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

 

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.