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GaiaHypothesis - Permaculture - Greenscare - Call to Consciousness - Union of Concerned Scientists - Store Wars - EarthCharter

It is possible that human beings may yet find a balance, a way in which they can live in harmony as a functional part of the Earth's biosphere. Even if there are 10 billion of us as there will be in a couple of decades time.
But... to do this would require among other things -

  • stabilising population growth,
  • using renewable energy sources,
  • using renewable manufacturing materials,
  • and changing the worlds eating habits.

Can this be done? Of course it can - but without a major shift in the consciousness of humanity it will not. This is why we speak of Conscious Evolution as a necessity for human survival. There must be a quantum leap from our competitive past to a co-operative future .We invite you to join the BirdTribes One Earth online Community and participate in networking this possiblility.

As Paul Hawken says 'When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren't pessimistic, you don't understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren't optimistic, you haven't got a pulse.'

On this page you will find some of the most important documents and resources that we have collected.

~ Some Live World Statistics ~

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Earth Dance cover


For an in depth look at the Earth within the Living Universe
we highly recommend a fascinating book called " Earth Dance".
It's the best book about Gaia that we have ever come across -
and amazingly the author - Dr Elisabet Sahtouris -
is giving it away as a pdf download with no strings attached!
Click here to go to the download page at her site

and please consider giving her a donation for her generousity -
or you can order a hard copy through our bookshop

Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris is an internationally known evolution biologist, futurist, author, professor and business consultant. She teaches in the Bainbridge Graduate Institute's MBA program on sustainable business and is a fellow of the World Business Academy. Dr. Sahtouris has been a UN consultant on indigenous peoples, is a co-founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network and has authored a scientific model of a living cosmos . Her websites are www.sahtouris.com & http://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/ . There are many more articles available for download, and the whole Ratical site is a valuable collection of knowledge.

EarthDance has an introduction by James Lovelock who created and named the modern form of the 'Gaia Hypothesis' - the theory that the Earth
is a living organism and behaves as such.

 



~ This movie is a good introduction to the scientific theory of Gaia - the Earth as a self regulating living system. 7min
. It ends with the interesting concept that by terraforming and creating a living moon we could begin the reproductive process of our biosphere and solve many other problems in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Permaculture has become a worldwide movement. It extends beyond the practical applications of holistic food production and lifestyle to become an ethical philosophical basis for a sustainable human presence on the Earth.

To quote one of the founders of Permaculture ~ "The word Permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and myself (David Holmgren) in the mid-1970's to describe an integrated evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.A more current definition of Permaculture, which reflects the expansion of focus implicit in (the book) Permaculture One, is "consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs." People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to Permaculture." ~ Visit David's website here
Click Here to download from his site the whole of David Holmgren's 20 page introductory article called
" Essence of Permaculture
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- an important documentary featuring Bill Mollison -

Bill Mollison, co-originator of the Permaculture concept reminds us, "The ultimate end to a growth economy is the same as an analogous growth: cancer. But for national economies, the victims are nature, soils, forests, people, water, and quality of life. There is one, and only one, solution,and we have almost no time to try it".

Geoff Lawton, Permaculture designer, teacher said, “You can fix all the world’s problems, in a garden. And most people today actually don’t know that, and that makes most people very insecure.

We are also very pleased to be able to provide you with
GRITS - Grass Roots Ideas to Surviving. Its a 400+ page collection of articles on Permaculture
and surviving the transition to a sustainable society put together by survivingpeakoil.com

It's important to be aware that caring for the environment can be a dangerous activity these days.
Here's an information pamphlet about the US governments persecution of environmental activists
under the (no longer) new anti terrorism laws - Greenscare "We're not going to take it anymore. We're dead serious - we're going to destroy them. We want to be able to exploit the environment for private gain, absolutely ... and we want people to understand that is a noble goal." Ron Arnold

 

Jump To
GaiaHypothesis - Permaculture - Greenscare - Call to Consciousness - Union of Concerned Scientists - Store Wars - EarthCharter

   
 

"We are destabilizing nature's balance to accommodate a sophisticated but, one can argue, largely unnecessary technology. There are simpler mechanical ways to deal with weeds, including no-till farming, mulching and companion cropping. But none of these Earth-friendly methods can be patented to make big money. They are not splashy, high-tech, instant fixes. They evolve over years and generations because methods have to be developed at a local level by individuals who care about and observe the crops, soils and wild plants of each locality." (David Suzuki, 1999)

"... in 1987, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued a chilling policy statement in which they said, 'Any organism on this planet, any gene, any cell-line, any organ, any tissue, is potentially patentable as a human invention'. Here in one regulatory stroke, the U.S. patent office reduced the entire living kingdom, the genetic commons, to the possibility of being private property owned and controlled by a handful of multinational corporations." (Rifkin)(Suzuki, 1999)

"Patents are a wonderful mechanism of collecting incomes from things that nature does freely, that people do freely. [ They force ] people to make payments for what has been theirs, and their right: the public commons. In the 1920's the British placed a tax on salt, salt-making, as a way to finance their armies. And Gandhi went out and said, "No, this has been given freely to us by nature. We make it with our intelligence, we need it for our survival. We will not pay you the taxes you want, because you have not created the salt, and we must have it to live". In a way, life patents are 5 000 times worse than salt taxes of the British regime of those days. It's like patenting air! Because, after all, it's the biodiversity in life forms that make all life possible. It's as vital to life as air itself. It's a condition of our life process. And when our life process and elements of our life process start to get patented, and someone can make money every time we try to use them, it is really the ultimate of organised greed. It has [not only] generated.. an ethical crisis, but is really threatening to generate a crisis of survival."
Vandana Shiva, Physicist and expert on food issues in the 3rd World

 


This is an important movie. It was shown at Cannes in 2007 and released in cinemas worldwide in 2008.
It tells a remarkable true story of communication with beings that are perhaps the most conscious species on our planet.
The story spans cultures and millenia, showing how the Aboriginal Dreamtime unites future and past in one dream.
The people of various tribes from around the world that have strong traditions of being connected to the whales
say that they have an important role as gatekeepers to the Galactic Consciousness, and more than this - that our destinies are entwined and if the whales become extinct ... then so shall we.
Therefore the story told in this movie is exceptionally relevant today as we transition through the current global crisis, and the Cetacean Nations continue to be poisoned by our toxins, and blasted by military acoustic weapons, and hunted with extreme cruelty to the edge of extinction.

Still from the movie the Return of the Whale Dreamers

We also have a page dedicated to Cetacean Dreaming.
but felt that this film is relevant not just to Whales and Dolphins survival but to the survival of the indigenous knowledge of living sustainably upon the planet.


 

 


Introduction by David Yarrow
- ( David is a 'Water Angel', Environmentalist, Physicist, and defender of Onondaga lake. )

The Haudenosaunee—as one of a few surviving sovereign nations of native American—presented this paper to a United Nations Commission on Discrimination Against Native Peoples. It's just as true—and more timely—today as at its first presentation in 1977.

This message has added import today as Russian, Balkan, Polish, Palestinian, Chinese, and other peoples struggle for genuine democracy. And it has deep irony because the Haudenosaunee provided inspiration and advice for European settlers to rebel against colonial rule to form the United States of America—first modern European democracy. For Liberty is rooted by Onondaga Lake where The Peacemaker founded the Confederacy to "bury the hatchet" beneath The Tree of Peace.

Today, 200 years later, the United States of America refuses to recognize Haudenosaunee sovereignty or their passports, and tries to impose its brand of democracy-as-popular-election on Haudenosaunee tradition of selecting elders guided by clanmothers. And the USA refuses to allow the issue of the Haudenosaunee—or any indigenous nation—to be brought for discussion—much less a vote—before the United Nations. Thus the red people of planet Earth remain excluded from a voice and vote in the affairs of the human family.



presented to the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

The "Haudenosaunee"—or Six Nations Confederacy (Iroquois)—has existed on this land since the beginning of human memory. Our culture is among the most ancient continuously existing cultures in the world.

We still remember the earliest doings of human beings. We remember the original instructions of the Creators of Life on this place we call "Etenoha"—Mother Earth. We are the spiritual guardians of this place. We are the "Ongwhehonwhe"—the Real People.

In the beginning we were told human beings who walk about on Earth have been provided with all things necessary for life. We were instructed to carry a love for one another, and to show a great respect for all the beings of this Earth. We are shown that our life exists with the tree life, that our well-being depends on the well-being of the Vegetable Life, that we are close relatives of the four-legged beings.
In our ways, spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics.

Ours is a Way of Life. We believe all living things are spiritual beings. Spirit can be expressed as energy forms manifested in matter. A blade of grass is an energy form manifested in matter—grass matter. The spirit of grass is that unseen force which produces the species of grass, and it is manifest to us in the form of real grass.

All things of the world are real, material things. Creation is a true material phenomenon, and manifests itself to us through reality. The spiritual universe, then, is manifest to Man as Creation, the Creation which support life. We believe that man is real, a part of Creation, and that his duty is to support Life in conjunction with the other beings. That is why we call ourselves Ongwhehonwhe—Real People.

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The original instructions direct that we who walk about on the Earth are to express a great respect, an affection, and a gratitude toward all the spirits which create and support Life. We give a greeting and thanksgiving to the many supporters of our own lives—the corn, beans, squash, the winds, the sun. When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed, and human life on this planet will come to an end.

Our roots are deep in the lands where we live. We have a great love for our country, for our birthplace is there. The soil is rich from the bones of thousands of our generations. Each of us were created in those lands, and it is our duty to take great care of them, because from these lands will spring the future generations of the Ongwhehonwhe. We walk about with a great respect, for Earth is a very sacred place.

We are not a people who demand or ask anything of the Creators of Life, but instead, we give greetings and thanksgiving that all the forces of Life are still at work. We deeply understand our relationship to all living things. To this day, the territories we still hold are filled with trees, animals, and the other gifts of the Creation.
In these places we still receive our nourishment from our Mother Earth.

We have seen that not all people of Earth show the same kind of respect for this world and its beings. The Indo-European people who have colonized our lands have shown very little respect for the things that create and support Life. We believe these people ceased their respect for the world a long time ago. Many thousands of years ago, all the people of the world believed in the same Way of Life, that of harmony with the universe.
All lived according to the Natural Ways.

Around ten thousand years ago, peoples who spoke Indo-European languages lived in the area which today we know as the Steppes of Russia. At that time, they were a Natural World people who lived off the land. They developed agriculture, and it's said that they had begun the practice of animal domestication. Hunters and gatherers who roamed the area probably acquired animals from agricultural people, and adopted an economy based on herding and breeding animals.

Herding and breeding animals signaled a basic alteration in the relations of humans to other life forms. It set in motion one of the true revolutions in human history. Until herding, humans depended on Nature for the reproductive powers of the animals. With the advent of herding, humans assumed a function which for all time was the function of animals' spirits. Sometime after this history records the first appearance of social organization known as "patriarchy."

The area between Tigris and Euphrates Rivers was homeland in ancient times of various peoples, many of whom spoke Semitic languages. Semitic people were among the first in the world to develop irrigation technology. This led to early development of towns, and eventually cities. Manipulation of waters, another form of spirit life, represented another way humans developed a technology which reproduced a function of Nature.

Within these cultures, stratified hierarchal social organization crystallized. Ancient civilizations developed imperialism, partly because of the very nature of cities. Cities are obviously population concentrations. Most importantly though, they are places which must import the material needs of this concentration from the countryside. This means that the Natural World must be subjugated, extracted from and exploited in the interest of the city. To give order to this process, the Semitic world developed early codes of law. They also developed the idea of monotheism to serve as spiritual model for their material and political organization.

Much of the history of the ancient world recounts the struggles between the Indo-Europeans and the Semitic peoples. Over a period of several millennia, the two cultures clashed and blended. By the second millennia B.C. some Indo-Europeans, specifically the Greeks, adopted the practice of building cities, thus becoming involved in the process which they named "Civilization."

Both cultures developed technologies peculiar to civilization. Semitic peoples invented kilns to enable the creation of pottery for trade and storage of surpluses. Early kilns eventually evolved into ovens which could generate enough heat to smelt metals, notably copper, tin and bronze. Indo-Europeans began smelting iron.

Rome fell heir to these two cultures, and became the place where the final meshing occurs. Rome is also the true birthplace of Christianity. The process that has become the culture of the West is historically and linguistically a Semetic/Indo-European culture, but has been commonly termed the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Christianity was an absolutely essential element in early development of this kind of technology. Christianity advocated only one God—a religion imposed exclusive of all others. Local people of European forests believed in the spirits of the forest, waters, hills and land; Christianity attacked those beliefs and effectively de-spiritualized the European world. Christian peoples, possessed superior weaponry and a need for expansion, were able to militarily subjugate Europe's tribal peoples.

Iron led to developing tools to cut down the forest, the source of charcoal to make more tools. Newly cleared land was then turned by newly developed iron plow, pulled for the first time by horses. With that technology many fewer people would work much more land, and many other people were effectively displaced to become soldiers and landless peasants. The rise of that technology ushered in the Feudal Age and made possible, eventually, the rise of new cities and growing trade. It also spelled the beginning of the end of the European forest, although that process took a long time to complete.

The eventual rise of cities and concurrent rise of European state created the expansion and search for markets which led men, such as Columbus, to sail across the Atlantic. Development of sailing vessels and navigation technologies made the European "discovery" of the Americas inevitable.

The Americas provided Europeans a vast new area for expansion and material exploitation. Initially, the Americas provided new and even finished materials for the developing world economy which was based on Indo-European technologies. European civilization has a history of rising and falling as its technologies reach their material and cultural limits. The finite Natural world has always provided a kind of built-in contradiction to Western expansion.

Indo-Europeans attacked every aspect of North America with unparalleled zeal. Native people were ruthlessly destroyed because they were inassimilable elements to the civilizations of the West. Forests provided materials for larger ships, the land was fresh and fertile for agricultural surpluses, and some areas provided sources of slave labor for conquering invaders. By the time of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-Nineteenth Century, North America was already a leader in the development of extractive technology.

Hardwood forests of the Northeast were not cleared for to provide farmlands. Those forests were destroyed to create charcoal for the forges of the iron smelters and blacksmiths. By the 1890's, the West had turned to coal, a fossil fuel, to provide the energy necessary for the many new forms of machinery which had been developed. In the first half of the 20th Century, oil replaced coal as a source of energy.

The Western culture has been horribly exploitative and destructive of the Natural World. Over 140 species of birds and animals were utterly destroyed since the European arrival in the Americas, largely because they were unusable in the eyes of the invaders. The forests were leveled, the waters polluted, Native people subjected to genocide. Vast herds of herbivores were reduced to mere handfuls, buffalo nearly became extinct. Western technology and the people who employed it have been the most amazingly destructive force in all of human history. No natural disaster has ever destroyed as much. Not even the Ice Ages counted as many victims.

But like hardwood forests, fossil fuels are also finite resources. As the second half of the Twentieth Century has progressed, the people of the West have begun looking to other forms of energy to motivate their technology. Their eyes have settled on atomic energy, a form of energy production which has by-products which are the most poisonous substances ever know to Man.

Today the species of Man is facing a question of the very survival of the species. The way of life known as Western Civilization is on a death path on which their own culture has no viable answers. When faced with the reality of their own destructiveness, they can only go forward into areas of more efficient destruction. The appearance of Plutonium on this planet is the clearest of signals our species is in trouble. It is a signal which most Westerners have chosen to ignore.

Air is foul, waters poisoned, trees dying, animals disappearing. We think even the systems of weather are changing. Our ancient teaching warned us if Man interfered with Natural Laws, these things would come to be. When the last of the Natural Way of Life is gone, all hope for human survival will be gone with it. And our Way of Life is fast disappearing, a victim of these destructive processes.

The other position papers of the Haudenosaunee outline our analysis of economic and legal oppression. But our essential message to the world is a basic call to consciousness. Destruction of Native cultures and people is the same process which has destroyed and is destroying life on this planet. Technologies and social systems which have destroyed animal and plant life are also destroying Native people. And that process is Western Civilization.

We know that there are many people in the world who can quickly grasp the intent of our message. But experience has taught us that there are few who are willing to seek out a method for moving toward any real change. But if there is to be a future for all beings on this planet, we must begin to seek the avenues of change.

Processes of colonialism and imperialism which affected the Haudenosaunee are but a microcosm of the processes affecting the world. The system of reservations employed against our people is a microcosm of the system of exploitation used against the whole world. Since the time of Marco Polo, the West has been refining a process that mystified the peoples of the Earth.

The majority of the world doesn't find its roots in Western culture or traditions. The majority finds its roots in the Natural World, and the Natural World, and traditions of Natural World peoples, must prevail if we are to develop truly free, egalitarian societies.

It is necessary, at this time, that we begin a process of critical analysis of the West's historical processes to seek out the actual nature of the roots of the exploitative and oppressive conditions which are forced upon humanity. At the same time, as we gain understanding of those processes, we must reinterpret that history to the people of the world. It is the people of the West, ultimately, who are the most oppressed and exploited. They are burdened by the weight of centuries of racism, sexism, and ignorance which has rendered their people insensitive to the true nature of their lives.

We must all consciously and continuously challenge every model, every program, and every process the West tries to force upon us. Paulo Friere wrote in his book the Pedagogy of the Oppressed that it is the nature of the oppressed to imitate the oppressor, and by such actions try to gain relief from the oppressive condition. We must learn to resist that response to oppression.

People living on this planet need to break with the narrow concept of human liberation, and begin to see liberation as something which needs to be extended to the whole Natural World. What is needed is liberation of all things that support Life - air, waters, trees - all things which support the sacred Web of Life.

We feel Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere can continue to contribute to the survival potential of the human species. The majority of our peoples still live in accordance with traditions which find their roots in the Mother Earth. But Native peoples have need of a forum in which our voice can be heard. And we need alliances with the other peoples of the world to assist in our struggle to regain and maintain our ancestral lands and to protect the Way of Life we follow.

We know this is very difficult. Many nation-states feel threatened by the position. Protection and liberation of Natural World peoples and cultures is a progressive direction which must be integrated into political strategies of people who seek to uphold Man's dignity. But that position is growing in strength, and represents a necessary strategy in the evolution of progressive thought.

Traditional Native peoples hold the key to reversal of processes in Western Civilization which hold the promise of unimaginable future suffering and destruction. Spirituality is the highest form of political consciousness. And we, the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere, are among the world's surviving proprietors of that kind of consciousness. We're here to impart that message.

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Once again... it is not our purpose at BirdTribes to reinforce anyone's beliefs about what is or is not real...
none-the-less ... when 1,700 scientists are prepared to put their names on a document warning the world
about the severity of the situation it seems to be worth considering seriously...


Union of Concerned Scientists (1992)
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Some of the world's leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this appeal in November 1992. The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity was written and spearheaded by the late Henry Kendall, former chair of UCS's board of directors.


Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.
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The Atmosphere
Stratospheric ozone depletion threatens us with enhanced ultraviolet radiation at the earth's surface, which can be damaging or lethal to many life forms. Air pollution near ground level, and acid precipitation, are already causing widespread injury to humans, forests, and crops.

Water Resources
Heedless exploitation of depletable ground water supplies endangers food production and other essential human systems. Heavy demands on the world's surface waters have resulted in serious shortages in some 80 countries, containing 40 percent of the world's population. Pollution of rivers, lakes, and ground water further limits the supply.

Oceans
Destructive pressure on the oceans is severe, particularly in the coastal regions which produce most of the world's food fish. The total marine catch is now at or above the estimated maximum sustainable yield. Some fisheries have already shown signs of collapse. Rivers carrying heavy burdens of eroded soil into the seas also carry industrial, municipal, agricultural, and livestock waste -- some of it toxic.

Soil
Loss of soil productivity, which is causing extensive land abandonment, is a widespread by-product of current practices in agriculture and animal husbandry. Since 1945, 11 percent of the earth's vegetated surface has been degraded -- an area larger than India and China combined -- and per capita food production in many parts of the world is decreasing.

Forests
Tropical rain forests, as well as tropical and temperate dry forests, are being destroyed rapidly. At present rates, some critical forest types will be gone in a few years, and most of the tropical rain forest will be gone before the end of the next century. With them will go large numbers of plant and animal species.

Living Species
The irreversible loss of species, which by 2100 may reach one-third of all species now living, is especially serious. We are losing the potential they hold for providing medicinal and other benefits, and the contribution that genetic diversity of life forms gives to the robustness of the world's biological systems and to the astonishing beauty of the earth itself. Much of this damage is irreversible on a scale of centuries, or permanent. Other processes appear to pose additional threats. Increasing levels of gases in the atmosphere from human activities, including carbon dioxide released from fossil fuel burning and from deforestation, may alter climate on a global scale. Predictions of global warming are still uncertain -- with projected effects ranging from tolerable to very severe -- but the potential risks
are very great.

Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent web of life -- coupled with the environmental damage inflicted by deforestation, species loss, and climate change -- could trigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictable collapses of critical biological systems whose interactions and dynamics we only imperfectly understand.

Uncertainty over the extent of these effects cannot excuse complacency or delay in facing the threats.

POPULATION
The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluent is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. And we are fast approaching many of the earth's limits. Current economic practices which damage the environment, in both developed and underdeveloped nations, cannot be continued without the risk that vital global systems will be damaged beyond repair.

Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth. A World Bank estimate indicates that world population will not stabilize at less than 12.4 billion, while the United Nations concludes that the eventual total could reach 14 billion, a near tripling of today's 5.4 billion. But, even at this moment, one person in five lives in absolute poverty without enough to eat, and one in ten suffers serious malnutrition.

No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished.



We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.


Five inextricably linked areas must be addressed simultaneously:




The developed nations are the largest polluters in the world today. They must greatly reduce their overconsumption, if we are to reduce pressures on resources and the global environment. The developed nations have the obligation to provide aid and support to developing nations, because only the developed nations have the financial resources and the technical skills for these tasks.

Acting on this recognition is not altruism, but enlightened self-interest: whether industrialized or not, we all have but one lifeboat. No nation can escape from injury when global biological systems are damaged. No nation can escape from conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. In addition, environmental and economic instabilities will cause mass migrations with incalculable consequences for developed and undeveloped nations alike.

Developing nations must realize that environmental damage is one of the gravest threats they face, and that attempts to blunt it will be overwhelmed if their populations go unchecked. The greatest peril is to become trapped in spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic, and environmental collapse.

Success in this global endeavor will require a great reduction in violence and war. Resources now devoted to the preparation and conduct of war -- amounting to over $1 trillion annually -- will be badly needed in the new tasks and should be diverted to the new challenges.

A new ethic is required -- a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth. We must recognize the earth's limited capacity to provide for us. We must recognize its fragility. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. This ethic must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes.

The scientists issuing this warning hope that our message will reach and affect people everywhere. We need the help of many.

We require the help of the world community of scientists -- natural, social, economic, and political.
We require the help of the world's business and industrial leaders.
We require the help of the world's religious leaders.
We require the help of the world's peoples.

We call on all to join us in this task.

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Did I do anything wrong today, or has the world always been like this and I've been too wrapped up in myself to notice? - Arthur Dent (Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

"We did not come into this world. We came out of it, like buds out of branches and butterflies out of cocoons.
We are a natural product of this earth, and if we turn out to be intelligent beings, then it can only be because we are fruits of an intelligent earth, which is nourished in turn by an intelligent system of energy."
—Lyall Watson

"Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes.
To do this, we must recognize the enemy—the one within us. We must begin with ourselves.
We must live in harmony with the Natural World,
and recognize that excessive exploitation can only lead to our own destruction.
We cannot trade the welfare of our future generations for profit now. We must abide by the Natural Law,
or be victims of its ultimate reality." - Leon Shenandoah Tadodaho Onondaga Nation

"One of the gravest threats to global ecology is feel good half-measures propagated by misinformed, often delusional environmental do-gooders that do not understand the extent of the global ecological crisis or the magnitude of responses required to sustain the Earth. I spent much of 2005 writing Earth Meanders regarding gathering global ecological collapse. There is little hope of the Earth and humanity regaining a state of balance absent a major surge in ecological based policies in virtually every human realm and/or a major human population collapse". Glen Barry www.ecologicalinternet.org/

 

"The point is, Holland and countries like it, most of the developed nations, for that matter, are often used as models for the Third World to follow. But... it's not possible for the Third World to follow these models because in many respects the Third World is providing the surpluses that these countries exploit in order to have their extremely high standards of living. So for every country that has an ecological deficit, there has to be another part of Earth that has an ecological surplus. If every country runs an ecological deficit, then we are quite literally consuming the Earth. And in fact... that is exactly what we are doing." (David Suzuki, 1999)

Here's a lighthearted take on the realities of modern agribusiness.
'Storewars' video courtesy Free Range Studios and Sustainabletable.org

The folks at FreeRangeStudios have been at it again and have a new movie for you at DaversityCode.com . From there you can visit SpeciesAlliance.org which is a good site about the seriousness of the acceleration of species extinction. They are producing a feature length film about this unacknowledged crisis and you can watch a preview online here Here are some facts quoted on the site...

• If current trends continue, one half of all species of life on Earth will be extinct in 100 years. (E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life, p. 102)

• One quarter of all mammal species face extinction in 30 years. (United Nations, http://news.bbc.co.uk/)

• For every person in the world to reach present U.S. levels of consumption we would need 4 more planet Earths.

• Humans currently consume 50% of the Earth's available freshwater, leaving what's left over for all other species. (World Wildlife Fund, http://www.panda.org/)

• Humans currently consume 40% of all organic matter produced by photosynthesis on Earth, leaving what's left over for all other species.

• Every species of great ape on the Earth (gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos) is in imminent danger of extinction. (United Nations, http://news.bbc.co.uk/)

• Every species of tiger on Earth is in imminent danger of extinction. (World Wildlife Fund, http://web.archive.org/)

• The number of lions left in Africa has fallen 90% in 20 years -- there are now only 20,000 remaining. (BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/)

• 90 percent of all large fish have disappeared from the world's oceans in the past half century. (Nature Magazine, http://www.cnn.com/)

• Human population is expected to increase by at least 50% over the next 75 years. (United Nations Population Division, http://www.enviroliteracy.org/)

Other websites we recommend checking out regarding sustainability include BreathingEarth.net to get a feel for world population, carbon emissions, and more. And another good overview site is the GlobalEducationProject

" Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life. " From the Earth Charter

The Earth Charter is an international people's (not governments, UN or organizations) agreement for a compassionate, just and sustainable world that was written by thousands of folks in 78 countries over the course of 12 years and was launched at the Hague Peace Palace in June 2000. It has the core value of interdependence and calls for economic and social justice, peace, democracy and ecological integrity.
For more info see EarthCharter.org

~ the Earth Charter ~

We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

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Earth, Our Home
Humanity is part of a vast evolving universe. Earth, our home, is alive with a unique community of life. The forces of nature make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential to life's evolution. The resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air. The global environment with its finite resources is a common concern of all peoples. The protection of Earth's vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust.

The Global Situation
The dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. Communities are being undermined. The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor is widening. Injustice, poverty, ignorance, and violent conflict are widespread and the cause of great suffering. An unprecedented rise in human population has overburdened ecological and social systems. The foundations of global security are threatened. These trends are perilous—but not inevitable.

The Challenges Ahead
The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more. We have the knowledge and technology to provide for all and to reduce our impacts on the environment. The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.

Universal Responsibility
To realize these aspirations, we must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.

We urgently need a shared vision of basic values to provide an ethical foundation for the emerging world community. Therefore, together in hope we affirm the following interdependent principles for a sustainable way of life as a common standard by which the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and transnational institutions is to be guided and assessed.





I. RESPECT AND CARE FOR THE COMMUNITY OF LIFE

1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
Recognize that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings.
Affirm faith in the inherent dignity of all human beings and in the intellectual, artistic, ethical, and spiritual potential of humanity.

2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love.
Accept that with the right to own, manage, and use natural resources comes the duty to prevent environmental harm and to protect the rights of people. Affirm that with increased freedom, knowledge, and power comes increased responsibility to promote the common good.

3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
Ensure that communities at all levels guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide everyone an opportunity to realize his or her full potential.
Promote social and economic justice, enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible.

4. Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.
Recognize that the freedom of action of each generation is qualified by the needs of future generations.
Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of Earth's human and ecological communities.
In order to fulfill these four broad commitments, it is necessary to:

II. ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY

5. Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems,
with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
Adopt at all levels sustainable development plans and regulations that make environmental conservation
and rehabilitation integral to all development initiatives.
Establish and safeguard viable nature and biosphere reserves, including wild lands and marine areas,
to protect Earth's life support systems, maintain biodiversity, and preserve our natural heritage.
Promote the recovery of endangered species and ecosystems.
Control and eradicate non-native or genetically modified organisms harmful to native species and the environment,
and prevent introduction of such harmful organisms.
Manage the use of renewable resources such as water, soil, forest products, and marine life in ways that do not exceed rates of regeneration and that protect the health of ecosystems.
Manage the extraction and use of nonrenewable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels in ways that minimize depletion and cause no serious environmental damage.

6. Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection and,
when knowledge is limited, apply a precautionary approach.
Take action to avoid the possibility of serious or irreversible environmental harm
even when scientific knowledge is incomplete or inconclusive.
Place the burden of proof on those who argue that a proposed activity will not cause significant harm,
and make the responsible parties liable for environmental harm.
Ensure that decision making addresses the cumulative, long-term, indirect,
long distance, and global consequences of human activities.
Prevent pollution of any part of the environment and allow no buildup of radioactive, toxic,
or other hazardous substances.
Avoid military activities damaging to the environment.

7. Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth's
regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle the materials used in production and consumption systems,
and ensure that residual waste can be assimilated by ecological systems.
Act with restraint and efficiency when using energy, and rely increasingly
on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Promote the development, adoption, and equitable transfer of environmentally sound technologies.
Internalize the full environmental and social costs of goods and services in the selling price,
and enable consumers to identify products that meet the highest social and environmental standards.
Ensure universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction.
Adopt lifestyles that emphasize the quality of life and material sufficiency in a finite world.

8. Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange
and wide application of the knowledge acquired.
Support international scientific and technical cooperation on sustainability,
with special attention to the needs of developing nations.
Recognize and preserve the traditional knowledge and spiritual wisdom in all cultures
that contribute to environmental protection and human well-being.
Ensure that information of vital importance to human health and environmental protection,
including genetic information, remains available in the public domain.


III. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE

9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.
Guarantee the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil,
shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.
Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood,
and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves.
Recognize the ignored, protect the vulnerable, serve those who suffer,
and enable them to develop their capacities and to pursue their aspirations.

10. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development
in an equitable and sustainable manner.
Promote the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations.
Enhance the intellectual, financial, technical, and social resources of developing nations,
and relieve them of onerous international debt.
Ensure that all trade supports sustainable resource use, environmental protection, and progressive labor standards.
Require multinational corporations and international financial organizations to act transparently in the public good,
and hold them accountable for the consequences of their activities.

11. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development
and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.
Secure the human rights of women and girls and end all violence against them.
Promote the active participation of women in all aspects of economic, political, civil, social,
and cultural life as full and equal partners, decision makers, leaders, and beneficiaries.
Strengthen families and ensure the safety and loving nurture of all family members.

12. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment
supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being,
with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.
Eliminate discrimination in all its forms, such as that based on race,
color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, language, and national, ethnic or social origin.
Affirm the right of indigenous peoples to their spirituality, knowledge,
lands and resources and to their related practice of sustainable livelihoods.
Honor and support the young people of our communities,
enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.
Protect and restore outstanding places of cultural and spiritual significance.


IV. DEMOCRACY, NONVIOLENCE, AND PEACE

13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency
and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.
Uphold the right of everyone to receive clear and timely information
on environmental matters and all development plans and activities
which are likely to affect them or in which they have an interest.
Support local, regional and global civil society, and promote the meaningful participation
of all interested individuals and organizations in decision making.
Protect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, association, and dissent.
Institute effective and efficient access to administrative and independent judicial procedures,
including remedies and redress for environmental harm and the threat of such harm.
Eliminate corruption in all public and private institutions.
Strengthen local communities, enabling them to care for their environments,
and assign environmental responsibilities to the levels of government
where they can be carried out most effectively.

14. Integrate into formal education and lifelong learning the knowledge,
values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.
Provide all, especially children and youth, with educational opportunities
that empower them to contribute actively to sustainable development.
Promote the contribution of the arts and humanities as well as the sciences in sustainability education.
Enhance the role of the mass media in raising awareness of ecological and social challenges.
Recognize the importance of moral and spiritual education for sustainable living.

15. Treat all living beings with respect and consideration.
Prevent cruelty to animals kept in human societies and protect them from suffering.
Protect wild animals from methods of hunting, trapping,
and fishing that cause extreme, prolonged, or avoidable suffering.
Avoid or eliminate to the full extent possible the taking or destruction of non-targeted species.

16. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.
Encourage and support mutual understanding, solidarity,
and cooperation among all peoples and within and among nations.
Implement comprehensive strategies to prevent violent conflict
and use collaborative problem solving to manage and resolve environmental conflicts and other disputes.
Demilitarize national security systems to the level of a non-provocative defense posture,
and convert military resources to peaceful purposes, including ecological restoration.
Eliminate nuclear, biological, and toxic weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
Ensure that the use of orbital and outer space supports environmental protection and peace.
Recognize that peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself,
other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.

THE WAY FORWARD

As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning.
Such renewal is the promise of these Earth Charter principles.
To fulfill this promise, we must commit ourselves
to adopt and promote the values and objectives of the Charter.

This requires a change of mind and heart.
It requires a new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility.
We must imaginatively develop and apply the vision of a sustainable way of life
locally, nationally, regionally, and globally.
Our cultural diversity is a precious heritage and different cultures will find
their own distinctive ways to realize the vision.
We must deepen and expand the global dialogue that generated the Earth Charter,
for we have much to learn from the ongoing collaborative search for truth and wisdom.

Life often involves tensions between important values. This can mean difficult choices.
However, we must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity,
the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals.
Every individual, family, organization, and community has a vital role to play.
The arts, sciences, religions, educational institutions, media, businesses,
nongovernmental organizations, and governments are all called to offer creative leadership.
The partnership of government, civil society, and business is essential for effective governance.

In order to build a sustainable global community, the nations of the world
must renew their commitment to the United Nations, fulfill their obligations
under existing international agreements, and support the implementation of Earth Charter principles
with an international legally binding instrument on environment and development.

Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life,
the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle
for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.

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"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads.
One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness; the other to total extinction.
Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." - Woody Allen :-)

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