Earth 1

      A significant number of people in world are working hard for making  improvements in several aspects of life at several levels. They all help to create a better world. They help to reduce the distress of people and other forms of life, they help to create the conditions for more justice and equality, they protect environment in various ways and increase awareness of this, they improve democracy and strengthen rights of weaker people, they contribute themselves and also make others aware of the importance of making improvements. These people are the main source of hope for an otherwise deeply troubled world. We look up to them as symbols of hope and inspiration.

While all these efforts are highly welcome, often we have a feeling that there is still something missing, particularly if seen in the context of the most urgent issues of present  times which are almost certain to become even more serious in the near future. The most urgent issue of our times is that a very serious survival crisis has emerged in the sense that the basic life-nurturing conditions of our planet are threatened. This is the most important feature of our times which sets these times apart from any other period of human history—the fact that basic life on our planet  is threatened by human made factors and that this biggest threat can still be averted by human efforts. Hence clearly there is a need to link the various smaller and scattered efforts with this biggest challenge which needs much bigger changes than what is generally seen to be on agenda.

The world needs big changes. Our world needs very basic changes. We should not be afraid of big changes, or in awe of them. We should only ensure that the big changes we make are within the framework of peace, justice, democracy, environment protection and protection of all forms of life and the basic life-nurturing conditions of earth.

We need changes because the governance systems and even  dominant thinking patterns are quite often highly irrational and even destructive. If aliens from outer space visited us, they would probably be astonished first of all by the mess we have made of our beautiful and bountiful world, a destructive mess, an irrational mess, based on matching, widely prevalent  value systems and ideas.

So we should not be afraid of big changes. We need big changes.

Young people are much more capable of bringing these changes as they are not yet, at their age, completely taken in by the irrationalities and destructive tendencies of our world. Hence they are much more open to change and even to big change. But they must be careful about the path of change. The path of change should be the path of peace, democracy, justice, protection of environment and all forms of life, above all the path of protecting the basic life-nurturing conditions of our planet.

As  the world is in an unprecedented situation of a survival crisis created by human made factors, hence most essential tasks, priorities and responsibilities should be understood very clearly and our effort should be to try and create a near consensus on this.

Firstly, we need to check climate change before it is too late. More specifically, we need to restrict global warming to 1.50C.

Secondly, we need to check the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and entirely eliminate them in as short time as possible. We also need to reduce all other weapons and military expenditure very drastically.

Thirdly, we should meet the basic needs of all people with dignity. We should adopt policies aimed at equality and justice for this. Inequalities need to be reduced drastically.

Democracy should be strengthened at all levels. There should be much more space for continuing sustained, widespread participation by people, particularly youth, at all levels. The voting age should be reduced. Democratic governance at all levels including international levels needs big improvements.

The most urgent issues of checking climate change and elimination of nuclear weapons should be resolved within a framework of justice, equality, peace and democracy as well as a basic protective attitude towards nature, other forms of life and their habitats.

It is clear that to resolve the most urgent problems of the survival crisis in time, very big changes are needed. It is not so clear how these big changes can be brought before it is too late.

This much is clear that all those who understand the seriousness of the situation should work with the most dedication to resolve these problems in time. One aspect of these efforts in fact should be to expand this understanding as much as possible.

People’s movements can play the most important role. This includes movements for environment protection, peace, justice (including gender justice), democracy and protection for other forms of life. A coming together of these movements with survival issues in forefront can make a crucial contribution.

In addition important persons in crucial positions within the establishment, who have higher commitment to resolving survival issues, can play an important role at critical times in crucial ways.

As the problems and basic issues become clearer and efforts are made to establish the various critical linkages – more and more people can be expected to contribute. People’s movements will become stronger and many important people within the establishment can become sympathetic to them.

Hence within a few years we can come nearer to resolving the survival issues. However, if adequate and committed efforts are not made and sustained, then we can also move further away from achieving this . Both possibilities exist.

One way of taking this forward is to dedicate an entire decade to protecting the basic life-nurturing conditions of earth. Within this decade we try to change the entire paradigm of development and value systems in such a way that the world moves to a new protective phase with increasing hope of protecting the basic life-nurturing conditions of earth. Ideally this should happen at world level, but if this cannot happen immediately, a beginning can be made at the level of even a single country, province, town or village.

It is with this perspective that this writer initiated  the Campaign to Save the Earth with its SED Demand (  declaring the next decade as save the earth decade). The endorsement of several eminent persons was sought and readily obtained and with this endorsement the demand was sent repeatedly to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

It was also stated very clearly that all aims of this campaign are sought to be realized within a framework of justice, peace and democracy at three levels.

         Wider Aim To protect and save the life-nurturing, life-sustaining conditions of Planet Earth (within the framework of justice, democracy and peace).

         Specific Aims

(i)         Elimination of all nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.

(ii)        Restricting global warming to 1.50 C.

(iii)       Others to be specified from time to time.

         Immediate Aim

World-level declaration of next decade as the ‘Decade for Saving Earth’, signifying highest priority for the objective of protecting and saving the life-nurturing conditions of planet. The basic statement of this can campaign states, “ Keeping in view the increasing serious threats to the life sustaining conditions of earth and the need to find time-bound solutions on most urgent basis within the framework of justice, peace and democracy, the next decade  should be declared ‘Save the Earth’ Decade. This will help to focus attention on the foremost issue – that it is of the greatest urgency today to protect the life sustaining condition of planet earth.

It needs to be established clearly that saving the basic life-nurturing, life-sustaining conditions of earth is the most urgent task and this should be accomplished within a framework of justice, peace and democracy. All the issues of world should be taken up keeping in view this overriding, overarching concern. Such a commitment necessarily leads towards a world without wars and a world of much greater peace  and cooperation among all the people of world.

Such an understanding unites and integrates all the people and movements already active for various improvements with a common understanding of a higher objective and of a need to be closer to each other, integrating our numerous efforts for bringing improvements at several levels with  the understanding of this urgent and larger objective of protecting the life-nurturing conditions of our planet.

Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children and Planet in Peril.


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