Ask the UN to ratify a 'Universal Aspiration' to inspire an altruistic Anthropocene

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Proposal for a “Universal Aspiration" to inspire an altruistic Anthropocene

An exciting new concept has been suggested to inspire very different behaviours in the affluent world, and to challenge our socio-economic growth paradigm.  For decades scientists from the Global Footprint Network have been measuring the extent to which the global population are increasingly exceeding the biocapacity of the Earth to sustain us.  The resulting degradation in the biodiversity of our environment is now at a critical stage of collapse as the sixth mass extinction escalates. 

It is proposed that the United Nations should consider seeking consensus to ratify a “Universal Aspiration”.   This concept will go beyond traditional politics and religion to collectively aspire to behaviour which lies within the capacity of the Earth to sustain us.  The proposed wording for the declaration is as follows:

“This Universal Aspiration 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, educational goals will prioritise the symbiotic relationships between ecological footprint, ecological balance, and the need to conserve at least 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  'Overshoot Index' data compiled by the Global Footprint Network which shows overshoot by country, can be downloaded from the lower section of the web page linked here.

This proposed Universal Aspiration 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, entitled '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.  The book can be downloaded for free from the homepage of this website:  Poems For Parliament

The book refers on page 20 to the research by Prof Chris Bystroff predicting the collapse of human population in this current decade.  The link in the book is no longer available because the research has passed peer-review and now appears at this new link.  It is hoped that this research, combined with the concept of 'Universal Aspiration' 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.