Here are some of this week’s international headlines. The top stories are not about wars or the economy or the price of gas and oil. They are about the climate crisis: "Stifling heatwave sweeping entire us with 100-degree temperatures." "Europe's devastating heat wave shows keeping calm and carrying on is not an option." "In China, the summer has brought three heatwaves that have buckled roads, melted tar, and popped off roof tiles." "Heatwaves and fires scorch Europe, Africa, and Asia." "The devastating heatwave that has baked India and Pakistan in recent months was made more likely by climate change and is a glimpse of the region’s future, international scientists said in a study released Monday."
In terms of the last of these headlines, surely the “glimpse of the region’s future” is not just for southeast Asia. It is the future of all regions, the future of our planet, that we are glimpsing. Wildfires are burning out of control everywhere. Heat waves are buckling roads as well as killing people. Do we really need a team of international scientists to tell us this? The world’s forests are going up in smoke and so is our human future.
We have passed tipping point after tipping point: points of no return. We cannot refreeze the Arctic Ocean. We cannot refreeze the melting permafrost across Canada and Siberia. The planetary disaster is not an incremental process; its severity is compounded each year that goes by with little being done. Human activities, mostly burning fossil fuels, dump approximately 40 billion tons of greenhouse gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere annually. This figure has not decreased, but only increased, despite repeated warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific bodies for the past half century.
Our only real option is human solidarity, a coordinated planetary effort to save what is left of our planet’s climate for future generations. However, the UN’s supposed coordinated effort, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), surely counts as a mockery and a joke. Nations have signed-on, but the goals are non-binding, and little has changed. How do we achieve real human solidarity — a united front against climate change that is effective and compelling?
The central impediments to such a united front include a cancerous global economic system of brutal and often criminalized competition along with endless growth, eating up the biosphere of the planet like a gigantic beast devouring its own flesh. This brutal economic system is exacerbated by the procrustean bed of militarized sovereign nations-states, each out for itself, each creating an ego identity in much of its population, and each approaching our global human situation from its ego-driven point of view. The entire superstructure of the world’s nations is built upon this illusion of absolute borders, national security, self-preservation, and self-promotion. These economic and political systems of our world operate in tandem to block human solidarity and united action. But the top environmental thinkers unanimously declare that truly united, transformative action is necessary.
Environmental scholar and activist James Gustav Speth declares that we are hanging off “a bridge at the edge of the world.” Speth writes:
We must look beyond the world of practical affairs to those who are thinking difficult and unconventional thoughts and proposing transformative change.
Famed environmental thinker Bill McKibben writes that “it is not a good sign that the largest physical structures on our planet, its ice caps and barrier reefs and rainforests are disappearing before our very eyes”.4 He argues that we must focus on the moral enhancement and maturity of every person that will lead us to stand together to protect our shared earthly home.
In his 2018 book on climate change Dr. Joseph Romm reviews the terrible environmental consequences we are now facing: massive disappearance of agricultural lands, sea level rise flooding coastal lands, acidification of oceans and the death of fisheries, growing uninhabitable regions of the world, inhuman heat and spreading wildfires, spread of insect pests and tropical diseases, massive extinctions, and devastating superstorms. Environmental author Donald Wallace-Wells named his 2018 book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life after Warming. He shows that the crisis is not incremental but cascading. Every year that we hesitate multiplies the crisis and the consequences in a cascading fashion. Before long, it may be too late to stop the destruction in time to save humanity from extinction.
As I showed in Chapter Six of my 2021 book on climate collapse called The Earth Constitution Solution, the UN system is founded on this double illusion of endless economic competition and growth within the context of a loosely affiliated collection of militarized sovereign nation-states. The nation-states, each driven by its ego-identity, compete with one another economically, politically, and militarily, hardly a sign of maturity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved under this system. Human beings need to unite to survive climate collapse.
For example, in the UN Declaration framing its Sustainable Development Goals, item number 18 states: “We affirm that every state has, and shall freely exercise, full permanent sovereignty over all its wealth, natural resources, and economic activity.” This foundational statement, based on the fanatically held UN dogma of ‘sovereign’ nation-states, defines the legal system of the world that makes achievement of the SDGs impossible. Under this dogma, the government of Brazil has the right to cut down and destroy the lungs of the Earth; the Chinese government has the right to burn all the coal it wants and discharge the dirty refuse into the atmosphere of our planet, and the US has the right to withdraw from any environmental treaties it wishes. Nations have these ‘rights’ even though any of these three actions by these governments will bring down climate preservation efforts for the entire planet and ensure the possible extinction of the human species! The UN system is premised on this and many other suicidal absurdities.
To unite humanity requires that we transcend our ego-driven national identities and begin to think as true world citizens united within one humanity, one planet, and one global civilization. This transcendence cannot be a mere psychological shift but must include economic and political transcendence as well. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is a ready-made template for rapidly making this transition. One vital option, perhaps the most practical: nations at the UN could hold an Article 109 Review Conference and replace the unworkable UN Charter with the Earth Constitution and integrate all the agencies of the UN into that constitutional framework.
All of these writers I have cited say that a change of consciousness is necessary — an awakening of humanity to species solidarity, environmental sensitivity, and a fullness of life that transcends the endless striving for money and possessions. This is clearly true, but it is absolutely essential to see that there can be no change of consciousness without a corresponding change in the system that currently defeats holistic consciousness to a unifying system that fosters and complements holistic consciousness.
Under the Earth Constitution, the nation-states are not abolished but become part of a World Parliament that unites the whole of humanity. Under the Constitution, free trade is not abolished but becomes integrated into a monitored global economy directed toward human and planetary well-being (rather than the uncontrolled private accumulation of wealth and power as now). The very existence of a holistic, democratic world system premised on unity in diversity will serve as a major catalyst for this transformation of consciousness, for true human maturity.
The Earth Constitution is designed to deal with the nexus of global problems. That is why I subtitled my 2021 book Design for a Living Planet — for all the global problems are interrelated and interdependent — population explosion, global poverty, endangered global public health (plagues and pandemics), diminishing global resources, pollution everywhere, global superstorms with their destruction of lives, property, and communities, planetary heat waves, endless wildfires, rising oceans, destruction of habitats and fisheries, massive species extinctions, militarism and war, terrorism, and international criminal enterprises. All these global problems (and many more) are consequences of the present world system and can only be dealt with by transcending that world system to genuine global democratic unity and solidarity.
The Earth Constitution unites humanity under a democratic World Parliament whose job it is to deal with all of these problems in integrated and comprehensive ways. In the World Parliament the nation-states all have representatives in the House of Nations, the people of Earth have direct representation from 1,000 electoral districts worldwide in the House of Peoples, and the common good of the whole is represented by 200 delegates democratically elected to represent the whole of humanity.
The World Parliament thus includes the diversity of people directly, all the nations directly, and the good of the whole directly. Buckminster Fuller repeatedly spoke of the immense human synergy and collective wealth that would be released as soon as humanity gives up its fragmented obsession with national egoisms and begins to think in terms of our common humanity living and working together on our single common planetary home. This World Parliament brilliantly brings all humanity together in a solidarity directed toward effective action.
It is precisely this legal and legitimate unity that creates the capacity for effective global action, entirely unlike the UN, which has no such capacity. The agencies under the World Parliament all foster this integrated and united solidarity — the World Judiciary, the civilian World Police (there is no military, nor is any needed), the World Ombudsman to protect human rights and serve as a watchdog on the world government, and the Executive Branch. The latter has immense resources at its disposal for addressing climate crisis — to create a sustainable global economic system not predicated on endless growth, to monitor the health of the planet everywhere through the agencies set up in the Integrative Complex, to create a world culture of cooperation and integration that allows for voluntary reduction in population growth, to develop cooperative ecological communities and projects everywhere, and for technological research and innovations directed toward preserving the planetary ecosystem and maximizing the well-being of its living creatures.
The World Administration has, of course, worldwide departments for food and agriculture, health and nutrition, water supplies, environment and ecology, world resources, oceans and sea-beds, economics, human rights, multinational corporations, and much more. For the first time ever, from all these multiple angles, the agencies and departments of the Earth Federation will be looking at the whole of humanity, its integration, its rights and diversities, and its well-being. The World Civil Service authority will be employing many millions of persons worldwide to spearhead and maintain projects for sustainability in every locality. Only such a comprehensive plan of action can stop the Earth from burning up to the point where human beings are likely to become extinct.
Under the Earth Constitution the major ecological resources of the Earth belong to the people of Earth — the oceans, the atmosphere, vital resources like rainforests, etc. They do not belong to sovereign nation-states but are the heritage of all humanity for the benefit of all and future generations. The uniting of humanity to combat climate collapse includes the uniting of ownership of the world’s vital resources for all of humanity — not to multinational corporations, nor to sovereign, ego-driven, militarized nation-states.
The Earth Constitution establishes planetary debt-free, interest-free public banking so that for the first time, money-creation and distribution will not be for the private gain of bankers or governments but will be for the common well-being of the whole. A world that is now buried in debt and requires endless growth to service its unsustainable debt will be gone forever. There is no shortage of money when banking becomes planetary public banking, dedicated to the common good, rather than private banking cartels concerned with maximizing their private profit.
The Earth Constitution goes beyond the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (of 1948) to add the “third generation” rights of the right to peace and to a healthy planetary environment. These are rights governed by enforceable law, no longer simply ideals as in the UN Declaration. The uniting of humanity in solidarity means driving toward the actualization of our intrinsic rights to peace and a healthy environment. Individual rights and collective rights unite in new levels of human solidarity.
Ratification and implementation of the Constitution is both practical and achievable. There is a simple five phase process outlined in Articles 17, 18, and 19. We are in Phase 1 right now: the era of Provisional World Government as defined by Article 19. We have been holding sessions of the Provisional World Parliament (since 1982), activating commissions to address global problems and promote ratification of the Constitution, and defining the boundaries of the World Electoral Districts while at the same time developing secure online voting procedures for each district.
Phase 2 comes under Article 17 when the first Operative Stage is reached through ratification by some 25 nations or majority voting from some 100 World Electoral Districts. The initial Earth Federation government activates the Earth Emergency Rescue Administration (EERA) to help deal with the climate crisis. A truly coordinated portion of humanity swings into action to address the crisis. Phase 3 then commences under Article 18 in which a new constitutional convention is called to review the Earth Constitution and make any changes necessary to create the most powerful and comprehensive document possible, including any provisions necessary to maximize climate protections. From there our planet moves to Phase 4 which is called the “Second Operative Stage” under Article 17.
In this stage the nations of the world complete the process of disarmament begun in the first and second phases of unification by the World Disarmament Agency (WDA). Disarmament is absolutely fundamental to addressing the climate crisis. The immense wealth now poured down that military toilet must be converted to ecological restoration. From there it will likely be a very short step to the Full Operative Stage of the Earth Federation (Phase 5) in which at least 90% of the Earth is included and the world finally truly united in democratic solidarity and synergy, monitoring and preserving of planetary ecosystem and its population of living creatures as an integrated whole.
We have before us a clearly defined path to human survival and flourishing. The path has already been begun, and its trajectory well laid out and easily followed. There are no other viable paths open to humanity at this time in history. We do not need to reinvent the wheel of global government. A brilliantly designed wheel is ready and waiting. All we need to do is activate the wheel and put it in use for human survival. The most effective action for addressing climate change is ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.
Our world is burning up. It is already very bad and will get explosively worse every year. The only clear path to effectively dealing with this disaster is ratification and implementation of the Earth Constitution. This is precisely the unity in diversity of humanity that transcends the world’s current economic and political fragmentation. We cannot rely on politicians or heads of governments to take the lead. They have internalized the fragmented human condition so completely as to make themselves useless for this task. It is up to us, the people of Earth, to make this happen.
The time for action is now. Tomorrow will clearly be too late.
2 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
3 James Gustav Speth. The Bridge at the Edge of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.
4 Bill McKibben. Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? New York: Henry Holt, 2019.
5 Joseph Room. Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
6 Wallace-Wells. The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. New York: Random House, 2019.
7 Glen T. Martin. The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press, 2021.
8 Glen T. Martin, ed. Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2010.
9 Buckminster Fuller. Operating Manuel for Spaceship Earth. New York: Pocket Books, 1972.