World Charter for Nature

Posted on 15 October 2020 | Comments Off on World Charter for Nature

In October of 1982 one hundred and eleven member states of the United Nations signed the UN World Charter for Nature. A few nations did not vote and some abstained, but only one country voted against this document: the United States.

Currently, the full document for this charter is unavailable on the United Nations website. If you follow the link to it, you will just receive a “404 page not found” message, which I find deeply concerning.

As such I felt to raise awareness of this important document, I would publish it here.

Read this, then check to see if your country signed it. If they have done so, then they are bound by treaty to abide by its precepts. Certainly, it may still need ratifying by your federal government in order to become law. Nevertheless, you have every right to insist that it does.

When we make important international agreements, particularly ones to do with our collective well-being, it is important to demonstrate we are a people of our word, we are a country of integrity. Our nation is one deserving of the world’s respect.

~~~

UN GA RES 37/7

World Charter for Nature (1982)

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming the fundamental purposes of the United Nations, in particular the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations among nations and the achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, technical, intellectual or humanitarian character,

Aware that:

(a) Mankind is a part of nature and life depends on the uninterrupted functioning of natural systems which ensure the supply of energy and nutrients,

(b) Civilization is rooted in nature, which has shaped human culture and influenced all artistic and scientific achievements, and living in harmony with nature gives man the best opportunities for the development of his creativity, and for rest and recreation,

Convinced that:

(a) Every form of life is unique, warranting respect regardless of its worth to man, and, to accord other organisms such recognition, man must be guided by a moral code of action,

(b) Man can alter nature and exhaust natural resources by his action or its consequences and, therefore, must fully recognize the urgency of maintaining the stability and quality of nature and of conserving natural resources,

Persuaded that:

(a) Lasting benefits from nature depend upon the maintenance of essential ecological processes and life support systems, and upon the diversity of life forms, which are jeopardized through excessive exploitation and habitat destruction by man,

(b) The degradation of natural systems owing to excessive consumption and misuse of natural resources, as well as to failure to establish an appropriate economic order among peoples and among States, leads to the breakdown of the economic, social and political framework of civilization,

(c) Competition for scarce resources creates conflicts, whereas the conservation of nature and natural resources contributes to justice and the maintenance of peace and cannot be achieved until mankind learns to live in peace and to forsake war and armaments,

Reaffirming that man must acquire the knowledge to maintain and enhance his ability to use natural resources in a manner which ensures the preservation of the species and ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations,

Firmly convinced of the need for appropriate measures, at the national and international, individual and collective, and private and public levels, to protect nature and promote international co-operation in this field,

Adopts, to these ends, the present World Charter for Nature, which proclaims the following principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged.

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

  1. Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not be impaired.
  2. The genetic viability on the earth shall not be compromised; the population levels of all life forms, wild and domesticated, must be at
    least sufficient for their survival, and to this end necessary habitat shall be safeguarded.
  3. All areas of the earth, both land and sea, shall be subject to these principles of conservation; special protection shall be given to unique areas, to representative samples of all the different types of ecosystems and to the habitat of rare or endangered species.
  4. Ecosystems and organisms, as well as the land, marine and atmospheric resources that are utilized by man, shall be managed to achieve and maintain optimum sustainable productivity, but not in such a way as to endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems or species with which they coexist.
  5. Nature shall be secured against degradation caused by warfare or other hostile activities.

II. FUNCTIONS

  1. In the decision-making process it shall be recognized that man’s needs can be met only by ensuring the proper functioning of natural systems and by respecting the principles set forth in the present Charter.
  2. In the planning and implementation of social and economic development activities, due account shall be taken of the fact that the conservation of nature is an integral part of those activities.
  3. In formulating long-term plans for economic development, population growth and the improvement of standards of living, due account shall be taken of the long-term capacity of natural systems to ensure the subsistence and settlement of the populations concerned, recognizing that this capacity may be enhanced through science and technology.
  4. The allocation of areas of the earth to various uses shall be planned and due account shall be taken of the physical constraints, the biological productivity and diversity and the natural beauty of the areas concerned.
  5. Natural resources shall not be wasted, but used with a restraint appropriate to the principles set forth in the present Charter, in accordance with the following rules:
    (a) Living resources shall not be utilized in excess of their natural capacity for regeneration;
    (b) The productivity of soils shall be maintained or enhanced through measures which safeguard their long-term fertility and the process of organic decomposition, and prevent erosion and all other forms of degradation;
    (c) Resources, including water, which are not consumed as they are used shall be reused or recycled;
    (d) Non-renewable resources which are consumed as they are used shall be exploited with restraint, taking into account their abundance, their rational possibilities of converting them for consumption, and the compatibility of their exploitation with the functioning of natural systems.
  6. Activities which might have an impact on nature shall be controlled, and the best available technologies that minimize significant risks to nature or other adverse effects shall be used; in particular:
    (a) Activities which are likely to cause irreversible damage to nature shall be avoided;
    (b) Activities which are likely to pose a significant risk to nature shall be preceded by an exhaustive examination; their proponents shall demonstrate that expected benefits outweigh potential damage to nature, and where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed;
    (c) Activities which may disturb nature shall be preceded by assessment of their consequences, and environmental impact studies of development projects shall be conducted sufficiently in advance, and if they are to be undertaken, such activities shall be planned and carried out so as to minimize potential adverse effects;
    (d) Agriculture, grazing, forestry and fisheries practices shall be adapted to the natural characteristics and constraints of given areas;
    (e) Areas degraded by human activities shall be rehabilitated for purposes in accord with their natural potential and compatible with the well-being of affected populations.
  7. Discharge of pollutants into natural systems shall be avoided and:
    (a) Where this is not feasible, such pollutants shall be treated at the source, using the best practicable means available;
    (b) Special precautions shall be taken to prevent discharge of radioactive or toxic wastes.
  8. Measures intended to prevent, control or limit natural disasters, infestations and diseases shall be specifically directed to the causes of these scourges and shall avoid averse side-effects on nature.

III. IMPLEMENTATION

  1. The principles set forth in the present Charter shall be reflected in the law and practice of each State, as well as at the international level.
  2. Knowledge of nature shall be broadly disseminated by all possible means, particularly by ecological education as an integral part of general education.
  3. All planning shall include, among its essential elements, the formulation of strategies for the conservation of nature, the establishment of inventories of ecosystems and assessments of the effects on nature of proposed policies and activities; all of these elements shall be disclosed to the public by appropriate means in time to permit effective consultation and participation.
  4. Funds, programmes and administrative structures necessary to achieve the objective of the conservation of nature shall be provided.
  5. Constant efforts shall be made to increase knowledge of nature by scientific research and to disseminate such knowledge unimpeded by restrictions of any kind.
  6. The status of natural processes, ecosystems and species shall be closely monitored to enable early detection of degradation or threat, ensure timely intervention and facilitate the evaluation of conservation policies and methods.
  7. Military activities damaging to nature shall be avoided.
  8. States and, to the extent they are able, other public authorities, international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:
    (a) Co-operate in the task of conserving nature through common activities and other relevant actions, including information exchange and consultations;
    (b) Establish standards for products and other manufacturing processes that may have adverse effects on nature, as well as agreed methodologies for assessing these effects;
    (c) Implement the applicable international legal provisions for the conservation of nature and the protection of the environment;
    (d) Ensure that activities within their jurisdictions or control do not cause damage to the natural systems located within other States or in the areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction;
    (e) Safeguard and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  9. Taking fully into account the sovereignty of States over their natural resources, each State shall give effect to the provisions of the present Charter through its competent organs and in co-operation with other States.
  10. All persons, in accordance with their national legislation, shall have the opportunity to participate, individually or with others, in the formulation of decisions of direct concern to their environment, and shall have access to means of redress when their environment has suffered damage or degradation.
  11. Each person has a duty to act in accordance with the provisions of the present Charter, acting individually, in association with others or through participation in the political process, each person shall strive to ensure that the objectives and requirements of the present Charter are met.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Crossing Bridges

Posted on 15 October 2020 | Comments Off on Crossing Bridges

Congress member John Lewis is a big hero of mine: right up there with Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Malala Yousafzai. He did so much to ensure the kind, respectful, and fair treatment of all people in the US. This episode of Stories Make the Future is dedicated to John Lewis. After all he exemplifies what stories of change need to look like.

This Is the Problem

Posted on 24 September 2020 | Comments Off on This Is the Problem

This video introduces people to social problem fiction. This is a genre used to reflect upon the issues people have to face today. It is an important way to hold a mirror up to the realities many people are living.

Look Out to Your Neighbour, Look Up to Something Better

Posted on 31 August 2020 | 1 response

A friend made a comment this morning that resonated with me. “How is it that people’s minds are so fragile right now?”

How is it that people we have known to be friendly and kind have slipped into hatred?

How is it that people who were once willing to reach out a hand to those in need are now withholding help, and telling those who are suffering that they deserve it.

How is it that after being mistreated for being who they are, people turn around and mistreat others for who they are? “My pain, but not your pain”. The arrow of empathy is expected to go one direction.

How is it that so many people of such great diversity are all yearning to be like the awful selfish people on the top.

We are all scared and we are all being fed toxic stories and images through our media. We need to start looking out and looking up.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Stories Make the Future

Posted on 20 August 2020 | Comments Off on Stories Make the Future

I have started a video series about how to write the sort of stories that capture people’s imaginations and help to create a better world. I talk about how storytelling can also be part of the social or environmental activist’s strategy. Please take a look and tell me what you think!

Tips for Change

Posted on 18 July 2020 | Comments Off on Tips for Change

Helping.
CC BYSA 4.0 Intl Mr.rwaghmare

Stand up to those who are behaving in harmful manners.

Refrain from hating them…stay focused on the behaviour.

Support and applaud those doing life-affirming actions.

Do what you can to amplify the example of life-affirming action, so that it is seen more as the norm and thereby becomes more of the norm.

Don’t worry so much about converting the obstinate. Just be kind and protect the vulnerable.

Be prepared to hold out a hand when someone is ready to change their minds for the better.

You cannot change a person by telling them they are a bad person. You can change them by example, and by pointing out certain actions and words are harmful. Example is best.

Create a world whereby it is easy to do the right thing.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

The Nannies Are Okay

Posted on 12 July 2020 | Comments Off on The Nannies Are Okay

I object to “nanny state” on the same grounds as I object to “throws like a girl” or “screams like a girl”. The formula is: “this is bad, therefore it is like a female because females are laughably low status.”

However, as a metaphor “nanny state” is revealing.

Traditionally, nannies have been servants in wealthy households. They were live-in workers, sometimes even slaves, who made it possible for the woman of the house to participate in an upper-class social life.

For someone to create and use such an analogy they would probably have experienced being raised by a nanny. They may well be someone who resented a lower-class woman telling them, as rich children, what to do. In their estimation they may believe that they should have the right to tell the nanny what to do, and a nanny should have no power at all, even if it is in their best interest.

So what exactly are we saying with the phrase “nanny state”? No one for any reason should have a right to tell a rich person, regardless of age, what to do? The poor should never have power over the rich? Women should never have power over men? That caring for the populace: ensuring they have all they need and don’t hurt themselves, is a bad thing?

I am much more concerned by a surveillance state or a police state, than a nanny state. Perhaps when someone uses “nanny state” take a hard look at who they are and what their agenda is. Certain leaders right now come off as spoiled brat three year-olds yelling, “You can’t tell me what to do, I’m telling my daddy on you.”

I would love to see Mary Poppins become a positive protest symbol! I would much prefer to see her in power than many others.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

Stop Damaging Ourselves

Posted on 3 May 2020 | Comments Off on Stop Damaging Ourselves

2019 CC BY SA 4.0 Intl Michal Klajban

So many of us were raised by people who were damaged and who controlled, judged, and manipulated us through physical and/or emotional violence. So many of us are damaged and relate to the world through that damage.

To survive others of our kind we resort to the strategies used to protect ourselves from predators: fight, flight, fawn, or freeze. We all use a mix of these in different ways at different times.

Fawn

We try to please our parents, please our teachers, please the people in power. As children these are the people who are critical to our survival and we have no choice but to rely upon them. We expect their love.

As adults we may learn to flatter people in order to get what we want and need, but there may be little truth in the flattery. It is an appeal to fragile egos that are easily manipulated. We end up living in a world of glamours where we see nothing but complimentary images of ourselves.

The dark side of this is knowing that we do not match our images and become terrified of being found out. We become manipulable to those who recognise our secret and offer supposed solutions to our inconsistencies, while keeping us locked within them. We also live in terror of others finding out that we are not sincere, making our flattery ineffective and worthless.

Freeze

Just nod and agree with everything. Don’t rock the boat. When we see someone being brutalised by another, just stand back and become invisible. Maybe the bully won’t see us.

We may pat ourselves on the back saying that we are the peaceful ones. We are the moderate ones. We are the good people. In reality we are the cowards who are empowering oppressors.

Bullies only need to harm a few people to terrify everyone else into fearful compliance. We could stand together to stop them, but most of us do not. Instead we turn our backs on the victims, saying that they somehow deserved this mistreatment–because that excuses us for remaining uninvolved.

Flight

A number of us stay as far as we can from other people. We go to work, keep our heads down, go home, sit in front of the tv or play computer games until bed time, then after sleep go through this same cycle again. If we get lonely, we may become involved in social media, chatting with people we will never meet in person. If someone suggests we meet, we run away, terrified that we will be controlled, judged, and manipulated.

We may become especially sensitive to differences. That person is dangerous because they are a different gender, their skin is different, their culture is different, they are in a different field of work, they have more or less money, they look weird, they are in need, they are too good for us…etc. Honestly, bigotry is only the most obvious beginning to this sensitisation that results in isolation, dehumanisation, and ostracisation of ourselves and others.

Fight

We live in a culture that idolises violence. We spend a significant portion of our lives absorbing stories about people in violent contact. We normalise violence in order to keep that tool handy to protect ourselves. People who win live to fight another day…as if we should want to fight other days. We even romanticise those people who turn violence against themselves in order to escape the suffering.

When we are damaged by our families we may choose to harm them by being the opposite of all they are. We may do the same thing to our culture. However, then we are a simple mirror image. Everything we do requires keeping our eyes on what the enemy is doing. True freedom would be to simply walk away and be our most authentic selves, even if parts will be like our family or our culture…but it will be a matter of careful choice.

We may choose to “kiss up and kick down”. We treat those of higher status with deference, then transfer all our fear and frustration to those who are vulnerable and can’t fight back. Sometimes people kick up. But that doesn’t mean they are kinder to those of lower status. Many will bond more closely with those like themselves and form a gang. People can fight for noble things like universal health care for all, then define “all” as those who are part of their gang…all others are interlopers. And some will manipulate the most vulnerable into a combined force in order to give themselves power, without caring about the damage they are doing to these people nor ever intending to make their lives better.

Stop

I have lived long enough to see my cultures ride a roller-coaster from mean to less mean to mean again. Many people either do not have the will or the time to reflect upon the core reasons for their unhappiness. Many are terrified that if they let go of the script they are using to get by, then they will lose everything. Some are terrified of losing even a smidgen of their privileges.

No one is wholly good. Only a number are wholly bad and are probably in need of medical attention. We have to be conscious enough to start giving one another the things we need to be kinder more peaceful people. The children of abusers tend to become abusers themselves, but the cycle can be broken. Aren’t we all tired of living insecure lives? Security will only come when we are big-hearted enough to leave no one behind. Anything less becomes a cancer that eats us alive.

Things can be better. Open your mind. Open your heart.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Be Prepared

Posted on 6 April 2020 | Comments Off on Be Prepared

The Flag of Democracy

We need to think about many things for when our pandemic quarantine is over. Here are two I would like to mention.

Many small businesses have or will go under, leaving us more fully in the hands of the mega-businesses who are non-democratic and tend to be answerable to no one.

We have been granting our governments special powers in order to protect ourselves during these extraordinary times. In many cases we will have to claw those powers back.

In both cases we are losing rights, freedoms, and our democracy is being eroded.

We need to reacquaint ourselves with why these things are important to our collective and individual well-being, then be prepared to push hard to claim what is justly ours. Don’t let anyone fool you. We are the power. We must use our power wisely to create a world of peace, compassion, and sustainability.

In peace and kindness,
Katherine

How to Withstand Staying at Home for a Lengthy Period

Posted on 23 March 2020 | Comments Off on How to Withstand Staying at Home for a Lengthy Period

Get up and go to bed at regular hours
These don’t have to be the same hours as previously, just regular.

Clean yourself and get out of your pajamas.
You don’t have to dress up formally, just wear day clothes.

Give yourself a schedule.
For example: wash clothes on Saturday, play an online game on Sunday, Monday to Friday have a project your are working on. Whatever works for you.

Have a meaningful project you can work on.
Some hobbies can fit this gap, but really what you want is something that has a sense of significance like writing letters for Amnesty International or sprouting trees to be planted in a park.

Have special events you can look forward to from week to week.
This can be as simple as a favourite TV show on a particular night, or a day and time when you regularly call a friend or family member for a chat.

Make sure to find ways to exercise everyday.
You can follow a YouTube exercise tutorial, walk the dog, or just turn on some music and dance like a maniac for thirty minutes a day. Extra points for doing a little bit outside regularly.

Eat healthy.
Poor health can lead to poor mental health.

Find ways to socialise.
The more of a person you can connect with, without being physically present, the better. Writing on social media is fine. Hearing people on Zoom is better. Seeing and hearing people on Skype or Google Hangouts is even better.

Find a private space where you can cry, laugh, scream, whatever you need. Then be resolved to take one day at a time, noting what good moments you can.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

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