SAVING PLANET EARTH
Introduction by Paula Peterson
"The world of tomorrow is not foreordained to be either good or bad...rather it will be what we make it."
- John McConnell
IN HONOR OF JOHN McCONNELL -
CREATOR and FOUNDER OF EARTH DAY - PASSED FROM THIS WORLD OCTOBER 20, 2012 AT AGE 97
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When was the last time you played in the great outdoors? When was the last time you hiked through remote wilderness areas and re-connected with the beauty and authenticity of nature?
Some of you may be scratching your heads and wondering why anyone would do such a thing when you can sit in the warmth and comfort of your living room, turn on the tv and watch "NATURE" on the local PBS station.
The wilds of nature are good for the soul. It calls forth our own wildness and beckons us to slow down, relax and play. The mountains, the meadows, the woods, the rivers, the oceans - these are places that offer much healing for the woes of humanity.
There was a time on earth when nature spirits were greatly honored and there were many "gods" ... not just one ... and they were all important. In some remote cultures, honoring the many "spirit powers" of nature is still a regular practice in the 21st century. It may sound like paganism, but there were actually some very good things about paganism. In fact, paganism was considered to be a "sin" only when religion became organized under one power more than a thousand years ago and paganism was then seen to be a threat to that power.
The original meaning of the term "pagan" simply meant "country dweller." To be a pagan was to be a man,woman or child who lived close to the land and abided by and honored the rhythms of the natural world. To be a pagan was to respect the earth and all of life as sacred. It was a life-style that acknowledged a living earth and the spirit that presided throughout all the living kingdoms on this planet.
To disrupt the natural rhythms of nature - in animals, plants and in the elements of earth, air and water - was to disrespect the powers of spirit and terrible retribution could result. Humanity was - and still is - undeniably interwoven within the web of life on this planet. And since we have - as a whole - consistently dis-respected and damaged that web for hundreds of years, we have set ourselves up for the consequences.
We have finally come to a place where the human population has grown so huge that we are greatly impacting the natural state of our world like no other time in the history of our planet. Its been estimated that around a mere 300 million inhabitants lived on this planet only two-thousand years ago. That's roughly the current population for the United States alone. Presently, we are rapidly approaching 6 billion inhabitants world wide with a projected 9 billion in about 50 years. We surpassed this planets ability to effortlessly sustain its occupants a long time ago.
That is why there is an increasing movement to gain public attention regarding our ecological and environmental situation: global warming, contaminated soils, polluted air, unclean water, over-chemicalization and over-processing of our foods .... so on and so forth ... because it has finally reached critical proportions.
I've been involved in the "health movement" since the late 70's and a teacher of nutrition for more than 15 years. The "health movement" included the health of Earth's environment... and the warnings regarding environmental imbalances and poor ecological policies were apparent even way back then. However, the few that were issuing the warnings in the 60's and 70's were seen as crackpots, kooks and eccentric health-nuts. Only those who persisted with their viewpoints, harmonized themselves with the earth and adopted a more natural and back-to-basics life-style could see the growing trend and the looming disasters to come.
Now we hear or read about it in the news almost every day: the state of the world environment and how it is, indeed, affecting every one no matter how rich or poor you are and no matter where you live.
Many of you are familiar with Earth Day - a special celebration that was first conceived and popularized by John McConnell ... who was still an amazingly vibrant man of 89 when I spoke with John about writing this article. For decades, John persistently worked hard to bring worldwide public awareness to the critical importance of protecting and honoring our planet by celebrating EARTH DAY – and to make it a universal holiday that acknowledges the natural wonders of our planet.
Among McConnell's many noble accomplishments are :
EARTH FLAG - Designed by John after seeing the first satellite photo of Earth in Life Magazine. The flag continues to be used around the world to show support of efforts to help people and planet. In 1975 the Earth Flag was flown at the South Pole. The Earth Flag is flown each year at the United Nations on Earth Day.
EARTH DAY and the EARTH DAY PROCLAMATION - In working to elevate individual and international support for stewardship of Earth, at the 1969 National UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, Mr. McConnell proposed an Earth Day -- to celebrate Earth's life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends.
John contacted me in response to a newsletter I had sent out entitled "Code of the Earth". He liked my article and suggested we find a way to link our efforts. He inspired me to the point of creating a webpage on my website that displays the " 77 Theses on the Care of the Earth" - written by John - as a powerful guideline that is important for all of us.
Regardless of how you feel about ecological and environmental issues ... the "77 Theses on the Care of the Earth" is worth knowing about. If you only practice one of these ideas, it can make a big difference to our future. Remember that many of the simplest choices you make throughout the day (like purchasing products, fuel, foods, clothing, etc. and using resources) do impact others on this planet.
Namaste' ~ Paula Peterson
THE 77 THESES
ON THE CARE OF THE EARTH
by John McConnell
PROLOGUE - Earth Trusteeship
The 77 THESES are especially designed for any one who cares about our earth and who seeks an ecology, economics and ethics that foster peaceful progress on our planet. Such a person is automatically an Earth Trustee and may think of themselves as such.
Earth's rejuvenation can best be realized by individuals and small groups of people who make their own special commitment to care for the Earth - and at the same time - affirm a common world-view about the protection and care of Earth which they share with other Earth Trustees: a view and commitment which hopefully will soon spread to include all - or nearly all - of Earth's people.
The Earth Trustee concept can provide the measure of unity in our diversity needed for achieving Earth's rejuvenation. A useful analogy is the way each cell in the body has its specific task, but has within it the genetic code - or pattern - for the whole body.
The challenge is in determining which items in the Earth Trustee world-view that can be accepted and shared voluntarily by people of every clime and culture, of every ideology, religious belief and temperament.
The 77 THESES can obtain general support for a broad Earth Trustee world-view as a common template that most can approve. Earth Trustees will recognize their independence and points of difference: however, the purpose they will share in common is the care of Earth.
1. RECOGNIZING: That ignorance and neglect of our planet, combined with the folly of international rivalries, has now endangered all life on Earth;
2. That our planet's life is threatened by policies and actions that cause massive pollution of air, water and soil and dangers of chemical, biological and nuclear disaster;
3. That mutual trust is necessary in order to counter these threats;
4. That only by open communication and joint action, for a great common good, can mutual trust develop;
5. That the one thing we have in common is our planet ;
CAMPAIGN FOR EARTH
6. That a campaign for the care of Earth will create relationships leading to mutual trust and ultimately to reciprocal disarmament and stable peace;
7. That in pursuing peace it is important to identify and emphasize vital matters and the extent and nature of our accord, and to build on this accord;
8. That peaceful actions beget peace;
9. That in a world of instant global communications a strong, informed public opinion in all nation's dedicated to peace and care of Earth, could become the greatest deterrent to war and to local violence;
10. That the greatest challenge in history is the present challenge of destiny involving all humanity; a challenge to reclaim the Earth for all peoples and to free them from the fear of war and want;
11. That accepting this challenge will bring the measure of trust needed to achieve these goals
WHOLEHEARTED DEDICATION NEEDED
12. That the peaceful care of our planet cannot be accomplished through half-hearted or insincere efforts, but will require the dedication of all humanity;
13. That in seeking the basic change in the conduct of governments and their peoples, we acknowledge the failures of all previous efforts to achieve a peaceful world;
14. That investments worldwide in instruments of destruction endangers the human race;
15. That excessive destruction of trees, vegetation, and wildlife, from ancient times to the present, has decimated or destroyed numerous species and degraded Earth's potential for nurturing life, and that the current acceleration of this process will bring global catastrophe if it is not soon brought to a halt;
HUMANITY'S SPACE AGE CHOICE
16. That world peace requires a basic long-term commitment to change attitudes and conduct, and to develop structures and programs that will foster peaceful progress in the care of Earth and in our relationships with each other;
17. That new factors in the quest for peace are Space Age global awareness and deep concern everywhere that something must be done;
18. That we owe to untold generations in our past and future a firm decision for peace and care of Earth;
19. That it is time for humanity to take charge and take care of their planet;
NURTURE OF EARTH
20. That the campaign for Earth requires ideas and attitudes conducive to the nurture and care of Earth;
21. That loyalty to community, bioregion, and planet is essential for the healing of our planet and people;
22. That a patriotism embracing people and planet as well as nations is necessary now;
23. That loyalty to our planet will not hurt, but instead will help our lesser loyalties;
ALLEGIANCE TO EARTH
24. That while national governments use police force to coerce allegiance when needed, their long-term strength depends on voluntary support by their citizens;
25. That loyalty to our planet can best be achieved through voluntary efforts to understand its life systems and processes, and then with love for our planet to help nurture and sustain the amazing web of life that covers our globe;
26. That global communication and education to foster Earth's care can provide the measure of enlightenment needed to justify and assert the authority of humanity in the management and care of Earth;
GLOBAL COMMUNITY of CONSCIENCE
27. That voluntary support of Earth care and person-to-person communication about Earth care can provide a global communication of conscience dedicated to Earth's protection. This will bring inner peace and global peace;
28. That constraints and requirements for Earth care will then permeate society and provide our global conscience with moral authority and influence greater than that of national governments;
29. That as we develop a strong community commitment of individuals and governments to the care of Earth and to one another, and are aided by world public opinion filled with hope instead of fear, we will establish peaceful relationships and make any war unthinkable and impossible;
30. That the management and care of Earth by the people of Earth can only be achieved by their willing support;
31. That the willing support of people throughout our world can only be obtained by providing, equitable, fair benefits in return for their services;
32. That it is necessary to determine the rights and responsibility of individuals in the care of Earth;
RIGHTS TO THE USE OF EARTH
33. That religions teach, and philosophers aver that the Earth is for all people. The Psalms state, "The Earth hath He given to the children of men";
34. That, whether considered the gift of God, or the bounty of Nature, every individual has an equal claim, or right to Earth's natural bounty; to a portion or benefit from their share of Earth's land, raw materials and natural resources;
35. That every country should provide a free homestead for each family that lacks one, or the means to obtain one. Every person who wishes to receive this basic inheritance in their planet should be given a secure habitable shelter, or be provided the purchasing capacity or land and materials;
FAIR BENEFITS FROM EARTH
36. That expenses of government and public needs they serve can best be met by land use fees, or single tax, based on the value of the land (not on improvements or labor);
37. That every individual, regardless of circumstances or lack of resources, should be assured an opportunity for basic nutritious food, or practical means for procuring it;
38. That raw materials - oil, coal, minerals - are the inheritance of all Earth's people. As they are mined, sold, or used, at least 2 percent of their value should be equally distributed as royalties to everyone. These unearned assets in the ground, the inheritance of all Earth's people, should be carefully mined, conserved and recycled by the owners or managers, and used by consumers in ways that will increase the Earth's natural bounty and benefit Earth's people;
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CARE OF EARTH
39. That rights to the bounty of Earth must be equaled by responsibility for its care;
40. That every individual should be taught from childhood the requirements for Earth care by instruction and experience in caring for gardens, animals, and birds. Later instruction should include Earth Care criteria and guidelines for land use, manufacturing, recycling, energy, design of homes and communities with sustainable goals in population and development; preservation of wildlife and wilderness areas, ways to diminish pollution of air, soil and water;
MONEY AND TRADE
41. That equitable trade and development requires a fair honest medium of exchange;
42. That money should not be a product, controlled by special interests and sold to the highest bidder, but instead should be a free medium of exchange, based on things to be exchanged, and made available through collateral loans in percentages needed to facilitate trade and exchange without inflation;
43. That amply secured loans should not require payment of interest, only the cost of paper work. Usury (interest) is condemned by major religions. It can cause inflation and results in unearned and unnecessary income by manipulators;
44. That in high risk loans to individuals or firms, security provided by the borrower should be of equal value to money provided by the bank. And both should share equally in any losses or profits; In this case money is actually an investment instead of a loan;
PRODUCERS AND CONSUMERS
45. That control of capital should be widely dispersed and prevented from being used to take unfair advantages of individuals or corporations with legitimate need for money;
46. That public disclosure should be required in the management of any business or the sale of any stock setting forth the company's adherence to Earth Care criteria:
Such as what is being done to avoid pollution in production and use of products or services; energy efficiency; design for easy repair, service and recycling of products; fair wages and benefits to employees. Reports of standards adopted and adherence should be provided by appropriate independent authorities;
47. That leaders in church, state and entertainment should urge support of Earth Trustee efforts and provide examples of an Earth Trustee conscience in investments, purchases and life style;
48. That individuals who invest for greatest profit with no regard for how the money is made - bombs for poor misguided countries, production lacking environmental safeguards, unfair poverty wages for employees - should be made aware of the harm they are causing. Companies responsible for such Earth Kill practices should be exposed, penalized and their products shunned until they convert to Earth Trustee conduct;
49. That the media should be the guardian of the public's long-term interest and could serve this purpose by exposing gross Earth Kill examples, and by headlining Earth Trustee solutions and programs;
GREED AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
50. That a major cause of injustice, of crimes against Nature and people, is the way we have accepted and institutionalized greed, particularly greed for private profit from the land and natural resources of the Earth;
51. That most successes in selling products is presently achieved by advertising and promotion that increases greed, lust and vanity. Subtle motivational techniques are used to deceive and corrupt and thereby make greater profits: For example, in the promotion and sale of cigarettes;
52. That to attain a viable Earth Trustee future it is essential that designers, inventors, planners, producers, and consumers - and advertising executives, all learn the necessity of Earth Trustee constraints. A massive educational program in schools, churches and voluntary agencies is needed to expose Earth Kill kinds of promotion and products and instead promote public awareness of Earth Trustee values and choices;
53. That an Earth Trustee curriculum in schools is urgently needed. Earth Trustee studies can provide the best unifying purpose for education;
54. That it is essential for children to learn more about the wonders of Earth and that our generation can become trustees, custodians and caretakers of our beautiful planet;
55. That to accomplish these goals effective use must be made of every means of communication - print, fax, radio, TV, telephone, satellite, computer networks;
56. That the general knowledge about how the world works should be constantly presented by media - in news and special programs. For example, the role of light, soil, water, air and living organisms in nurturing the thin skin of life that covers our globe; the diversity of plants, trees, animals, birds, insects - all necessary to the delicate balance of life-giving nutrients on our planet;
57. That technology must be used to foster Earth's care. The present mindless use of technology in ways that poison, pollute and disrupt Nature's ecosystems must be halted. Instead of a destroyer, technology can and must become a harmonious extender of Nature's bounty;
RIGHT SIZE FOR EVERYTHING
58. That there is a right and wrong size for everything. Finding the right size is essential to the lasting success of any product, system, arrangement, institution or endeavor;
59. That everything should be as small as possible, unless there is a good reason for it to be larger. In many cases communities and businesses should be smaller - providing more intimate, humane services to smaller groups of people;
60. That constant growth of a city or a business will eventually lead to disaster. Exponential factors decree this. Cities and towns can avoid this by providing laws that only allow new construction which replaces old structures. New Earth communities using interactive technologies can relieve congestion;
61. That once a community or business reaches an optimum size, progress should be sought, not through an increase in size or profits, but through improved quality of services and products. In a small business where the employees are close to owners with a personal interest in each employee, a shared understanding of the operation and its purpose brings better give and take, the pursuit of excellence and efficiency. Given a level playing field of competition, when a business gets too big, its smaller competitors will be the ones to increase sales. Also, cooperatives will be given a better chance to prove their worth;
ETHICS OF RELIGION
62. That a sense of responsibility and the practice of Earth Trustee ethics is an essential requirement for the future;
63. That major religions, philosophies and ideologies teach the "Golden Rule" - to do unto others as you would have them do unto you;
64. That while some people of faith are engaged in works of peace and works of charity, many religious people show in their actions bigotry and hypocrisy;
65. That the majority of people fail miserably to live up to their intentions;
66. That moral responsibility and ethical behavior is for the most part found in people of deep, religious faith - reflected in their compassion, fairness and charity;
67. That most conflict over religious and ideological beliefs have their roots in different hypotheses about the unknown. Does God exist? What is the nature or purpose of reality?;
KEY TO BASIC ACCORD
68. That in the question of what life is all about, we face profound mysteries and unanswerable questions. Who can imagine the Universe never having a beginning or ever having an end?;
69. That there is in the human spirit a desire for meaning in life. Religious belief, especially belief in a loving God, provides a more promising hypothesis about the unknown. While belief in God or life after death cannot be scientifically proven, there are phenomena that suggests its possibility; for example, answers to prayer, and reports by people who were briefly dead;
70. That the value and test in the here and now of religious faith or philosophical belief is its good effect on the believer: the measure of confidence, virtue, integrity and the practice of the Golden Rule;
71. That in the present crisis of our planet the greatest virtue or moral imperative is the care and rejuvenation of Earth and securing the right of all people to its natural bounty;
A NEW GOLDEN AGE
72. That every adherent of ethics or religious faith should act as a responsible Trustee of Planet Earth: join the global Earth Trustee Effort and assist some Earth Care project;
73. That every municipality or community should form an independent Earth Trustee Committee, which will discuss the 77 Theses and then form their own program to help the Earth Campaign: initiating or assisting projects that eliminate poverty and pollution and benefit humanity;
74. That radio stations and TV need to program one or more daily Earth Minutes - at 0300, 1100 or 1900 GMT*. These simultaneous global "minutes without words" can be produced independently by any radio or TV station, with views and sounds of nature, children, music, bells, our planet;
75. That to foster the vital unity needed in our diversity, all individuals and institutions will celebrate Earth Day each year on the March Equinox - Nature's Day, March 20 or 21; the first day of Spring (Fall in the Southern Hemisphere);
76. That global acceptance of responsibility for the protection and care of Earth can usher in a new golden age of opportunity for all humanity;
77. THEREFORE, LET US PLEDGE OUR LIVES AND FORTUNES TO AID THE GREAT TASK OF EARTH'S REJUVENATION, AND WITH CONFIDENCE AND FAITH, EACH DO OUR PART AS A TRUSTEE OF EARTH TO TAKE CHARGE AND TAKE CARE OF OUR PLANET.
* Whenever people hear an Earth Minute on radio or TV,
they will add their thought or silent prayer.
A growing multitude are praying and working for Earth's rejuvenation:
for the prosperity that harmony with nature and neighbors will bring.
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John McConnell - (March 22, 1915 - October 20, 2012) Son of an independent evangelist, John McConnell was born in Davis City, Iowa. His interest in religion, science, and peace has resulted in a number of projects and personal efforts to relieve human suffering and promote the common good.
Among McConnell's many noble accomplishments:
MEALS FOR MILLIONS - 1962:
As Northern California Director of "Meals for Millions." John McConnell formulated and organized a successful campaign in San Francisco to feed thousands of Hong Kong refugees.
WORLD EQUALITY, INC:
In 1968, Mr. McConnell incorporated "World Equality" to foster the idea of equilibrium in nature and human society. He began circulating his "Planetary Inheritance."
The Earth Flag, designed by him after seeing the first photo of Earth in Life Magazine, was featured in the "Whole Earth Catalogue" and is being used, here and there around the world, to show support of efforts to help people and planet. In 1975 the Earth Flag was flown at the South Pole. The Earth Flag is a part of the Earth Day Ceremony each year at the United Nations and is still being produced and used.
EARTH DAY and the EARTH DAY PROCLAMATION:
In working to elevate individual and international support for stewardship of Earth, at the 1969 National UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, Mr. McConnell proposed an Earth Day -- to celebrate Earth's life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends.
Visit John McConnell's website: International Earth Day Earth Trustees, Inc.
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246
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