What the Candidates Should Be Talking About
The candidates for president thus far, all seem blind to the greatest opportunity in history.
The factors that define this opportunity are: The end of the cold war; the new appreciation of Earth that astronomy and Space exploration now provide -- "We are one human family and have only one Earth;" the links in mind, feeling and purpose now possible with the aid of electronic media -- global telephone, TV, fax, computer networks; the science, technology and products that now make it possible to eliminate poverty and pollution -- to tip the global balance from destruction to nurture, from "Earth Kill" to "Earth Care."
With all this in our favor all that is necessary is global communication of the key concept or idea that can unite humanity in vigorous efforts for Earth's rejuvenation, efforts that will benefit planet and people. The key idea, a global challenge, is for individuals and institutions to now think and act as responsible Earth Trustees -- to be caretakers and managers of a bountiful planet. With nurture and care Earth can become a Garden of Eden.
The challenge now is to change from the ignorance and prejudice that has prevailed throughout history, with its war and conflict, to awareness that with our new world view we can direct our aggressiveness to battles for Earth -- battles against pollution, poverty and its related problems of hunger, homelessness and illiteracy.
As president I would proclaim the first priority of the United States to be an Earth Trustee Agenda, seeking basic changes in what we do about ecology, economics and ethics. The role of a president is to inspire with a vision of what is needed and what is possible. Effectively communicated, Congress can then develop and implement the vision.
The general goal is a change of attitude that will make individuals and institutions seek the most practical ways to recycle, nurture nature, reduce pollution, foster fair credit and benefits for entrepreneurs, homes for the homeless - a fair stake for everyone in our bountiful planet and its future.
A program to accomplish this will include:
Celebration each year of Earth Day on the March Equinox (March 20-21) with participation in global silent prayer or meditation when the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at the moment Spring begins. Earth Trusteeship begins in the mind. On this special annual event people everywhere will identity with the whole human family, recognizing our basic unity in the midst of our diversity and differences.
Tapping the best in the love and faith of religious people by providing that all radio and TV stations will program at least one of three daily Earth Minutes -- 0300, 1100 and 1900 GMT. These minutes, which are to be without words, will provide views of the planet from Space, children, nature, sounds of bells, inspirational music. Locally produced, these minutes can be globally exchanged.
Every group will make Earth Minute a meeting place to reinforce their faith. Whenever an Earth Minute is announced people will add their silent prayer and deepen their commitment to think and act as Earth Trustees";
Every community will be urged to adopt the Earth Magna Charta (now on World Wide Web) which sets forth the Earth Trustee vision, policies and agenda.
Some things become so obvious we fail to see them, remember the story of the Emperor's Clothes? Those not involved in the power game and the blindness it causes may see relevance in the solutions suggested here.
If I were president I would use the "bully pulpit" to wake up America and the world. All that is needed is for people to open their eyes to the incredible opportunities we now have and see what they can do.
The Battle over the budget illustrates how blind our leaders are. They all recognize something is wrong, but ignore the cause of our economic folly and propose solutions that would in one way or another repeat the mistakes of the past.
The question is not just how much do we owe, but what are our assets, to whom do we owe the money and how much of the debt is legitimate.
Something is obviously wrong when we have the ability to produce more but fail to do so because the poor lack money to buy what they need. And of course for stable prices we need a balance between supply and demand.
Recourse to the old idea of justice for all would provide a simple solution.
There are two sources of money that people are entitled to: Money you earn by rendering a needed service, and money you justly inherit.
In the case of obtaining money through work, communities should and do provide education and jobs for their members. Calling attention to examples of success by both private and public sectors is needed.
When it comes to inheriting money, this is presently limited to the children of the rich. If the poor could obtain their rightful inheritance they would provide the demand for the increase in production new technology affords.
The Psalms say, "The Earth hath he given to the children of men'." If God is no respector of persons, then every child has an equal inheritance in the Earth as God made it.
Our planet is rich in raw materials -- gold, oil, minerals, soil, water and biological wonders. Every child on Earth has an equal claim to them. (And a responsibility to help take care of them.) A two percent yearly royalty on their worth paid by present owners would provide the disinherited poor purchase power without the stigma of charity, and encourage responsibility in its use. While in many cases they would need help in learning how to use their inheritance wisely, there are altruistic individuals and institutions (churches, non-profit groups, etc.) that would gladly render this service. A just demand could then be met by a fair supply.
With less fear of poverty, people would find their prosperity in giving and sharing -- in better relationships and time for family, friends, music and play.
A new look at money, credit, interest, property rights and obligations would lead the way to "justice for all" and a future for United States and United Nations.
See the world in a new way - - the Earth Trustee Way.
By John McConnell
84 year old Founder of Earth Day