Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Sustainable World Order

Green is not a new movement, although buried under a mountain of cynical conspiracy theories, many of the logistics for a sustainable world order have been around for more than a decade.

The current economic hardships serve as a catalyst for change. According to William E. Halal, professor emeritus of science, technology and innovation at George Washington University, "the normal level of social resistance and political stalemate is likely to oppose change. Thus, it may take an occasional environmental collapse, global wars and terrorism, or yet unknown calamities to force the move to global consciousness...Even with the turmoil that is sure to follow, this will mark the serious beginning of a unified global intelligence - a fine web of conscious thought directing life on the planet." [1]

Despite the current Conservative government, Canadians have a proud heritage of environmental leadership. Before the dawn of the 21st century Canadians were actively exploring global interdependence and strategies for greater global cooperation. A cynical article entitled "A New World Agenda," written 10 years ago, follows the work of United Nations reformer, Canadian Maurice Strong. He chaired a task force that revealed that the post-cold war period has "become nothing less than a global experiment in international development." [2] He went on to say, Canada "is in a position to make a unique contribution...by committing itself to be a model of sustainable development...It offers the prospect of uniting Canadians behind a new vision of their own future and a new generation of leadership internationally." [3]

As former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien once said, "We are one world. We in Canada feel this deeply. Responsible international citizenship is one of our proudest shared values. And the place we exercise that responsible citizenship is in multilateral organizations the town hall meetings of the world community." [4]

Here is a condensed summary of Canada's past environmental efforts as the planetary meeting ground and sponsor for major sustainable development events.

- Canada co-sponsored the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (the first Earth Conference) held in Stockholm, Sweden.
-The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), producer of the influential report Our Common Future, convened a special meeting in Ottawa, Ontario in 1986. At this WCED meeting, the idea of a "world conservation bank" was forwarded. The WCED was the key organization promoting the term "sustainable development" in the late 1980's.
-The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer formatted international rules to combat "global warming" and was adopted in Montreal, Quebec.
-The World Environment Energy and Economic Conference (WEEEC) hosted by the Manitoba provincial government and held in Winnipeg in October, 1990. It was attended by over 3000 delegates from around the globe, it's official theme was "Sustainable Development Strategies and the New World Order." [13]
-Canada played an influential role at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Maurice Strong acting as the summit's Secretary-Gerneral.
-The creation of The Earth Council, which is headquartered in Costa Rica. Led by Mr. Strong, The Earth Council [drafted] the global Earth Charter -- a new world-wide Green constitution. [5]

In the words of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, "Canada [was] at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the United Nations is prepared for the challenges of the future." [6] Consider the following quotes from a 1992 meeting of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.

"We need a unified one world order to replace the collectivity of nation states at the international level. The Euro-American model which now dominates the world systematically disables people, destroys the earth and creates dependency on wage labour." [8]

"In this model, politics loses its left-versus-right conflict and moves instead towards a fundamental concern for the health of the ecosystem...Democracy remains a need within this model, at both local and global levels, but as one part of the whole system. "Participation" becomes more than people's physical presence and deepens to contain a cultural and spiritual dimension...To implement these concepts, we start with bringing the community together and look at the land resources available. We decide how we want the community to evolve and decide who has control of the resources." [9]

Likewise, the following statement from the Canadian federal government to the United Nations contains a similar thread -- a sustainable world order based on complete world management.
"Canada believes the establishment of an international financial and economic system that is conducive to sustainable development must be a cornerstone of efforts to implement Agenda 21. Canada strongly supports efforts to reform international organizations to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the promotion of global sustainable development." [10]

[An] international tax on world monetary transactions, known as the Tobin tax...would be "a feasible part of a new world order and new world vision," as stated by Lorne Nystrom, member of the Canadian House of Commons. [11] "If there were a 0.1% Tobin tax on foreign currency transactions, that would raise, in 1995 dollars, $176 billion U.S. A Tobin tax of 0.003% would be enough money to fund United Nations peacekeeping around the world. One of the consequences would be the establishment of a global village which would have a common good amongst the nations of the world. There would be a strengthening of international organizations. The United Nations would become a meaningful world government. There could be permanent international peacekeeping forces. There are many things that could be done. How would this be implemented? There are a number of ways of doing it. The International Monetary Fund could be reformed to do it or the World Bank could be reformed to do it. [Or we could create] a new international financial agency to administer the Tobin tax. National governments would collect the tax around the world." [12]

The introduction to the WEEEC's final report [contained] the revolutionary concept of Sustainable Development Strategies as the New World Agenda." [14] The forward to the report explained, "sustainable development principles that will affect policies, plans and the direction of programs in the coming years on a global scale." [15]

Chisman and Holbrook further explained the importance of education, "The overall strategy is to design courses so as to prepare for a 'sustainable development' literate society." [17] [Here we are talking about] the concept of sustainable education, [and] the importance of global "values" for education, including "population control and support," "intercultural tolerance," "the transfer of appropriate technology," and "environmental literacy." [18] The WEEEC educational platform [also included a] presentation on creating a "Global Green Constitution," or "a global perestroika," it was explained that this "revolutionary" global green political machine would encompass a form of "human rights." [19]

The concept of framing a global "green" constitution was directly linked to national education contributions aimed at furthering this new world agenda. As explained in the report, uncooperative nations would not be tolerated.

"[G]reen governments will oppose any culture if it proves to be prejudicial by means of gender, age, colour, race, religion, belief, sexual orientation, mental or physical condition, marital status, family composition, source of income, political belief, nationality, language preference or place of origin." [20]

"Eventually, a public referendum would be held in each nation state with the objective of obtaining a simple majority in favour of enshrining a Global Green Constitution....Every nation's government would ultimately be a signator to the Global Green Constitution. Obligation to do so would come from grass roots pressure within democratic societies. Less democratic nations or dictatorships would be brought on side through sanctions." [21]

"The question is how do we achieve binding agreements in Law complete with effective programs for applying sanctions against non-compliance that would oblige each nation, regardless of size, to abide by a set of principles that are required to guarantee the survival of life on this earth. Perhaps we will find that there is no other alternative to a system of rigid controls that some would equate to a police state. Unfortunately, in order to save the planet from biocide, there have to be very powerful constraints from doing the 'wrong' things. The constraints must transcend national boundaries, be world-around and enforceable. There would be a need for an agency for preventing eco-vandals from acting unilaterally. Enforcement agencies would need the power to act without being invited by the offending nation. Therefore, there needs to be an agency that is acceptable to all nation states on the planet. We can probably accept the fact that there will always be one or more nations that will not go along but there must be effective sanctions in place. If sanctions do not work, then physical occupation and the installation of a World Trusteeship would be imposed upon the offending nations." [22]

As former Prime Minister Jean Chretian said, the United Nations is "the centre piece of Canadian foreign policy." [23] However the author of worries "that this foreign policy, this promotion of "global order," is taking North America down the fast track to international socialism. Hidden under the guise of sustainable development, our two nations are trading freedom for a draconian world agenda."

The idea of a world government animates the ghosts of the cold war and inspires the conspiratorial musings of anarchists. But these sinister allegations should be taken as seriously as a man in a monkey suit passing for Sasquatch. That is not to say that we can afford to leave our democracies to our elected officials, quite the contrary, we need to be ever vigilant, for where there is power, there is also room for corruption. But the pressing need for international cooperation demands that we develop frameworks within which we can assume our respective environmental and social responsibilities.

As British PM Gordon Brown said, “This crisis demonstrates beyond doubt that a global capital market requires much stronger global cooperation and supervision. And we need to ensure that we have an effective global early warning system to alert us across continents to economic and financial risk.” [24]

Recession and global warming are the defining crises of our time and these issues are powerful justifications for a system of world governance. As stated by Halal, "Some new form of global order is needed to avert disaster." A sustainable world order is a pragmatic corollary of our efforts to manage the global environment.[25]

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Endnotes
1. William E. Halal, Emerging Technologies and the Global Crisis of Maturity

2. International Development Research and Policy Task Force, Connecting With The World, p.15.

3. Maurice Strong, Beyond Rio: A New Role For Canada (External Affairs and International Trade Canada, November 10, 1992), p. 20.

4. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Opening Statement by Jean Chrétien to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, (Speech at Auckland, New Zealand, November 10, 1995)

5. International Development Research and Policy Task Force, Connecting With The World, p.39.

6. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Inauguration Diner for the Lester B. Pearson Chair of International Relations, (Speech at Oxford University, February 22, 1996).

7. These points were taken from a private report by Carl Teichrib titled, Charting The Sustainable Society: Agendas for Creating a New Global Future.

8. James Robertson, "Toward a New Economic Paradigm," Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Sustainability: From Vision to Reality (Ottawa, ON: Canadian Council for International Co-operation, February 1992), pp. 5-6.

9. Maximo Kalaw, "A Community-based Model of Sustainable Development," Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Sustainability: FromVision to Reality, p. 8.

10. Government of Canada, Report of Canada to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada, 1996), p. 25.

11. Hon. Lorne Nystrom, "Tax on Financial Transactions," (Private Members' Business) Edited Hansard - Number 144, Wednesday, October 28, 1998, Canadian Federal Government House of Commons, p. 1735.

12.Ibid., p. 1745.

13.Colin N. Power (UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education), "Preface," John E. Penick and John R. Stiles (editors), Sustainable Development For A New World Agenda (A STAM/CASE/ICASE Publication, Proceedings of the World Environment Energy and Economic Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 17-20, 1990) ISBN 962-7532-01-3.

14. Robert Lepischak, "Introduction: Sustainable Development Strategies...The New World Agenda," Sustainable Development For A New World Agenda, p. viii.

15.Evhan Uzwyshyn, "Forward: Principles of Sustainable Development," Sustainable Development For A New World Agenda, p. v. 16.Dennis Chisman and Jack Holbrook, "The Future Direction of Sustainable Development in the Curriculum," Sustainable Development For A New World Agenda, p. 237.

17. Ibid., p. 234.

18.Ibid., p. 235.

19.Jim Bohlen, "Towards A Global Green Constitution," Sustainable Development For A New World Agenda, p. 10.

20.Ibid., p. 11.

21.Ibid., p. 16.

22.Ibid., p. 15.

23.Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, National Forum on Canada's International Relations (Speech in Toronto, ON, September 11, 1995).

24. Gordon Brown, Speech on the Global Economy, October 13, 2008

25. William E. Halal, March-April 2009 edition of The Futurist.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One Million Acts of Green: The Human Network Effect

CBC's talk show, The Hour hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos and Cisco Systems have succeeded in mobilizing people to commmit over one million acts of Green. The campaign appropriately entitled, "One Million Acts of Green" (OMAoG) started in October 2008 and as of today, 1,103,140 Green acts have been registered with participants logging an average 9,435 Green acts per day, and seven Green acts per minute. Although it originated in Canada OMAoG now boasts grassroots support from people in 50 countries. Participants also include businesses, politicians, celebrities, athletes, schools, universities, municipalities, and environmental groups.

There are many ways to act Green, it can be as simple as changing light bulbs or driving less. As referenced in a Green Market article subtitled, The Power of Small Gestures, small efforts can have a huge impact when they are repeated millions of times. The OMAoG campaign started with just one act, there are now more than one million acts of Green, amassed one act a time.

The goal is to change how we live and how we treat the planet and challenge others to do the same. The OMAoG interactive website is an accessible educational resource where people can register their acts of Green. It’s a virtual gathering place where people can exchange ideas, view content, post photos and videos, and create groups. Thanks to the website's GreenNexxus caclulator, registrants can calculate the impact of their environmental good deeds.

According to an IT in Canada article, Trent University and Dalhousie University led the way in terms of most members and most acts of green, (other noteworthy educational establishments included Bishop Strachan School, Havergal College, Delta Secondary School, Acadia University). Airdrie was the city with the most Green acts (19,000 acts) followed by the Town of Okotoks and North Bay. Many of Canada’s leading corporations including BMO Financial Group, MTS Allstream and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have joined OMAoG and are complementing the program with innovative employee engagement and customer-facing initiatives. OMAoG’s “greenest” provinces are Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia

Kirstine Layfield, executive director of programming for CBC Television said "I think we helped demonstrate with One Million Acts of Green in particular, the great results you can achieve by reaching out and engaging people.”

OMAoG has not only raised awareness it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 63,326,358 kg. With over one million acts of Green in four months, OMAoG is a shinning example of positive and timely environmental change. This is a tangible demonstration of what can be achieved when we work together as a human network.

Go to One One Million Acts of Green to log your Green acts, challenge your co-workers, friends and family to do the same.

Links/URLS:

OMAoG
OMAoG (French)
The Hour
OMAoG Previous releases
OMAoG Facebook group
OMAoG on Twitter

Video: OMAoG <here>
Video: First two months of OMAoG. <here>
Video: BMO Financial Group on OMAoG <here>.
Video: Cisco CEO on OMAoG and how the human network can change the world. <here>

GreenNexxus greenhouse gas calculator
Cisco Green

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Green Stimulus: Global Green New Deal

Many feared that a recession would undermine the growth of sustainability, current events appear to indicate otherwise. It is well known that difficult economic times encourage greater efficiency, but the woeful state of the economy is also the reason why economists and others argue that massive Green infrastructure investments are the right prescriptions for our ailing economies.

In the US President Obama plans to invest $150 billion in clean energy and hopes to create 5 million new jobs. The Obama stimulus package now in the Senate reflects the wisdom of Green investment on a massive scale. The bill as it stands will provide $20 billion in tax cuts for wind, geothermal, and bioenergy. Electric grid infrastructure will get $32 billion and $16 billion has been allotted for energy efficiency building retrofits. This stimulus will create a 21st century infrastructure and represents the biggest construction project in US history.

Europe is investing in Greener cars led by the economic engines of the UK and Germany. The UK government has announced funding of GBP250m (€275m) to help the car industry invest in the development of low-carbon vehicles. German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised a $67 billion (€50 billion) subsidy for the country’s car industry tied to the development of world-leading green vehicles with the lowest greenhouse emissions.

In Asia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and China have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in green projects to create jobs and spur economic growth. According to an Environmental News article, Japan has announced that it aims to create up to 1 million new jobs, and offer interest free loans for Green companies. South Korea will invest 38 billion dollars in eco-projects over the next four years with the aim of creating 960,000 new jobs. "The 36 projects include the creation of Green transport networks, the provision of two million energy-saving 'green homes' and the clean-up of the country's four main rivers."

According to an article in China Dialogue, China announced that it is investing at least 350 billion yuan (US$51 billion) for biological conservation and environmental protection. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection announced that the stimulus will "not be spent in the energy and resource-intensive industries or high-pollution industries" and will benefit the renewable energy and pollution-control industries.

In October, the UN Environment Program launched the Global Green New Deal and Green Economy Initiative "as both an antidote to current economic woes and as a springboard to a low carbon, low impact, high job generating and better-managed global economy. UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, said: "Investments in clean-tech and renewable energy; infrastructure such as railways and cycle tracks and nature-based services like river systems and forests, can not only counter recession and unemployment but can also set the stage for more sustainable economic recovery and growth in the 21st century." The UN Secretary-General also outlined a Global Green New Deal as the best chance for securing a 'sound and solid' climate agreement in Copenhagen in late 2009.

It is fitting that in the Chinese language, the symbol for crisis is also a symbol representing opportunity. Without the global recession we would not have seen the kind of Green stimulus packages we are seeing. As indicated by the UN Secretary-General, the recession also provides a powerful incentive for international agreement on climate change.

The economy of the future will reward nations and businesses that have low emissions and use resources efficiently. A Green stimulus fosters a more competitive economy that is able to meet the challenges that loom before us.

Rather than causing people to abandon Green, the economic crisis seems to be galvanizing action from governments around the world. The International Energy Agency projects that renewable energy will be by far the fastest-growing part of the global energy sector over the next decade. Wind energy alone is expected to see more than $1 trillion in new investment. The rapid growth of clean energy, fuel-efficient cars, and other green sectors make it clear that the world is moving toward a low carbon economy. Led by renewable energy, this trend will continue and Green markets will keep growing.

An economic stimulus package is about more than addressing a serious economic problem; it is about seizing the opportunity to increase the viability of the human race by making our economies less destructive to our environment.