Ask the UN to ratify a 'Charter for Ecological Justice'

Ask the UN to ratify a 'Charter for Ecological Justice'

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Barbara Williams started this petition to Antonio Guterres - UN secretary general (United Nations)

Our objective: Create a ‘Charter’ that provides a quantifiable objective for us to globally work together to urgently recover and stabilise the degraded state of Earth's ecosystems and climate.  This Charter to be endorsed by humanity, adopted by governments and the UN as a foundation document for our future relationship with the living planet Earth. The Charter is intended to inspire us to recognise that we urgently need to protect as much as possible of the collapsing ecosystems and climatic conditions which have supported life successfully in the past. It does not address how we shall organise ourselves, whether by democracy, tyranny or otherwise. It seeks to only to raise our awareness and refocus our aspirations to promote an evolution of our emotions which will result in wiser and more responsible behaviour towards our environment, these transitions of mindset are explored here.

It is proposed that the United Nations should consider seeking consensus to ratify a 'Charter for Ecological Justice'.   This concept will go beyond traditional politics and religion to collectively aspire to behaviour which lies within the biophysical capacity of the Earth to sustain us.  There is a separate document which covers the scientific justification behind the proposed wording for the declaration which is shown below:

“This 'Charter for Ecological Justice' seeks to inspire a new emotional maturity within the human race. This new era will be characterised by increasingly selfless behaviour both individually and collectively in the face of escalating existential threats. To this end it recognises that our environmental impact is a product of our population size and the way that we utilise our affluence and technology. Henceforth we shall collectively and individually aspire to combine our free-choice, affluence and technology to redress the ecological imbalance, which is escalating the sixth mass extinction. All nations will collectively aspire to reducing their ecological footprint to less than 50% of the biocapacity available within their borders, as determined by the Global Footprint Network data. Globally, education and empowerment goals will prioritise the symbiotic relationships between ecological footprint, ecological balance, and the need to conserve more than 50% of the planet for sustaining the needs of non-livestock vertebrates. Human intervention in wildlife populations will be discouraged unless an invasive species is deemed to be a serious threat to either local or global eco-systems. The Charter recommends that communities work towards living within the biocapacity of their borders with an average per capita ecological footprint of 2.14 as a modest requirement to achieve a fulfilled lifestyle".

The idea of introducing 2.14 gha as a desirable average ecological footprint comes from this research paper Reconciling human demands with planetary boundaries, this research enables us to identify whether a country needs to raise or decrease its consumption per capita, and identifies which countries will still be unsustainable after the redistribution has been achieved.  The research uses the data compiled by the Global Footprint Network.

This proposed Charter will raise awareness throughout the globe about the concept of ecological overshoot.  This in turn will raise awareness that the economic growth paradigm is unsustainable and consequently some of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) need to be altered to reflect the limitations of our planet.  In particular the SDG8 concerns ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, the latter is clearly unsustainable with the current advanced state of global overshoot.  Therefore we are suggesting that this goal be replaced by one that aspires to ‘Awareness and Empowerment’.   The draft suggestion for this replacement goal can be accessed here.

The author of this proposal published a book in March 2021, it is free to download from this link 'Saving Us From Ourselves - Can we repair 50 yrs of ecological overshoot? '.  The book is intended as an awareness exercise for the affluent public.  The book includes an ambitious vision of how affluent society might successfully transition to using only the minimum resources that are necessary from our collapsing eco-system.  It envisages emotional resilience and collective courage adequate to face the consequences of the mis-judgements that have been made by all affluent societies in recent decades.  More information is available from this website:  Poems For Parliament

It is hoped that the concept of a Charter for Eco-justice together with the 'Awareness and Empowerment' goal suggested to replace SDG8 will inspire a global change in human behaviours and aspirations to relieve the pressures on our environment.  The urgency of our predicament cannot be overstated. Pandemics, resources wars and monetary inflation are all symptoms of ecological collapse.     

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