left originally had a stranglehold on the religious voter as those on that side of the political chart pretty much embodied the notion of “treat others as you would like to be treated yourself”. This “golden rule” (that we all learned in Sunday school) was generally accepted as the prime directive of Christianity and other religions. Then after the Second World War, along came ‘abortion’ as an issue of reproductive and women’s rights. This was pretty much accepted as a left issue as it fit into the ideology of individual freedom. It was accepted and put under the Democrat/Liberal umbrella. Then along came the ‘gay issue’. This was pretty much adopted by the same people as it also fit into the broad ideology of liberalism. The ‘gay marriage’ issue intensified the situation but like other human-rights issues, it was brought in, out of the storm of controversy. It also fit under the umbrella, but now if it was becoming somewhat unpleasant for some of the people seeking a political haven there.
For generations the Republican/Conservative “right” had difficulty drawing in the religious voter as they collectively had an air of self and greedy ambitions about them and sharing was not their big virtue. That was about to change.
The religious voter found him/herself in a bit of a dilemma with neither the Left nor Right representing an ideology that he/she could totally accept without making a compromising decision of conscience on some of these thorny issues.
The only solution was for “religion” to become more tolerant of the “right” ideology. This was done in two ways as a bit of compromise was in order. – The Republican/Conservatives adopted and embraced ‘religion’s’ viewpoint on issues of reproduction, and homophobia as their own, while ‘religion’ accepted and promoted the possession of material goods and money as virtuous. Problem solved!
Christ was given a makeover and transformation like at no other time in history. His beard was trimmed and he donned a blue business suit and he threw away the whip he had used on the moneychangers as he welcomed them back into the temple.
The flag was dragged into the church and placed next to the altar along with other symbols on nationhood and of the aggressive God of the Old Testament. (Kind of like Hitler dragging his crooked cross into the church seventy-five years ago, more or less)
The entire flock became Crusaders – the Cross became a sword – the Bible became a deed for land in the Middle East – getting the Jews back into Israel became an obsession – promoting Armageddon became a passion – science became regarded as obscene – Darwin was dismissed – creation was taught as fact – patriotism was portrayed as virtuous – The pulpit became a soapbox – thwarting the Ungodly liberal by any ‘sleazy stuff is OK because it’s in the service of a greater good’ (Reference Bill Maher) – brain washing became an art form – doing whatever necessary to bring on the second coming of Christ was deemed laudable – the fouled planet’s continuance was deemed irrelevant, and presumably left for the devil and the unholy when Christ returns and makes a new home in Heaven for the believers .
North American religion is now under the big-business umbrella and spreading the dogma around the world. If it were on the stock market, I would be in line to buy some shares.
The combination of dogma and ideology is somewhat unstable in this union. The leaders from both sides – I.e. The plutocrats accept the theocrats votes and cash, while the Theocrats get their hand on the tiller of government. They play the game of cooperation but they are not real happy in this marriage of convenience. They are often contemptuous of one another in this unholy union. For me it is hard to tell; which are the wolves, and which are the sheep? Ref: Gospel of Matthew 7:15