Today is Earth Day, the day that we who are human beings ostensibly take the time to remember that there is only ONE planet that sustains us, nurtures, us, and provides for us, all while being a beautiful, perfect closed system. The area from the ocean floor up to the sky is known as the biosphere because that is where life happens. From extremophiles that live next to steaming vents near the deepest places in the sea to the birds of prey that soar high above us on currents of air, all life on Earth happens within this biological sphere. We are responsible for maintaining it since we are the species that has the most power to alter the system and in our shortsightedness we have altered it in ways that are truly adverse to human kind and too multitudinous other beings whose aliveness is no less important than our own. We know that human beings require adequate food, clean water, clothing, and shelter from the elements in order to survive yet many of us, especially those of us in richer nations, all too often forget to keep our neighbors in the so called “third world” or “developing world” in mind while we mindlessly consume resources or participate in ways of being that are destructive to life and create “US versus THEM” scenarios. Our actions lead to us using far more than our share of the planet’s limited resources and create a cancerous effect upon the planet with the detritus of our lives. In light of this knowledge I have a modest proposal that if implemented will create a more just, equal, and sustainable world for all of us.
This proposal contains several elements. The first of these elements is to use the universal maxim that in the Christian world is known as the Golden Rule- to do unto others as we would have them do to us. It is universal because it is found in every major spiritual tradition. This rule should be the litmus test for our behavior in big and small ways and should inform our decisions about everything from the things we buy to our interpersonal interactions. If for example we realize that the clothing we buy is from a sweatshop and that we ourselves would dread, loathe, and rebel against working in such a place for far less than a living wage, then we would be compelled to cease and desist from supporting a system that perpetuates those sweat shop conditions. Further elements of this proposal are tied in with the Golden Rule. See if you can wrap your head around just how I have come to that conclusion.
In honor of Earth day, I propose the following:
- Cease all extractive industrial practices that create pollution in our major biosphere systems, i.e. soil, air, water. This would mean an immediate ban on fracking, mountain top removal mining, off shore drilling, and the creation of new sites for fossil fuel extraction. Leave it in the ground. We simply cannot afford to keep burning them and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
- Shift immediately to smaller scale organic agriculture as recommended by the United Nations. Ban GMO crops that are created to resist RoundUp (glyphosate) because RoundUp kills soil life. Healthy soil is imperative for not only growing healthful foods to eat. It is also an important place to store carbon from the atmosphere and we need to radically reduce the carbon now in the atmosphere, which stands at approximately 400 parts per million. While 400 p.p.pm. may seem small, we need to be at 350 p.p.m. to maintain a stable climate.
- Raise the driving age to a minimum of 21 years of age globally. Fewer cars on the road will lead to less emissions, fewer accidents, and less resources being used.
- Ban air travel and personal automobile travel for a minimum of one day per week globally.
- Decommission all nuclear power plants world wide. Using a radioactive, toxic substance to boil water is monumentally stupid.
- Implement a basic living wage for all people. There is literally no reason that anyone, anywhere should be living in abject poverty without food, water, shelter and clothing.
- Drastically shrink military spending and offer members of the military a chance to leave the military early, with retraining. Use the members who stay for public works, disaster relief, and similar types of projects.
- Ban all fossil fuel based plastic and replace it with plant based, biodegradable plastic and or wooden products.
- Engage in a massive global reforestation and afforestation effort with species suitable to bioregions taking climate change into account when selecting species.
- Make music, arts, gardening and ecology mandatory parts of education from early childhood through high school.
- Immediately remove climate deniers from positions of leadership and political power. They are being willfully obtuse in the name of profit and putting billions of people at risk as a result.
- Make permaculture design and regenerative agriculture public policy.
- Ban nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
- Inculcate a respect for diversity and for the Earth in kids as well as adults.
- Fundamentally alter our daily lives in order to be more sustainable, regenerative and fair to all humanity
- Practice Creation Care, Neighbor Care, and Future Care.