Humanitad

Sacha Stone - Founder

Former rock musician and artist Sacha Stone grew up in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe throughout the war for independence.

He established Humanitad in 1999. After conducting a five year diplomatic campaign he engaged Humanitad upon both the NGO and IGO playing fields as an outspoken advocate of human rights and natural justice.

He has instigated peace initiatives and education programs, and has lobbied against human-rights abuses in different parts of the globe and continues to prosecute for the protection of breakthrough innovators, scientists and doctors.

Sacha founded New Earth Project (New Earth Nation), the worlds most integrated movement promulgating sustainable, sovereign and self-determining communities. It operates as a universal trust engaging micro-nations by Treaty and exists outside of fictitious enclosures dreamt up by self-serving corporation-governments and institutions.

He is also founder of the ITNJ International Tribunal for Natural Justice, which launched under multilateral observership in June 2015 via a ceremonial seating and ratification ceremony at Westminster Central Hall in London on the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. This new planetary court is committed to the dispensation of natural justice and adherence to the rule-of-law.

Sacha is a public speaker, publisher, writer and film-maker.

Wolfgang Knoerr - Commercial Affairs

Studied fine arts at a college in Hannover, and later graduated in both naturopathy and homeopathy. For several years he practiced homeopathy in southern Germany. Wolfgang never lost interest in the fine arts, along with graphic and interactive computer design. Leaving the field of therapy, he became a founding partner with a group offering IT solutions, advertising, and consulting to business startups. This led to a partnership in a branding and communication company. He currently lives with his family in Berlin.

Greg Paul - Sovereignty & Law

Greg Paul was born in England. By the age of 24, he was the youngest senior quantity surveyor in the country at a well-respected leading national house builder. He ran his own house building company for several years before permanently exiting the world of commerce altogether following significant research into the fundamental tenets of the existing financial and political paradigm, which he could no longer in good conscience continue to be a part of.

Since then, he has spent much of his time asserting mankind’s fundamental rights to self-determination both within the court system and without. He is the author of several anonymously published motivational books on exercising sovereignty and teaches sovereignty through the effective application of the art of self-inquiry.

With an uncompromising attitude toward the expression of the inherent sovereign human condition, he joined Humanitad Foundation in 2011 for the express purpose of facilitating programs and initiatives which support mankind in embodying it’s inherent sovereignty and to assist in causing the manifestation of conscious communities as platforms which springboard the planetary conversation on sovereignty to the world at large.

Having long since ceased to empower the totems and icons of the old world, Greg has been living the NewEarth metric for many years. Therefore, as a Director of the NewEarth Project, he is uniquely positioned to maintain the core ethic of this unprecedented initiative absent old-paradigm belief or limitation. The sole purpose of his person in life – to ensure that the impending reality of a world of peace and prosperity, be one that is grounded in absolute Truth.

Michele (Debono) Joshi - Treasurer

A Treasurer and Trustee of the Humanitad Foundation since its inception in 1998, Michele Joshi has worked closely with Sacha Stone for many years primarily responsible for Internal Communications and now more general Director, Company Secretary and Treasury duties as well as being honoured with the task of Trustee for New Earth Nation.

Michele has worked in the TV Production and Distribution industry since 2008 and was previously involved in the music industry as an International Music Booking Agent and Personal Assistant to various entrepreneurs and artists as well working with a Production Team within a publishing house. Michele’s forte lies in administrative organisation incorporating a logical and creative response to any troubleshooting; often thinking out of the box with a belief that a solution may always be sought.  Michele always follows an intuitive, perceptive and proactive approach to life which she hopes she can utilise to assist Humanitad move forward with its goals and vision.

Being a mother of two adorable teenage children, welfare and peace amongst our nations is of particular interest as is re-establishing natural treatments, remedies, organic foods and certified organic skin care products into the general mainstream, without the current mass chemical intrusion from the pharmaceutical industry that has been allowed to infiltrate our world and pollute every breath that we take.

Anil Joseph - Humanitad India

B-Tech (Civil), MBA (International Business), USA

A professional Civil Engineer with specialization in Air Pollution and Industrial Waste engineering from University of Kerala in India and Masters in International Business Development from Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, USA, Mr. Anil, with over three decades of professional experience serves multi-dimensional industries across the globe in Scandinavia, Europe, The Americas, The Middle East and in India, consults multi-national corporations out of Europe, Australia, USA, UK , China, Indonesia etc. in Design and Development, Clinical Research, Higher Education and Training, Science and Technology, Real Estate Development, Project Management, International Health, Healing and Wellness, Community Economic Development Projects and Socio Charitable causes.
Son of Late Justice K. J. Joseph, former judge of the High Court of Kerala and Upa Lok Ayukta of the Kerala state, currently he serves as the Director of Indian Affairs, Humanitad Foundation and is the Indian Chapter Chair of the International Tribunal for Natural Justice, United Kingdom.
He is also a Consultant to Companies like Sky H2O USA, ABCC Green Tech California USA, EndlessOne Global USA, Inflakes Singapore, Earth Habitats Australia, KAS Constructions Muscat, Sultanate of Oman and represents several American, Canadian, European, Australian, Indian Universities and Colleges including the Yenepoya University at Mangalore, and the RAJAS Educational Institutions of Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Anil is the Founding Trustee of the Asian Sanctuary of Knowledge, Cochin Bio Sanctuary Project. He is also Director of the Creative Group of Urban Designers and Planners, New Delhi and is a part of the Indian Institute of Arbitration and Mediation (IIAM), Head quartered at Kochi and Chaired by the Former Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice M.N. Venketachelliah. He is also Trustee of the Peace People Planet Society and CEO of the TRIS Cambridge International School, Kottayam, India.

Robin DeMorgan - Fiduciary Affairs: Sierra Leone

Robin De Morgan is an independent investment banking professional and Chartered Accountant from the United Kingdom, with experience of property and infrastructure developments, both in the UK and internationally.

He is the former CFO of the Hongkong Land Group and has worked closely with two separate merchant banking organisations on business development strategies and raising related funding. He has been closely involved in the development of energy from waste in several territories, including Latvia and the Baltic.

He is a trade development advisor for the Middle East Association having most recently lead a trade mission to Kurdistan, Iraq.

Ralf Larson - Director of Science

Innovator, inventor, engineer, visionary and entrepreneur, since 1970. Ralf has started a dozens of high-tech companies based on own patents in various branches, of which 2 have been introduced to the Stockholm stock exchange, with a share value of many billions.

Since 1997, Ralf has turned his inventive talent to economically and environmentally sustainable projects benefiting humanity and the planet.
Ralf holds a degree in chemical engineering (1968) with additional studies in business economics. He has been a member of the Swedish Inventors’ Society since the mid 70’s, a member of Rotary since 1999 and holds a helicopter pilot certificate since 1983.
Ralf’s talent lies in realizing ideas, turning them into finished, marketable products (innovations). He has been involved in successfully establishing more than ten innovative high-tech companies, frequently as President or CEO. Two of these companies have been introduced on the Swedish stock market; Array Printers AB, valued at 2 billion SEC and one of the 40 fastest growing companies on the Stockholm stock exchange in the 90’s; and Arcam AB, listed on the Nasdaq OMX Nordic, there GE Aviation (a General Electric company) takeover in November 2016, valued at over 6 billion SEC. http://www.materialstoday.com/additive-manufacturing/news/ge-agrees-to-purchase-arcam-/
Since 20’s, Ralf has focused on research and development projects promoting environmental and economical sustainability. One such project is the Drainman system – a bilge pump that drains rain water from open boats, using only the natural force of wind and waves, with zero emissions. http://www.unimer-marine.com
2012, Ralf moved to Norway and established, QF Technologies AS (R&D in the Quantum Field Technology) http://qft.no.
Ralf believes that an invention is not simply the physical product; in his own words “it is also the mental process in which design and function are tested intuitively, in the mind, and then intentionally directed to achieve the final result.”
Dr Dezso Benedek - Trustee

Director: Education & Cultural Affairs

  • Anthropologist and Literary Scholar
  • Director of Humanitad Education & Cultural Affairs

Profile:
Dr. Benedek is a widely recognised and respected cultural anthropologist. His activities range from fieldwork in remote ethnic communities, in such places as the Island of Irala, Patagonia, Tibet etc…. He has organised and led expeditions into the Mekong Delta, Western China and Pakistan and is a recognised authority in his field. He continues to work as an advisor for Eastern European governments and academic establishments.

Dr Chris Cleverly - Strategic Affairs

Mr Cleverly was called to the Bar in 1990, and subsequently founded Trafalgar Chambers establishing himself as the youngest head of chambers in the last century. In addition to his legal work, Mr Cleverly is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Made in Africa Foundation, a UK non-profit organisation established to assist the development of the African continent by providing first-stage funding for the feasibility studies and business development of large-scale infrastructure projects based in the region. He is also a regular presenter on TV and radio, and a contributor to newspapers and magazines on subjects regarding Africa and African development.

Carla Bate - Project Development

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Carla is a skilled communications specialist with 10+ years in the field of PR, marketing, event production.

After years working closely with Alec Gores, Chairman and CEO of The Gores Group. Carla’s wanderlust and desire to tap into a deeper humanitarian threadwork led her to Bali where she joined the NewEarth Haven team and connected with Humanitad.

A photo-therapist and Reiki practitioner, Carla is very interested in the convergence of ancient modalities and cutting edge healing technologies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in politics.

Dr Nancy Ash - NewEarth University Director

Nancy Ash, DD, PhD is a modern day mystic, veteran teacher, and pioneering midwife to the new paradigm since the 1970s. Her heart-centered voice is heard worldwide as a passionate new-thought-leader, author/poet, web tv host, and former radio show personality championing peace for all women, men, and children on this planet.

Dr. Ash is worldwide Director of the unprecedented NewEarth University (formally known as NE Institute), the planetary hub for wisdom-keeping of the NewEarth Project.

She is president, professor and graduate/postgrad advisor at New Earth Theological University, focused on Interspirituality as dean of its School of Interspiritual Studies. Her passion is to completely re-calibrate the old, broken academic educational paradigm with pure-truth new pedagogy.

Ordained in 1985, Reverend Dr. Ash has been an active interfaith senior minister and ministerial mentor at the vanguard of global interspiritual dialogue.

In tandem with decades of multi-dimensional work as a Oneness Advocate in the field of evolutionary consciousness, Nancy is deeply honored to serve as a founding Trustee (2015 – ) for the International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ), to ensure that human rights are fairly and nobly upheld, restoring justice-making to the people. She feels that serving in this capacity is an enormous responsibility steeped in integrity, diligence, and steadfast devotion to a better world.

Nancy lives in the enchanted mountains of New Mexico with Jonathan, her best friend and husband of 36 years. Dr. Ash is the author of two books:  Garland of Grace: Sitting with the Dying Sun, and Doing a 360: Turning Your Life Around to Follow Soul’s Purpose.

A longtime vajra yogini sharing a 360 Awakening Process, she loves the sky, the wind, and trees… walking her backyard labyrinth and hiking the hills while communing with red foxes, ravens, hummingbirds, and other delightful friends.

Robin DiMaggio - Music Ambassador


Robin DiMaggio
(born 1971) is a drummer and classical/world percussionist based out of Los Angeles. He has performed/recorded with artists as diverse as Steve Vai, Paul Simon, Diana Ross, and Dr. Dre. He has also worked as a producer/songwriter and a composer/arranger, and produced the albums Road to Forever (2012) by Don Felder of The Eagles and Be Here Then (2014) by Stephen Bishop.

As a drummer and percussionist, DiMaggio has performed/recorded with a variety of artists including Paul Simon, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Diana Ross, Tupac, Dr. Dre, Luther Vandross, Lil Jon, Martina McBride, Daft Punk, Johnny Cash, and Chris Isaak, among others, as well as sitarist/composer Ravi Shankar and violin maestro L. Shankar.

On September 9, 2013, DiMagio took the role of Musical Director and drummer for the late night TV show the Arsenio Hall Show on CBS.He has since performed with Nelly, Flo Rida, R. Kelly, Billy Ray Cyrus, Gladys Knight, and Earth Wind and Fire, among others. Prior to Arsenio, he was the house band drummer on the CW’s hit game show Oh Sit and TBS’ Lopez Tonight, hosted by George Lopez. In the latter he played with guests such as Slash, Carlos Santana, Jamie Foxx, Puff Daddy, Emilio Estefan, Hector Elizondo, Andrew Dice Clay, Andy Garcia, Lucrecia, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Steel Magnolias, David Guetta, Charlie Wilson, Beth Hart, Los Lobos, George Clinton and Justin Bieber, John Legend, Sergio Mendez, 50 Cent, P. Diddy, and Snoop Dogg. Robin is currently serving as Musical Director to the PGA Gala 67th 68th 69th session at the General Assembly and also serving as Musical Director for the South South Awards year during the General Assembly in Sept at the Majestic Waldorf Astoria N.Y. He has received his re occurring title as musical Director to the United Nations in 2015. Robin also collaborated with legendary Joe Satriani as co Writer and Producer to the new earthsong, Music without Words due out in September 2015.

Brad Bilbie - Finance & Development

Brad Bilbie has founded multiple companies with ‘profit with a purpose’ in mind. He has completed a Business Degree from Victoria University and has experience in founding some of Australia’s largest private finance companies, completing a number of large scale property developments including hotels in Australia and Bali, and setting up mining operations in multiple countries. Brads passion is bringing in new forms of renewable energy, using Bio Architecture and sacred geometry principles to build homes that heal, and coming up with innovative ways for native people and land owners to prosper from their land and resources.

Armand Assante - Goodwill Ambassador

Armand Assante has distinguished himself as one of the most elusive and yet prolific Actors of his generation. Internationally he is sought in the Film sector as much as he has been the guest of leading industrialists and leaders around the world.

In May of 2017 Armand will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hoboken Film Festival 2016 in Orange County N.Y. not far from his farm where he has resided for the past 33 years.

Assante has earned consistent international recognition for work in many diverse feature films.

Thomas J Brown - Director Of Science

Thomas Joseph Brown is an independent researcher in spiritual science and metaphysics. Just another human questioning reality and our place in it. His main interest is comprehending the archetypal structures of metaphysical and scientific systems of both Occident and Orient seeking common forms and functions, one’s ever-evolving spiritual proprioception in the midst of the matrix.

Currently he’s producing videos incorporating symbolic structures and extraordinary scientific relationships indicative of higher creative functions in the universe.

Tom’s interests include Goethe’s theory of color, cosmological botany, anthropocentrism, applications of sacred geometry to the evolution of technology, formation of elements as spiritual functions, Vajrayana mandala as map of reality, and wandering the beach.

ITNJ - International Tribunal for Natural Justice

Dr John Walsh - Chief-Justice: ITNJ

As the first Chief Justice of the International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ), Sir John Walsh of Brannagh is determined to ensure that the Statute of the ITNJ is followed and that the principles of the Free Access to Courts Act 1400 enacted during the reign of Henry IV are followed, videlicet- “Every person shall be in peace.  All his liege people and subjects may freely and peaceably, in his sure and quiet protection, go and come to his courts, to pursue the laws, or defend the same, without disturbance or impediment of any.  Full justice shall be done.  Full justice and right be done, as well to the poor as to the rich, in his courts aforesaid

Bishop Riah Abu El Assal - Commissioner: ITNJ


Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal is an Israeli Palestinian Anglican bishop, who was the Bishop in Jerusalem from 1998 to 2007.

Abu El-Assal graduated from Nazareth Baptist school where he also taught. While at Nazareth he was a member of the PLP, the Progressive List for Peace – a joint Jewish-Arab political party which, while existing only for eight years (1984–1992) is considered to have broken many previously sacrosanct taboos and profoundly influenced subsequent Israeli politics. During his time in Nazareth he was vicar of Christ Church, Nazareth.

In 1998, Abu El-Assal became the thirteenth Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem and head of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East until his retirement on 31 March 2007 at the prescribed retirement age of 70 years.

Dounne Alexander - Commissioner: ITNJ

Dounne Alexander is the founder of “Grammas” herbal foods and has won such national awards as ‘Black Businesswoman of the Millennium’ and inclusion in the list of 100 Great Black Britons.

She was born in Trinidad, and came to Britain with her parents in 1962. She worked for 22 years as a Chemical/Bacteriological technician and then as a housing officer. She became a single parent in 1986, being aware that everyone was getting into health foods, she went to her kitchen and cooked up a batch of concentrated hot pepper herbal sauce using a recipe created by her herbalist/spiritualist grandmother, who swore it could improve your health.
She gave it to some friends to try, and the rest they say is history.

Although she had no formal business training or experience, she established her herbal food manufacturing business ‘GRAMMAS’, (sic) named in memory of her grandmother. Within three months she had convinced Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason to sell her sauces. She also got her products onto the shelves of the 7 top supermarket chains – among them Safeway, Tesco and Waitrose.  Something many Entrepreneurs would die for.However, the end of the decade,  lack of support from banks and financial institutions caused her to withdraw from major manufacturing.

Dr Chris Cleverly - Barrister At Law

Mr Cleverly was called to the Bar in 1990, and subsequently founded Trafalgar Chambers establishing himself as the youngest head of chambers in the last century. In addition to his legal work, Mr Cleverly is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Made in Africa Foundation, a UK non-profit organisation established to assist the development of the African continent by providing first-stage funding for the feasibility studies and business development of large-scale infrastructure projects based in the region. He is also a regular presenter on TV and radio, and a contributor to newspapers and magazines on subjects regarding Africa and African development.

Robert David Steele - ITNJ Commissioner

Robert David Steele is former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity. He is the pro bono Chief Enabling Officer (CeO) of Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 devoted to teaching holistic analytics (HA), true cost economics (TCE), and open source everything engineering (OSEE).

He seeks to create an international  Open Source (Technologies) Agency for local to global information-sharing and sense-making as well as OSEE innovation. His ideas would enable the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals — first within the USA and then globally — within a decade or two at 10-20% of the cost of the prevailing industrial-donor model.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Recommended for 2017 cycle by Jan H. Kalvik, as disclosed in his essay “Intelligence & the Nobel Peace Prize,” Defence and Intelligence Norway.

Lina Helstein - ITNJ Lithuania

In 1986 I was graduated from Vilnius State University (Lithuania) with excellent marks and was offered a position of a lecturer in the same University.  September 1986 to 1988 taught English language and literature at Vilnius University, Kaunas faculty.  After excellent evaluation of my first teaching year I was proposed to begin writing scientific study in new technologies of teaching.  Accepting this proposal I also accepted a position as Director of a kindergarten to apply progressive teaching methods in practise.

From 1988 to 1995 I was a Director of a kindergarten with a staff of 137 employees and approximately 300 children.  At the same time I initiated a new trend in teaching – Montessori method – as an experimental schooling in the same kindergarten.  At the same time I was involved in the Montessori Society as a vice-president of it.  Success was there and my kindergarten was entitled a status of an experimental school for best teaching methods.

I was writing scientific and introductory articles for Lithuanian state media and becoming known as an expert in new learning methodologies.  For that reason I was proposed a position of a Director of Kaunas Business Centre.

Since 1995 I have served as a Director of Kaunas Business Centre with the youth’s non-alcoholic disco centre operating together and in the same complex of buildings.  I was leading these activities both as a director and a share-holder.  Very modern business and life management technique – “Time manager international” – was also introduced by this business centre to Lithuanian society.  At the same time I was involved in Lithuanian Cultural Fund as a vice-president.

Since 2002 Kaunas Business Centre was involved into gathering and analyzing of law solutions in privatisation of governmental real-estate and bankruptcy problems as the greatest challenges of post-soviet societies.  It also became my private business with a very valuable real estate in the center of the city.  This was the main reason that attracted intellectual thieves to use “ legal“ methods seeking to overpower my property.  I do not dare to qualify it a “tragedy”:  it was a big challenge being left with very minimal means for living, but leading to the awareness of the anatomy of fraud in my country.

NewEarth

Sacha Stone - Founder

Former rock musician and artist Sacha Stone grew up in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe throughout the war for independence.

He established Humanitad in 1999. After conducting a five year diplomatic campaign he engaged Humanitad upon both the NGO and IGO playing fields as an outspoken advocate of human rights and natural justice.

He has instigated peace initiatives and education programs, and has lobbied against human-rights abuses in different parts of the globe and continues to prosecute for the protection of breakthrough innovators, scientists and doctors.

Sacha founded New Earth Project (New Earth Nation), the worlds most integrated movement promulgating sustainable, sovereign and self-determining communities. It operates as a universal trust engaging micro-nations by Treaty and exists outside of fictitious enclosures dreamt up by self-serving corporation-governments and institutions.

He is also founder of the ITNJ International Tribunal for Natural Justice, which launched under multilateral observership in June 2015 via a ceremonial seating and ratification ceremony at Westminster Central Hall in London on the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. This new planetary court is committed to the dispensation of natural justice and adherence to the rule-of-law.

Sacha is a public speaker, publisher, writer and film-maker.

Wolfgang Knoerr - Branding & Oversight

Studied fine arts at a college in Hannover, and later graduated in both naturopathy and homeopathy. For several years he practiced homeopathy in southern Germany. Wolfgang never lost interest in the fine arts, along with graphic and interactive computer design. Leaving the field of therapy, he became a founding partner with a group offering IT solutions, advertising, and consulting to business startups. This led to a partnership in a branding and communication company. He currently lives with his family in Berlin.

Dr Nancy Ash - NewEarth University Director

Nancy Ash, DD, PhD is a modern day mystic, veteran teacher, and pioneering midwife to the new paradigm since the 1970s. Her heart-centered voice is heard worldwide as a passionate new-thought-leader, author/poet, web tv host, and former radio show personality championing peace for all women, men, and children on this planet.

Dr. Ash is worldwide Director of the unprecedented NewEarth University (formally known as NE Institute), the planetary hub for wisdom-keeping of the NewEarth Project.

She is president, professor and graduate/postgrad advisor at New Earth Theological University, focused on Interspirituality as dean of its School of Interspiritual Studies. Her passion is to completely re-calibrate the old, broken academic educational paradigm with pure-truth new pedagogy.

Ordained in 1985, Reverend Dr. Ash has been an active interfaith senior minister and ministerial mentor at the vanguard of global interspiritual dialogue.

In tandem with decades of multi-dimensional work as a Oneness Advocate in the field of evolutionary consciousness, Nancy is deeply honored to serve as a founding Trustee (2015 – ) for the International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ), to ensure that human rights are fairly and nobly upheld, restoring justice-making to the people. She feels that serving in this capacity is an enormous responsibility steeped in integrity, diligence, and steadfast devotion to a better world.

Nancy lives in the enchanted mountains of New Mexico with Jonathan, her best friend and husband of 36 years. Dr. Ash is the author of two books:  Garland of Grace: Sitting with the Dying Sun, and Doing a 360: Turning Your Life Around to Follow Soul’s Purpose.

A longtime vajra yogini sharing a 360 Awakening Process, she loves the sky, the wind, and trees… walking her backyard labyrinth and hiking the hills while communing with red foxes, ravens, hummingbirds, and other delightful friends.

Santi Azpilicueta - I.T. Development

Santi ended his corporate career as a Financial Analyst in a Spanish Multinational in 1996 when he moved to Washington State in the USA.

He became a serial entrepreneur and technologist, commandeering or participating in many ventures including book publishing, lead generation, and Internet Marketing.

Now Santi is passionately dedicated to creating web systems, live media production, and financial processes for the New Earth Project and the ITNJ.

Jenna Ansell - Production: NewEarth Festival

Jenna is an investigator and explorer, both in the physical world, the metaphysical world, and in the spiritual realms. Her quest for knowledge manifested in a Bachelors degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, UK (2004) and a Masters degree in International Relations and Conflict Management from Johns Hopkins SAIS University, USA (2007). Through her studies she gained a fundamental understanding of world economic, political, legal and social systems at both the micro and the macro levels.

These studies and work in the fields of politics and international development, combined with extensive worldwide travel and immersion in different cultures has enabled her to cultivate social and cross-cultural understanding. This has led to her role as a connector, teacher and communicator in an international professional arena.

Her mission is to understand how we can work together to create positive change for humanity and the earth through empowerment, communication and the creation of community. She believes in the power of festivals and gatherings to initiate this change and now has over twelve years of experience in this field.

As her career develops Jenna is honing her focus on immersive or transformational events that empower festivalgoers as collaborators. This has given her the opportunity to work with wisdom keepers and elders of different traditions in order to provide a platform for cross-cultural learning for the benefit of all.

Christina Krespach - Communications

With over 30 years in the field of law, business and non-profit ownership/development, client relations, and off-grid community living, Christina lends a great deal of strength and internal/external communication style to the New Earth team.

During her early years in Southern California, she pursued an opera career as one of a few coloraturas, which opened doors to record voice overs and vocals for Hanna-Barbera, and gave her access to stage performances at both the LA Music Center and the LA Philharmonic.  Ten years later, she put aside her travel bags and devoted her life to raising her 4 children as a single mother.

Having actively pursued the lifelong path of a mystic learner, she studied psychology at California State University, San Bernardino in the mid 1980’s with an emphasis on multiple personality and dissociative disorders and the effect of social norms on the development of conditioned responses that are now commonly listed as mental disorders.  This career path developed into 8 years of emotional release and clinical work in the early 1990s.  Following that, she received her certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in 2006, with a focus on the endocrine–emotional connection of the full innate being.

Currently, Christina coaches people around the world on the journey inward to self, letting go of the luggage of limiting self-beliefs, and breaking through the barriers of feeling trapped in the chaos of external events. Her goal is to weave together the work of those who are on the leading edge of creation in our successful transformation as humans.

She is the resident manager for a 5 guest-room house in the upper northwest of the United States, is a writer for EWAO and Mediation Masters e-zines, manages a team of 5 writers as the editor and content manager for Warrior Essence, and is the online-marketing coordinator for Muddy Buddha.

Michael Rice - Masterplanning: Sierra Leone

Michael Rice is an award-winning bio-architect. He studied at the School of Architecture in University College Dublin, setting up his own Architecture practice in 1998 based in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the heartland of Ireland, specializing in bio-architecture, sacred geometry, natural design and sustainable living.

Michael is considered by many to be the world leader in bio-architecture, which can be defined as the art and science of designing spaces and building structures which create, support and enhance life and living systems.  He has designed over 400 buildings based on these harmonic principles, from meditation huts, to homes and community spaces of every shape and form.

Enjoying a background in martial arts, natural design and construction, he has traveled extensively to learn, teach and develop his skills.  His knowledge of the Science of Creation offers deep insight into how the shapes of our dreams, thoughts and emotions create our worlds.  He teaches Bio-architecture, Sacred Geometry and Coherent Emotion internationally, and has gained a reputation as a dynamic and playfully enthusiastic presenter.

He lives with Heather, and five wonderful home-educated kids, in their new home ‘Dreamfield’.

Greg Paul - Founding Trustee

Greg Paul was born in England. By the age of 24, he was the youngest senior quantity surveyor in the country at a well-respected leading national house builder. He ran his own house building company for several years before permanently exiting the world of commerce altogether following significant research into the fundamental tenets of the existing financial and political paradigm, which he could no longer in good conscience continue to be a part of.

Since then, he has spent much of his time asserting mankind’s fundamental rights to self-determination both within the court system and without. He is the author of several anonymously published motivational books on exercising sovereignty and teaches sovereignty through the effective application of the art of self-inquiry.

With an uncompromising attitude toward the expression of the inherent sovereign human condition, he joined Humanitad Foundation in 2011 for the express purpose of facilitating programs and initiatives which support mankind in embodying it’s inherent sovereignty and to assist in causing the manifestation of conscious communities as platforms which springboard the planetary conversation on sovereignty to the world at large.

Having long since ceased to empower the totems and icons of the old world, Greg has been living the NewEarth metric for many years. Therefore, as a Director of the NewEarth Project, he is uniquely positioned to maintain the core ethic of this unprecedented initiative absent old-paradigm belief or limitation. The sole purpose of his person in life – to ensure that the impending reality of a world of peace and prosperity, be one that is grounded in absolute Truth.

Juan Schlosser - Bio Architecture

Juan Schlosser began his work at a very early age, influenced by the artistic Inquietude lived at his home. He explored a variety of artistic expressions, as sculpture, photography, design… which then merged into land art, and after continuing with the same concept, built large-scale installations, festivals and architecture. The theme is the same nature-energy its forms and manifestations.

Juan has experience with a diversity of sacred geometry structures through the use of patterns and forms found in nature. Following the path of his father – a renown Austrian sculptor, Adolfo Schlosser, he has developed a touch for merging beauty, art and space, creating energetic environments, inspired in the mimicry of the natural forms and its generative geometry that become the language of his practical arts.

Using a variety of building techniques with natural materials, he’s known for creating various scale buildings to serve a function of entertainment, living, decorative, land arts and for presenting the vastness of eco-architecture benefits.
Juan’s works include decorating homes, galleries in Europe, conscious resorts in Bali, and music festivals. Currently he is dedicated to bio-architecture and the research of the relationship of structure, shape, geometry and dynamics of live-energy.

With the help of artisans, designers, inspirational figures, producers, friends and family, Juan realizes the purpose to spread and share concepts and ideas of contributing to the bright possibility of an environmentally –conscious global future….

Dr Ellen Connor - NewEarth University

Ellen Conner, PhD is a science research analyst for Mueller Law in Austin, Texas. She obtained her PhD from the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas (Austin, Texas). Her doctoral work was conducted in a Pharmacology/Toxicology lab where she studied the potential impact of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on a family of metabolic regulating transcription factors as well as Uncoupling protein-mediated thermogenesis.

After 7 years of academic research and the birth of her daughter, Evelyn, Ellen stepped away from the bench and into the classroom where she taught Anatomy and Physiology and other upper division science courses. Her time as an educator (and new mom) not only taught her the patience she was lacking in her 20s but re-ignited her own academic curiosity while further honing her ability to breakdown and clearly communicate complicated concepts.

With this next chapter as a NewEarth University research analyst/coordinator Ellen hopes to utilize her skills as a researcher and educator to bridge the gap between scientist and student, laboratory and classroom, online and offline.

Guille Soto - Director Of Filmed Media


I was born in Rosario, Argentina. Later at the age of 3, I went on to be raised in the U.S.A. Being a creative intuitive soul, I sailed through my programming and went on to work in television broadcasting from the age of 18.
Subsequently while living in the belly of the beast, I was condemned an illegal alien, incompatible to the ‘american dream’. Becoming a criminal overnight, I lived in fear with my voice and head down everywhere I went.

In 2008, my dreams and persistence inspired me to travel.

Since then I’ve become driven to truth, art, natural justice and manifesting a NewEarth for generations to come.
In 2012 I experienced a spiritual awakening that completely shifted my worldview and has since paved the path which allowed me to fully step into my power.  Helping me BE love and compassion, recognizing that I AM an eternal all powerful homosapien.

Being fed up with the war economy, ongoing massacres, suffering and engineered poverty and slavery, we need to engage our leaders and leave behind the corporate slave system of manipulation and control.
My unwavering passion as a filmmaker and artist, has lead me to work with many with healers, activists, movers and shakers. Each person, movement and idea has helped make me who I am today.

My research has opened my mind to sound and vibration, e-learning, meditation, decentralization, live visuals/filmmaking, natural/fractal construction and organic sustainable living.

Connie Broussard - Editor Humanitad Press


Born under a creative sign, Connie Broussard started her artistic endeavors at a very early age, completing her first oil painting at the age of 9 and her first handmade wooden cabinet at age 10.  Loving the creative process, nothing was off limits. Knowing she wanted to live a life of creativity, she chose Visual Communications as her life’s work.  Graduating with honors, and several prestigious awards, she has worked in the graphic design field for the last 25 years.

Aside from her love to create, she is also a certified Reiki practitioner, music lover, animal whisperer, fierce friend, passionate about all aspects of life, inquisitive beyond belief, ready for any experience, and excited to be working towards sovereignty for all beings on this planet.

Today she is bringing her love of design and creativity, along with the desire to support the evolution of consciousness, to the NewEarth Project as Managing Editor for the NewEarth Oracle and design partner for The Sovereign Voice.

Brian Kelly - NewEarth Haven, Bali

Born and raised in California, graduated with a degree in Communications from San Diego State University in 2004. Went on to become a serial entrepreneur, assisting in a wide range of startsups in the fields of finance, marketing, and new tech. After a rapid awakening in 2010, Brian shifted course and became a certified Reiki practitioner, energy worker, blogger and radio host.

Now living in Bali, Indonesia working as Director of New Earth Havens, Brian’s primary motive is to support the evolution of consciousness ushering a transition back to our natural state of harmony and balance, with both each other and nature, collectively.

Ryan Boyd - NewEarth University staff - media content editor

Ryan Boyd is currently living in Toronto, Canada. He is a Reiki master, spiritual counselor, and content creator for Spirit Science and Divine Society.  Ryan also acts as editorial gatekeeper on the NewEarth Media portal, providing quality content to NewEarth and NE University as a content editor.

Ryan began his spiritual journey through daily meditation and deep contemplation, which eventually lead to experimentation with lucid dreaming, astral projection, and many forms of energy work.  He is a musician, artist, philosopher, and esoteric explorer.Ryan is developing an expansive spiritual framework based off of his article series, Ascend Academy, which he intends to implement through a variety of courses, workshops, and seminars via the NewEarth University.

The World Phoenix Awards

Robin DiMaggio - Co-Founder / Producer


Robin DiMaggio
(born 1971) is a drummer and classical/world percussionist based out of Los Angeles. He has performed/recorded with artists as diverse as Steve Vai, Paul Simon, Diana Ross, and Dr. Dre. He has also worked as a producer/songwriter and a composer/arranger, and produced the albums Road to Forever (2012) by Don Felder of The Eagles and Be Here Then (2014) by Stephen Bishop.

As a drummer and percussionist, DiMaggio has performed/recorded with a variety of artists including Paul Simon, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Diana Ross, Tupac, Dr. Dre, Luther Vandross, Lil Jon, Martina McBride, Daft Punk, Johnny Cash, and Chris Isaak, among others, as well as sitarist/composer Ravi Shankar and violin maestro L. Shankar.

On September 9, 2013, DiMagio took the role of Musical Director and drummer for the late night TV show the Arsenio Hall Show on CBS.He has since performed with Nelly, Flo Rida, R. Kelly, Billy Ray Cyrus, Gladys Knight, and Earth Wind and Fire, among others. Prior to Arsenio, he was the house band drummer on the CW’s hit game show Oh Sit and TBS’ Lopez Tonight, hosted by George Lopez. In the latter he played with guests such as Slash, Carlos Santana, Jamie Foxx, Puff Daddy, Emilio Estefan, Hector Elizondo, Andrew Dice Clay, Andy Garcia, Lucrecia, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Steel Magnolias, David Guetta, Charlie Wilson, Beth Hart, Los Lobos, George Clinton and Justin Bieber, John Legend, Sergio Mendez, 50 Cent, P. Diddy, and Snoop Dogg. Robin is currently serving as Musical Director to the PGA Gala 67th 68th 69th session at the General Assembly and also serving as Musical Director for the South South Awards year during the General Assembly in Sept at the Majestic Waldorf Astoria N.Y. He has received his re occurring title as musical Director to the United Nations in 2015. Robin also collaborated with legendary Joe Satriani as co Writer and Producer to the new earthsong, Music without Words due out in September 2015.

Carla Bate - Project Development

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Carla is a skilled communications specialist with 10+ years in the field of PR, marketing, event production.

After years working closely with Alec Gores, Chairman and CEO of The Gores Group. Carla’s wanderlust and desire to tap into a deeper humanitarian threadwork led her to Bali where she joined the NewEarth Haven team and connected with Humanitad.

A photo-therapist and Reiki practitioner, Carla is very interested in the convergence of ancient modalities and cutting edge healing technologies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in politics.

Sacha Stone - Co-Founder / Producer

Former rock musician and artist Sacha Stone grew up in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe throughout the war for independence.

He established Humanitad in 1999. After conducting a five year diplomatic campaign he engaged Humanitad upon both the NGO and IGO playing fields as an outspoken advocate of human rights and natural justice.

He has instigated peace initiatives and education programs, and has lobbied against human-rights abuses in different parts of the globe and continues to prosecute for the protection of breakthrough innovators, scientists and doctors.

Sacha founded New Earth Project (New Earth Nation), the worlds most integrated movement promulgating sustainable, sovereign and self-determining communities. It operates as a universal trust engaging micro-nations by Treaty and exists outside of fictitious enclosures dreamt up by self-serving corporation-governments and institutions.

He is also founder of the ITNJ International Tribunal for Natural Justice, which launched under multilateral observership in June 2015 via a ceremonial seating and ratification ceremony at Westminster Central Hall in London on the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. This new planetary court is committed to the dispensation of natural justice and adherence to the rule-of-law.

Sacha is a public speaker, publisher, writer and film-maker.

Wolfgang Knoerr - Production

Studied fine arts at a college in Hannover, and later graduated in both naturopathy and homeopathy. For several years he practiced homeopathy in southern Germany. Wolfgang never lost interest in the fine arts, along with graphic and interactive computer design. Leaving the field of therapy, he became a founding partner with a group offering IT solutions, advertising, and consulting to business startups. This led to a partnership in a branding and communication company. He currently lives with his family in Berlin.

Dr Chris Cleverly - Production Associate

Mr Cleverly was called to the Bar in 1990, and subsequently founded Trafalgar Chambers establishing himself as the youngest head of chambers in the last century. In addition to his legal work, Mr Cleverly is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Made in Africa Foundation, a UK non-profit organisation established to assist the development of the African continent by providing first-stage funding for the feasibility studies and business development of large-scale infrastructure projects based in the region. He is also a regular presenter on TV and radio, and a contributor to newspapers and magazines on subjects regarding Africa and African development.

Immortalis

Sacha Stone - Founder / CEO

Former rock musician and artist Sacha Stone grew up in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe throughout the war for independence.

He established Humanitad in 1999. After conducting a five year diplomatic campaign he engaged Humanitad upon both the NGO and IGO playing fields as an outspoken advocate of human rights and natural justice.

He has instigated peace initiatives and education programs, and has lobbied against human-rights abuses in different parts of the globe and continues to prosecute for the protection of breakthrough innovators, scientists and doctors.

Sacha founded New Earth Project (New Earth Nation), the worlds most integrated movement promulgating sustainable, sovereign and self-determining communities. It operates as a universal trust engaging micro-nations by Treaty and exists outside of fictitious enclosures dreamt up by self-serving corporation-governments and institutions.

He is also founder of the ITNJ International Tribunal for Natural Justice, which launched under multilateral observership in June 2015 via a ceremonial seating and ratification ceremony at Westminster Central Hall in London on the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. This new planetary court is committed to the dispensation of natural justice and adherence to the rule-of-law.

Sacha is a public speaker, publisher, writer and film-maker.

Dr Marco Ruggiero - Medical & Scientific R&D

Marco Ruggiero was born in Firenze, Italy, in 1956, He holds a PhD in Molecular Biology, is a Medical Doctor specialised in Clinical Radiology, and has been professor of Molecular Biology at the Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences of the University of Firenze, Italy for more than 20 years (1992-2014). Since 2013, he is Director of Science at Immuno Biotech Ltd., Guernsey, Channel Islands, Great Britain.

He served in the Italian Army (NATO) as Medical Lieutenant with specific training in chemical, biological and nuclear warfare.

He worked at Burroughs Wellcome Co., North Carolina, USA publishing a seminal paper on signal transduction with Nobel Laureate Sir John Vane and, subsequently, at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH in Bethesda, USA, working with Dr. Stuart A. Aaronson and Prof. Peter Duesberg.

He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers on signal transduction, reporting original observation in the fields of neurosciences and cancer.

In 1987, he published a paper on the molecular mechanisms underlying the processes of learning and memory in the prestigious EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) Journal of the Nature Publishing Group. Ever since, he published several papers in those fields of neurosciences that are associated with autism. The last paper published on this topic together with Dr. James J. Bradstreet in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience (associated with Nature Publishing Group), describes the neurological alterations in the brain of autistic children and the use of ultrasonography in the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

In 2014, he has developed an integrated protocol for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders that led to significant successes, with some autistic individuals fully recovering from the disease and able to resume a completely normal life. Some of these clinical reports were described in the popular press.

Dr Mikael Nordfors - Medical & Scientific R&D

(b. 22 December 1958 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a medical doctor with special interest in psychiatry and orthopaedic medicine, and is co-author of the American bestseller Hypericum & Depression. He has also published the online booklet Democracy 2.1.

He was one of the founders of the DemoEx political party in Vallentuna, Sweden, who for more than 8 years have been practising Dr. Nordfors’ ideas on direct democracy combined with delegated voting in a real political setting. This idea have later also become adapted by The World Parliament Experiment, where MN is a member. He has been invited to many international conferences such the world political forum, Turin (chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev), the democracy collaborative, Washington DC (Benjamin Barber), The National Democratic Institute (Madeleine Albright), The World Social Forum and The International Conference for Chief Justices in Lucknow, India.

His focus is on holistic cancer therapies and psychotherapy as lead practitioner at the Humlegaarden Private Clinic facility in Denmark.

Herb Meiner - Director Of Development

I have successful, high-energy leadership experience in management, multi-project delivery, process design, enterprise planning, oil/gas EPCM, civil development, materials handling and creative troubleshooting. I am widely recognized for entrepreneurial expertise in ongoing business growth, strategy formulation, program implementation, cost savings, government relations and personnel management.

Career Highlights:

– Results-focused development and construction of successful, oil and gas drilling new and live plant civil construction, retirement housing,high-end resorts and subdivision properties, including the world-class Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
– Timely completion of mission-critical projects and total compliance with government regulations, safety requirements, audits, municipal/city approvals and industry requirements.
– Formation, motivation and leadership of cross-functional teams to achieve peak performance, ensure total client satisfaction, maintain peak quality service and meet aggressive organizational objectives.
– Expertise in the estimating, negotiation and execution of complex contracts with top management, industry vendors and key decision-makers; fully familiar with P&L, budgeting and cost reductions.
– Effective hiring, management, deployment, and development of top-notch talent at professional, supervisory, staff and field levels in deadline-driven environments.
– Multi-tasking talents in team building, organization, needs analysis, program implementation and accurate documentation in time-sensitive situations.

Sri Sri Dev Dass Ji Maharaj - Vedic Artist

Sri Sri Dev Dass Ji Maharaj, disciple of Brahmarishi Yogi Samrat Sri Devraha Baba Sarkar.

Sadhguru of Vedic and traditional Ayurveda, Kriya and Ashtanga Yoga

Parampara (lineage): Sri Vaishnaw Ramanuja Acharya Parampara

Path: Traditional Vedic Way

Speech:

  • Dharma
  • Karma
  • Bhakti
  • Gyana
  • Prema
  • Vairagya
  • Yoga
  • Interpretation and explanation of all Vedic Scriptures
  • Humanity (Manav Dharma)

Sri Sri DevDass Ji Maharaj is a disciple of Brahmarishi Yogi Samrat Sri Devraha Baba, the greatest ageless Saint and Siddha Yogi from India. Sri DevDass Ji Maharaj, lovingly called ‘Guru Ji’ by his disciples, had spent many years under Sri Devraha Baba and is His successor.

At a very tender age Guru Ji was accepted by Devraha Baba in His folds and he became a part of one of the greatest paramparas (lineage), the Ramanuja Acharya Parampara. Thus began his journey on the path of Vedic and traditional Ayurveda, Kriya and Ashtanga Yoga and gained a deep  spiritual knowledge of Vedas.

Guru i’s path is nothing but the age old traditional Vedic way of life which brings us closer to Nature and God and helps us live in harmony.

In very simple language Guru Ji explains the complexities of Dharma, Karma, Bhakti, Gyana, Prema, Vairagya, Yoga and the Vedic Scriptures.

Effortlessly Guru Ji opens the doors of knowledge and self-realisation and guides his audience/disciples to higher levels of understanding. One of the main messages that Guru JI passes to everyone is the principles of Manava Dharma, which means “Humanity”.

Wolfgang Knoerr - Commercial Affairs

Studied fine arts at a college in Hannover, and later graduated in both naturopathy and homeopathy. For several years he practiced homeopathy in southern Germany. Wolfgang never lost interest in the fine arts, along with graphic and interactive computer design. Leaving the field of therapy, he became a founding partner with a group offering IT solutions, advertising, and consulting to business startups. This led to a partnership in a branding and communication company. He currently lives with his family in Berlin.

Dr Konstantin Korotkov - Medical & Scientific R&D

Konstantin G. Korotkov, Ph.D., Professor

Konstantin Korotkov has the following positions:

• Deputy Director of Saint-Petersburg Federal Research Institute of Physical Culture.

• Professor of Computer Science and Biophysics at Saint-Petersburg Federal University of Informational Technologies, Mechanics and Optics.

• Professor of Research in Saint Petersburg Academy of Physical Culture.

• President of the International Union for Medical and Applied Bioelectrography.

• Consultant for Aveda Co (USA).

• Member of the Editorial Board: «Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine», “Journal of Science of Healing Outcomes”.

He has published over 200 papers in leading journals on physics and biology, and he holds 17 patents on biophysics inventions. Prof. Korotkov has led a research career for over 30 years, combining rigorous scientific method with an insatiable curiosity about things of the spirit and the soul with deep respect for all life. He is also a scholar in philosophy and a serious mountaineer of 25 years experience. He has given lectures, seminars and training sessions in 43 countries, presenting papers and workshops at more than 100 national and international conferences.

He is the author of 9 books; Most of them are translated to English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, including Light After Life: Experiments and Ideas on After-Death Changes of Kirlian Pictures, USA 1998. Aura and Consciousness – New Stage of Scientific Understanding, Russian Ministry of Culture, 1998. Human Energy Fields: Study with GDV Bioelectrography, USA 2002. Spiral Traverse, (USA?) 2006. An editor of the book: Measuring Energy Fields: State of the Art. GDV Bioelectrography series, USA 2004.

At the V Congress of the International Union of Medical and Applied Bioelectrography (IUMAB) in Curitiba, Brasil, (Brazil, in USA) in 2001, Dr. Korotkov was elected as President of the IUMABby the world’s most prominent researchers. He was re-elected as a President in 2005 and 2010. He is a Member of the Federal University Scientific Board on new medical technologies, Member of the Scientific Board of the European Society of Predictive Medicine (France) and of the Editorial Board of the «Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine» (USA).

His scientific line, known as the Electrophotonics, is based on Gas Discharge Visualization technique (GDV), is a breakthrough beyond Kirlian photography for direct, real-time viewing of the human energy fields. This new technology allows one to capture by a special camera the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy emanating to and from an individual, plants, liquids, powders, inanimate objects and translate this into a computerized model. This allows researcher and client to see imbalances that may be influencing an individual’s well-being greatly facilitating the diagnosis of the CAUSE of any existing imbalances showing the area of the body and the organ systems involved. One of the greatest benefits to date is the ability to do “real-time” measurements of a variety of treatments for such conditions as cancer to determine which is the most appropriate for the client.

The incredible implications for the diagnosis and treatment of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual conditions with applications in medicine, psychology, sound therapy, biophysics, genetics, forensic science, agriculture, ecology etc. have only just begun.

The EPC/GDV technique is accepted by Russian Ministry of Health as a Medical technology and certified in Europe. More than 1000 doctors, practitioners and researchers benefit from using this technology worldwide. More than 150 papers are published on GDV in different countries.

Jules Bright - Immortalis Bio-Organics

Jules is a barefoot forest dweller with a huge appreciation for what we have right here in Aotearoa. She spent 10 years travelling the Planet living with many Indigenous cultures and learning with these sustainability warriors. Jules is an initiated WisdomKeeper, Pipe Carrier and Reiki Master and enjoyed 10 years of surgical nursing & ambulance work before becoming a naturopath and medical herbalist. Jules is now taking her message to the World through her natural NZ native skinfood ranges: Bright Earth & Pure NZ Skinfood, products that are 100% natural, wild-crafted and enjoy fair-trading with our sisters in the Pacific.

Hylton Parker - Commercial & Marketing

With over 25 years in the construction industry, Hylton has been involved from concept to handover of many projects throughout Western Australia.
Awarded by the HIA for his work, 7 of his projects have been recognized by the HIA.
His experience ranges from initial design consultancy , final design, Planning, financing & contract documentation.
Hylton’s passion is to be involved with projects from their first conception to final handover of the finished product, be that a multi unit development or individual home.

Humanitad Advocates and Contributors

Janez Drnovsek †

President of Yugoslavia (1989-1990), Prime Minister of Slovenia (1992-2002) and President of Slovenia (2002-2007).


Humanitad Open Letter to Humanity

We are the people of the world……yet are we conscious of what is happening around us every day? Conscious of our world heading toward an abyss? – conscious of the imbalances of this world growing from one day to the next? What kind of a world are we leaving to future generations of humankind – and how will they reflect on us?

Will they reflect that we were the generation who still had the chance to stop the destruction of our planet? That we failed to awaken? Failed to act? Selfishness and greed prevail in our times as never before. The consciousness of most people has become sublimated to these characteristics. Countless others are intoxicated by such delusions as television and football. They are not really ‘alive’ – nor are they conscious.

The politics of our world are driven by lowly consciousness. So much political energy is lost to the interplay of vanity and power-mongering. Do politicians sincerely address the problem of world poverty – the critical issues around global warming? Most of them do not. They are not ready to undertake decisive measures to significantly curb CO2 emissions despite rising weather extremes and ensuing natural catastrophes increasing toward a point of no return.

Somewhere in the near future Earth’s climate will be so terminally damaged that it will be beyond repair. The ‘agony-era’ of humanity will begin, perhaps dragging on for a century or two before final cataclysm. What will our ensuing generations make of this spiral? Would they be able to comprehend the failure of politicians and leaders of our time? Leaders who failed to address and to terminate the greed of profit-driven corporations? Corporations who gambled our future against their profits. Profits made as a result of their failure to cut CO2 emissions.

Politicians will tell us that they want to assure our security by chasing and fighting terrorism around the world. They even go to wars for that reason – spending vast amounts of money for such military purposes. What could be done with the billions of dollars spent on such wars? Alleviating poverty and hunger would make the world a just place. This would create an environment increasingly difficult for extremist leaders to recruit ‘suicide-bombers’ and ‘terrorists’ from amongst people who can otherwise see no higher perspective in a world of injustice. By eliminating poverty and injustice – our world becomes a safe-haven for all. Whereas – in the present climate of excessive policing and militarism it has become a place less and less secure.

Imagine what more could be done with the billions of dollars spent on such policing and militarism? If only a small part were directed to the development of new technologies to assist in the reversal of global warming, we could then achieve a ‘turning point’ – assuring the salvation of both our planet and future generations.

But politicians do not act. They seem unable to change their patterns of behavior. They cannot stop the greed of business and the business of greed. They fail to challenge the real decision-makers in a world governed by low consciousness and selfishness. This pressure must come from outside – from the people of the world. Many of those amongst you – who will come to read this message will be of raised consciousness – and frustrated that the mechanisms of an old world order do not ever seem to change. But indeed – we must change that which seems immutable. It is imperative.

We must awaken humanity, and in so doing never use violence in order to achieve the objective. The only way to change the world for the better is by lifting up the consciousness of all people. When critical mass is achieved the politician will have to follow and the businessman will then follow. That is when real change begins.

‘Consciousness’ is the key word – and the only one that really matters. Let us become conscious of our responsibility toward the future of humanity. Let us indeed save the future of humanity – of ourselves. In this – we may prove worthy of being human. If we fail – we prove little more than that we did not deserve to survive – did not deserve to live. That we wasted our lives for short-term pleasures, profits and illusions. We will be judged in the eternity of this universe – where there will be no advocate to defend us… and where we will remain accused of the biggest genocide of all time. We must act.

Let us write about this – and talk about this. Let us awaken each other. Let us come together whenever and wherever we can – to raise our voices in unison. More and more people will surely follow. Science must now speak. It must not be intimidated by big business – nor must it be bribed for continued silence. After all – there is a voice in our midst which speaks clearly and speaks loudly. Nature. Weather extremes and emerging natural disasters will speak for themselves. Even those who wish to remain deaf and wish to remain blind – will soon see and hear. But in the end – consciousness will prevail. And it will be just in the stroke of time. Our world will be saved. WE will not be the people who brought about the destruction of humankind.


In recognition of his outstanding political, humanitarian and economic achievements and outstanding merit as a peace negotiator Dr. Janez Drnovsek is a recipient of many international awards. This includes the highest state decoration, the Golden Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia for merit in defence of the freedom and sovereignty of his people . He has formerly held the office of Prime Minister of Slovenia and Head of the Presidency of the former Yugoslavia. He is a best-selling author – his writing focusing on the need for an urgent awakening within both global and individual consciousness. His writings are increasingly carried under the name – Janez.

Jayantha Dhanapala
  • Contender for the post of: Secretary General of the United Nations (2006) Sri Lanka
  • United Nations – Under Secretary-General for Disarmament (1998 – 2003)
  • Recipient of the Global Security Institute’s Alan Cranston Peace Award (2002)
  • Honorary President of the International Peace Bureau
  • Member of the International Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission
  • Member of the Governing Board – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces etc..

 

To Our International Leaders,

 

We have for over a decade congratulated ourselves on emerging from the Cold War without pausing to ask whether the peoples of the world are in a safer and better world today. We certainly do not have the prospect of a global war fought with weapons of mass destruction. Nor do we have the institutionalised racism of apartheid or the tragic spectacle of countries in colonial or Cominform bondage.

And yet we must acknowledge that we still have over 30,000 nuclear warheads many of them poised on alert status to be launched on warning perhaps pre-emptively. We have numerous armed conflicts raging around the world fuelled by a huge conventional arms trade in which small arms and light weapons proliferation has burgeoned alarmingly. Global terrorism has assumed menacing proportions as illustrated by the attacks on the USA on September 11,2001 and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states and terrorist groups is a real danger. Other non-military threats to security have escalated in terms of absolute poverty with one in five persons in the world living on less than one US dollar a day; the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and other diseases; environmental problems such as climate change; continued violations of human rights; trafficking in persons and drugs and a host of other issues which Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls problems without passports.

This complex global situation demands common approaches in a co-operative security framework where the United Nations is central. In a globalized world society we have to adopt genuine multilateralism underpinned by the rule of international law. Civil society must speak out and press governments to endure that human security is at the forefront of their agendas. Individual national interests must be subsumed in the global public good that benefits us all equally. That is the only certain path to durable international peace and security.

Jayantha Dhanapala

Jonathan Granoff
  • President of the Global Security Institute
  • Vice President of the UN NGO Committee on Nuclear Disarmament
  • Snr. Advisor: the American Bar Association Committee on Arms Control & National Security
  • Serving: Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, The Jane Goodall Institute
  • The Bipartisan Security Group and the Middle Powers Initiative
  • Special Session Chair: Summit of the Nobel Peace Laureates (Rome)
  • rep: International Peace Bureau (Nobel Peace Laureate organisation)

THE FORGOTTEN WHY

We have forgotten why we are here, who we are and how to pose and answer these most important questions. I believe we are here to learn and know through essential love. This process can guide our actions and reveal the birthright of being human.

Purposes sent into this creation to discover something We are deeply inquisitive creatures which may not look like anything we can see. We are to learn of something which we cannot control, measure or own. W e are able to know through love, and that knowing helps make us human. To know the mystery of that which sent us into the world we must know the self, the consciousness within the body, that is knowing. We must inquire into who we are. If we do not gain this knowledge then what have we gained?

Purposes sent into this creation to discover something We are deeply inquisitive creatures which may not look like anything we can see. We are to learn of something which we cannot control, measure or own. W e are able to know through love, and that knowing helps make us human. To know the mystery of that which sent us into the world we must know the self, the consciousness within the body, that is knowing. We must inquire into who we are. If we do not gain this knowledge then what have we gained?

By observing the outside, the portion understood with the senses, mind and desire, the essence will not be known. By observing with wisdom we can know ourselves, and through such understanding, know the one who is observing all. When wisdom dawns in the fullness of love, it brings a tranquillity that the intellect cannot measure and leads to knowing without symbols and thought. It is such wisdom that governs the investigation of the unchanging, that which is real, that which neither comes nor goes, the mystery which sent us in the first place.

PURPOSE

Would you follow a fast sports car with a bumper sticker that said, “I may be lost but I am really moving”? What is the purpose of our social institutions? What is the purpose of an economy? Does it help create communities of human beings or is it a kind of Stuff Olympics? US Senator Byron Dorgan questions whether “the gold medal goes to the nation that consumes the most stuff and racks up the biggest GDP.”

What is the purpose of art? Does it awaken beauty in the beholder? Or, does it become only a technique of commenting on human techniques of expression without a meaning?

What is the purpose of law? Does it establish justice? Or, is it only a social procedure for controlling economies, and people who do not fit in?

What is the purpose of medicine? Is it an art for healing, and all that implies? Or, is it only a high technology business to keep people breathing indefinitely?

What is the purpose of religion? Is it to improve human hearts and qualities so that wisdom, love and compassion might awaken? Or, is it a kind of theater of rituals that only define groups from one another and increase their respective sense of security in feeling special?

What is the purpose of philosophy? Is it to stimulate inquiry into the good? Or, is it only an intellectual technique to criticize the limits of intellectual techniques?

What is the purpose of education? Does it include drawing out the self knowledge of students and improving character? Or, is it only to train workers for the institutions that help rack up a large GDP?

How are we to judge the success of institutions if we do not know how to judge the success of our individual lives? Without a standard of being human, without a human purpose how can we determine what direction our institutions should go? We live in a time in which the pursuit of the good and the pursuit of the real are divided. The hard sciences claim the epistemological high ground, relegating all other methods of knowing to mere aesthetics. What cannot be measured is marginalized. The self, love, compassion, consciousness and the soul are not part of “truth discovery” since they are not amenable to measurement and control, criteria for scientific knowledge. The real and the good need not be separated. In human traditions of wisdom the pursuit of virtue is the necessary condition for understanding the real.

If original purposes are lost the important questions cannot be answered. If what it is to be human is not first understood all the efforts expended lack purpose. Procedure overcomes purpose. The how overshadows the why. When there is no why and nihilism grows, the human is reduced to a mere pleasure seeking creature with no limits of appetite. Economy becomes greed and security can never be obtained for no inner awareness or peace is nurtured. There is never enough and ignorance leads us into apocalyptic futile attempts to obtain security by ever increasing destructive capacities.

Lacking the courage to face our own inner inadequacies we project all unease upon the external environment and attempt to own and control it entirely. It is our own ignorance, our own qualities of egoism and arrogance, that bring about the most suffering.

THE QUEST

It is tragic if a king sends a messenger to bring back a particular thing and he brings back hundreds of extraneous items of no value to the king. It is glorious when that which is most valuable is obtained.

There was a king who instructed his prime minister as follows, “There is a kingdom to which I will send you. I understand there is a king there whose beauty and knowledge is without compare and above whom there is none and below whom there is none. I give you this book to use when instructions to know this king become necessary. Use it carefully. Come to know this king and report back to me of his wonders.”

The minister set out for the kingdom. He travelled across a dangerous expanse where he carefully walked along a one foot wide plank. On the right was quicksand and on the left was swamp. He looked up and saw that on the walls of the kingdom were cannons. Should a cannon shoot at him he knew he would fall off into his demise.

At the gate of the kingdom he asked the keeper, “I hear there is a tavern within the kingdom which contains all taverns. Within this tavern is a story teller who contains all the stories of the kingdom. Please direct me to this place.”

At the tavern he asked the storyteller who said, “Beware this is a dangerous kingdom where your greatest treasures can be taken if you are not diligent. Yet the ruler is beautiful and just. If approached correctly, all can and will be understood. Make your way in this kingdom, work with its inhabitants and you will learn your story.”

The minister entered into business with five attractive partners. They robbed him of the goods he had brought. They conspired and cheated. They deceived him at every juncture and when he took them to court they changed evidence, prevailing at the first level.

The minister was diligent and appealed to a higher court where he was instructed that his case could only be resolved at the highest court of the kingdom.

The parties appeared there together and the minister could not see the judge, the king himself, for he was hidden behind a veil. Frustrated he began, “I entered into a partnership with these five and they have lied at each step, stealing me of my most valuable property. Justice has been denied me in the courts below and now I cannot even see you.” He began to become angry but remembered the book he had been given at the outset of his journey.

He opened the book and the page was a clear mirror in which he could see his own qualities in his face. He abruptly realized his condition and reflected openly, “A king of wisdom would indeed hide his beautiful face from those who cheated and abused. Such a king would only show himself to the appreciative. Those who know how wonderfully the kingdom is ordered and whose hearts have gratitude might behold his face.” His heart filled with gratitude and peace.

The veil opened and the king appeared. His beauty and grace was so overwhelming that the five were stunned and rendered senseless. The king handed the minister a book and said, “This book is to be brought back to the king who sent you as evidence of our meeting. Look at it carefully and know your fulfillment.”

He opened the book and it too was a mirror, the tilt of which captured an effulgence of light such that neither an image, a reflection or even the mirror itself could be seen. Only light in its most beautiful essence could be seen. The minister knew then that indeed the king whom he had found was the same king who had sent him at the beginning.

The king is the great mystery from which we all arise, beyond gender or description, known through mercy as infinite light and love, with names numerous and exalted such as God, Allah, Yahweh, Siva, Unnameable. The minister is the soul, the spark of light and consciousness sent into this world to discover itself and its source. The Prophet said, “God said, ‘I was a hidden treasure loving to be known and so I made creation.'” He further stated, “The one who knows himself will know the Lord.” Knowing oneself is fulfilling the divine purpose of the great mystery of life.

To do this wisdom is needed. Wisdom grows where the heart is filled with human qualities of love and compassion.

The plank is the path of clarity and determination. The quicksand is the mind which generates infinite images and symbols and the swamp is desire which can never be satisfied. We can all fall into these traps and only through grace do the cannons of worldly sorrow such as sickness, old age, and poverty for example not overwhelm us.

The gatekeeper is reflective inner awareness that directs us to the heart where conscience explains to the soul the nature of this world. It warns us and explains that each of us has a personal story to discover. The five partners are the five symbolic elements which disguise our identity and steal our most precious gift, time. We identify with earth as form and weight, fire as energy, air as thoughts, water as emotions and the pull of attachments and sensuality, ether as dreams and spiritual realms. These elements pose as ultimate reality in the realm of the five senses. When the soul tries to claim back its heritage and goes to the court of the intellect, the intellect which is unable to transcend the five senses cannot even find the soul and thus rules against it.

With determination, wisdom directs the quest deeper and in the court of the inner heart where the mirror of wisdom shows us our true qualities we can purify ourselves. When the attitude of pure gratitude dawns the king can show himself. The book of wisdom that the king grants reflects the infinity of pure illumination which is the wonder of the source of our being which sends us here in the first instance in order to know ourselves and to know and love him.

HELPFUL WAYS

There are ways helpful to this kind of knowing, which enhances all human endeavors. It begins with supplication and prayer. The evidence of prayer is love and compassion. The evidence of love and compassion is service for these qualities sensitize us to the suffering of others. The evidence of service is clear conscience. The evidence of clear conscience is inner peace. The evidence of inner peace is wisdom. The evidence of wisdom is knowing oneself. The evidence of knowing oneself is knowing the great mystery from which the self arises. The evidence of this knowledge is a life of prayer, love, compassion, service, conscience, and wisdom. This deeper life brings richness to human civilization. It involves another kind of knowing.

The Sufi Guide Bawa Muhaiyaddeen stated in The Resonance of Allah:

“Oh Man! You think you can know all things solely by your investigation. There is, however, a Truth that governs such knowing. That Truth is this: The State of Silence will be invaluable to you. Let the form of Divine Luminous Wisdom grow from this inner Silence. See yourself as the consciousness within the form of Divine Luminous Wisdom. It will appear as One. That form is That. And That is you. That State is One. It is That which is the All-pervading Radiant Effulgence.”

PRINCIPLES & VALUES

Numerous individuals from time immemorial have come to a deep state of communion with the ineffable mystery from which we arise and have experienced a profound sense of the inter-relatedness and sanctity of all life. They have expressed this realization in values and ethical principles which serve as the foundation for codified laws. One such ethical principle is that of reciprocity which is often called the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” This principle is an ethical and moral foundation of all of the world’s major religions.1 Multilateralism is the logical outgrowth of this principle.

The Commission on Global Governance emphasized the importance this perspective:]

“We need a set of common values around which we can unite people, irrespective of their cultural, political, religious or philosophical backgrounds…Foremost of these values must include the duty of care for one’s neighbor. In a neighborhood, all are neighbors. In our global neighborhood, therefore, the duty of care is owed to all who share the planet. This duty, of course, is more compelling the more a neighbor needs care.”

The Golden Rule rests upon the value of compassion which, when practiced, affirms our underlying unity. In the Vishnu Purana, the world enters into dissolution when Vishnu causes the waters to dry up. It is the failure of humanity to exercise compassion that causes the Divine to end creation. The Vishnu Purana says that in the end days, “The minds of men will be wholly occupied in acquiring wealth and wealth will be spent solely on selfish gratification…The people will be almost always in dread of dirth and apprehension of scarcity.” It is the attitude of fear that drives the dynamics of divisiveness on the planet today.

There is much to support the bleak fearful view. A brief observation of almost any period of human history is replete with horrors; adequate justification to believe the world is an unredeemable place. In the last fifty years alone there have been over 200 wars with more than 25 million killed. Yes, there is evidence that greed and violence underlie human affairs and there are reasons to rely primarily on the threat and use of violence for security.

But, this rationale is incomplete; it is flawed in its denial of our humanity and the numerous examples of self-government and justice arising from our capacities of enlightened self-interest, reason and compassion. Because we have the capacity to behave with ignorance, we are not condemned to do so. The UN Charter is a collective proclamation of humanity’s commitment to rise above ignorance and to move from the law of power to the power of law.

As Congressman James Leach stated so eloquently in his Introduction to Defining Purpose: The UN and the Health of Nations, The Final Report of the United States Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the United Nations (Sept. 1993):

“In assessing the UN today, policy makers must apply perspective by reference to philosophic possibilities as well as historical experience. Whether peoples and nation states can ever come to have confidence in the UN and the international system it has come to signify depends in the final measure on assessments, not only of power relations, but also of human nature.

Only an optimistic assessment of human nature makes the prospect of greater world law and order imaginable. For philosophers like Hobbes, self centered man cannot put himself in the shoes of others; he cannot find his way out of the jungle where life is nasty, brutish and short, because he has no capacity for mutual accommodation. For Marx, malleable man, the tool of determinist forces, needs to be controlled; he could never take responsibility for forging his own destiny. For Locke and his philosophical stepson, Jefferson, man’s fate can be viewed more optimistically. Individuals are not only presumed to be born with rights no legitimate state can take away, but with a rational nature capable of developing institutional arrangements to protect and preserve those rights.

For the world to cope with old problems of war and new problems of arms control and environmental poisoning, the optimist assumption must hold: that just as man’s propensity to maximize self interest makes the establishment of civil society a survivalist imperative, so man’s capacity for compromise, for reasoned give and take, makes a civilized community possible(Never in the course of human events has it been more important for individuals in public life to appeal to the highest rather than the lowest instincts of the body politic(The stakes are too high.”

There are two dynamics at work on the planet. One is based on fear and the apprehensive of scarcity. It is that attitude, which constitutes a failure of faith that brings about policies in which multilateral cooperation is inconceivable and the pure quest for political, economic and military dominance is asserted as normal. It is an attitude incompatible with what is most precious to us our humanity. In the nuclear age it is a lethal attitude.

In all of the natural creation we can observe the intricate interplay of the delicate balances of life acting in harmonious patterns which stun the mind in their complexity and beauty. Should not the human community recognize its own exalted potential? Is not this realization a matter of survival in this age? Banding together with solid ties of family and community, humans throughout history have demonstrated cooperative and organizational abilities and capacities for caring. Upon reflection we can each discover that the concerns we feel for others are not driven by self-interest or external authority. They arise from the very core of our being and make us human.

The Persian poet, Saadi, of the 13th century sang;

“The human family is one body with many parts Creations arising from one unseen essence Any harm to any part summons an awakening A dis-ease and a healing response from all parts You who fail to feel the pain of others cannot be called truly human.”

When we determinedly create institutional arrangements and legal order based on our highest values humanity flourishes. Are the countries with the best or worst human rights policies the most stable?

TIME TO CHANGE

When the principle of reciprocity is brazenly abrogated, instability ensues. Several modern states sincerely believe that this principle can be ignored and security obtained by the threat of massive destruction. The Canberra Commission highlighted the impracticality of this posture: “Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of states which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of nuclear weapons by any state is a constant stimulus to other states to acquire them.”

Cooperation strengthens the well being of all. States must begin to practice this attitude in security matters. Maintenance of the implicit threat posed by the horrific destructive power of nuclear arsenals is incompatible with the cooperative environment needed for our increasingly interdependent world safe passage through the 21st century. It is time to move on.

The Cold War was characterized by a cycle of fear wherein armaments spread insecurity and insecurity bred more armaments. The nuclear arsenals are the most destructive outcome of this paradigm. By cooperatively addressing the crisis identified by the World Summits of the 1990s we can hope to create a new cycle wherein trust, confidence and cooperation can reinforce disarmament which, of course, in turns, strengthens trust, confidence, and cooperation. That process of cooperation is multilateralism.

The World Summits of the 1990s, which addressed environmental protection, sustainable development, the gross disparities of wealth, human rights, protection of children, gender equity, overpopulation and human settlements set forth an integrated human security agenda which requires multilateral cooperation in order to be fulfilled.

It is the cooperative application of our highest values that will help develop ethically, spiritually and ecologically sensitive individuals able to form the basis of communities with the ability to direct the awesome powers that science, technology and modern social organization provide.

ICONS

We are given choices and in this day and age they could not be clearer. There are two icons that our grandparents didn’t have. An icon is a picture of something greater than the picture or symbol itself. It’s like a window revealing greater meaning. One icon is the mushroom cloud. It simply did not exist as a meaningful image for our grandparents. The destructive, horrific vision that cloud awakens in our hearts is one icon of human creativity of our time.

The other icon is the picture of the planet Earth from outer space. Our grandparents did not have that vision because human ingenuity had not allowed us to step outside the stratosphere and take that photograph. Who has not been moved by that majestic photograph of this mysterious blue marble? It lets us see a living miracle without borders in which all of the saints and all of the sinners, all of the nations and all of the dramas of history, all of the small dramas of our lives and all of the vanities and all of the greatness of humanity have taken their places and played out their dreams and moved on. I believe it is sacred. Surely no state could create this. Without the photograph, without the icon, none of us could envision that vision. That icon is a gift to remind us as surely as the mushroom cloud is a gift to warn us. It shows us Earth as an interrelated organic whole, a single globe of remarkable beauty and unity, a concrete symbol of the emergence of global cooperation.

We are the first generation that must choose whether life will continue. This living sphere may be the only such place in the entire infinite universe where this gift of life, this gift to love, exists. We surely do not have the right to place it at risk through our collective ingenuity and in the service of something we have created. We can, we should and we must do better. For the sake of our children and that won- drous living mystery called Earth, let us do better.

Footnote:

1 Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurt- ful.” Udana-Varga, 5:18; Christianity: “All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them.” Matthew7:12; Confucianism: “Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Analects 15:23; Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: do not unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” Mahabharata 5:1517; Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Hadith; Jainism: “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Lord Mahavir 24th Tirthankara; Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the law; all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a; Zoroastrianism: “That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatsoever is not good for its own self.” Dadistan-I-Dinik, 94:5.1

Hermawan Kartajaya
  • (fmr.) President of the World Marketing Association
  • Asia’s leading Marketing Strategist

Hermawan Kartajaya is the Founder and President of MarkPlus&Co. He is regarded as Asia’s Leading Marketing Strategist and is cited as being one of the ‘50 Gurus Who Have Shaped The Future of Marketing’ as appointed by The Chartered Institute of Marketing – United Kingdom (CIM-UK).


 

Marketing for Humanity

Old granddaddy got a nice present for his 75th birthday: 12,500 foot parachute jump. After landed safely in once piece without having to see his fake teeth fell apart, he described his free fall as “a euphoric high” that “you just feel wonderful” and “it was just exhilarating.” That was not his first jump though. He already tried it once during the time he served his country in World War II, 54 years earlier. And certainly that was not his last too. He parachutes again for his 80th birthday two years ago and told “just because you’re eighty, that doesn’t mean you can’t do more fun or interesting things.”

That granddaddy’s name is George Bush, and by the way, he’s POTUS number 41. Perhaps he can’t get enough of his time in the White House as the president nor in his Texas ranch as a bullfighter.

We see many paradoxes in today’s society. People have money, power, possession, and other imaginational abracadabras but in fact that don’t necessarily make them happy. There are many shopping malls around the neighborhood. Modern retail outlets such as gigantic hypermarkets are ubiquitous. But do they all make us feel ecstatic? Not necessarily.

There is a paradox of choice. The more we have choices, the more we confused. We are living in the world of abundance, where having crowd of material goods around has not made us all much happier. What we pursue is the purpose, transcendence and meaning which all have become an integral part of our lives. As the great Viktor Frankl once said “people have enough to live, but nothing to live for; They have the means, but no meaning.”

From marketing stand point, the changes in today’s society matters a lot, as it reflect to consumer behavior. I agree with people who say that today’s society struggles for psychic survival. One can safely claim that people are becoming unbalanced with their lives (and perhaps going insane). In today’s world, spiritual needs increasingly exceed material needs.

People are moving into holistic ways of living as way of balancing out their lives, which have become too mechanistic and hectic. They pursue the big O. Not the big Orgasm, but ‘O’ as in the optimal state of mind. It is the experience that make people feel the most enthusiastically and meaningfully alive. It is the ultimate bliss in life.

In search of Sukhavati. People try many ways to shoot for the ultimate bliss. Some do dancing, praying, meditating, while some may do parachute jump too like George Bush Senior as he turned eighty. As today’s customers feel that the big O is the new survival must-have, marketers should play their role as the healers while think of customers as patients.

Marketing itself is changing a lot. It has progressed from what was used to be product-centric to customer-centric and now to human-centric. In product-centric marketing era (from the introduction of Ford’s T-Model until late 1980s), marketers only care about the product knowledge, features, and functionality. Whereas in the customer-centric marketing era (from the introduction of digital age in the 1990s until the new millennium), marketing is all about understanding customer and touching the heart and emotion of customers.

But today, marketing is entering new era of human-centric marketing. It is about understanding that customers are human with anxiety and desires. They have the mind, heart, and spirit as their engines of anxiety and desires. Therefore marketers must be able to nurture the three elements in order to win their preference.

In today’s world, competing by positioning products in the mind of the customer and touching their heart is woefully inadequate. That’s why marketers need to target customer’s mind, heart, and spirit. They must nurture the customer’s creativity and capture their anxiety and desire. To do this, they must sell VALUES instead of VALUE.

This was against the backdrop of people hungering for peace, spirituality and human values. I defined spirituality not as religion, but as the basic desire to find purpose and meaning in one’s life.

In short, marketing was being de-constructed from being a set of formulae that saw consumers as `targets’ to an almost spiritual exercise that saw them as we would see ourselves in a mirror. The `holistic’ approach had arrived in marketing.

One company which since its establishment has shown its values on top of value creation and shown its humane side instead of being economic animal is The Body Shop. Founded by Madame Anita Roddick, Body Shop has inspired many people, from business leaders, activist, to hippies community, and respected around the world with its “Profit with Principle” philosophy.

Named the 28th ranked brand in the world, and 2nd in the retail sector in the 1997 Interbrand survey; voted the second most trusted brand in the United Kingdom by its consumers association and recognized as the 27th most respected company in the world by The Financial Times, the Body Shop continues to communicate its values. Against animal testing, support community trade, activate self esteem, defend human rights, Protect Our Planet are just some of the Body Shop’s well known value statements. Its strength lies in its community trade program whose aim is to support thousands of people by building livelihoods for families across the globe and to support education and provide health benefits.

As stated in its mission and values, Body Shop concern about a number of issues, as well as global social and environmental development. This is expressed through a number of charitable activities: opposition to live testing on animals in the cosmetic industry; concern for community development in the Third World; helping to develop alternative energy as part of efforts to save the Planet.

People buying from Body Shop do not do so merely because of its products, which contain only natural ingredients, as they also do respect its values. By buying from Body Shop, people feel they also have the same values as it does; they are also opposed to animal testing, they defend human rights, etc.

Body Shop is one great example of a great company that using effective marketing for humanity. The brand is highly spiritual and to me it is the perfect model of marketing in the human-centric era.

To sum up, marketers need to understand that customers are human equipped with mind, heart, and spirit. They have their anxiety, desires, and values too. They only way for marketers to achieve great success and sustainability is by showing their humane side. Marketers are human after all. Just like customers.

Hilde Rapp

Co-Director of the Centre for International Peacebuilding

Iran: A Crisis about Nuclear Fuel or a Crisis of Dialogue and Participation?


Open letter to our International Leaders

I urge everyone who is committed to tackling the fundamental issues that face the global community today to work together to open up the space for widening the public debate concerning security sector reform. There is increasing recognition that in order to meet the security needs of individual countries we require regional and global co-operation in improving food security, disaster relief, environmental protection, economic development, governance and civil society involvement. Brigadier Michael Harbottle made this whole systems perspective the cornerstone of the Centre for International Peacebuilding, which he and his wife Eirwen founded in 1982. In 1992 he set out a modernization agenda for the military of the twenty first century advocating that it is time to shift the balance of responsibilities towards peacekeeping and peacebuilding by helping to create the conditions for viable governance through proactive involvement in state building.

Without economic and environmental sustainability there can be no security. We need everyone to participate in finding new and sustainable ways to meet our resource needs. We need to work together to build healthy societies by transcending the politically drawn dividing lines between East and West, North and South. We need to restructurie the UN to enable proper dialogue and cooperation between all nations and all peoples.

There is little doubt that climate change is fast becoming the greatest threat to global security. Now is the time to engage in inclusive multi-sectoral and multi-lateral cooperation to research how we may save our planet Earth rather than destroy it. Despite the commitment to nuclear disarmament the North and West is not giving up its nuclear weapons even though this was the incentive for all nations not already in possession of nuclear arms to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty, giving away their right to develop nuclear weapons in the future.

In view of the military intervention in the internal affairs of Iraq, the peoples of the East and the South do not experience the existence of nuclear weapons in the North and the West, a deterrent against nuclear escalation and hence guarantor of global security, but rather as a threat to their own security. Iran as Iraq’s immediate neighbour has reason to feel particularly under threat by the West, given the rhetoric indicting it as part of the ‘axis of evil’. West and the North feel under threat in light of President Ahmadinejad’s intemperate expression of his objection to the Israeli occupation of Palestine by reissuing the old threat of the sixties to drive Israel into the sea.

Much of the debate in the North and the West is fuelled by concerns about the supply of energy, especially fossil fuel. We need to consider that the debate in Iran is also about the legitimate need of seventy million Iranian people for the energy required to guarantee their own environmental and economic security. On current projections Iran’s energy needs cannot be met adequately and sustainably by the country’s own fossil fuel reserves, especially if some of their supplies go to India and China in return for essential goods and services. The long term hostility of the West and the North to the Iranian government and the threat of further sanctions only reinforce Iran’s endeavours towards self sufficiency wherever possible.

With the proviso that we find the answer to disposing safely of nuclear waste, public debate in the North and the West revolves around the potential of nuclear power to make savings in carbon emissions and thus to halt climate change. If nuclear energy could really be the clean renewable fuel of the future it would be a tragedy to encourage developing countries in the South and the East to continue meeting the energy needs of their fast growing economies and populations solely with conventional fuels, thus driving up carbon emissions further at an alarming rate, efurther endangering our environment. Under current regulations, it is, in fact, lawful, under Article IV of the Non Proliferation Treaty for Iran to develop a nuclear power programme, provided International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) safeguards are in place. As it stands, the IAEA rules do nor preclude the attainment of a level of nuclear capability which enables the building of nuclear weapons. It is entirely unclear what legal rather than political arguments might justify the North and the West in singling out Iran for a ban on developing a nuclear programme, especially if this is for energy use.

The current political war of words, far from serving to improve global security by trying to enforce a ban, is escalating a deadly game of promoting fear on all sides, inevitably inflaming a conflict in which all sides fear to loose face, especially vis-à-vis their respective electorates. It would be a much clearer political message if the key actors in this conflict were to take the lead in a truly international initiative to re- examine the current agreements enshrined in the Non Proliferation Treaty. We need a new ‘coalition of the willing’ to set out a clear roadmap for 1) phasing out existing nuclear weapons ; 2) committing not to build new nuclear weapons; 3) co-operating in researching safe and sustainable renewable energy which may include nuclear energy production for economic use; 4) firming up on a globally acceptable Kyoto agreement; and 5) tying this into funding the delivery of the Millennium Development Goals. Iran should be an active and welcome partner in such an enterprise.

The current international conflict surrounding the wish of the Iranian government to develop a nuclear fuel capacity needs to be seen it the context of this much wider debate. We are facing an impasse which is to a great extent exacerbated by a serious failure in communication with the Iranian government, compounded but the even more serious failure to engage in proper dialogue with the Iranian people, and, indeed, with civil society in Muslim countries in general.

The Huntingdonian rhetoric, proclaiming that we are embroiled in a ‘clash of civilizations’, is both dangerous and misguided. It invites us into the trap of ‘black and white’, ‘us and them’ thinking, rather than opening a space for sustained and serious, truly inclusive, international dialogue about differences between nations, cultures, ethnic groups, generations and the sexes. These turn on conflicts between vision and values within and between all sectors of society, leading to complex conflicts between strategic objectives, mission statements and operational implementation plans. It is the purpose of democratic forms of governance, and indeed the rationale for setting up the UN, to negotiate such conflicts by peaceful means.

We are facing major decisions that affect all of us and the survival of our planet and we must take these decisions together as one human family, however many conflicts we may have to transcend along the way. All societies, not just developing societies in the East and in the South, struggle to meet human needs and to respect human rights. In many countries in the South and the East, where arrangements for citizen participation in decision making may not conform to Western models of representative democracy, there are nonetheless lively discussions within civil society about identity and gender, economics and social justice, health and education and issues of governance in general. Iran is no exception.

Iranians, engage with the arguments of post modernism and Western philosophy, sociology, political science and so forth. They debate the pros and cons of the concept and the institution of democracy and its relationship to Islam; they worry about gender inequalities, issues of post modern identity, labor relations and wealth creation. There is a thriving scientific community and Iranians have many times expressed a great desire for playing their part in scientific, technological and cultural cooperation at an international lebvel. They do so in ways from which we, in the West, could, and should learn. Many of these writings are published in English ( see Bahmanpur, MS & Bashir,H ( 2000) Muslim Identity in the 21st Century, Institute of Islamic Studies, London, to name one, or the work done by the Khomeini Institute in Qom, for instance by the political philosopher Mohammed Legenhausen).

For every five Iranian households one person is either already a graduate or currently engaged in higher education. On average, every Iranian village has between 2 and 3 graduates, and the level of illiteracy in women has dropped from 30 percent to 12 percent in the sixteen years between 1980 and 1996 ( male illiteracy is only 8 percent) ( Hadi Khaniki, 2000, Department of Communication, Allamah Tabata University, Iran- in Bahmanpur, op.cit). Women teach in universities and hold political office and many women from rural and working class backgrounds are now literate and employed.

It is tragic that the Western media representation of Iran does little to counteract an image of Iran as the home of bearded Muslim fanatics and women in burkas , or at best, as that of saffron, pistachios, and oriental rugs, the site of the blue mosque and the birthplace of the medieval Sufi poets, of whom Jallaluddin Rumi has become a household name.

Of course, Iran has its own share of the problems that face most modern and modernizing societies such as unemployment due to educated young people joining the labour market at a greater rate than the economy can expand, disputes between employers and trade unions, drug and sexual health issues, disengagement, dissatisfaction and crime. Iranians are looking for ways of tackling these problems just as energetically as people do elsewhere.

Many Iranians are involved in NGOs, some of which are in receipt of international recognition as world leaders in their field, such as The Ladies Charitable Society (LCS) with 2,000 dedicated members and volunteers inside Iran and overseas, with branches established in London, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, and Toronto. LCS has pioneered the work of the Kahrizak Charity Foundation (KCF), a private, non-governmental, charitable organization, which operates the Kahrizak Center for Living, Education and Rehabilitation of the Disabled and the Elderly, a 1600-bed, 400,000-square meter, state-of-the-art center, the like of which may not exist anywhere else in the world. It also pioneers an imaginative community support system for educating and caring for over a thousand children orphaned in the last two earthquakes.

We must stop demonizing and romanticizing the people of Iran, who are by and large every bit as curious and modern as we are, just as passionate to make the world a better place, and just as easily angered as people in the West when their convictions or beliefs are threatened. In time, I hope we will learn the art of non violent communication, but for now we need to contain and strive to prevent extreme and extremist forms of protest everywhere.

Whether in Iran or Ethiopia, in the UK or the Ukraine , dissenters put themselves at risk and may suffer human rights abuses. The UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, and the UN Millennium Development Goals are testimony to our common commitment that people have a right to have their human needs met and to be protected against human rights abuses wherever they are. All over the world dedicated people fight to uphold these rights, be this in Iran, the US, Croatia, Zimbabwe, Australia or in Columbia.

The current conflict involving Iran, is not really a conflict about Iran, Islam, nuclear programmes, or oil. It is fundamentally a conflict about inclusivity and justice. It highlights the urgent need to make all the voices heard that should, by right, be active participants in our debates about our shared future and our common humanity.

We must finally have the courage of our convictions and follow our conscious and largely sincere renunciation of colonialism by at last leaving behind the extraordinary presumption that knowledge and expertise should flow from North to South and from West to East. This is as necessary in the North and the West as it is in the South and the East where people need to find the confidence to build much more on their own indigenous capacity for research and strategic thinking from which I personally have learnt as much as I have learnt from Western mentors. It is no accident that Poverty eradication programmes in Glasgow, have drawn on expertise from Bangalore, and Kenyan and Palestinian peace workers are running peace building and conflict transformation workshops in the UK.

We urgently need world wide participation in dialogue and development and we need to move forward with the UN reforms to ensure that the South and the East are properly represented at all levels including the various UN NGO fora. What wee need now in the twenty first century, is the political will, the compassion and the wisdom to leave behind a century which has cost more lives through war and preventable disease than all previous centuries before it. We have the technology to make swords into plowshares, and we have the knowledge to plow and to sow, to nurture and to reap so that we can feed the poor We have methodologies for transforming conflict and violence through dialogue and development which have been tried and tested in hundreds of theatres of conflict.

We do not need another war, not even a war of words.

Rabia Elizabeth Roberts Ed.d

A peaceworker, women’s advocate, and senior teacher in the Sufi Way, as well as a practitioner and scholar of Buddhist teachings. she has served on peace teams in Nicaragua, Burma and most recently Iraq. In 2002 she was elected to the Governing Board of the global Nonviolent Peaceforce and serves on its executive committee.

A trained wilderness rites–of–passage guide she uses a pan–cultural approach to personal transformation and wilderness experience. She helped to found the Institute for Deep Ecology, the Environmental Leadership Department at Naropa University, and the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM) in Thailand. She has taught philosophy and social advocacy at Harvard and Marquette Universities and written books and articles on prayer, mysticism, and social action.


letter from the road: Damascus – Syria

“In America, the idea of us Syrians
is that we eat foreigners”….
 

Mahat El–Khoury
(71 year–old human rights worker and recent Damascus ‘Woman of the Year’)
 

….“We Syrians feel misunderstood by the West. You don’t understand our religions, our family ways, our history, or our politics. You think we‘re terrorists. We like American people but we feel poorly treated by your government and its policies”
 

Mahat’s feelings were echoed by the multitude of Syrians we spoke with during the past three weeks in Syria.

We were joined in our pilgrimage in Syria by 15 people from six western countries to bear witness to Muslim–Christian relations in this ancient land, to Arab– Western relations in general, and to the realities facing the Syrian people at this time of tension and distrust between the U.S.and Syria. Above all else, we came to make friends and to listen.

These ‘Pilgrimages of Peace’ are one of the ways we use to share with others the experiences of our own on–going pilgrimage of service and teaching. In this ‘Letter from the Road’ we give a brief glimpse of this Syrian pilgrimage, especially of the ripples we sense radiating from it. We do this not to boast – it represents, after all, only a modest gesture of peace and hope among the huge number of our fellow humans who are nursing old grudges. However, it is a gesture we have learned to trust for its authenticity and groundedness. Our hope is that others who hear of this mode of spiritual ‘citizen diplomacy’ may emulate it in someway. Magnified a hundred fold, these encounters could heal a city, by a hundred thousand, a nation, by a few million, they could heal a world. The first and perhaps greatest effect of building peace is the gift of experiencing a breakthrough in our fear of the ‘other’. Tension was high for the pilgrims who committed to this journey, and for their families. Many reported the long talks they had with their children or parents before leaving about the wisdom of coming here. One man told his mother he was only going to London (a far riskier place!) and another woman told us later that during the first day she was convinced we were going to be kidnapped or stoned. Nothing could have been farther from the welcome each one of us received throughout our time in Damascus. From the scores of men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian, whom we talked with, the overall impression was one of kindness, generosity, hospitality, dignity, humor, and genuine interest in our purpose and appreciation of our intent. On the second morning we asked our fellow pilgrims to wander in Damascus alone or in small groups of two and three to initiate conversations with ordinary Syrians, and to ask them ever deeper and more caring questions about their feelings and beliefs.The idea of this experience always causes much consternation when it is described, and afterwards it is spoken of as the watershed event that shifts one from experiencing the world as a tourist to experiencing it as a pilgrim. It’s a crash course in human trust, after which the pilgrimage comes alive. Thereafter we met with all kinds of people: students from Damascus University, young architects, teachers, business people, Christian priests, Muslim Sheik’s, social workers, etc. We visited churches, mosques, shrines, schools,offices, homes, and monasteries. As word of our presence spread, more and more invitations to meet and talk came to us. People were eager to have their stories heard. Though we did not always agree with what we were told, our task was not to persuade, but to try to understand. What have these people been taught? What are their fears? What are their dreams for their children? In some cases the relationships we made in Syria resulted in deeper insight than the relationships we typically have in our own hometowns. Each of us experienced in someone we met the tender heart.This is not spiritual sentimentality, this is the reality of an interconnected world.The requisite step is to be open in the face of what presents itself in order for the heart to be revealed. Together we practiced, in the midst of the unknown, expanding the boundaries of our hearts. On a practical level our presence occasioned a number of ever–widening ripples. Elias and Shabda Kahn, a guest teacher on the pilgrimage, were interviewed on Syria’s leading TV news commentary program. A participant on the pilgrimage who is a state representative for the international Sister Cities project met with Syrian officials in the Ministry of Urban Affairs and received assurances of cooperation in setting up American–Syrian Sister City partnerships. The Abu Nour Foundation, the largest Muslim NGO in Syria agreed to join the Nonviolent Peaceforce as a Member Organization. Our presence provided an oppor–tunity for Sheikh Nabil Hilbawi, one of Syria’s most respected Shi’ite clerics, to meet with Christian leaders and discuss projects of mutual concern.We were also the occasion for a special interfaith concert in our honor performed at the new Damascus Opera House, which combined a Mevlevi Sufi choir and whirling Dervishes with a 75 member Christian choir.The two groups performed separately, and then in the finale, joined their two choruses to sing anthems of peace. In a particularly stirring moment, we were all sitting as guests at Friday prayers in the largest mosque in Damascus, the seat of the Grand Mufti, Syria’s leading Islamic cleric.The men of our group were seated in the front of the mosque beside the raised dais of the Mufti, with the women above looking down from the balcony. There were several thousand people present. When the Mufti’s sermon was finished, Elias was asked to speak. He spoke of the humiliation that so many Muslims feel in our times, both as a result of Western policies and as a result of self–betrayal. He held up a different mirror than the one they usually look into, one which reflects our respect for their long and sophisticated culture,their religious integrity and commitment to family life, for their spontaneous kindness and expressions of generosity. He thanked them for welcoming us so warmly and apologized for the lack of fairness and understanding in America’s recent policies toward Syria. He concluded with these words:

‘The policies and politicians of the world are failing us. To protect our children, we all must do everything we can to break through the masks that are being painted on our faces.When we truly meet each other we will have peace. Let nothing stop our getting to know each other’.
The mosque was quiet, and when we all stood to leave we were swarmed by men below and women above with tears in their eyes who wanted to thank us, to wish us well, to invite us to their homes. The talk at the mosque, along with the entire service, was broadcast on TV and radio throughout the country. Did we overstep our bounds? Ours isn’t a political delegation. Elias simply spoke from his heart and from our experience. He spoke for all of us. & nbsp; An Orthodox priest congratulated us that evening:‘You give us hope, you feel with us, you show there are Americans who care’. Another seed of understanding was planted in this rocky soil.

But all was not love and light. If you listen and question long enough the Syrians’ anger and suspicion emerges. For millennia empires have come to rule this land and these people.With an American occupation of Iraq on their eastern border and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to their southwest, it may be understandable if most Syrians fear that American–Israeli interests have expansionist goals into their land. Many Syrians quoted to us an inscription written over Israel’s Knesset to the effect that the true land of Zion extends from the Euphrates to the Nile.This proves, they said, that Israel wants to conquer Syria. Part of our witness was to hear this anger, this distrust, and among some Syrians’ a desire for justice that borders on vengeance.We realized that more will be needed than ending the violence which surrounds this country.That essential step simply creates the space for the acts of reconciliation, forgiveness, and trust building that must weave the long–term peace. Here is where religion can play so important a part and why pilgrimages grounded in the unity of religious ideals facilitate this healing. Sheikh Salah Kuftaro, head of the largest Muslim social service organization in Syria and a liberal proponent for a just peace in the Middle East summed up our thinking when he stated, “There will not be peace in our world until there is peace among the religions. And there will not be peace among the religions until the adherents come to understand one another. Muslims, Christians, and Jews all want peace and harmony. But we have been taught different things. It is important to listen to one another. There is a great future for this part of the world if the religious traditions learn to cooperate to achieve these expressed goals. But this process is not an easy one.

It may be easy to dream about or talk about, but what we need today is people who are prepared to commit themselves in very practical ways to achieving this goal”. Citizens reaching across borders in acts of spiritual diplomacy are part of these ‘practical ways’.

Our own pilgrimage is not just about the intention and the journey of the two of us.We are the visible aspect of a much larger community of people, many of whom have never met each other but who share a commitment to changing how the story of our time is being told, and who contribute to making these things happen. We have a dream of communities of people coming together to send pilgrims or emissaries like us to places of conflict to extend friendship, humility, and open–hearted listening.

Once that intent is set, doors open, opportunities appear, and networks of friends emerge.We have been on the road for over four years now in different parts of the world and have not been disappointed yet in the intention of people everywhere to make friends.

Ed Eagle Man McGaa

Voice of the Oglala Sioux Nation

Ed McGaa is called Eagle Man by his people, the Oglala Sioux. Born on the Oglala Sioux reservation, he is a historian of his tribe. As a Marine Corp fighter pilot, he served on over 110 combat missions. McGaa has danced in sun dances for many years and learned the sacred Sioux ceremonies with the holy men Chief Eagle Feather and Chief Fools Crow. He holds a law degree from the University of South Dakota and is an acclaimed author.

Ed Eagle Man McGaa’s Open Letter


An Open Letter from Ed McGaa, J.D. (Eagle Man)

We the people of the Lakota/Dakota Sioux Tribe believe that the Great Spirit…known to non-Indigenous people as the Higher Force…allows Wisdom and Knowledge to flow to people of all races, religions and walks of life. Since we are all the creations of Mother Earth, it is important for all of us to protect and nurture her. For it was Mother Earth herself, who gave life to this land we now call America, by providing the life-giving Rains from the West Power, and the breath of life from Wiyo, the energizing Sun…forces which bring life to the elements and minerals which make up our bodies. Through their daily communion, Wiyo and Ina Makah (Mother Earth) create those things which feed and clothe us. It is “The Standing Ones” (the Trees) who provide us shelter, while the life-giving Rains bring forth our other basic needs from the Earth.

Since all of this was designed by some Great Power, it seems to us foolish, that mere two-legged humans would fight with each other over just exactly who this Great Mystery is. Once we reach the Spirit World, there will be plenty of time for each of us to discover the Truth of this Great Mystery…if this is indeed the nature of our quest!

Our Animal Brothers and Sisters (Wamaskaskan) never bother to question or revolt from the Great Designer’s plan, yet they have managed to survive and live in harmony down through the eons of time. It is thus my deep conviction that the Ultimate Power intends for us to understand the same Truths and Harmonies that the finned, winged, crawling and four-legged ones have already achieved. This also is true for “the Standing Ones” (the Trees) and the “Growing, Feeding Ones” (the Plants and Grasses).

As for myself, I simply refuse to become engaged in arguments about this benevolent “All-Provider,” whom I appreciate from within the depths of my being. When the time comes for me to reach my own concept of the Spirit World beyond this physical existence, I will choose to move on toward the achievement of evermore Knowledge and Truth…for this is as close as I can come toward defining the Creator/Maker. Since through my eyes, this Creative Force is all-Knowledge and all-Truth, it would seem obvious that IT would want us all to seek the kind of Harmony that is demonstrated by IT’s Wamaskaskan Creations, our Animal Brothers and Sisters, who were put here on Earth to accompany us on our present journey. Hetch etu aloh! These words I have just spoken come forth from the depths of my own learned experiences, and from the wisdom of my many teachers.

Cheryl Stoute
  • fmr. Special Assistant to the United Nations Under Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs,
  • Secretary of the UN General Assembly’s Disarmament & International Security Committee (The First Committee)
  • Chief of the United Nations Decolonisation Affairs Branch and President of the Group on Equal Rights for Women at the United Nations

Cheryl Stoute’s Open Letter


 

On 29 October, 2003, I sat in the United Nations Security Council chamber for a one day meeting, during which 37 Member States spoke in commemoration of the third anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325. In that ground-breaking resolution on women, peace and security, the Council acknowledged for the first time that men and women experience conflicts differently. We die different deaths. We are tortured and abused in different ways – sometimes for biological reasons, sometimes for psychological or social and, maybe, sometimes, for absolutely no reason at all.

Listening to the Council’s debate, I was again amazed that the United Nations, 55 years after it was created, had only just (three years ago) begun to recognize at the highest level that women and girls suffer disproportionately during and after war — as soldiers, as refugees, as survivors of land-mine explosions and as survivors of sexual violence and exploitation. Here we were, in 2003, witnessing the Member States of the United Nations confess that, relatively speaking, much, much more still needed to be done. And, yes, while I found this recognition and affirmation of the horrific crimes women suffer, and the skills they can bring to rebuilding war-torn societies encouraging, it was obvious that we had only just begun the task of making governments and institutions accountable to women and of ensuring that we are included in all aspects of peace and security.

So, what next? Will we be commemorating another anniversary of resolution 1325 next year, and then the next, and the next? Or will you, Member States, really re-allocate resources from your already-overflowing weapons arsenals to more productive human pursuits? Will you choose to invest in human security through disarmament, development, environmental protection and social services? If not, why not? What could possibly make you feel better about yourselves than for the people in your own country — your mothers, your wives, your daughters — to live in peace and security? Surely, we have not forgotten the promises of gender equality that are woven like a golden thread through the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which was greeted three years ago with such unabashed enthusiasm!

Distinguished Presidents, Prime Ministers, Senators, Congressional leaders, Parliamentarians and any of you that I have failed to mention, in the words of Arundhati Roy “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”.

 

Cheryl H. Stoute

November 2003

Estelle Myers
  • World renowned pioneer of underwater birthing & dolphinicity
  • Author, Broadcaster & Award winning Documentarian
  • Carrier of the 1999 Peace Flame to the United Nations Forum on Nuclear Disarmament

Estelle Myers’ article


midwife to gaia
Eulogy to the unborn child
 

Be it in a bed or bath, home or hospital, conscious, gentle birthing is the right of every expectant mother and her unborn child. The conception of a new life is a miracle of partnership, it is sacred and the arrival of the newborn should be as ecstatic, sensual and exciting as pleasure of conceiving nine months earlier.

The place of birth should be at the very least intimate. Birth is not a disease, the mother is not a patient, and the birth is a labour of love. It is the gift of love returned. I first wrote these lines in 1983 twenty years ago. There is now a huge body of evidence that supports the notion that medically managed birth and early intervention has major implications for the health of both the mother and baby.

What we have today is a major epidemic of medically managed births in the western world, which adds up to a multi-billion dollar industry. The use and abuse of technology and dangerous drugs has burgeoned to a point of being considered normal procedure.Women have been totally disempowered to trust their own bodies and the natural process of birth; they are being offered ‘choices’ to have induction and major surgery instead of the ecstatic experience that prepares both the mother and the baby for their future together.

Today we know much more about the natural substances in the body of both the mother and the baby which work together to begin the process of separation according to their own timetable. Wonderful doses of natural hormones are released in exactly the right proportions for the baby to leave the womb and begin the miracle of new life.

History shows that the bible in Genesis insists that a labouring woman should suffer in pain and sorrow for having caused the downfall of man. In 1588 forceps were invented and kept a secret until the 17th century to aid in a difficult delivery. This is around the time when men returned to the delivery, the boys with toys replaced the ‘wise women, and midwives later branded as witches.

The concept of mechanical tools coincides with the advent of surgeon midwives. Childbirth became a medical problem and a branch of surgery. Men knew little about the natural birth process. In 1750 an Englishman named Smellie pioneered Pelvimentry, the measurement and assessment of the pelvic area. Later another man named Baudeloque measure and related the fetal head size to the pelvic bones. The first known induced labour was in London 1756, performed by a surgeon rupturing the membranes.

Originally caesarean sections were conducted on the bodies of dead woman to save the infant; sometimes the women were near dead. The next devastating risk reared its ugly head between 17th and 19th centuries and carried on into the twentieth century. That of childbed fever, an infection that attacked a new mother’s raw womb surface. It raged in epidemic proportion until 1855. Ignaz Semmelweiss recognised and identified this “childbed fever” as being caused by unsterile practices of the attending doctors, who would often go from a post mortem examination of a deceased patient to the bedside of a labouring woman and then proceed to give her an internal examination. Semmelweiss was roundly castigated for his disloyal opinions and his pleas for sterile conditions fell on deaf ears. As late as 1914 4000 women died in the USA of this disease. In 1924 the disease caused 40% of maternity fatalities. Horrifically for every woman that died, three more contracted the disease and were successfully treated (but they would have had ongoing problems with infertility etc.)

Another torture story is that King Louis XIV initiated the use of stirrups for birth, so that he could, with his courtiers, enjoy watching the birth of royal babies. Legitimate or not he ordered the royal doctors to strap the birthing mothers down on her back, with her legs held in riding stirrups to ensure a clear view to those invited to witness the birth. This ridiculous posture remains today.

Today Women are still stranded like whales, heavy with electrical monitoring equipment strapped to their bodies as they attempt to bring their infant into the world. Queen Victoria set the next royal birthing fashion, demanding to have the new and untested use of ether to relieve the pain of childbirth and ‘knock her out’.

I am a mother and a grandmother and I have had the privilege of being in a supportive role, both in hospital and home births to see a woman blissed out giving birth in a peaceful and gentle manner. My recent research exposes the ‘myth’ of safe induction and elective caesarians. The statistics are available and will shock you. My dialogue with some of the world leaders in birthing rights, obstetricians, midwives and birth activists leads me to belief that there is a conspiracy and cover up. The very powerful lobby of obstetricians worldwide has since the early 90’s developed a well oiled public relations campaign to protect their multi billion dollar industry.

The weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of medical practitioners more concerned with their own welfare than that of the mothers and babies they tend. It is almost impossible to get any of this information out in the mainstream media.Young women today, do not have all the data they need to make an informed choice. The implications and ramifications are huge

I wish to clearly identify the difference between an exceptional emergency where technology and medical expertise can and does save a mother and her baby, and the now nearly normal practice in America of routinely inducing healthy babies at 38 and 41 weeks. Literally changing the natural process of the miracle of birth.

I do not wish to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. Interesting to note that this expression came about as a result of the practice of using the same bath water for an entire family in days gone by. The head of the house, the father would take the first bath, and then progressively down the order of the household the other members of the family would use the same bathwater, until the last one to be bathed was the latest arrival in the house, the baby. It was said that the bathwater by then was so dirty, that you could not see the baby, and thus risk ‘throwing the baby’ out with the bathwater came into our language.

I would like to quote from Dr Michel Odent, Dr Marsden Wagner of the World Health Organisation, Henci Goer a formidable midwife, Dr Joseph Chilton Pearce, Dr Sarah Buckley and many other women’s health professionals who have identified the need to restore the natural process of birth and empower the women to trust nature.

Australian Dr Sarah Buckley, is a mother of four, which included an unexpected breech birth at home? In a soon to be published paper “Undisturbed Birth — Nature’s Design for Ease and Ecstasy, she describes the experience as “beautiful and ecstatic”. Sarah explains the awakening she had from this birth, to three other home births and to the hospital births she attends. As a doctor Sarah can see how the ‘ingrained’ habit of doing something often becomes self-fulfilling in the birth room. The word obstetric literally means ‘stand and wait’.

“I realised that birth is also very complex, and that the process is exquisitely sensitive to outside influences. The parallels between making love and giving birth became very clear to me, not only in terms of passion and love, but also because we need essentially the same conditions for both experience — to feel private, safe and unobserved. Yet the conditions that we provide for birthing women are almost diametrically opposed to these — no wonder giving birth is so difficult for most women today.” These are the words of Dr Sarah Buckley.

The paper develops and explores how the birth process is disturbed in modern day obstetrics. She then describes the complicated exchange of hormones and other substances in both the mother and the baby that promote an altered state and ecstasy.

“This is not just a good feeling; the post birth hormone suffuse the brains of the new mother and baby. Dr Joseph Chilton Peace adds to this notion; “These changes give the new mother personal empowerment, physical strength and an intuitive sense of her baby’s needs and prepare both partners for the pleasurable mutual dependency that will ensure a mother’s care and protection and her baby’s survival.

Dr Marsden Wagner addressing the use of technology in birth demands that doctors’ practice the first rule of medicine- in Latin, Primum Nil Nocere (no-seer)- which means, “First Do No Harm”. He warns of the increased risks with the inappropriate use of high technology causing rising statistics of babies who survive but have permanent brain damage. He argues that both Caesarean section and epidural block can result in death.

In his own words “There is not a single report in the scientific literature that shows obstetricians to be safer than midwives for low risk or normal pregnancy and birth. So if you are among the more than 75 percent of all women with a normal pregnancy, the safest birth attendant for you is not a doctor but midwife.”

Henci Goer, author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth and Obstetric Myths versus Research Realities is an acknowledged expert on evidence based maternity care. Her article in Midwifery Today (2002) exposes the misinformation campaign mounted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It is an eye opener.

It spells out a very calculated plan to disseminate misleading information by ‘spin doctors’. Her exposure of the extremely dangerous and ‘cheap as chips’ drug Cytotec, used but not approved to induce labour, is terrifying. The drug is widely used instead of the approved drug Oxytocin to induce labour. It is loosely considered to be the 9 to 5 answers for the attending obstetrician.

‘Young women today do not have all the data they need to make an informed choice. The implications and ramifications are huge’

The mother comes in at nine am and delivers in time for him to go home to dinner. Like so many obstetric drugs and procedures, Cytotec has come into widespread use without evidence of safety, and Much of the research of the damage caused to both mothers and babies has been hushed up. . Henci Goer claims that the overwhelming dominance of the obstetric paradigm — in other words, our cultural belief that doctors know best has further ensured the virtual silencing of dissent.

I have watched with alarm this last 25 years the growing number of women who choose to have medical intervention believing that it is safer than natural childbirth. Indeed one visiting Professor from England (he’s actually an Australian- Nicholas Fisk) actually stated on National television here last year, that natural childbirth was as dangerous as drink driving.

Dr Sarah Buckley outlines the perfect orchestration of hormones to provide the easiest transition both physiological and psychological not to mention emotional from pregnancy to birth and lactation for every woman.

I claim that the deep disturbance and disempowerment of birthing women is a direct cause of dysfunctional relationships, behavioral problems, criminal behavior, emotional and mental problems, drug addiction and physical damage costing the community and government of the world millions of dollars. Dr Michel Odent explains Oxytocin as the hormone of love, because of its connection with sexual activity, orgasm, birth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin levels peak after birth so that the mother and baby are bathed in an ecstatic cocktail of hormones of love. Deprivation and invasion of these basic rights is a denial of the freedom to choose and be supported in the process of birthing tomorrow today in a peaceful non-violent manner.

Statistics are available to validate all that I have shared, however, it has been my personal experience in the last ten years of working with mums and babies in water safety programs, that sometimes eight of the ten mums and newborns have experienced having a c-section after an induction process. This year four of my own, three little boys and one little girl were all delivered by c– section to powerful, independent, educated and intelligent women. Why is this so?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In 2009 Archbishop Desmond Tutu was invited by Humanitad to New York to receive an MDG Award on the floor of the general Assembly Hall. He gave a rousing speech and concluded his acceptance by explaining to the Assembly the meaning of the word ‘Ubuntu’. This meme has subsequently entered the planetary conversation as we move toward a more conscious and sustainable civilisational model. Tutu serenaded the audience with an impromptu rendition of ‘Sentimental Journey’.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, CH (born 7 October 1931) is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.

He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).

Tutu’s admirers see him as a great man who, since the demise of apartheid, has been active in the defence of human rights and uses his high-profile to campaign for the oppressed. He has campaigned to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. He has also compiled several books of his speeches and sayings.

Sir Arthur C Clarke †

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host.

He is perhaps most famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, widely considered to be one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke was a science writer, who was both an avid populariser of space travel and a futurist of uncanny ability. On these subjects he wrote over a dozen books and many essays, which appeared in various popular magazines. In 1961 he was awarded the Kalinga Prize, an award which is given by UNESCO for popularizing science. These along with his science fiction writings eventually earned him the moniker “Prophet of the Space Age”. His other science fiction writings earned him a number of Hugo and Nebula awards, which along with a large readership made him one of the towering figures of science fiction. For many years Clarke, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov were known as the “Big Three” of science fiction.

Clarke was a lifelong proponent of space travel. In 1934, while still a teenager, he joined the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, he proposed a satellite communication system, an idea which won him the Franklin Institute’s Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1963, and other honours. Later he was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946–47 and again in 1951–53.

Clarke emigrated from England to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) in 1956, largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving. That year he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee. Clarke augmented his fame later on in the 1980s, from being the host of several television shows such as Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. He lived in Sri Lanka until his death. He was knighted in 1998 and was awarded Sri Lanka’s highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.

Dr Robert Muller †
  • Former UN Assistant Secretary General
  • Co founder and Former Chancellor of the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica
  • Winner of the Albert Schweitzer International Prize for the Humanities
  • Winner of the Eleanor Roosevelt Man of Vision Award

 

A PROPER EARTH GOVERNMENT A FRAMEWORK & HOW TO CREATE IT
 

Comments and Perspectives
by
Elliott and Sharon Maynard
Arcos Cielos Reserch Center
Sedona, Arizona
www.arcoscielos.com
 

INTRODUCTION
 

In his speech to the Un General Assembly on 23 September, 2003, Secretary General, Kofi Anan, stated, “History is a harsh judge: it will not forgive us if we let this moment pass.” He stated his intent to form a High-Level Panel of “eminent personalities,” to which he would assign the following four tasks: 1) to examine the current challenges to Peace and Security, 2) To consider how effective Collective Action might be in addressing these challenges, 3) to review the Major UN Organs, and their interrelationships, and 4) to recommend ways of strengthening the United Nations through reforming its Institutions and Processes. In sum, he implied that the economic and social role of the UN needs to be entirely re-thought and re-invigorated. In the face of possible “far-reaching institutional reforms” he added that such reforms alone would not suffice, and that “even the most perfect instrument will fail unless people put it to good use.”

In light of the recent and intense acculturation of Society to Television, A Global Multimedia Campaign would seem to be the key to rapid and effective Global Transformation. Earth (Gaia), like any Celebrity, needs a powerful Public Relations Agent and Advertising Force. Perhaps the most efficient way to achieve Global Transformation is to launch the most colossal media campaign in history. Funding for this campaign could be provided by Key Individuals like Ted Turner, Bono, Paul McCartney, Leonardo de Caprio, Prince Charles and similar philanthropists. Such individuals (and countless others) have great concerns for Social Justice, and Environmental Reform. The Major Global Media Organizations are already beginning to air stories about Global Warming, Conservation, and the Environment on a daily basis. The Major Mechanism for this Transformation however is the “Force Multiplier Effect” of the Global Internet, which needs to be skillfully utilized by media experts. [According to SM, the Global Internet will continue to function as a vehicle for Free Speech for approximately the next 14 years, after which time, it will be so closely monitored and regulated, that it will become ineffective as a Transformative Agent for those who wish to Change the Global Social Architecture].

Perhaps the first order of business in implementing this “Gaia Media Blitzkrieg” [which would include all aspects of the formation from the top down of a New Earth Government] would be to create a Non-Profit Organization for this purpose…or use an existing one or create a Global Alliance of NGO”s]. Secondly, Individuals like Ted Turner and other Celebs, Non-Profit Foundations like the Gates Foundation, the Carter Center, etc., should be approached for seed money of at least $100,000. or more each, so that the organization (like the European Union) would be able to function freely from a position of “financial reserve,” (as opposed to the hat-in-hand approach and position of the UN). This organization would be headed by a small group of Key Global Leaders (as envisioned by UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan and former UN Asst. Secretary General, Dr. Robert Muller), who have the wisdom and diplomatic expertise dispense with the usual bureaucratic posturing, and could work along at light-speed to set the basic Earth Government Plan directly into action…relying most heavily on the Global Internet, Networking, Telecommunications, Teleconferencing, and the usual TV and Radio Media Networks. It has been my own direct experience that such facilities are most effectively utilized by bringing in outside groups periodically for intensive courses, which range from a long weekend, to perhaps two months. In the past I was privileged to organize with another professor a ten-day intensive course in Puerto Rico between semesters, while teaching at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. We took a group of urban students and placed them in an immersive learning experience, where they were able to snorkel over the coral reefs and wander through mangrove swamps at night. Most of the students were also introduced to the Underwater World using two floating diving compressors we took with us. People who could barely swim were thus able to sit 15-20 feet underwater both during the day and at night, and have a real-world “Adventure Experience” akin to visiting another planet. We were able to pack in at least a semester of direct environmental experience in Ten Days, changing their lives forever.

This same intensive, immersive approach could be utilized to create a New Earth Government…by selecting a relatively small groups of Key Players in different parts of the World, bringing them together for intensive, results-oriented “Think-and-Do Tanks,” assembling their input, and ideas, and thus moving directly towards creating what is called in Consciousness Technology, “A Coherent Group Consciousness.” Once such a Coherent Group Consciousness is created, a relatively small group of individuals whose thinking is coherently “tuned,” can set into motion an entire succession of Quantum Changes on a Global Scale. This could be accomplished with an “Invisible University,” since the meetings could be held virtually (in cyberspace), or at any existing physical facility on the Planet, which was strategically located, so participants could travel from the different geographical regions of our Planet. (Teleconferencing constitutes an unprecedentedly powerful technology for creating this modality of Coherent Consciousness which can be utilized to set Quantum Changes (i.e. Macroshifts) into motion.

From a Management Consulting Perspective, the United Nations and World Governments basically “in denial” and “out of step” with the problems facing Planet Earth, the Human Race, and the Global Biosphere. In this state of lethargy they are simply incapable of comprehending and acting on these problems effectively. Whenever an organization such as a University, Corporation, or Government is formed in the Human Consciousness, it begins to take on a bureaucratic “life of its own,” so that over time, it becomes increasingly occupied with perpetuating its own existence, rather than swiftly and effectively dealing with the problems at hand. The way to overcome this bureaucratic paralysis is to never let it occur in the first place, by bringing small manageable groups of Key Leaders together in neutral working environments for intensive work sessions, which can work through an agenda efficiently, make appropriate decisions, and create an action plan which can be produced and in everyone”s hands for subsequent implementation…by the end of the session. Such working groups can be formed and then dissolved as required. This new “invisible organization” eliminates bureaucracy simply because it has no time to grow.

The words of UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan: “Why then, since the 16-member Panel [of wise people] was announced on November 4, 2003 have the so many once-hopeful voices among UN-watchers been reduced to silence?”

The reality of the situation was that this panel”s affairs and report became so involved with “the process” and national rhetoric that rendered itself ineffective. From our perspective as Professional Consultants to Management, such an unreasonably prolonged time-frame would be both unthinkable and unworkable (in terms of efficiency and economics). Within the framework we have developed, such a report would be produced within two weeks at the most, with an executive summary being prepared for all participants at the close of the meeting. This process can proceed very rapidly, with the help of a skilled facilitator (e.g. Dr. Ken Cox, former NASA Aeronautical Engineer, and Chairperson of the Aerospace Technology Working Group) who uses PowerPoint Software to create a working paper during actual workshop proceedings. EM/SM.

To be effective in the formation of the Framework for a Proper Earth Government a group of not more than 26 Key Leaders should be selected by Dr. Muller, and similar World Leaders, who have the experience and Wisdom in areas of Organization, Diplomacy, Economics, and Spiritual Development, to select a team of individuals who will be able to work together effectively and produce a finished Framework, which will be simplistic, functional, and unique, in terms of a Plan of Action for Present and Future Generations of the Human Race. In forming this group and the organizational structure which will result from it, it is imperative that “Effective Movement into the Future” not be “locked up” within a “business-as-usual” construct by individuals who are in their 60″s or older, just to preserve the status quo (as has happened repeatedly in the past). Instead, it is imperative that those with the wisdom and experience bring in and mentor bright, young individuals and “outsiders” from all cultures and walks of life, to create future scenarios which are realistic, creative and promising for the generations to follow. RM/EM/SM.

Of utmost importance in the creation of a “Planetary Declaration of Independence” would be the points so eloquently put forth by Dr. Robert Muller and Barbara Gaughen Muller in their “Agenda for the Future,” who would view our unique Homeworld, Planet Earth, with “Global Eyes,” cherish our world with a “Global Heart,” understand it with a “Global Mind,” and begin to merge our Consciousness with the “Global Soul.” We must quickly learn to transcend personal egos, nationalistic, religious, and cultural differences and unite our efforts to stop the juggernaut of wanton destruction of our Natural Environment. Together we should work to make this Planet a Paradise…where poverty is eliminated, and social justice, the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness, and the possibility for a bright future can exist for everyone.

Within this same context Ervin Laszlo, President of the Club of Budapest, states “The future of humanity requires a shift in the dominant consciousness of our time to planetary consciousness.”

Considering the incredible transformative potential of Mass Media – through Global Satellite TV and the Global Internet, what is needed is a Mass Media Blitzkrieg to champion the cause of Planet Earth as a Precious Jewel of Cosmic Creation. Such a Transformative Campaign would combine the efforts of Key Media Experts like Ted Turner, as well as Ecologically Concerned Government and Corporate Leaders, Celebrities, NGO”s, and especially the Leaders of the world”s major religions. Why should Planet Earth not have her own Agent and Public Relations campaign…is this not within the Context, Technology, and Metaphorical Imagery of our times, which a “Global Emergency” calls for? EM/SM.

Consider if you will, the incredibly powerful Transformative Force that could be generated – by the simple act of every single individual on Earth taking only five minutes a day to focus their minds and powers of visualization on a “Healing Blessing for the Earth.” This simple act of “Thanksgiving” could be amplified through every school and learning institution, government office, community service organizations…and especially by the leaders of the World”s Religions…setting aside a few minutes of their worship service to lead their congregations in a Universal Blessing for the Healing of our Planet and the Global Biosphere EM/SM.

The “Force Multiplier Effect” – Consider the possibilities for Amplification of the foregoing “Healing Blessing for the Earth,” or similar “Thought Memes” for Coherent Consciousness Amplification, through the Global Internet. This could be accomplished initially at a Global Conference, or be launched via e-mail. 1) A group of 1,000 individuals would agree to practice their own “Healing Blessing for Earth” every day for at least five minutes a day for one year. 2) This same group of individuals would also agree to pass this Idea to at least ten other individuals, asking each of them to agree and pass this on accordingly via e-mail. Through this simple process, the message and its practice could broadcast fractally throughout the far corners of the world, assisted by personal communication, telephone, media broadcasts and conventional mail. EM.

History is replete with examples of the incredible power embodied in the Planetary Ecosystems for healing our Planet – from Natural Disasters of the Past. By combining our present wealth of Knowledge and Technology with a new sense of Compassion and Understanding, we can speed up this Healing Process by: 1) Setting up a Global Infrastructure for the Protection and Sustainable Management of Earth”s Natural Resources, 2) Enhancing the Natural Processes through the Wise and Disciplined use of Technology, and 3) By applying selected applications of Consciousness Technology for the Protection and Enhancement of the Richness and Diversity of the Global Biosphere, and for the General Enlightenment and Upliftment of the Collective Human Consciousness. EM.

Consider what an incredible Financial Resource could be made available for uplifting the Human Condition and cleaning up its Technology – if the outmoded government subsidies and massive military expenditures of the Global Nation States could redirect this Vast Financial Resource into Environmental Protection, Monitoring, Enforcement of Pollution Regulations in the Global Commons, and Massive programs for Ecological Restoration and Enhancement. With the vast global Military Industrial Complex re-directed and assisted with R & D Funding, Pollution could be dramatically reduced within a decade, as New Non-Polluting Energy Technologies were Developed, Old Polluting Technologies were cleaned up or eliminated, and our Global Resources were managed and monitored by “Green Environmental Peacekeeping Forces” created as a United Nations Analog. This Organization would incorporate new technologies so that the “Ecological Army and Navy of the Future” would offer a wealth of training in Biosciences, Ecological Monitoring, Toxic Clean-up, Enforcement of Environmental Regulations, and Environmental Enhancement. When an individual”s Eco-Military Service was completed, they would be equipped with a solid educational and technical base for employment in a diverse array of skills and trades which would be designed specifically to carry over to “Civilian Professions and Lifestyles.” EM.

Social Justice – People in the “Rich Countries” of the World consume 30 times the resources of individuals in “Poor Countries.” Through the elimination and re-direction of outmoded Government Subsidies and Invasive (as opposed to basic defensive and peacekeeping) Military Funding, monies could be re-directed from “Nation Building Activities” to “World-Building Activities,” with the overall and ultimate objective of eventually stabilizing and reducing World Population, and creating a global status quo of basic justice, freedom from poverty, hunger, and disease, and opportunity for a decent life for everyone on Earth.RM/EM.

Core Concept – Dr. Muller suggests the United Nations be transformed into an “Earth-Centered Organization,” where precious Natural Resources are protected and managed sustainably, and Human Population is managed in a way which is reasonable and sustainable for the Future. In this scenario Humans and Nature would eventually reach a Synergistic Balance, resulting in the optimum survival and fulfillment of both…making Planet Earth “the most beautiful and flourishing planet in the whole universe.”

Dr. Muller sees true Globalization as an “Evolutionary Phenomenon” – where national boundaries will eventually cease to exist, and will instead be supplanted by a new sense of “Global Patriotism.” The balance of Earth”s Biosphere is presently in peril, and the majority of the human race exists in misery. To remedy this situation will require commitment from the great majority, and the remedies must be “audacious and strong.” The Political and Economic Systems of the past are no longer appropriate, and are in the process of leading humanity toward its evolutionary end if the “business as usual” attitudes of Greed and Denial continue to prevail over Intelligence, Wisdom and Compassion. According to Dr. Muller, such a transformation might best be accomplished by creating a “Second-Generation United Nations,” which would embody a Quantum Leap in Thinking, and thus create a Proper Earth Government. Such an Enlightened Global Government would serve to create Social Justice and Well-Being for everyone, and provide for the adequate protection and Management of the Natural Resources of the Global Commons.

Creating a “Second-Generation” Streamlined and Effective United Nations – Dr. Muller suggests this new version of the UN be created by select group of Key Individuals from various UN Bodies, Secretaries General, World Commissions, Outside Organizations, and Retired Elders like himself who would be able to work together to facilitate the rapid transition into an effective outcome-based organization. He highlights the absolutely pivotal fact that since Business has led the way in the Globalization Process (by creating soul-less, profit-motivated corporations), creating Multinational Corporations that transcend national borders, and often wield more power then National Governments. These Corporate Entities must be properly instructed, and then given the opportunity to understand and take sustainable leadership roles for the future of the Human Race.

Proposal for a “New Philadelphia World Convention” for the Creation of the United States of the World – Consider a being from another advanced civilization, looking at the present international muddle which exists on our Planet today. Would this elegantly simple “United States of the World” not seem to be perfectly logical…if history and tradition could be left in the past, and the “best solution” for all Earth Citizens was the primary concern? EM/RM.

Funding a Global World Government – Dr. Muller highlights the poignant fact that the European Union (unlike the UN) is not dependent on national contributions, and has its own budget and tax system already in place. Money is indeed Power, and an essential element in powering Transition through Economic Restructuring! Dr. Muller underscores this concept by pointing out that in 1990 the European Economic Community already had at its disposal a budget of 7.4 billion dollars…ten times the budget of the UN! With ten more countries joining the original European Union in 2000, and 25 more countries wanting to join, this organization may well be laying the foundation for the development of a “true World or Earth Union beyond the United Nations.”

A New Earth Government Patterned after the Natural World – Dr. Muller encourages new “bio-political” ways of thinking, in order to create a World Government which is patterned after and synergistic with the “Natural Laws” from which Humans, Planet Earth, and The Global Biosphere have all evolved. Such a new “Bio-Political Science” would integrate the concepts of Dr. John Hagelin, and Barbara Gaughen-Muller, which envision a re-creation of the United Nations into a living, evolving Group Consciousness, based upon Natural Law, the Fundamental Unity of Nature, and the creation of a Sustainable Future for all Humans and for the Global Biosphere.

The Natural Law Party – This organization, created by a group of British Scientists already exists in 100 Nations of the World. According to Dr. Muller this has become the third largest party in the United States, and is headed up by physicist, Dr. John Hagelin, who has already broken tradition by heading up a the first major University for Consciousness Development (The Maharishi University in Iowa), which has been instrumental from historical and evolutionary standpoints in integrating Business with Consciousness Technology, as well as developing practical new methods for transforming the Human Social Architecture through Coherent Consciousness Techniques developed at this University.

A Pledge of Allegiance to the Earth – Consider this simple method for Positive Transformation. If every student in every public, private, and religious school would begin their school day with a little “Pledge of Allegiance, Blessing, and a few Moments of Meditative Thanks” to Planet Earth…It might go like this: “I pledge allegiance to the Earth and my fellow life forms, and give thanks and return blessings to Her for the opportunity to live my life in freedom and the joy of Enlightened Consciousness.” EM.

World Commission on Global Consciousness – In August of 1998, at the World Congress on Philosophy in Boston, a World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality was created, co-chaired by Dr. Robert Muller and Mr. Karan Singh of India. This Congress met for the first time in Canada on September of 2001.

The Urgent Need for a Drastic Change in Human Values and Lifestyles – Within the context of the Creation of a “New Global Consciousness,” Dr. Muller points out the recent theory that on any planet with life forms in the universe, one species will eventually evolve to the point where it gains a degree of knowledge of the planet it lives on, so that it gains the power and choice to either continue or terminate its evolution. If it is to continue its evolution, it must replace any values which are not “respectful” of its planetary home, with new values which are ecologically respectful, and therefore supportive of the evolution of both the Planetary Biosphere, and its intelligent Life Forms.

Humans as “Caretakers of Planet Earth – Dr. Muller emphasized that Humans will not truly be in charge of their destiny until they realize that Human Consciousness itself is a “Miracle of Natural Creation,” and is thus inseparable from the Web of Life on Earth, which is the basis for this Miracle. As we enter the New Millennium he stresses the importance of Humanity thoroughly understanding “its suddenly momentous, incredibly important evolutionary role and responsibility.” In Dr. Muller”s words, “We have become the caretakers, the trustees, the shapers of future evolution, the instruments of the cosmos….” Dr. Muller feels that humanity has reached the stage on Planet Earth, where society must revise its basic values, which date back to 19th Century thinking, and work together to acquire “a new evolutionary wisdom,” which respects the basic laws of Planet Earth and the Global Biosphere.

The Rebirth of Science and Knowledge through a “New-Earth Transformation” – Dr. Muller proposes a deep and fundamental review and re-thinking of the following 21 Fundamental Aspects of Human Social Architecture:

  1. A New Political System – Composed of Nation-States, which would establish a Set of Basic Guidelines and Standards to facilitate the flow of goods and services, establish universal standards for clean air and water, waste disposal, packaging, and transportation.
  2. A New Economics – Gradual elimination of national currencies in favor of a single Global Currency, which would simplify global commerce, and facilitate global trade. Fundamental to this New Economic System would be the assistance in basic services, financial aid, education, and birth control by the rich nations, with the ultimate goal of balancing economic disparity, and eliminating poverty everywhere on Earth.
  3. A New Education which focuses of teaching individuals not only basic skills, but how to learn, succeed and survive in the real world. Education should be centered around a deep understanding of the Natural World, and on development of the Core Self in terms of acquisition of Maturity, Wisdom, and Compassion for all Life. Darwinian Survival of the Fittest should be superceded by an overriding sense of Synergy and Cooperation. In this Educational Renaissance, Development of the Mental Faculties would be balanced with Development of the Heart Center.
  4. New Enlightened Media and Communications – A dramatic shift from the current focus on the sensational and shallow, to a fresh new approach to media, which reports the news objectively, from a global perspective. Instead of focusing on sensational and disaster-oriented news, this new media approach would aim to educate the general public with uplifting stories of success and enlightenment, as well as a major focus on New Sustainable Technologies, and Programs for Environmental Protection Restoration, and Educational Material which relates to the Global Biosphere.
  5. A New Democracy – which de-emphasizes Nationalism, and focuses instead on building a new sense of Global Pride and Patriotism. This new democracy would need to be designed so that everyone on Earth could have some opportunity to participate and contribute to the welfare of Humans and the Global Biosphere. This New Democracy would strive to eliminate unfair subsidies, tariffs, and trade barriers, so that goods and services might flow smoothly across national borders without undue bureaucracy, with the ultimate goal of creating social stability and freedom from oppression for everyone on Earth.
  6. A New Global Leadership – A group of Unique and Outstanding Leaders from the Global Community, selected for their boldness in breaking with the conventions and restrictions of Industrial-Age Governance, and willing to facilitate change quickly and efficiently with a full “Biospheric Perception.” Such New Leadership would form, as necessary, new organizational mechanisms capable of facilitating and leading the necessary quantum transformations in consciousness, and lifestyles which are compatible with success and survival of the Human Race, and for the preservation and enhancement of the Global Biosphere.
  7. A Spiritual Renaissance and Inter-Religious Cooperation – Within the realms of Techno-Scientific and Religious Thinking, our institutions have failed to provide either Physical or Spiritual Solutions for the present global social dilemma, which has resulted from runaway Consumerism, Greed, and the equating of Success with Material Wealth. In order for the Human Spirit to flower and evolve, a profound change in Mainstream Values and Lifestyles is in order. By shifting our attention from the Physical and Mental aspects of life, and focusing more on the guidance provided by the Heart and Spirit, a Global Renaissance, aided by the formative forces of the Mass Media could spread over the face of the Earth within a matter of a few months. Such a new consciousness would transcend the materialistic and competitive thinking of “Industrial Man,” as well as Traditional Religious Doctrines, which are fettered by outdated events and thoughtforms of the times, and are thus ineffective to the needs the Third Millennium Social Environment. A new Global Spirituality, which would find common ground with all races and cultures, would provide Spiritual Guidelines and Wisdom for social behavior, which would be both environmentally responsible and synergistic with regard to the rest of Global Society.
  8. A Non-Violent Human Society – At the heart of a Major Quantum Shift in Global Consciousness would be a major shift from a modality of Darwinian Competition and Materialism, to one of Synergy and Support. Such a major shift in the Human Social Architecture would result in a shift away from Greed and Personal Gain, toward the quest of Enlightenment, Compassion, Wisdom, and Maturity. This major shift in Human Objectives would serve to catapult the Human Race into an entirely new Stage of Evolutionary Thought, Action, and Achievement.
  9. A Well-Preserved Planet – The concept of “Homeland Security” would be shifted from a National to a Planetary Concern. Our Wealth of Natural Resources and the Global Commons would attain the status of Precious Biological Banks. Science and Technology would be combined with Skill and Wisdom to Protect, Preserve, Manage, and Enhance these Natural Biospherical Resources for the maximum benefit of Present and Future Generations of Humankind.
  10. A Reasonable Standard of Living for Everyone – Considering the present state of our Knowledge and Technology, once a proper and reasonable balance is achieved between Human Society and the Global Biosphere, it should be no problem for the Global Social Structure to provide adequate food, shelter, sanitation, healthcare, education, and transportation to meet the needs of everyone on Earth.
  11. Stabilization of the Global Population – This in not only a Prerequisite for Survival and Success of the Human Race, but an “Evolutionary Imperative” for achieving a Reasonable and Sustainable Balance between Humans and the Natural Resources provided by the delicate Ecosystemic Balance of the Natural Physical and Biological Systems on Planet Earth.
  12. Ecologically Appropriate Human Settlements on Earth – From a perspective of Environmental Correctness, Human Habitation and Settlements would be designed to integrate everyday life with the Natural Environment. Human Living and Working Spaces might be clustered in high-rise towers or partly underground buildings, so that everyone would have access to clean air, fresh vegetation, parks, natural gardens, and forest trails. All homes and workplaces would integrate natural space with living and working space. The Ecological Footprints of Humans on the Environment would thus be minimized, with buldings and associated structures being designed to architecturally and aesthetically complement the Natural Surroundings for any region on Earth. This arrangement would ensure that every citizen…especially children…would be able to interrelate with the environment for maximum physical, mental and spiritual enrichment.
  13. Disarmament, Demilitarization and a New Global Security for Planet Earth – The vast financial budgets for military applications could be re-directed towards the protection, preservation, and restoration of the major Ecosystems of Earth. Weapons of Mass Destruction could be destroyed, toxic waste from military activities of the past could be cleaned up and reclaimed, and a new World Environmental Peacekeeping Force could be implemented to lend assistance from natural disasters, and enforce laws and treaties for Environmental Protection and Management of the Global Natural Resources. This new Global Environmental Security Force would have a variety of educational programs, utilizing Satellite Sensing Technology to monitor the Environment and Global Commons such as the Atmosphere and Ocean Fisheries. Individuals of this new Green Global Security Force would rely heavily on Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation to prevent disputes from happening, and to resolve existing disputes. This Global Green Peacekeeping Force would also provide professional and technical training for its members, so that when they returned to civilian life they would have a variety of professional skills and practical experience which could be utilized for a second career in civilian life.
  14. A New Science and Technology – Conventional Science and Technology could be combined with Consciousness Technology to create entirely new theories and fields of Science. Consciousness Techniques such as Remote Viewing, Psi Microvision, and Torsionics could provide entirely new insights into the fields of Quantum Physics and Chemistry, and bring forth an array of entirely new technologies such as practical applications of Cold Fusion, Zero-Point Energy Generation and other environmentally clean technologies…eliminating our present dependence on fossil fuels, and the resulting environmental pollution.
  15. A New Anthropology, Sociology, and Way of Life – Within a new enlightened Global Social Structure, humans would learn to live in simpler, less materialistic, and more ecologically sustainable ways. By replacing Darwinian Competition and Materialistic Goals with a drive for Self-Realization, Wisdom, and Maturity. Humans would learn to live in greater harmony with each other and with the Global Biosphere.
  16. A New Human Biology – By combining the best of Conventional Western Medical Technologies with the best of Traditional Eastern Medical Practices, our understanding of Human Biology and Medicine would take a quantum leap. Medical practice could then shift its attention into new modes of Healing, and branches of Medicine which would be devoted to the prevention of disease, and the general enhancement of the human biological processes. Through the integration of Conventional Medicine with Consciousness Technology and Traditional Healing Methodology, a new Science of “Psychobiology” would be born…allowing Humans to actively participate in individual and Group Medical Healing and Surgical Monitoring Activities combined with leading-edge Mainstream Medical Techniques.
  17. A New Philosophy, Cosmology, and Long-Term View of Evolution – The present focus on Material Wealth and Power would shift toward developing the Creative and Spiritual aspects of the Human Psyche at all levels. Even a modest shift from the egotistical self, to a more Global and Spiritual Viewpoint would serve to uplift the entire Human Consciousness to entirely new levels of enlightenment and achievement on a Global Scale. Within this context every individual on Earth would come to realize their special worth as a contributor to the Planetary Commonwealth. Humans would then be able to take their place as Co-Evolutionary Agents…initially through Self-Realization, and eventually as active participants in the Planetary, Solar and Galactic Consciousness.
  18. A New World Ethic and Social Justice – Ultimately, for Global Society to Survive and Succeed in the Third Millennium and beyond, National, Religious, and Cultural Boundaries will ultimately be transcended. Once these barriers disappear in the process of evolution of the Human Race, and humans learn the value and intrinsic rewards of sharing and cooperation, a New Golden Age of Social Justice will arise. Once the ancient fears and insecurities are left behind, and an ecologically appropriate balance is achieved between Humans and the Natural Environment, a new World Social Order will prevail so that all human beings will be assured a reasonable measure of social justice and opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life on Earth.
  19. A New Global Psychology – As a natural product of the growth and evolution of the Human Consciousness a new enlightened bond will be formed between the Human Consciousness and the Consciousness of the Natural World (i.e. Planetary Consciousness). Through this bond humans will achieve a heightened awareness of the subtleties of all aspects of the Natural World, and their place in the Intricate Web of Life. Within this framework of Natural Enlightenment a new science will emerge…”Ecopsychology”…an understanding of the psychological implications of Man”s powerful interactions and relationships with the Natural World, as well as the psychological workings of Planetary Psychology…the psychological mechanisms and needs and visions of the Global Consciousness itself (Gaia).
  20. A New Science of Planetary Management – Through World Media, Religious and Educational Systems, and within a relatively short period of time, every member of Global Society can achieve a basic understanding of the “Biological Imperative” of achieving a balance between Humans and the Global Biosphere. This would include protecting, and managing the Global Commons and the Human Population in a manner which creates a Practical, Economically, and Socially Sustainable balance between Human Biomass and the Natural Environment.
  21. A Global Renaissance in Art and Culture – Such a Global Renaissance would focus on the participation and creation of Artistic and Cultural Productions which would unlock the creative potential of the Human Spirit, and produce Artistic Productions which would serve to enlighten and evolve the Human Consciousness of the Artists, Participants, and Viewers of these ArtForms. By recognizing and rewarding the creative efforts of this Renaissance, the overall effect would be to uplift Human Cultural Values and Aspirations to increasingly higher levels of Consciousness.

Addendum Comments by Sharon

    1. What is required in order to make the necessary Quantum Shift in Global Consciousness is a group of “Living Prototypes.” These Global Leaders would provide living examples through their actions of the Noble Qualities of Truth, Reality, and True Humanistic Values, which would go beyond the present-day focus on Quantity, Power, and Greed.
    2. A New Spiritual System would prevail in the New World Social Fabric which would transcend Religious Dogma and Politics.
    3. For the Necessary Quantum Shift to take place into a Third-Millennium Mindset, Global Society needs to reinstate “Natural Time,” as embodied in the Indigenous Cultures…especial Shamans and Indigenous Healers.
    4. Global Society needs to evolve to a consciousness which incorporates a “Global Heart” and a “Global Soul” in all aspects of life.
    5. The Strategic Key to rapid and effective transformation of the Global Consciousness is through the Global Internet, which will remain relatively unrestricted as a medium of “free expression” for approximately the next 14 years. After this time the Internet will become so regulated and censored, that other means will need to be developed for the free expression and exchange of Ideas and Communications.
    6. The Resolution of the Global Quantum Shift into Third-Millennium Consciousness will be through achieving a synergistic balance between the Technosphere (The effects of Human Technology) and the Global Biosphere (The complex Living Network of Life on Planet Earth).

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Prof. Dr Bernard Lietaer

http://www.lietaer.com/

  • (Co-Creator & Key Architect of the EURO)
  • World Renowned Economist and Currency Expert
  • Founding Member of the Global Futures Forum
  • Fellow at the World Academy of Arts & Sciences and of the World Business Academy
  • Member of the Club of Rome
  • Author & Lecturer

Few people have worked in and on the money system in as many different capacities.have had the opportunity to work in so many – normally mutually exclusive – facets in the domain of money systems.. He spent five years at the Central Bank in his native Belgium, where his first project was the design and implementation of the single European currency system. He has helped developing countries mostly to improve their hard currency earnings, and consulted with multinational corporations on four continents. He was president of Belgium’s Electronic Payment System and a Professor at universities in both Europe and the US. Back in the late 1960s, he published the first managerial techniques to deal with floating exchanges. In the late 1970s, he wrote the first book announcing the Latin American debt crisis.

Bernard Lietaer is currently a Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Resources of the University of California at Berkeley a Visiting Professor at the Marpa Center for of Business and Economics at Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado.

In this Humanitad World Leadership Magazine article, Bernard Lietaer shares his future vision for global economy outlining his latest project ‘Tterra: The Trade Reference’ Currency (TRC).

“The Terra strategy is designed as a win-win approach for all key participants in the global economy. This means everyone can and should benefit in very tangible ways.”


 

Terra: a Win-win Solution to Monetary Insecurity?

 

By Bernard Lietaer

Four unresolved issues are haunting the global monetary scene. Firstly, there is no international standard of value , a reliable unit by which to measure exchanges and a critical function of any money system. Secondly, currency instability persists: according to the World Bank, 87 countries have experienced monetary crises in the past 25 years, and still counting. Thirdly, the current money creation process tends to accentuate the business cycle. Indeed, the banking system tends to have a herd instinct when making credit available or restricting it for particular countries or industries. Finally, institutional deadlock: the banking system isn’t pushing for monetary reforms because ‘hedging’ products (insurance against monetary instabilities) now constitute significant profit centers; and the current geopolitical environment makes a new Bretton Woods agreement highly unlikely.

Among the effects at the micro-economic level: currency risks are now among the highest risks for doing business internationally. From a macro-economic viewpoint, currency crises have provoked untold human suffering as whole economies falter. Another consequence: investments in less developed countries have proportionally dropped by one third over the past two decades. This has resulted in a demonstrable drop in the standard of living for eighty nine of those countries.

 

Proposed Solution: A Trade Reference Currency.

One solution to this problem many corporations have resorted is international barter, technically called countertrade. However, that is an inefficient and expensive -option. In contrast, the creation of a Trade Reference Currency (TRC) – an agreement among a group of business partners to accept some currency arrangement other than the conventional currency – would be more cost-effective. It could also be designed to provide several other benefits that will be explained below, both for its users as well as for society at large.

The TRC would be legally structured as standardized barter. This TRC would be designed to provide three additional benefits: an inflation-resistant international standard of value, stabilization of the business cycle, and the realignment of stockholder’s interests with long-term sustainability.

This new Trade Reference Currency – whose unit of account could be called the ‘Terra’ – would be backed by a standard basket of the most important commodities and services traded in the global market (e.g. oil, wheat, copper, etc., and some standardizable services like international freight or telecom units.) Terras would be issued by a Terra Alliance as electronic inventory receipts for commodities sold to it by producers.

The cost of storage of the physical commodities would be paid by the bearer of the Terra (estimated at 3.5-4% per annum). This makes the Terra a ‘demurrage’ currency, which encourages its use as a contractual, planning and trading device, not as a store of value. It is different from conventional money in seven ways:

  1. The Terra is defined as a standard basket of the most important commodities and services in the global market for which futures markets can be established (e.g. oil, wheat, copper, etc; as well as some standardizable services such as the International Shipping Charter Rates.) It would, therefore, be conceptually similar to a fully backed gold standard, but rather than the backing of one single commodity there would be a dozen of the main commodities being traded today internationally, including gold. Because it is fully backed by a physical inventory of commodities, the Terra would be a very robust and credible payment unit. This backing would also make it possible to convert the Terra into national currencies under certain pre-established conditions (explained in point 7 below).
  2. The Terra would be designed as an inflation-resistant currency by the very definition of its composition. Inflation is always defined as the changes in value of a basket of goods and services. Therefore, by selecting the appropriate ingredients in the basket (including, if desirable, an index capturing residual global inflation not picked up directly by the basket of physical commodities itself), the Terra could explicitly be designed as inflation-resistant.
  3. It is a currency that is complementary to the conventional national currencies, i.e. it can operate in parallel with them without replacing them, and therefore does not require any new governmental negotiations or international agreements.
  4. It can be initiated by private initiative as a standardization of countertrade transactions. Terras would be issued by the Terra Alliance as warehouse receipts. The Terra Alliance would be an organization structure open to all newcomers meeting certain pre-established criteria (similar in this respect to the Visa credit card system). Such an initiative could be undertaken initially on a small scale as a pilot project. The organization structure of the Terra Alliance would be designed as a ‘chaord’, on the model of the Visa credit card alliance.
  5. The Terra could evolve into an accountancy unit, used for international planning, contractual and payment purposes. Terras would take the form of an electronic inventory receipt, and not be issued as notes or coins.
  6. One key feature, which differentiates it from previous commodity basket currency proposals, is that the cost of storage of the physical commodities would be applied to the bearer of the Terra. This cost for holding the currency is estimated at 3.5-4% per annum. This makes the Terra a demurrage-charged currency, the opposite of a conventional positive interest rate currency. This insures its use mainly as a trading, planning and contractual device. It is intended by its very design to remain in circulation. Unlike conventional money, it is not designed to fulfill the function of store of value. Consequently, it would strongly activate commercial exchanges and investments wherever it circulates.
  7. There would also be the possibility to redeem the Terra for conventional money at specific conditions, one of which is a 2% penalty. The Terra Alliance would then simply deliver the inventories to the corresponding commodity markets and obtain the conventional currencies necessary for the payment. The 2% penalty aims at giving an incentive to keep the currency circulating in trade.

In short, the Terra would legally be a standardized warehouse receipt that can be used as an international trading currency. Its unique characteristics of being inflation-resistant and a demurrage-charge currency, would endow this trading instrument with three unusually interesting macro-economic advantages.

The Terra would be an ideal standard of international value, given that its basket would capture main elements of global trade. It would even be an exceptionally robust standard, given that it is a fully backed currency, something we haven’t had since the early gold standard days.

In addition, the Terra mechanism would have as second macro-economic benefit the capacity to relaunch the world economy, particularly important now when all three major economies in the world are in simultaneous downturn for the first time since the 1930s. Japan has been struggling without success with a deflationary liquidity trap for a decade now, ever since its real-estate bubble burst back in 1990. Europe’s recovery attempts have all but collapsed after 2000. In addition, the ‘stability pact’ introduced to protect the new Euro against inflationary risks will now ensure that a Keynesian recovery solution is not available in Europe. On top of all this, the collapse in the US of the high-tech and dot.com phenomenon bubble followed by the events of September 11 provided a psychological shock to an already weakening US economy. A mechanism like the Terra would help in unblocking the resulting economic quandary of the convergence of a downturn in all three leading world economies.

The reason is that the Terra would automatically tend to counteract the prevalent business cycle, thereby improving the overall stability and predictability of the world’s economic system. This is so because corporations have by definition an excess of raw materials when the business cycle is weakening. They would therefore tend at this point of the business cycle to sell more commodities for storage to the Terra Alliance, which would pay for them with Terras. These corporations, so as to avoid the demurrage charges, would tend to spend the Terras as soon as possible to pay their suppliers. These suppliers in turn would have a similar incentive to pass on the Terras as medium of payment. The spread of this increased incentive to trade with this currency would therefore automatically activate the economy at this point in the cycle.

Whenever the global business cycle would in a boom period, this mechanism would automatically work in reverse and stabilize the economy in the other direction. In a boom period, corporations would have a systematic incentive not only to stop selling new inventories to the Terra Alliance, but also to cash in the Terras (even incurring the 2% penalty charge), just to take delivery of the raw materials themselves. This would reduce the amounts of Terras in circulation when the business cycle is at its maximum, thereby cooling off inflationary pressures on the economy at this point.

In summary, the Terra denominated exchanges would tend to automatically dampen the business cycle by providing additional monetary liquidity in counter-cycle with the business cycle thereby compensating for the pro-cyclical pattern observed in the money creation process of conventional national currencies.

The introduction of the Terra is also important for the world’s population at large. Job availabilities is a growing concern worldwide. The simultaneous downturn of all major world economies makes this issue particularly pressing at this time. The counter-cyclical nature of the Terra mechanism would not only improve the immediate situation, but also permanently reduce the boom/bust cycle that feeds the job instability everywhere

Last, but not least, there is another societal benefit relevant for everybody. As long as there is a systematic conflict between financial priorities and long-term thinking, there is little chance that we will manage the shift towards a sustainable society. The Terra mechanism would be a key tool to realign financial interests with longer-term concerns, including long-term ecological concerns. This is in direct contrast with what happens today with conventional national currencies. A discounted cash flow of conventional national currencies with positive interest rates emphasizes systematically the immediate future at the expense of the longer-term.

Demurrage charges would do the exact opposite: they focus the attention on the longer-term rather than just the immediate future. The use of a demurrage charged currency like the Terra for planning and contractual purposes would therefore reduce the conflict that currently prevails between the stockholder’s financial priorities and the long-term priorities of society at large. Realigning financial interests with long-term thinking is a necessary condition for sustainable development to have a realistic chance at the scale and speed that are now required. Therefore, the Terra mechanism will be helpful to the population at large simply by making sustainability a practical reality for their children and grandchildren.

So rather than trying to legislate or impose a moral obligations on business – a process that is unlikely to be successful in today’s political environment – demurrage provides the functional dynamic along with the financial incentive to be able to think long term and re-align sustainability with stockholders’ interests.

Differences with earlier Proposals

The Terra is a commodity-basket currency. Over more than a century, there have been several proposals for commodity basket currencies by a series of well-known economists. The main reason they have not been implemented is not due to a technical fault of the concept, but rather because they were aiming at replacing the conventional money system. Such replacement would have put in jeopardy powerful vested interests, and required a new international Bretton Woods treaty. This is not the case with the Terra proposal.

On the contrary, the win-win strategy underlying the Terra mechanism includes the financial sector as well. The Terra is a complementary currency, which is designed to operate in parallel with the existing system. Anything that exists under the current monetary modus operandi would remain in operation after the introduction of the Terra. Specifically, the Terra mechanism wouldn’t be a financing source, keeping the monopoly of conventional money financing intact.

The Terra only provides an additional option to what is currently available for denominating international trade transactions. Furthermore, given that the Terra is in fact a standardization of countertrade, it would enable banks to offer financial services in a the fast growing domain of international barter where they are today completely excluded (e.g. opening accounts, advising on currency selections, and transfer funds in Terras as they do today for any foreign currency).

The other conceptual difference between the Terra proposal and all previous proposals is the demurrage concept. The fact that the storage costs of the basket are covered by the bearer of the Terra resolves the other tricky problem that previous commodity proposals were facing: who will pay for it all?

Notice that this also resolves an important issue for Less Developed Countries that are producers of any of the commodities that would be part of the Terra basket. These countries face two well-known hurdles: the one of scarcity of hard currencies, and the one of degradation of terms of trade. The Terra mechanism creates a solution that at least partially addresses those two problems. A Less Developed Country that produces a commodity that is a component in the basket is exactly in the same position as a corporate backer described above. It has now the possibility to exchange its commodities directly into a convertible currency (the Terra) without having to dump it in the markets and thereby further reduce its price. In short, such a LDC is in exactly the same position as gold producer countries were during the gold standard days: what they extract is in fact a convertible currency…

Finally, as stated earlier, the political context for an international monetary treaty has simply not been on hand. The Terra avoids this pitfall by relying on private initiative. From a legal or tax viewpoint, it would fit within the existing official frameworks of countertrade, and not require any formal governmental agreements to make it convertible. Countertrade is indeed routinely practiced today in over 100 countries, with a volume of more than $1 trillion per year.

The last key question is why should international business be willing to get involved in such an initiative? The short answer is that getting involved with the Terra Alliance provides the most realistic way available today to obtain the following key improvements, compared to what happens normally:

  1. It provides an insurance against uncertainties deriving from international currency markets;
  2. It makes it possible to change inventories of major raw materials from illiquid assets into liquid ones;
  3. It provides working capital at a lower cost than conventional national currencies;
  4. It reduces the cost of completing countertrade transactions.

In addition to the above benefits for businesses, the three important macro-economic effects already described earlier are relevant not only for society as a whole but as well for the corporations as well.

  1. It makes available to businesses a robust international standard of value.
  2. It systemically reduces the possibility or seriousness of a global recession by its countercyclical effects on the business cycle.
  3. It resolves the conflict between long-term sustainability and financial priorities.

In conclusion, the Terra mechanism is a Win-Win approach for all main actors in the global scene, and that is why it may have a chance to succeed where others have failed in the past. What is at stake is more than economics. Today, the bulk of the decisions that will influence the future of humanity are made by the major corporations. And as long as those decisions are made mainly on short-term criteria, the chances of us getting to a sustainable future have unfortunately to be considered low. The Terra mechanism would contribute to reorienting these decisions towards a longer term perspective, which may turn out to be vital for our entire biosphere.

Laura Uplinger

Laura Uplinger is a proponent, educator and life-long student in the field of conscious pre-conception, prenatal and perinatal parenting. Since 1978, she has extensively promoted prenatal and perinatal education, conducting workshops and speaking at symposiums, forums and conferences in North America, South America, and Europe.

Work experience includes:

  • Chair of the XIII international congress of the Association for Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology and Health – APPPAH – “Birth & the Human Family ~ Embracing the Power of Prenatal Life” held in Los Angeles, 2007 (www.birthpsychology.com)
  • Served on the Board of Directors of APPPAH from 1988 to 1999
  • Facilitating ‘Mommy & Me’ groups in Los Angeles, 1997-1999
  • Chair of the VI International APPPAH Congress, “Womb Ecology, World Ecology”, Washington, DC., 1993
  • Member of the Psychosomatic Medicine Team in the Hospital da Lagoa and in the maternity ward of the Hospital Santa Casa da Misericordia, Rio de Janeiro, 1981-1985
  • Working with CPAIMC (Center of Research and Assistance Integrated for the Woman and the Child) in a slum area of Rio de Janeiro, 1980-1981
  • Preparing a Brazilian implementation of the Venezuelan “Family Project” for the Superintendent of Education and Culture in the State of Rio de Janeiro, 1980
  • Staff Member of the “Proyecto Familia” in Caracas during the project’s pre-operational phase. A program of the Venezuelan Ministry for the Development of Intelligence, 1979
  • Volunteer at the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital of Caracas, in charge of the children’s library, 1979
  • Teacher of French, Spanish, Portuguese and English at the Berlitz School of Language in Caracas (1979) and Washington, D.C. (1987)
  • Staff member of the Office of Public Information at UNESCO (United Nations Education Science, Culture & Communication Organization) in Paris, 1977-1978
  • Licence de Psychologie Appliquée, Sorbonne, Paris V, 1977

Wrote the script of “A Gift for the Unborn Children” an award winning video (1985), and contributed a chapter on conscious conception entitled “A Cosmic Collaboration” to the anthology “The Marriage of Sex & Spirit&rdou;, published by Elite Books (2006)

 


A Sacred Way
“The power to create is one of the most divine attributes which man possesses. In his exercise of that power, he enacts microcosmically the great macrocosmic drama of creation. The fusion of the male and female organisms is a sacramental enactment of the great drama of the creation of the universe. When it is performed with the motive of pure and mutual love the two halves of God, as represented in man and woman, are united.”

Geoffrey Hodson, 1929

 

In the mid-seventies, a new field of psychology was born: Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology. In the past three decades, research studying the psychological factors that affect conception, pregnancy, birth, and the first months of life, have caused old assumptions to fall like leaves in a Canadian autumn. Even at the point in history when science was taking humans to the moon, we still mistakenly believed that the placenta could protect a fetus from practically everything happening to the mother. Likewise, a newborn was considered tabula rasa—a blank slate.

But Science is now revisiting this crucial chapter of our very early beginnings and making discoveries that have mighty implications for the kind of adults we become. Recent discoveries in biochemistry and cell biology have added to these scientific revelations about life before birth. For instance, hormones produced by psychological stresses endured by the pregnant mother actually influence placental vascular organization. This is startling, and highly motivating news.

In 2001, Neonatologist Jean Pierre Relier, editor of the prestigious Journal of the Neonate, wrote about the fundamental importance of psychoaffective equilibrium—in each of the parents—at the time of conception for healthy development of the embryo and placenta, which, in turn, prevents intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity, maternal hypertension, toxemia, and early miscarriage.

Thanks to pioneering popular books such as The Secret Life of the Unborn Child by Thomas Verny and The Mind of Your Newborn Baby, by David Chamberlain, little by little we have become more aware of what goes on psychologically before birth. For the last decade, Professor Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist, has been deciphering for the lay public, recent and exquisite scientific discoveries about the life of our trillions of cells. Especially revealing are Lipton’s elucidations as to how our cells take cues from their immediate environment in order to activate, or not, as the case may be, particular functions and specific genes.

From Harvard Medical school, we hear: “What goes on in the womb before you are born is just as important to who you are as your genes.” Thanks to recent epigenetic data, it is even possible to infer that the health of a 50 year old person depends more on the way she or he was formed in-utero than on eating and exercising habits.

Unfortunately, this understanding has not yet reached the general public worldwide; in fact, at the dawn of the second millennium, very few are familiar with the power of prenatal life. I first heard of it in the lectures of the Bulgarian spiritual teacher Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov. Nothing of the kind had ever been mentioned in my psychology classes at the university. Later, my continued interest in the subject led me to discover that sacred traditions have emphasized the importance of conception, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding for centuries. Even in the Vedas, one of the oldest known scriptures, reference is made to the importance of the quality of conception.

Few important moments are more empowering, or harbinger more freedom as the conscious conception of a child. Such a momentous freedom to say YES to a cosmic collaboration and welcome the works of life in one’s body! Alchemists perceive the sperm as light in liquid state, gold being light made metal. What a gorgeous image to hold for this miraculous emergence of a human from the union of egg and sperm.

During the months leading to the conception of my child, I was aware that my body was to become an alchemical vessel for the making of a new human body. My husband and I had posted an ad in the galactic website of the universe, stating who we were and what we could offer to a soul wishing to join us. We carried on our daily activities in a mood of solemn expectation and profound surrender: was a soul going to be drawn to us?

On a clear and blossoming morning of May, we were willing to welcome an eventual earthling. I recall thinking: “Dear One, in case we are conceiving your physical body, we wish you a vast and luminous life.”

The formation of a child in the womb is analogous to the way a fruit grows on a tree. As everything matters inside and around that tree, every detail of the life of an expectant mother matters. And for Spirit, matter matters. A European physician from the 16th century, Paracelsus, wrote: “Woman is the artist of the imagination and the child in the womb is the canvas whereon she painteth her pictures.” The family of words “image,” “imagination,” “magus,” “matrix,” “matter,” “mama,” all contain the root sound “ma,” which means “mother” in the original root language of Sanskrit.

The formidable time of our formation before birth sets the stage for the way we relate to life. From the remarkable spiritual teachings of Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s, we learned that, “During pregnancy, the mother’s joy and pleasure are the forces that provide her baby with perfect organs.” In 2004, renowned obstetrician Michel Odent demonstrated the same notion in an embryology lesson.

As I am writing these lines I have in front of me a beautiful painting representing a human fetus in the spiraling shell of a nautilus; above, in silvery letters, I read the following invitation: “Parenting Your Baby Before Birth – Explore the Relationship”. Our relationship with our children begins when we start wanting them, dreaming of them, conceiving of them. In fact, prenatal parenting sets the tone for the kind of parent we become, for the way we raise our children and accompany them throughout life. We draw strength, patience and determination, as well as inspiration, wisdom and love from such a powerful start; the children draw trust, balance and self-esteem.

Recently, I was deliciously surprised when Harvard Professor of Religious Symbology, Dr. Langdon, addressed the young men of his class in the following terms: “The next time you find yourself with a woman, look in your heart and see if you cannot approach sex as a mystical, spiritual act. Challenge yourself to find that spark of divinity that man can only achieve through union with the sacred feminine.” True, Professor Langdon is a fictitious character in Dan Brown’s, The Da Vinci Code, but my heart rejoiced when I saw this subject that is so central to my life’s work touched on with so much clarity in a runaway bestseller.

Somewhere in the last pages of his seminal book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill wonders what is germinating the future of our civilization… Well, I hope that all over the world, many high caliber human beings are on their way or have already been born out of their parents’ conscious intent. Brazilian psychiatrist and Jungian analyst Eleanor Luzes suggests that our times require the anthropological advent of the Homo sapiens frater. As a species, we are in need of more individuals capable of altruism, who cherish and foster brotherhood on Earth. Luzes believes it is imperative for every high school and college around the globe to impart the scientific and philosophical knowledge of the power to form babies who will grow up to be strong, caring, wise and creative individuals, aware of their kinship with all life. More than ever, we need people who embody lofty values of living, who use the power of their intelligence, the force of their love, and financial wealth to bring Heaven on Earth.

Even the best socio-economic and political measures will not be successfully implemented if we go on procreating the non-conscious way, ignoring the principles at work in conception, and in a pregnant womb. During pregnancy, a mother gives of her own substance for the formation of her child’s organs and psyche. This child will one day walk the Earth expressing peace, wisdom and generosity—or indifference, rage, and fear. The power of giving birth to civilizations is the very power nature has assigned to pregnant women. Hope for a brighter future lies on the correct understanding of the role nature has assigned couples and pregnant mothers. It is up all of us – fathers, families, and communities, nations – to support, empower and inspire each and every mother in her monumental endeavor of forming in her womb a healthy baby, a future adult who will be centered, intelligent, caring and creative. In fifty years time, conscious conception and gestation could indeed redeem our species and change the face of the world.

I KNOW A PLANET
I know a planet
where nations live in peace,
and nature is respected,
where science and philosophy
are never used to enslave,
to limit, hurt or spread terror…
There, each person is conceived
and gestated consciously.

In that world reigns
a true spirit of kinship with all life,
and pregnant women are treated in a very special way:
the arts and crafts of each community
are made available to them.
They admire trees, statues and fountains,
as they walk through beautiful parks
filled with flowers.

By day, the birds’ songs embrace them.
By night, the stars
entice them to visit distant worlds…
In these parks there are houses
where the mothers can take part in many activities:
they sing, weave, sculpt, embroider, draw…
There are also theaters, libraries and cinemas,
and they can study, teach, meditate, laugh and cry.

In the schools of this planet
adolescents study the importance
of conception, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding
for a happy humanity.
Couples approach knowingly
the moment of fecundation,
understanding the physiological,
psychological and spiritual dimensions of a pregnancy,
prepared to welcome the mystery of life with serenity.

Laura Uplinger, Rio de Janeiro, 2002.

D Paul Schafer
  • Director of the World Culture Project
  • Acclaimed Author

D. Paul Schafer is Director of the World Culture Project based in Markham, Canada. He has worked in the cultural field for four decades as an academic, adviser and administrator. He has taught arts administration and cultural policy at York University and the University of Toronto, and executed a number of missions for UNESCO and Canada’s Department of External Affairs. Earlier in his career, he taught economics at several universities, specializing in international development and the history of economic thought.


 

DIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

CONTEMPORARY CONCERNS OR PERMANENT REALITIES?
D. Paul Schafer

Everybody is talking about diversity and sustainable development these days. It is impossible to pick up a book, read a newspaper, or engage in conversation without encountering numerous references to these terms.

Whether it is diversity in the racial, cultural, human or biological sense, or sustainable development as it relates to the natural environment and future generations, people, communities and countries in all parts of the world are struggling to deal with “diversity” and achieve “sustainable development.”

This was not always the case. In fact, until recently, little attention was paid to diversity and sustainable development. Little attention was paid to diversity because people knew the world is comprised of many different tribes, ethnic groups, communities, countries, cultures and civilizations, and the natural environment is composed of countless species, flora and fauna, and plant and animal life. So there was no need to belabour the point. Little attention was paid to sustainable development because the population of the world was much smaller than it is today. Moreover, there appeared to be a virtually limitless supply of natural resources. As a result, little consideration was given to future generations and the natural environment in developmental planning and decision-making.(1)

Much has changed over the last few years to transform this situation. Not only has a global crisis emerged that is affecting people and countries in all parts of the world and threatening to escalate out of control, but also humanity is standing on the verge of another major international catastrophe.

Many factors are contributing to this. One is the conflict between particular peoples, countries and civilizations, as epitomized by the current conflicts between United States and Iraq, India and Pakistan, Islamic and non-Islamic nations, Palestinians and Israelis, and numerous other countries and peoples throughout the world. Another is the environmental crisis, and with it, growing shortages of strategic resources such as wood, water, coal, gas, electricity, fish, oil, and especially arable land. Still another is the rapidly-escalating gap between rich and poor countries and rich and poor people. And still others are: alarming levels of poverty, pollution and unemployment; the spread of infectious diseases; increased violence and terrorism; and the perpetual threat of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. Underlying these problems is an even more dangerous and potentially life-threatening problem. With the population of the world at six billion and growing rapidly, and with the carrying capacity of the earth severely limited, the entire global eco-system could collapse if ways are not discovered to prevent it. It does not take a great leap of imagination to visualize the kind of world that could result if viable solutions are not found to these problems.

THE NEED FOR DIVESITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Situated squarely in the middle of this matrix of debilitating and demanding problems is diversity and sustainable development – so filled with promise but pregnant with difficulties. There is not a major problem in the world today that is not linked – and linked fundamentally – to diversity and sustainable development in a whole series of complex, compelling, and contradictory ways.

Take diversity for example. It is becoming increasingly apparent that failure to deal with diversity in an effective way will result in many more conflicts, confrontations and hostilities throughout the world. This has become painfully apparent as a result of the many differences separating the diverse peoples, races, ethnic groups, religions, countries, cultures and civilizations of the world. As a result of colossal developments in transportation, communications, trade, technology, demography, immigration, emigration and the like, there is a great deal more intercultural mixing and racial interaction going on today. Although this is yielding numerous opportunities – such as the opportunity to learn customs, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life that are different from one’s own – it is also increasing the potential for conflict and confrontation. Without a great deal more cross-cultural fertilization, dialogue, communication and exchange, the world could easily become a more volatile place – a chilling prospect in view of the state of the world today.

Nor is this all. Diversity is disappearing in many parts of the world. As forests are chopped down, animals are hunted down, ecological habitats are plundered and destroyed, species are lost, and customs, traditions and entire cultures are eroded or are on verge of collapse, diversity is threatened everywhere in the world. In bygone eras, it was possible to find people who lived only several kilometers away dressing differently, speaking a different language, and living in a different form of accommodation. Not so today. While there is still an enormous amount of diversity in the world, it is more commonplace to encounter similarities rather than differences. Many people wear the same clothes, read the same books, watch the same films, listen to the same music, visit the same shops, work at the same companies, and enjoy the same forms of entertainment.

Many factors account for this. One is globalization. It is bringing people and countries closer together. Another is digitalization, convergence and media ownership. It is making it possible to create CDs, tapes, discs, films, television programs, news and information in some parts of the world and ship them to all parts of the world. Still others are: international trade; free trade; and the concentration of wealth, power and income in fewer hands. They are making it possible to produce goods and services in a few specific locations and market them to the entire world without tariffs, trade barriers, restrictions or constraints.

What seems to be emerging is a “global culture” which is predicated on uniformity rather than diversity. It is not difficult to see where this could end up. It could end up in the creation of a homogeneous way of life where people see the world the same way, act the same way, and think the same way.

Some people feel this would be a good thing. Contending that diversity is at the root of many of the world’s most difficult problems, they claim that once differences in religion, culture, politics and education are stamped out, the world will be a better, safer and more secure place. Those who share this belief contend that all people, after all, have the same needs, concerns and aspirations, so it is high time we emphasized the similarities and did away with the differences.

This is not an easy argument to refute. At the superficial level, diversity is the spice of life. Without it, life is boring, humdrum, and mundane. However, at the more profound level, it will not be possible to create the new ideas, ideologies, technologies, models of development and ways of life that are needed to ensure human survival and environmental sustainability if diversity is stamped out. Nor will it be possible to rid the world of dictators, tyrants and imperialists who are anxious to impose their wills and values on everybody else. For there is a “balance of humanity” that must be created that is equally as important as “the balance of nature” if human survival and well-being are to be assured.

What is true for human diversity is equally true for biological diversity. Without biological diversity, all forms of life are threatened because the intimate interdependence of all forms of plant, animal and human life and the delicate balance of nature are destroyed. We are beginning to get a taste of this, as holes in the ozone layer, drought, pollution and global warming are playing havoc with life in all its diverse forms and manifestations everywhere in the world.

If diversity is imperative for the world of the future, so is sustainable development. With the world’s population escalating at an alarming rate and the world’s resources being stretched to the breaking point, there could be chronic shortages of renewable and non-renewable resources and international resource wars in the very near future if sustainable development is not achieved. While everyone agrees sustainable development is imperative in principle, it is proving to be extremely difficult to execute in practice. Why is this? What vortex of factors is at work throughout the world which is making it difficult, if not impossible, to realize sustainable development?

It is not difficult to identify some of these factors. Many people throughout the world are not prepared to make the changes and sacrifices in their lifestyles that are required to achieve sustainable development. In addition, many corporations and governments are unwilling to institute the tough regulations, policies and legislative measures that are needed to control pollution, reduce emissions, and thwart undesirable environmental practices. More fundamentally, a developmental ideology and global system have emerged throughout the world that are predicated on consuming rather than conserving resources and making phenomenal demands on the natural environment, nature and other species. This ideology and system are based on making economics and economies in general – and products, production, consumption, expenditure, profits and the marketplace in particular – the centrepiece of society and principal preoccupation of municipal, regional, national and international development.(2) As a result, the world is now saddled with a situation where the more economic growth takes place, the more damage is done to the natural environment, the more resources are consumed and contaminated, the less is available for future generations, and the greater is the disparity between rich and poor countries and rich and poor people. This is not a viable scenario for the future.

It is for reasons such as these that much more thought and attention will have to be given to diversity and sustainable development in the future. If diversity and sustainable development are not to become meaningless terms, a developmental strategy and global system will have to be created that are equal to the challenge.(3) Since the cultural community has a vital role to play in this, it is to the role of the cultural community that attention can now be directed.

THE ROLE OF THE CULTURAL COMMUNITY

Over the last decade, the cultural community has made many valuable contributions to the quest to preserve diversity and achieve sustainable development.

At the international level, UNESCO has published the report of the World Commission on Culture and Development on Our Creative Diversity, convened a major Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development in Stockholm, adopted a Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and a detailed action plan to realize it, participated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development, created the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, hosted the Third Round Table of Ministers of Culture on The Intangible Cultural Heritage – A Mirror of Cultural Diversity, and engaged in numerous other undertakings. The Council of Europe has made an equally-valuable contribution by adopting a Declaration on Cultural Diversity, instituting many projects on cultural diversity and sustainable development through its Mosaic and Cultural Diversity in the Context of Globalization projects, and published numerous documents on this subject.

At the national, regional and local level, many governmental cultural departments and agencies have played an important role by initiating policies, programs and practices aimed at broadening commitment to diversity and sustainable development. Specific reference should be made to Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage here. In 1992, Canada negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico – the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA – where culture was exempted, thereby providing a valuable model for countries wrestling with the projection of American culture abroad. In addition, the Department of Canadian Heritage has been extremely active throughout the world asserting the importance of cultural diversity – which is perhaps understandable in view of the fact that Canada has a long history of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism – as well as providing the impetus for the creation of the International Network for Cultural Diversity.

This important non-governmental organization has made many original contributions to the preservation of diversity over the past few years by asserting the need to protect cultural diversity in the GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs), GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) and TRIPS (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), promoting the development of a legal instrument to protect cultural diversity at the international, national, regional and local level; vying for the creation of effective dispute mechanisms to settle disagreements based on the trade in cultural goods and investment in cultural services, and evolving a Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity. This Convention is designed to establish “a multilateral framework of principles, rules and disciplines for the purposes of preserving and enhancing cultural diversity both within and between nations,” as well as create the necessary legal mechanisms and policy processes to achieve it.(4)

These pioneering achievements have been accompanied by numerous contributions from other cultural organizations. For example, many cultural organizations have made important contributions to the World Social Forums in Porto Alegre, Brazil – in contrast to the World Economic Forums in Davos, Switzerland. Then there is CULTURELINK. This indispensable organization, which was created by UNESCO and the Council of Europe in 1989, has made many seminal contributions to cultural diversity and sustainable development through its publications on these matters, as well as its in-depth analysis of cultural diversity, identity and identities in the Balkan and Mediterranean regions. (5)

While strong and sustained actions will be required on all these fronts in the future, the cultural community will have to make a much greater contribution if diversity and sustainable development are to be assured in the years and decades ahead. This contribution must come from all segments of the cultural community, and not just particular parts of it.

At present, the cultural community is divided into three main groups. First, there are people working in the arts, humanities, and the mass media. People working in this area believe culture is generally concerned with “the performing, exhibiting, and literary arts, the finer things in life, heritage, and the “cultural industries” of publishing, radio, television, film, video and sound recording.” Second, there are people working in anthropology, sociology, and social anthropology. People working in this area believe culture is primarily concerned with “the total way of life of people” or “the complex whole.” Finally, there are people working in biology, zoology, botany, and related disciplines. People working in this area believe culture is largely concerned with “the organizational forms and structures of different species,” both human and non-human.

Each of these groups has a fundamental contribution to make to diversity and sustainable development in the future. In combination, their contribution may be the most essential of all.

People working in the arts, humanities and mass media create many of the signs, symbols, myths, legends, metaphors, stories and rituals that are needed to preserve diversity and open the doors to broader and deeper understandings of culture and cultures. This is why people working in this area – and their works – require protection in all future trade agreements and economic, financial and commercial negotiations. Without their contribution, it will be not be possible to protect diversity and broaden and deepen understanding of culture and cultures in the more general, all-encompassing sense.

People working in anthropology, sociology and social anthropology create many of the methods and techniques that are needed to enhance knowledge and understanding of culture and cultures as wholes or total ways of life, and therefore the values, value systems, patterns, themes, characteristics and worldviews that underlie culture and cultures. Given the rapidly-escalating importance of culture and cultures in the modern world, these methods and techniques are of crucial importance to people and countries in all parts of the world.

And people working in biology, zoology, botany and related disciplines create many of the insights, ideas and methodologies that are needed to understand the similarities and differences that exist between human and non-human cultures. For cultures exist not only in the human domain, but also throughout the entire realm of nature.

While each of these groups has a different way of looking at and dealing with culture, there is an identifiable trend throughout the world towards a holistic understanding of culture. This is understandable in view of the fact that people working in all three areas have a common interest in culture as a whole and cultures as wholes. For culture and cultures differ not only in their details and parts. They also differ – and differ fundamentally – as wholes or total ways of life. This has become painfully apparent as a result of the profound differences separating American and Taliban culture, eastern and western culture, southern and northern culture, Islamic and non-Islamic cultures, Middle Eastern and non-Middle Eastern cultures, and all the other cultures in the world. Without a much better understanding of these differences, violence and terrorism are inevitable and human welfare and well-being are not assured anywhere in the world.

This makes the trend towards a holistic understanding of culture – and cultures – valuable and timely.

In the first place, it places humanity in a much stronger position to come to grips with cultural differences. This is because the emphasis is placed on the different ways of life of the diverse peoples, cultures and civilizations of the world. Without this, it will not be possible to achieve sustainable development, peace, harmony, or unity in diversity in the world. For peace, harmony, unity in diversity and sustainable development depend on discovering ways of living together, particularly when these ways of life are very different, and not just on taking future generations and the natural environment into account in developmental planning and decision-making.

In the second place, it helps to unify the cultural field and reduce the enormous amount of confusion that exists over the nature and meaning of culture. When culture and cultures are visualized and dealt with in holistic terms, the narrower “artistic and humanistic concept of culture” and the broader “anthropological” and “biological” concepts of culture are not mutually-exclusive, contradictory, or competitive with one another. Rather, they are mutually-complementary and reinforcing. The artistic and humanistic concept of culture provides the “gateway” to culture and cultures because artists, humanists, film-makers, scholars and the like create much of the content that is required to understand culture and cultures in the broader, deeper and more fundamental holistic sense; the anthropological concept of culture provides the depth of understanding and breadth of vision that is needed to shed light on culture and cultures in the comprehensive sense; and the biological concept of culture provides the “missing link” that is needed to connect human beings and the natural environment, nature and people. Without this, it will never be possible to realize sustainable development because the intimate relationship between all forms of plant, animal and human life will not be understood or dealt with properly.

Finally, it makes it possible to understand the transformations that are needed in the global system, developmental ideology, and human condition if sustainable development is to be achieved in the future. While it is essential to create new technologies and new forms of energy like solar and hydrogen power which conserve resources and do far less damage to the natural environment than fossil fuels, does anyone seriously believe it will be possible to achieve sustainable development without transforming the overall ways of life of people and culture as a whole? People everywhere in the world know their cultures must change. What they are opposed to – and opposed to in increasing numbers – is not change, but rather losing control over their cultures as a result of globalization, colonization, imperialism and commercialism.

THE CENTRALITY OF CULTURE AND CULTURES

When culture and cultures are dealt with in holistic terms, they are of central importance to the world of the future. This is not wishful thinking, or some semantic “slight of hand” to make a compelling case for the centrality of culture and cultures. Rather it is the reality of the world situation, the human condition, and the development of human collectivities down through the ages.

When people come together in historical and geographical association for the express purpose of living together in the world and working out their relationship with the world, it is culture and cultures they create. Culture and cultures in this sense are the oldest forms of human settlement and activity. They predate towns, cities, economies, societies, countries and civilizations. They also exist at every level – local, regional, national and international. They are concerned with the whole way people visualize and interpret the world, organize themselves, conduct their affairs, elevate and embellish life, and position themselves in the world. As such, they are concerned with the total spectrum of people’s needs – social, scientific, spiritual, artistic, educational, economic, political, religious, educational, technological and environmental.

No one understood this better than the Florentines of Renaissance Italy. At least, this is the opinion of the great Swiss cultural historian, Jacob Burckhardt. Following his massive study of the Italian Renaissance, Burckhardt concluded that the Florentines viewed culture as “the first and greatest of all needs” because they understood the central role culture plays in addressing human needs, making improvements in society, and stimulating powerful developments in the arts, sciences, education, economics, politics, and other areas of life.(6) We still flock to Florence to see how this remarkable transformation in the human condition was carried out.

The implications of this are clear and unequivocal. It is culture and cultures that are the real “foundations of human existence” and “engines that drive the train.” While economics and economies play an important role in this because they are concerned with people’s material needs and the ever-recurrent problem of survival, they are part and parcel of a substantially broader, deeper, and more fundamental process.

When economics and economies are made the centrepiece of society and the principal preoccupation of municipal, regional, national and international development, the focus is on “a part of the whole” and “means to ends.” This places the priority on products, production, consumption, capital accumulation, profits, the marketplace, and acquisition of material and monetary wealth. However, when culture and cultures are made the centrepiece of society and principal preoccupation of municipal, regional, national and international development, the focus is on “the whole” and “ends as well as means.” This places the priority on people, human welfare and well-being, worldviews, values, value systems, and environmental sustainability. It is particularly important for governments and politicians to recognize this, as they will be required to make the tough decisions and create the policies, programs and safeguards that are essential to protect diversity and ensure sustainable development in the future.

When culture and cultures are dealt with in this all-inclusive sense, it is not a case of “bringing culture and cultures in from the margins.” Rather, it is a case of “projecting culture and cultures out from the centre.” Nowhere is this more essential than in the formulation and implementation of a cultural model of development.

A CULTURAL MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT

The entire world is searching for a model of development that can preserve diversity and achieve sustainable development. In order to realize this, it will be necessary to forge a harmonious association between human beings and nature, take past, present and future generations into account, and improve the welfare and well-being of the poorest people and countries in the world.

The cultural model of development possesses the potential to do this. But in order to do it, it is necessary to develop culture and cultures in breadth and depth, as well as situate culture and cultures effectively in the natural, historical and global environment.

Developing culture and cultures in breadth and depth means developing all activities in society and not just some activities, as well as achieving harmonious, balanced, synergistic and equitable relationships between them. The distinguished Dutch cultural historian, Johan Huizinga, had this uppermost in mind when he said “the realities of economic life, of power, of technology, of everything conductive to man’s material well-being, must be balanced by strongly developed spiritual, intellectual, moral and aesthetic values.”(7) Without this, it will not be possible to achieve sustainable development, which is probably why Léopold Sénghor, the great African poet and statesman, said “culture is the alpha and omega of any sound development policy.”(8) For sustainable development is cultural development in the fullest and most complete sense of the term.

A great deal of emphasis will have to be placed on the arts, heritage, ethics, spirituality, philosophy, education and the cultural industries if sustainable development is to be achieved in fact. For these are the activities which are concerned with much of what is most valuable and worthwhile in life: the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, beauty and truth; the quest for excellence, creativity, equality and cooperation; the need for stability, order, unity and diversity; and especially the necessity of caring and sharing. This last requirement is particularly important, since it will not be possible to reduce the huge disparities that exist in income, wealth and resources throughout the world without this.

If culture and cultures must be developed in depth and breadth, they must also be situated effectively in the natural, historical and global environment, or space and time.

Situating culture and cultures effectively in the natural environment is essential if sustainable development is to be achieved. Since all human activities are composed of material and non-material elements, it is necessary to examine very carefully the ‘material draws’ and ‘ecological impacts’ that different types of human activities have on the natural environment and other species. Many commercial, industrial, manufacturing, transportation and technological activities draw heavily on the natural environment because the material component of these activities is high and the potential for environmental damage is great. Conversely, many artistic, educational, social and spiritual activities draw lightly on the natural environment because the material component of these activities is low and the potential for environmental damage is substantially reduced. Apart from paints for the painter, books and computers for the scholar, pulpits and religious venues for the priest, imam and cantor, and administrative amenities for the social worker – to cite only a few of the most obvious examples – artistic, educational, spiritual and social activities do not make excessive demands on the natural environment and nature’s precious resource legacy.

The implications of this for local, regional, national and international development in the future are clear. As world population increases and more and more pressure is exerted on the carrying capacity of the earth, a great deal more emphasis will have to be placed on activities that reduce humanity’s draw on natural resources and do as little ecological damage as possible. This is why Pitirim Sorokin, the prominent cultural scholar, advocated shifting from “sensate cultures” to “idealistic, ideational and mixed cultures.”(9) He was aware that whereas sensate cultures do a great deal of environmental damage because they are very material, physical and sensorial in nature, idealistic, ideational and mixed cultures do much less environmental damage because they are largely intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic in character. As such, they strike a much better balance between material and non-material needs.

Situating culture and cultures effectively in the historical environment is also essential. In terms of culture, this means protecting the legacy of artifacts, ideals, architectural monuments, beliefs and traditions that has been built up over centuries. This legacy provides the bonds and links that are necessary between past, present and future generations, and therefore the past, the present and the future. Without this, people and countries will not be able to learn from the past, maintain their identities and diversities, and protect their cherished ways of life. In terms of cultures, it means coming to grips with the cultural baggage that people pass on from generation to generation and century to century. This is particularly important when this baggage is negative, since it creates numerous hostilities and resentments.

Viewed from this perspective, the truth and reconciliation initiatives that have been taken in recent years – such as the truth and reconciliation commission established by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa – offer a ray of hope for the future. For they indicate a willingness on the part of specific groups of people and particular countries – as well as institutions like the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican – to admit the wrongs of the past and seek forgiveness in the future. And what is true for the truth and reconciliation initiatives is equally true for many other developments throughout the world. Many countries in North, Central and South America, as well as Australia and New Zealand, are attempting to right the wrongs that have been done to the aboriginal peoples of the world. Whether it is the Maoris in New Zealand, the aboriginals in Australia, the First Nations in Canada, the Native peoples in the United States, or the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central and South America, efforts to resolve aboriginal land claims, provide greater control over indigenous ways of life, preserve distinctive traditions and identities, and ensure self-government represent important steps towards ensuring that cultures are situated properly in the historical environment or time.

If it is essential to situate culture and cultures effectively in the natural and historical environment, it is equally essential to situate them effectively in the global environment. As recent developments indicate – and indicate convincingly – many more bonds, links and connections will have to be established between the diverse races, peoples, countries, cultures and civilizations of the world if peace and harmony are to be achieved in the future. This will not be possible without a dramatic increase in international cultural relations, as well as many more opportunities for intercultural communication and exchange. For these are the real keys to solidarity, friendship and understanding in the world of the future.

NEW MEANINGS AND MEASURES OF WEALTH

If the cultural model of development is to play the role visualized for it here, it will have to lead to new meanings and measures of wealth. Without this, it will not be possible to reduce the demands human beings are making on the natural environment and nature’s scarce resource legacy.

At present, wealth is defined in material, monetary and financial terms. To be wealthy is to be a person who possesses a great deal of money, income and material possessions. However, as more and more people are discovering throughout the world, this is not a guarantee of happiness and fulfillment in life. Perhaps this is why there is a great deal of talk of “cultural creatives” these days. These are people who are turned off consumption, consumerism and materialism and are searching for more contentment, creativity and meaning in life.

The cultural community has a valuable contribution to make here by pioneering new meanings and measures of wealth. When culture is defined in the all-encompassing, holistic sense, wealth is qualitative as well as quantitative, spiritual as well as material. Wealth in this sense means possessing the ability to achieve a harmonious balance between all the diverse factors and forces that constitute life. It should never be forgotten in this regard that it was a cultural scholar, Matthew Arnold, who talk about the need to develop and educate “the whole person.”

If new meanings of wealth are required, so are new measures of wealth. This is especially important in the collective, public sense, since communities, regions and countries in all parts of the world are engaged in attempts to measure municipal, regional and national wealth and compare this wealth with others.

The key to developing new measures of wealth lies in creating a set of comprehensive cultural indicators that can measure wealth in qualitative and quantitative terms. In the creation of these indicators, three initiatives are essential. First, indicators from a variety of fields – the arts, sciences, humanities, education, the environment, social affairs, religion, health, politics, economics, technology, business and commerce – should be brought together and compared. This is largely an eclectic exercise, since most of these indicators already exist. Second, the best indicators from each field should be selected for inclusion in the final set of indicators. This is largely an evaluation exercise, since a detailed assessment must be made of the effectiveness of the indicators in every field. Finally, the resulting indicators should be refined in order to ensure that they are the best indicators possible. This is primarily an elaboration exercise, since it necessitates refinement of each indicator to maximize its effectiveness.

While it will take time to develop this set of comprehensive cultural indicators, included among the most essential, in addition to others, are: environmental indicators such as the quality of water and air and levels of toxicity and waste; health indicators such as longevity, the availability of health care services, disease control and prevention and substance abuse; social indicators such as welfare assistance, participation in community, regional and national development, and levels of violence and crime; educational indicators such as student to teachers ratios, access to elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, students drop out rates and debt loads; recreational indicators such as the availability of parks, conservation areas and leisure-time activities; economic indicators such as the availability of jobs and access to income opportunities; and aesthetic, political and spiritual indicators such as the quantity and quality of artistic offerings, involvement in aesthetic events, stability of political systems, provision of security measures, and diversity of religious and spiritual undertakings. While some of these indicators are difficult to measure because they are more qualitative than quantitative in nature – and therefore less prone to concrete forms of measurement compared to economic, industrial and commercial indicators – they must be included in the final set of indicators if wealth is to be measured, defined and evaluated in the comprehensive, cultural sense.(10)

A great deal of collaboration will be required among policy-makers, planners, statisticians and scholars from a variety of fields, disciplines and professions if this set of comprehensive cultural indicators is to be developed in fact. A great deal of collaboration will also be required on the part of institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Economic Forum and UNESCO, since these institutions play a pivotal role in the creation, use and comparison of indicators throughout the world. The role of UNESCO could be paramount in all this, given the fact that it is the principal cultural institution in the world. Not only has it commenced publication of a World Culture Report devoted to analyzing major cultural developments throughout the world, but also it is in an ideal position to bring together the multidisciplinary teams and technical experts that are needed to ensure that the proposed set of indicators is capable of evaluating wealth from a comprehensive, cultural perspective rather than limited, economic perspective.

THE NECESSITY OF CULTURAL EDUCATION

It is impossible to talk about new meanings and measures of wealth without talking about wealth in an even more fundamental sense. When John Keats, the English poet, commenced one of his most famous poems with the words “Much have I travelled in the realms of gold/ and many goodly states and kingdoms seen,” it was not wealth in the material, monetary or financial sense he had in mind. Nor was it wealth in the quantitative-qualitative sense. Rather, it was wealth in the sense of the greatest cultural accomplishments of all peoples and countries and the entire cultural heritage of humankind.

We must open the doors to this much more profound understanding of wealth if diversity and sustainable development are to be assured in the future. There are two principal reasons for this. First, it is necessary to provide all people in the world with opportunities to learn about the cultural accomplishments of others. Second, it is necessary to prevent an impending disaster. As Lester Pearson, former President of the General Assembly of the United Nations and Prime Minster of Canada, said, “humans live in an age when different civilizations will have to learn to live side by side in peaceful interchange, learning from each other, studying each other’s history and ideals and art and culture, mutually enriching each other’s lives. The alternative, in this overcrowded little world, is misunderstanding, tension, chaos and catastrophe.(11)

Viewed from this perspective, the fact that very few schools in the world provide opportunities to teach and learn about the culture, cultures and civilizations must be viewed as a cause for concern. Where such opportunities do exist, they tend to be extracurricular rather than curricular activities. This limits the study of culture, cultures and civilizations to the recognition of ethnic holidays, the preparation of diverse foods, and the presentation of multicultural events. As valuable as these activities are, they are no substitute for cultural education in the intensive and comprehensive sense. This type of education must be capable of examining culture, cultures and civilizations in depth, exposing the strengths and shortcomings of different cultures and civilizations, and shedding light on the reasons for racism, intolerance, violence, terrorism and hate.

In order to do this, there must be opportunities for people to learn about culture, cultures and civilizations in the formal educational system from the earliest years of childhood to the latest years of adulthood.(12) Not only will this increase knowledge, awareness and understanding of cultural differences – and therefore worldviews, values, value systems and ways of life that are different from one’s own – but also it will increase the potential for a great deal more harmony, stability and tolerance in the world.

A CULTURAL APPROACH TO LIFE

We have been examining some of the actions and initiatives that are required to preserve diversity and achieve sustainable development in the future.

Some of these actions and initiatives – such as creating technologies that conserve resources, evolving an international instrument to protect cultural works and workers, finalizing a universal convention on cultural diversity, and promoting activities that reduce the demands on the natural environment and scarce renewable and non-renewable resources – are very specific and practical in nature. Others are more general and theoretical, such as the need to assert the centrality of culture and cultures, project culture out from the centre, formulate and implement a cultural model of development, create new meanings and measures of wealth, and provide cultural education in the schools.

If there is one point where all these actions and initiatives converge and come to rest, it is in the cultural approach to life. We can call this anything we like – cultural citizenship, deep culture, a cultural renaissance, entrance into a cultural age, or the necessity of designing and developing our communities, regions and countries as cultures and works of arts. But it all boils down to one thing in the end. It boils down to seeing life, living and development from a cultural perspective. When this happens, diversity and sustainable development are no longer contemporary concerns, but rather permanent realities.

NOTES

1. This changed dramatically with the publication of the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. See: The World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987)

.2. D. Paul Schafer, Revolution or Renaissance?: Making the Transition from an Economic Age to a Cultural Age (Unpublished book manuscript, 2003).

3. I am grateful to Walter Pitman, past Chairman of Energy Probe and Project Ploughshares – Canada, for his valuable contributions to this paper.

4. Information on the Draft Convention on Cultural Diversity is available from the International Network for Cultural Diversity at 804-130 Albert Street, Ottawa, Canada, K1P 5G4 or at http://www.incd.net.

5. See, for example: Biserka Cvjeticanin, Editor, The Mediterranean: Cultural Identity and Intercultural Dialogue (Zagreb: Institute for International Relations, Europe House Zagreb, 1999); Nada Svob-Dokic, Editor, Redefining Cultural Identities: The Multicultural Contexts of the Central European and Mediterranean Regions (Zagreb: Institute for International Relations, Royaumont Process, 2001); and Nada Svob-Dokic, Editor, Redefining Cultural Identities: Southeastern Europe (Zagreb: Institute for International Relations, 2001).

6. Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Volume I, Introduction by Benjamin Nelson and Charles Trinkaus (New York: Harper and Brothers: Harper Torchbook/The Academy Library, 1958), p. 229.

7. Karl J. Weintraub, Visions of Culture: Voltaire, Guizot, Burckhardt, Lamprecht, Huizinga, Ortega y Gasset (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), p. 216.

8. Augustin Girard, Cultural Development: experience and policies (Paris: UNESCO, 1972), p. 142.

9. Pitirim Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics: A Study of Change in Major Systems of Art, Truth, Ethics, Law and Social Relationships (Boston: Extending Horizons Books – Porter Sargent Publisher, 1957), pp. 2-66.

10. See: Colin Mercer, Towards Cultural Citizenship: Tools for Cultural Policy and Development (Hedemora, Sweden: The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and Sida & Gidlunds Förlag, 2002); Alvin Toffler, “The Art of Measuring the Arts,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Annals 369-374. (Washington: American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 1967); and Tony Bennett, Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity: mapping the policy domain (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2001).

11. Kurt Peacock, “Pearson’s skills needed today, Toronto Star, Tuesday, February 18, 2003, p. A24.

12. D. Paul Schafer, “Culture and Cultures: Key Learning Requirements for the Future,” www.creatinglearningcommunities.org (click on New Chapters).

Norman Solomon
  • Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
  • George Orwell Award Winner for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty & Clarity in Public Language
  • Internationally Acclaimed Author

 

WAR, SOCIAL JUSTICE, MEDIA & DEMOCRACY
 

For me and the grassroots activists who I work with every day in the United States, many events have caused us to feel discouraged during the last few years. But I have often remembered words that I heard in early 2001 at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. Speaking there, Eduardo Galeano mentioned a statement that he saw written on a wall on a street in a South American city. The statement said: “Let’s save pessimism for better times.”

To people on this planet who are striving to overcome the destructive priorities of neoliberalism, the transition that has occurred in Brazil this year offers hope. We see in the present day that the struggles of millions of people, for years and decades, can bring uplifting changes that once seemed very unlikely or even impossible.

But in the United States – and for the people elsewhere in the world who have been in the main line of fire of U.S. policies – the times have gotten worse in recent years. I live in California, a state where a bad actor can become governor. And I live in a country where the presidents are bad actors. In Washington, the job description for presidents is to act like humanitarians while functioning as world-class exploiters and thugs.

Ten months ago, I visited Baghdad while accompanying Denis Halliday, the former United Nations assistant secretary general who had been director of the UN’s “oil for food” program in Iraq. I felt in January that I was at the scene of a crime against humanity – a crime that had not yet occurred, but that was being proudly proclaimed on the agenda of the leaders of the U.S. and British governments.

Before the launching of cruise missiles and two-thousand pound bombs against Baghdad and other heavily populated urban areas, before the “cluster munitions” that would be scattered across cities and towns in Iraq, before the depleted uranium shells that would be fired with the subsidies of U.S. taxpayers – before the all-out unleashing of the Pentagon’s lucrative firepower – there were the weapons of mass deception.

In the cross-hairs of these weapons of mass deception were any people who could perhaps be persuaded to be gullible. The propaganda armaments were endless phony claims about seeking diplomatic solutions. The propaganda armaments were speeches at the United Nations where President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell fervently presented false claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda. But most of all, the arsenals of propaganda – enabling the war on Iraq to proceed – were the news media.

And in many ways, the most powerful technique of deception continues to be silence about truth.

In the United States, very few prominent journalists are willing to mention that President Bush has the blood of many Iraqi children on his hands after launching an aggressive war in violation of the U.N. Charter and the Nuremberg principles established more than half a century ago.

Anti-democratic news media are hostile to history. And so, the same propaganda machinery says little about the suffering that results from the class war constantly waged by the wealthy – and avoids telling much about the human consequences of militarism.

The writer Mark Twain once said that “None but the dead are permitted to speak truth.” And often that seems literally to be the case.

In the United States, certain vital statements by Twain – who’s often considered to be the nation’s greatest writer – are excluded from corporatized media culture. A hundred years ago, he wrote: “Who are the oppressors? The few: the king, the capitalist and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread that the soft-handed and idle eat.” He wrote: “Why is it right that there is not a fairer division of the spoil all around? Because laws and constitutions have ordered otherwise. Then it follows that laws and constitutions should change around and say there shall be a more nearly equal division.” And he wrote: “I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.”

In current times, for the government that is pleased to proclaim itself “the world’s only superpower,” the media bias that prepares the path for war must avoid certain inconvenient realities of history. One of those realities, for the U.S. media, has been the profound verdict rendered 58 years ago at trials in the German city of Nuremberg. Despite such deafening media silences this year, the fact remains that judgments at Nuremberg and precepts of international law forbid launching an aggressive war – an apt description of what the U.S. government inflicted on Iraqi people in the spring of 2003.

“We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it,”said Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson, a U.S. representative to Nuremberg at the International Conference on Military Trials at the close of World War II. He added that “no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.”

When a country – particularly “a democracy” – goes to war, the passive consent of the governed lubricates the machinery of slaughter. Silence is a key form of cooperation, but the war-making system does not insist on quietude or agreement. Mere passivity or self-restraint will suffice to keep the missiles flying, the bombs exploding and the faraway people dying.

We now face an emboldened regime in Washington which sees military actions as reliable solutions. To devote billions more dollars to weaponry while so many people are hungry and dying from preventable diseases is a sin and a crime.

No part of the world is spared the impacts. The excellent news agency Inter Press Service reported in late September that “levels of U.S. military aid to Latin America have more than tripled over the last five years.” The news agency added: “At a time when the region’s economies are stagnating or even shrinking, throwing millions more people into poverty, total U.S. military aid to Latin America now almost equals the amount of money Washington is devoting to social or economic development there.” The backing for the U.S. war on Iraq and the occupation of that country cannot be understood apart from the economic imperial designs known as “neoliberalism” and “globalization” – the eagerness to create optimum conditions for investment and maximally profitable trade arrangements.

Today – despite all that has been revealed and all the splits that have developed among U.S. elites about the occupation of Iraq – the media supporters of it include the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. We should consider what the esteemed journalist Friedman had to say in his 1999 book titled “The Lexus and the Olive Tree.” He wrote: “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

That declaration was written in a spirit of enthusiastic approval. The visions of hegemony – with their geopolitical, economic, cultural and media components – are driven by the specter of a kind of “united corporate states of the world” … a world in which the preeminent sovereignty belongs to the likes of American Express and Citicorp and McDonalds and Burger King and Monsanto. And Disney and CNN.

Seriously distorted reporting tells us that the leaders in Washington are eager to achieve peace. But this is true only in the context of subjugation. The U.S. government wants peace – on its own terms.

The man with a boot on another person’s neck may speak loudly of desiring peace. So does the Israeli government as it maintains a brutal and flagrantly illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, now in its 37th year.

As the Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz remarked two centuries ago: “A conqueror is always a lover of peace.”

The recent shooting down of a helicopter in Iraq resulted in the deaths of 16 members of the U.S. armed forces.

On Monday [November 3] the organization that I’m part of, the Institute for Public Accuracy based in the United States, released a statement from a California resident, Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar Navarro died in Iraq on March 27, a week after the start of the war. The bereaved father said: “These attacks are the tragic result of the illegal occupation of Iraq by the U.S. military. Our young people are exposed to death every day. They are wounded in faraway lands for the whims and lies of President Bush…. The military does all kinds of things to recruit Hispanics, African Americans and poor Anglos. How many children of congressmen or CEOs are in Iraq?”

But the U.S. news media cannot accept very much of such candor. The debates about policies are tactical, not fundamental. Certain perspectives – prevalent in elite circles and promoted by most government officials – are heard again and again. Other outlooks, questioning not only the strategic wisdom but also the moral basis of government policies, are heard only once in a while.

In the mass media, the power to include and exclude is the power to shape and manipulate public opinion. As dominant media corporations grow larger in size and fewer in number, the major means of mass communication are engaged in a “corporatization of consciousness.” And in times of war, there is often a parallel militarization of consciousness. In a country with democratic forms of government, this is what makes possible the manipulated consent of the governed for war based onlies.

Now, the occupation of Iraq is imposing new economic models of privatization for the benefit of U.S. corporate interests. This is neoliberalism at gunpoint. Iraq has an estimated 112 billion barrels of oil under the sand. The news media of the United States like to pretend that the oil there has little or nothing to do with the war and the occupation. But can anyone seriously believe that the U.S. government would have 130,000 troops in Iraq today if that country did not have a single drop of oil reserves?

Thirty-six years ago, the civil rights leader Martin Luther KingJr. identified the U.S. government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” That statement was accurate in 1967. And it is accurate in 2003. So, too, we are still living with the truth that Dr. King expressed as he said: “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”

The struggle over media and the flow of information – whether in the United States or Brazil or anywhere else – is inseparable from the battle for democracy. It is impossible for democratic participation to breathe freely while the heavy weight of capital sits on the windpipe of open expression and wide-ranging debate.

It is necessary but it is not enough to ensure freedom of speech. All people must also have the freedom to be heard. Otherwise, “free speech” can be – and often is – the freedom to speak to the walls. The major news outlets are like walls with cracks. Every day the confining structures of big media loom large. Yet we have countless opportunities to find, utilize and widen the cracks in the corporate media’s barriers to democratic communication. Meanwhile, we need to grow non-corporate media institutions capable of effectively promoting social change.

Steadily worsening concentrations of ownership and the hefty clout of advertising combine to severely limit the range of information and debate in news media. Ongoing pressures – economic, ideological and governmental – constrain the work of mainline journalists, whose efforts routinely suffer from skewed priorities and self-censorship. Self-censorship is a huge problem in our societies with freedom of the press. As George Orwell observed: “Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip.”

The profit-driven ideology of the “free market” is in sync with the agendas of top management and advertisers. The tilt against truly independent media and wide-ranging discourse is extreme when corporations are the owners who hire the managers who hire the journalists and producers. While no individual or single organization can take on more than a fraction of the necessary endeavors, the overall work to create a democratic media environment must run a wide gamut. Popular movements now face the imperative of struggling for democratic media.

Sustained efforts to challenge the corporate media and support independent media outlets can reinforce each other with continuous synergy – to establish, sustain and expand progressive movements’ media organizations; to spread deft criticism of rancid mass media; to push for better reporting and much wider debate in mainstream media; to fight for structural reform of government agencies so that the airwaves can be reclaimed by the public; to lambast, debunk and satirize the insidious junk that so often passes for journalism and cultural uplift.

In the long run, no campaign for basic media reform can succeed apart from broader social-justice movements – and vice versa. The degradation of journalism and mass entertainment is entwined with pervasive corporate power that severely damages virtually every facet of political and social life.

Media criticism becomes profoundly useful in combination with media activism. Too often we’ve held onto theories about what is and is not possible. But analysis and action become much more powerful when they constantly inform each other – when assessments shift due to on-the-ground experiences that benefit not only from the results of trial and error but also from insightful up-to-date analysis. We’ve discovered that it’s not nearly enough to put out a powerful expose or release a cogent analysis in a few print outlets or on some web pages or on a few radio stations – or to briefly surface in a large national media venue. Such achievements, while important, are insufficient. They need to draw strength from each other – while simultaneously finding ways to reach broader audiences, including via mass media, where there are cracks in the corporate walls.

Some journalism students are taught the noble theory that journalists should “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” But under corporate control, news media outlets are routinely engaged in comforting the already comfortable and afflicting the already afflicted. On an ongoing basis, major news outlets participate in class warfare, from the top down. And they often condemn those whoengage in class warfare from the bottom up.

In many countries, the routine is for the mass media – the daily newspapers, the biggest magazines, the radio and TV networks, the cable stations – to side with those who “have” against those who “have not.”

In the United States, every daily newspaper has a Business section. Not one has a Labor section. Apparently the dominant media assumption is that wealth creates all labor, instead of the other way around.

Popular movements urgently need to boost the resources and improve the coordination of their media work. It should be possible to attain the creative advantages of sharp analysis, institutional growth, coordinated planning and agile cooperation while encouraging a decentralized, democratic, grassroots approach to social action.

Right now the cracks in the media walls are much too thin and much too scarce. The long haul of our struggle involves bringing down the institutional barriers that, in effect, “soundproof” much of the media world and suppress the voices of those without privilege. Any campaign for media democratization will encounter massive opposition from those who own the big newspapers and large magazines and the radio and television networks. And they’re determined to also dominate the Internet as much as possible. The corporate media are committed not only to their exorbitant profits but also to propagandizing the society to accept an economic order based on fundamental injustice.

We can have corporate domination of media or we can have genuine democracy – but we cannot have both.

Under the ownership of enormous corporations, heavily influenced by the main sources of advertising revenue, often functioning in tandem with state power – the major media outlets cast a massive shadow over our lives, wherever we live.

Every day, when the voices of the rich and powerful dominate what is loudly broadcast and widely published, the media managers are doing what they’re paid to do.

But it is possible to create democratic media. Possible – and absolutely necessary.

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Selma Brackman
  • Founder and President of the War & Peace Foundation (United Nations NGO)
  • Board Member: The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
  • NGO Committee on Disarmament and The World Federalists
  • Trustee and Delegate for the World Constitution & Parliament Association
  • The Womens International League for Peace & Freedom
  • Editor, Lecturer & Author

Selma Brackman’s Open Letter


To Our International Leaders

Dear Friends:

H.G. Wells wrote: “history is a race between education and catastrophe”
 

Nuclear weapons are singularly the most atrocious weapons conceived in all of history. The United Nations has not been able to halt the nuclear arms race and for over thirty years, the nuclear powers have betrayed their commitments to get rid of their weapons. The uncontrolled activities of manufacturers of arms merchants for fifty years, continued trafficking of arms sales, the Pentagon pursuits of weapon sales, and both the United States and Russian accumulation of their unique stockpiles of weapons, all indicate an unremitting intention towards war.

Even worse, now Mr. Bush prepares to renew nuclear testing and intends to build some small new nuclear weapons to be used indiscriminately in future military encounters. Nelson Mandela in speaking of Mr. Bush declared him “a president who can’t think properly and wants to plunge the world into holocaust”.

It is therefore imperative at this point that a world without war become a unified vision. There is no such thing as national security when it comes to nuclear weapons, only global security.

The United Nations has accomplished marvelous things. It has not been successful in halting the nuclear arms race nor has it succeeded in it’s pledge “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The Rule of Law is the binding agreement of a civilized culture. It is as indispensable for men as for nations and is the only alternative to mass annihilation. It is large enough to accommodate all domestic and international needs.

In the face of current affairs, the United Nations seems helpless. The challenge of generating deep transformation for the human family must come from the activities of the people, not governments, not generals, not corporations, but non- governmental organizations of concerned planetary citizens; a United Nations People’s World Assembly. Simply put, to renounce war is the next stage in human evolution. Nuclear disarmament is a beginning, a necessary first step; it is also a palliative and not a complete solution. Only the absolute repudiation of war assures us of survival.

The ignorance and apathy of the vast majority of men and women world wide can only be overcome through education. We have allowed the major media, television, newspaper, radio, to renounce their essential responsibility to inform the people. And as a result they have been accomplices in the current slaughter. Profit is the first priority of our media and as a result the public is kept largely in the stone age.

Here are just a few key facts that the major media should be telling us…

The Trident fleet alone still carries over three thousand warheads. A single warhead could destroy a city with a million people. It is absurd to have this capacity on alert roaming the ocean.

There is no statesmen of international renown to challenge this absurdity

Only one dozen of the twenty thousand weapons on hair trigger alert are needed to end all of civilization forever.

Studies of the area surrounding Three Mile Island years after the meltdown, have shown a significant and startling increase of cancers and infant mortality rates.

The after-effects of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still, to this day, adversely effecting hundreds of thousands of people.

The peril of nuclear weapons is one that effects all of mankind and is an issue in which the interests of mankind are one, the human species as a whole and not to the advantage of this or that group

Albert Einstein said in enjoining people everywhere that: “no loyalty must override the survival of mankind. Everything in the world has changed. We must surrender loyalty to our flag, to our religion, to our friends, to our tribes, to our country, above all to our creed, to our race. All loyalty must be to the human race. Or all the piled up weapons will explode upon us.”

The awful prospect of the extermination of the human race to atomic war is so completely sobering that sane men recognize that war as an instrument of policy must end.

“The real threat to man’s future well-being and survival stems from the primitive state of political organization, not from differences in human knowledge. Only the evolution of supra-national institutions and arrangements can address global dilemmas of a crowded and finite world. Only the eclipse of state sovereignty can stem the tide of nuclear proliferation and prevent international competition from crossing the threshold with violent conflict and escalating global insanity.”

– Richard Barnett

Selma Brackman

Iden Wetherell
  • Editor – The Zimbabwe Independent
  • Winner of the 2002 World Press Review’s International Editor of the Year Award

Iden Wetherell’s Open Letter and Article


Zimbabwe’s tragic decline

Iden Wetherell

It is a fundamental tenet of any democracy that voters have the right to choose their leaders. The Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration, adopted in the Zimbabwean capital in 1991, refers to the inalienable right of citizens of member states to participate by means of free and democratic processes in framing the society in which they live.

That participation cannot be meaningful if voters are unable to make an informed choice. That in turn depends upon their ability to hear a diversity of views. In Zimbabwe the government in September closed down the country’s only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News. While a number of small weeklies have kept alight the torch of press freedom, the government of President Robert Mugabe has embarked on a concerted campaign to close what remains of democratic space. The gains of the 1990s, backed by a then-robust Supreme Court, have been steadily eroded. Draconian security legislation has made it an offence to cause disaffection against Mugabe’s regime while gatherings of more than two people deemed by the police to be political are forbidden without their consent.

Newspapers now have to be registered under a sweeping press law called the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. This requires all media organisations to be registered with a state-appointed Media Commission and makes it an offence for a newspaper to employ a journalist who is not accredited with the commission.

The Daily News chose to challenge the press law in the courts but was rebuffed by the Supreme Court which is now seen as susceptible to government manipulation following the forced resignation or retirement of many independent-minded judges. However, judges in lower courts can still be fiercely independent as the recent ruling compelling the Media Commission to register the Daily News clearly shows. It remains to be seen how the state will respond.

Despite examples of courageous individuals and civic groups standing up to Mugabe’s tyranny, with a muzzled media, a suborned police and an electoral system run by the army, Zimbabwe has moved from a relatively free society three years ago to a totalitarian state today whose main ally is Cuba which regularly locks up journalists.

Behind this drastic curtailment of civil liberties is a programme of land seizures which has transferred 11 million hectares of commercial farmland to the state. While the Supreme Court has given its endorsement to this often violent and arbitrary process, the law has in many cases been openly violated as have the rights of farmers who have seen their life’s work destroyed. An estimated 500 000 farm workers have been made homeless, livestock has been slaughtered and wildlife decimated. It is the only resettlement exercise in history where more people have been dispossessed than resettled.

As a result, agricultural production has fallen by an estimated 60 percent. From breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe has become a basket case. This means that a country which only three years ago was self-sufficient in food production is now dependent upon aid from the very countries it brands as “enemies”.

The United States and the European Union are the largest donors. Mugabe’s publicists claim that 300 000 families have been resettled on the acquired farms. But a report commissioned by the government in October revealed that only 134 000 households had in fact been given land. Many of the beneficiaries are senior politicians, judges, policemen and army officers. Journalists in the state-owned media have also benefited.

Mugabe is unapologetic about the land grab. White commercial farmers had supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in rejecting the government’s constitutional proposals in February 2000, he told the South African Broadcasting Corporation earlier this year. Therefore they became the target of “spontaneous” demonstrations by war veterans. The latest land audit confirms that political vengeance was the motive in government pursuing what it calls “fast-track” land reform.

“One of the main factors identified for prompting government to undertake this course of action,” the report of the land audit states, “is the rejection of the draft constitution in 2000 through the efforts of British-backed political opponents.”

In other words Zimbabweans of all colours have been punished with land confiscation and starvation for supporting the party of their choice. Meanwhile, Mugabe’s Zanu-PF militias stalk the land unrestrained visiting violence upon their political opponents. In the Midlands town of Kwekwe recently MDC candidates were prevented from registering in a municipal poll by a gang of ruling-party thugs. As a result the MDC is unrepresented on the council of a town where it has considerable support and where its then virtually unknown MP defeated a senior minister in the 2000 parliamentary election.

Nothing could more forcefully contradict the terms of the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration than this crude denial of democratic rights. Yet South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has been leading a campaign to have Zimbabwe’ s suspension from the “Club” lifted. The suspension followed the report of a Commonwealth team of observers which found Mugabe’s reelection in March 2002 to be seriously flawed. Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo, after visiting Harare with Mbeki earlier this year, was persuaded to write to premier John Howard of Australia saying law and order had been restored in Zimbabwe. He gave as an example a police investigation into the torture of a prominent opposition MP by police.

Not only has that investigation been stalled but in mid-October a lawyer who had defended journalists in court cases was severely assaulted by police at a police station after she was the victim of a car hijacking. Police still haven’t found the individuals who bombed the Daily News’ printing press in 2001, nor have they made any arrests of the army personnel who abducted and tortured two journalists in 1999. The killers of commercial farmers continue to walk free as do the assassins of two MDC activists in the 2000 election campaign. A state security agent named in court in connection with the killing of the activists is responsible for directing a campaign of terror in Chimanimani, in the east of the country.

It is said that the media attention Zimbabwe has received abroad can in part be ascribed to ties of kith and kin in Britain, South Africa and Australia. While this may be partly true, a more likely explanation would be the horror felt in many parts of the world at the way a once successful and relatively prosperous country enjoying many of the freedoms found in democracies elsewhere was transformed into a violent dictatorship where corruption and lawlessness prevailed, forcing its brightest and most talented citizens into exile.

Zimbabwe today is infinitely poorer in terms of per capita GDP than it was at independence in 1980, or even in 1975 at the height of international sanctions and the bush war. Its decline – and with it the destruction of its rich wildlife and other natural resources – is one of the great tragedies of modern Africa.

Progressive nations are understandably horrified. The lesson is obvious: democracy can never be taken for granted. It has to be defended against populist demagogues claiming a national mandate and the mantle of history. Their pretensions need to be exposed and resisted before they impoverish the people they claim to champion. While leaders, such as those in southern Africa who have excused and even endorsed the misrule currently blighting Zimbabwe, are also partly to blame, history may be equally unforgiving of those who stand by and watch.

(Iden Wetherell is the editor of the Zimbabwe Independent. He was the winner of the 2002 World Press Review’s International Editor of the Year Award.)

Dr Roger Nelson

Dr. Roger Nelson’s professional degrees are in experimental cognitive psychology, with a special focus on the lesser known aspects of perception. His primary work in design and analysis is supplemented by a background in physics, statistical methods, and multi-media production. Until his retirement in 2002, he served as the coordinator of experimental work in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab, directed by Robert Jahn in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering/Applied Science, Princeton University. He remains connected with PEAR, but gives most of his time to the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), which he directs. His work was recently profiled in TIME magazine.