Earth Systems Treaty: The emerging cross-cultural commitment

Sep 18, 2023
Global network connection. World map point and line composition concept

“The evidence is compelling that human exceptionalism is a deeply-flawed construct – a grand cultural illusion – that has led modern techno-industrial societies into a potentially fatal ecological trap.” William Rees, Author, The Human Ecology of Overshoot.

The long-standing, gender-dominant human cultural course has come to its final dark expression. The question now is, will life on Earth flame out because of the implacable resistance of one in three humans, or will we find a way to come together and cooperate – all genders, ethnicities, and nationalities – in support of a worthy human future, and a good outcome for all of our Earth’s natural systems?

We humans are caught up now in dysfunction in so many ways. Consider the increased frequency of destructive weather extremes caused by massive human overreach. We now pump 50 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution into the only atmosphere we have, every passing year. It’s an Earth-scale problem. Humans are entirely responsible.

It’s not just about climate.

In his book, How to Fix a Broken Planet, Australian science author Julian Cribb presents the reader a list of ten human-driven existential threats that could derail the future of life on Earth.

As a response to that, what Professor Cribb has now come up with is a worthy pathway for pursuing our planet’s urgent need for action. It’s called, ‘The Earth Systems Treaty’. You can hear Julian Cribb define the Earth System Treaty here.

“Humanity created its current dire trajectory. It is now time to change course with a binding global treaty designed to empower individuals, institutions, and policymakers, and through this shared effort, reduce the existential threats to civilisation. The Earth Systems Treaty is potentially a major step forward, a step towards a healthy future for all.” Paul R. Ehrlich, Emeritus Professor, Stanford University

Imagine the best outcome for the Earth Systems Treaty  

We’re going to speculate about where the EST goes on a social media able and willing to deliver a cultural ideal so compelling, so planetary-purposeful, so accessible, that people of all genders and ethnicities will sign their names to it and, by so doing, commit their future votes only to politicians who pledge to deliver public policy that is in tune with the Earth Systems Treaty.

In a worthy outcome, the social media spreads the EST pledge to people living on every continent, in every corner of our planet Earth. It’s entirely possible that the launch of the the EST could mushroom quickly to include a substantial share of humanity. With assertive outreach, it could become a politically potent cultural movement within months.

“In 2021, over 5.1 billion people of a world population of 8 billion, used the internet. It is expected that by 2030 everyone will be online…The antidotes to ignorance and fear are knowledge and understanding. The internet is capable of supplying both.” Julian Cribb, How to Fix a Broken Planet

At this moment early in the 21st century

At least 30% of the world’s people now live in free and open societies connected by the internet and the social media. Imagine if the majority of the people living in those societies gave signature and commitment to the EST.

Much of the other, politically divided portion of humanity on Earth is also connected to the net and the social media to some degree or another. A substantial share of those people could also likely be counted on to support the EST.

The cultural outreach should be focused primarily on women and young people as the evidence suggests they are the most receptive audiences for the treaty. As it unfolds in nations where votes count, candidates that stand for the Earth Systems Treaty will get elected. They will remake public policy to reflect the gender-equal, life-affirming, cultural transformation the world so desperately needs.

By cooperating and standing together, that’s what we humans can achieve. That’s what can happen when we are all galvanized by common purpose.

“The task is to articulate not just an alternative set of policy proposals but an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis—embedded in interdependence rather than hyper-individualism, reciprocity rather than dominance, and cooperation rather than hierarchy.” Naomi Klein, Author, This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs. the Climate

Choosing the future we want for ourselves

There is no mystery about the dark clouds looming ahead with climate extremes, and with other existential challenges.

The cultural danger we are mired in at this moment – socially, environmentally, economically – is a dead-end for humanity.

Now is the time to act wisely and decisively in our own interests. It is in our own interest to cooperate together assertively for all of our human family, and also for the living world we all depend on.

The Earth Systems Treaty is an idea, a human commitment, made for this cultural moment.

“Treaties have always been a powerful means of tempering self-interest with respect and cooperation with others. We need international cooperation like never before, to redress the damage we have collectively done to Earth’s life support systems. The Earth System Treaty is the first to elevate the interests of future generations and other species. It is a brilliant concept and I hope it becomes a rallying call for people to raise awareness and persuade their governments to take transformative actions. Such a show of unity is needed to reject pressure from the oligarchs to continue the rape and pillage of nature.” Professor Jane O’Sullivan, University of Queensland

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