“Much of what we don’t see with our economics involves the accelerating destruction of the environment.”
Climate change and world peace are closely connected. This has been proven true by the three major Nobel Prize Laureates of our time. This article will inspect the achievements of Willy Brandt, Wangari Maathai and Al Gore. They all are examples of how perseverance and a one-pointedness of mind can help one individual accomplish great things. On a spiritual level steadfastness and courage are key factors to making change in one’s personal life and in the environment too.
Says Benjamin Creme in his book Maitreya’s Mission Volume Three: “Maitreya says there are two environments, an inner and an outer. The outer reflects the inner. If the inner is disturbed, the outer also is disturbed. We are witnessing this today. Because we are so disturbed in our inner environment, not recognizing ourselves as spiritual beings related to each other, we rape, pillage and despoil. We inflict our greed and aggression on each other in wars and all sorts of aggressive actions and reap the results: a gradual erosion of the very environment which keeps us in being as a species. If we do not address this problem, the human and sub-human kingdoms of this planet will die out. Many ecologists recognize this fact. The ‘green’ agencies have been talking about this for years, trying to impress on governments the need for change.”
Climate change and world peace, a more spiritual aspect
Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, was known as a pacifist. Based on his testament, the Nobel Prize, that is still awarded today, has been divided into five different categories that were of great importance to Mr. Nobel in his own life. One of these categories is peace. In his testament Nobel stated: “…and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
Alfred Nobel assigned the Norwegian parliament Stortinget to choose the five members who would be awarded the prize.
Since the times of Nobel, the international political consensus is becoming more and more appreciative of the kind of work that is done to support the ”fraternity between nations” and to promote peace and bring concrete peace as a result.
When the achievements of the Nobel Laureates are considered from the perspective of climate change, three names stand out: the West German Willy Brandt in 1971, the Kenyan Wangari Muta Maathai in 2004 and in 2007 the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore.
Wangari Maathai and climate change
The idea of peace stems from the basis of relationships that exist between peaceful individuals. In fact, this basis is one of those factors that can help us guarantee permanent peace. As the Kenyan Wangari Maathai so accurately states in her book Unbowed: A Memoir, Knopf 2006, about the foundations of the Nobel committee and about the interdependency between peace, good management and the sensible use of natural resources: “…I was inspired by a metaphor that I have been using. The metaphor is an African, traditional stool with three legs. A traditional African stool is actually made from one log and then three legs are chiseled out and a seat is also chiseled out in the middle so that when you sit, you sit on this basin, which rests on three legs. I compare the three legs to the three pillars that the Norwegian Nobel Committee identified.”
“One leg is that of peace. The other is that of democratic space, where rights are respected—women’s rights, human rights, environmental rights, children’s rights, where there is space for everybody, where minorities and the marginalized can find space. The third leg is the environment, that needs to be managed sustainably, equitably, and in a transparent way, the resources of which also need to be shared equitably. For when a state rests on these three pillars then the basin of the seat becomes the space, the environment, the milieu in which we can do development.”
Maathai believes that all three pillars are needed to hold the seat up. Maathai, who founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM), has witnessed the interdependency of these three pillars in her own life as well. Whenever one of the pillars has been missing, time and again it has led to an arrest or even a jail sentence. However, just as many times she has stood up against oppression and corruption and fought for the epiphany she had already at an early age.
Environmental and climate change effects of colonization
Wangari Maathai realised already at an early stage that the effects of nature’s diversity and immunity are of the greatest importance also to humans. During the 1970′s, when Wangari Maathai was comparing the contemporary living conditions of Kenya to those of her childhood, she noticed that a link existed between the poor nourishment of children and the felling of growing stock that had begun already upon the arrival of the British colonizers.
She noted that gradually, almost unobserved, the water level and cleanliness of water systems had suffered and the varieties that had been traditionally cultivated had been replaced with European varieties and the state of natural forests had weakened constantly.
As if on the sly the entire Kenyan tradition that stems from the traditions of various tribes which, despite of their contradictions, used to carry and unite the society, had been replaced with the European tradition and at the same time the entire society had changed.
When the cultivation of forests and traditional farming disappeared, it became impossible to live in the countryside. As a result, the fathers were forced to seek employment from the cities and that resulted to the end of the ancient tradition of united families.
The eradication of the original wood varieties and their replacement with the imported, fast growing wood varieties gradually led to soil erosion and a change in humidity. When the rivers that used to flow so vibrantly, slowly began to dry up and the people were faced with hunger for the first time, it was time to draw conclusions.
In 1977, Wangari Maathai founded the GBM (Green Belt Movement) to plant back all the lost trees, one by one. She concluded that they would need to restore the original growing stock to help the soil and water systems recover to the way they were. She deduced that if the erosion of the soil came to a halt, also the water systems could recuperate.
The number of planted trees that was first counted in tens and hundreds, has now grown to hundreds of millions of trees alone in Kenya.
The UNEP BillionTree Campaign that was founded under the UN with the contribution of Maathai in 2006 was expanded to a Seven BillionTree Campaign in May, 2008. With the help of the campaign, over seven billion saplings were de facto planted by the end of 2009. The latest and renewed goal is now to plant 12 billion saplings and even that goal seems well on target with pledges of over 11,6 billion to date.
Al Gore and climate change
Just like Wangari Maathai, the ex-senator of United States, Al Gore, has placed value on environmental issues during his entire adulthood and nowadays he is known for trying to stop the growing of carbon dioxide counts in the atmosphere.
As early as 1992, Gore already wrote critically about the contradiction between world economy and ecology in his book Earth in Balance: “Much of what we don’t see with our economics involves the accelerating destruction of the environment. Many popular textbooks on economic theory fail even to address subjects as basic to our economic choices as pollution or the depletion of natural resources.“
Gore clarifies this with an example: “When an underdeveloped nation cuts down a million acres of tropical rain forest in a single year, the money received from the sale of the logs is counted as part of that country’s income for the year.”
“The wear and tear of the chain saws and logging trucks as a result of a year’s work in the rain forest will be entered on the expense side of the ledger, but the wear and tear on the forest itself will not. In fact, nowhere in the calculation of that country’s GNP will there be an entry reflecting the stark reality that a million acres of rain forest is now gone.”
Climate change and bringing forth the unpleasant truth
In fact, one of Gore’s ambitions is to make the saving of the environment one of the central goals of the humankind. During the past years, he has been travelling around the globe giving lectures based on his books and the broadly circulated movie Unpleasant Truth. Cities and countries after another have witnessed the victory march of the real winner of the last US presidential elections, now ”wearing green”.
The world media and the people around the world needed to be affected by a charismatic speaker, such as Al Gore, and by the UN-based IPCC, before they have started to give due recognition and global prevalence to the people who work at the grassroots level, the people mentioned in Gore’s book; people like Wangari Maathai, the Brazilian Chico Mendes who was murdered because of the work he did, and many, many others. Gore suggests a list of 12 steps that present concrete measures (check the separate box) that would help change the economic policy towards a direction that would support the environment.
Climate change was on the agenda of Willy Brand already in the 1980s
However, environmental politics is not a new subject; it was already at the turn of the 1970′s and 80′s when the Brandt-commission announced the environment to be one of the most important goals of the humankind.
The commission was led by Willy Brandt, a former Chancellor of West-Germany, who was also the chairman of the social democratic party as well as the leader of the Socialist International, and he was appointed to the task by the chairman of the World Bank Robert McNamara.
The official name of the Brandt-commission was Independent Commission for International Developmental Issues and its first recommendation North-South was published in the UN on the 12th of February in 1980.
In that statement, the now deceased Brandt notes: “At the beginning of a new decade, only twenty years short of the millennium, we must try to lift ourselves above the day-to-day quarrels (or negotiations) to see the menacing long-term problems.”
Brandt continues: “We see a world in which poverty and hunger still prevail in many huge regions; in which resources are squandered without consideration of their renewal; in which more armaments are made and sold than ever before; and where a destructive capacity has been accumulated to blow up our planet several times over”.
The Brandt-report demanded that the poor southern states would be integrated into the economical system with the help of an advanced support system. According to the commission, this way we would be able to improve the economical and social conditions in these states.
The report saw a clear connection between the ending of the arms race and famine of the underdeveloped nations; if the arms race was globally annulled that would bring enormous amounts of money to the disposal of development aid.
Nations must take cooperative action to beat climate change
The Brandt-commission that included, among others, Edvard Heath (England, Prime Minister in 1970-1974) and Olof Palme (Sweden, Prime Minister in 1969-1976 and 1982-1986) stated that the climate and the environment form the cornerstones of the future of the humankind:
“The strain on the global environment derives mainly from the growth of the industrial economies, but also from that of the world population. It threatens the survival and development opportunities of future generations.”
The report continues: “All nations have to cooperate more urgently in international management of the atmosphere and other global commons, and in the prevention of irreversible ecological damage.“
Already then, in 1980, the commission insisted that we get rid of our dependency on fossil and non-renewable fuels and develop clean sources of energy at the same time as we develop an energy strategy that can cross the borders of nations.
Furthermore, the Brandt-report suggested that subsidies would be paid as incentives to develop solar power, wind power and other non-fossil sources of energy. The Brand-report actually served as a basis for the first Climate Conference of the UN that was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Now, 30 years later, humanity is finally waking up to the threats that were first presented already a long time ago
But how does all of this look from the spiritual vantage point? The work of these Nobel laureates is very much in line with what is spiritually right. Maitreya, the World Teacher has made repeated remarks on how important the environment is to humanity. The importance of our own action is paramount. We, the human kind, are the only ones who can save the planet’s eco system.
“Why is everyone becoming ‘green’ now? Awareness of the environment is the first step in Self realization. Individuals are becoming environmentalists. (This begins with concern for what one eats, drinks, breathes, etc.) Politicians think the world is their oyster. Yet all the ideologies have failed and will continue to fail. Individuals are going to produce changes.” Source: Maitreya, The Laws of Life
So it it crucial that we all become crusaders fighting for the environment. There can be no peace without the environment. There can be no environment without our action.
Here are the major quotations on what Maitreya has said on the environment and our responsibility.
The environment will become the number one issue throughout the world. This growth in concern is the result of increasing Self-awareness. There is a link between the inner and the outer environment: the moment you become aware of yourself this awareness then leads you to look into the outer environment.
There are also connections between the negative forces generated by humanity and what happens in nature. These connections will be increasingly seen and understood as such. Many natural disasters are responses to human activities.
The use of nuclear energy also generates repercussions under the Law of Cause and Effect. There is a difference between using energy within its natural evolutionary base, and manipulating energy. The latter leads invariably to trouble because natural equilibrium is disturbed. A windmill uses the power of the wind to generate energy. A ‘controlled’ underground nuclear explosion manipulates energy, disturbing the earth’s balance. This can and does result in earthquakes.
Human beings are linked to one another and, in principle, a thought can be picked up by anyone, anywhere, in a moment. Nuclear weapons are interlinked via both energy and thought formation. The energy behind all acts of nature and all mental acts is one.
We will see a new equilibrium in the world; both people and nature will respond constructively. People will be able to live in closer contact with nature and there will be greater harmony. There will be no need for nuclear energy: the power of the sun will be used. Because of the greater harmony between nature and humanity, people will be happier, for to disturb the environment is to disturb our own nature.
Willy Brandt’s inexhaustible motivation to keep working for humankind was the guarantee for a mutual future of peace for all humankind at the Rio conference, and the many UNFCCC conferences after it. As a result of Al Gore’s ”preaching” to people around the world, we have begun to realise that the ever hiking carbon dioxide count in our atmosphere poses a serious threat for the entire humankind. The tree-planting campaign that Wangari Maathai initiated to bind the carbon dioxide that exists in the atmosphere shows how these three Nobel Prize Laureates, and their apparently separate work methods finally unite to become a part of one major plan, that will help the living conditions of the planet to find their way back to the path of healing and peace.
The Home page of GBM,
The Home page of Al Gore.