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Change The Course Conference Manifesto

2013-10-27  ¦  The Change the Course Conference - Club of Rome International

Joan den urtearen amaieran argitaratu genuen CCCari buruzko informazioa, Change Course Conference, Winterthuren ospatutakoa.

Hona hemen Joséphine von Mitschke-Collandek (Club of Rome International Research Analyst) eta Alexander Stefesek (Club of Rome International Communications Manager) Bego Maite Jiménez Ociori bidalitako Manifesto (2013-10-09)

Change The Course Conference Manifesto

Change Course Manifesto

World leaders! Change or leave

Background

We already understand the interconnected nature of many of the big challenges that we face. Our economic troubles, the environmental damage we are causing and the yawning gap between rich and poor are all part of the same problem. They stem from our current view of the world, and our obsession with economic growth. We also know that there are solutions to these problems, the effects of which would be beneficial to the vast majority of people. Despite this, we do not change course.

To overcome this hurdle, the Club of Rome brought 60 young activists, creative artists, future thinkers, scientists and members of international (youth) movements, from around the world, to Winterthur in Switzerland. They represented a generation that has been especially badly hit by these problems, by rising unemployment and inequality, and which will have to deal with many of the most serious consequences of climate change. Many of these people already had a track record of social and political engagement. Some had an activist background in organisations such as the Occupy Movement, the Pirate Party and Femen. Others were film makers, online journalists, bloggers, philosophers and entrepreneurs.

They came together to discuss the future of the planet, and humanity, and to work with us to come up with a manifesto for change. This paper is the result of their work. Our message to world leaders is simple: “Change or leave.”

The purpose of this manifesto is to raise awareness among current decision makers about how to support change and to help overcome the inertia of the current system. If today's leaders cannot, or will not, make the changes required, we ask them to step down, to make way for those who can.

If we are to create a better world, the biggest challenge is to change the way we think. Once we change our view of the world, the solutions to the challenges we face will be much easier to see and to accept.

We want to change course because we see a huge opportunity for better lives for us all. We want to see radical changes in our economic and political systems, as well as our approach to education. We also want to change humanity's relationship with the planet. We must accept that the Earth is our source of life, that the resources of our planet are limited and that we need to live in balance with nature.

We want to reach out to decision makers and collaborate with them in changing course. Now is the time to be bold, to think beyond our own generation, to focus on the solutions to our problems and to concentrate on the long term.

Manifesto for Change

We demand the following:

  1. – We end our obsession with economic growth. we cannot expect infinite growth on a planet with finite resources there are better models of economic development people not being able to guarantee themselves and their families a secure, decent standard of living is our single largest global economic failure, not low growth the focus on growth has increased social injustice and inequality
  2. – We adopt well-being indicators to track human progress. this requires considerable political change with a focus on employment, the environment and social well-being
  3. – We accept that the welfare of the planet as the foundation for our activity. the environment needs to be classed as a global security issue anthropogenic climate change must be stopped and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reduced to sustainable levels we need to prepare for the consequences of climate change that are inevitable we have an obligation to preserve and protect the planet for future generations.
  4. – The media informs us accurately about the challenges we face and the options when it comes to the big challenges we face, which are often complex and difficult, the media needs to inform us about them accurately media should be encouraged to better support public discussion on ecological innovation and economic change
  5. – We develop a functioning means of global political governance. we need democratically elected global institutions with a focus on long term issues national governments must be committed to global goals and answerable to global institutions on issues of global consequence the activities of big corporations need to be more transparent, with their power to influence policy makers drastically reduced
  6. – We value natural and social capital properly. we need to pay fully for our use of natural and social capital and correctly value biodiversity the taxes that polluting companies pay should be commensurate to the company’s emissions we support the introduction of pollution and financial transaction taxes as well as higher taxes on non essential products we demand sustainability councils with global powers to establish binding rules and define the real value of products we demand products be labelled with, and businesses tracked on, their commitment to the social well-being of their employees and the environment, including their water and CO2 footprint companies must mitigate the environmental and social damage they have caused in the past and must be held fully responsible for any future damage.
  7. – We reform our values. we need to re-establish the link between ecology and economy we must ensure that the values underpinning our economic systems meet the needs of future generations as well as current ones
  8. – We reform our education systems. we need to raise understanding about systemic challenges we must introduce sustainability classes to school curricula and teach that we should use well-being indicators to track our progress. we need to reduce the influence of modern economics and reform the way it is taught we must teach students to be aware of and value the needs of nature and their neighbour rather than simply preparing them for employment in a growth-oriented economy
  9. – We use new forms of media and the arts as catalysts for change. the arts, culture, and creativity are powerful tools to induce change and encourage new thinking and alternative approaches changes must respect the pluralism and diversity of our cultures and societies.

– We end our obsession with economic growth. Much of the world has become obsessed with economic growth, believing it to be the best measure to track our social development and progress. We were told that growth would lead to higher standards of living and improved happiness and well-being. It has not, certainly not recently.

While economists told us that growth would narrow the gap between rich and poor, the opposite has happened. Many hundreds of millions of people still live in abject poverty while the wealth of the top 1% has increased. Even in the developed world this problem has worsened. Real incomes and the standards of living of the majority have been falling, partly because the growth-driven model has led people to take on ever higher levels of personal debt. Youth unemployment has reached staggering levels in many parts of the world, creating a lost generation and threatening the principle of equality of opportunity, while the traditional mechanisms and policies that called for growth as a solution have reached their limits. Unless we approach our economic development differently, our inability to create jobs will force many more millions of people into poverty, leading to greater social and political unrest and making it harder for us to create a more secure and sustainable world.

Our first demand is that we ditch growth as our primary goal. The role of our economic systems should be to provide a meaningful and useful existence for people and to give them a safe, decent standard of living.

– We adopt well-being indicators to track human progress. We demand a responsible system of social economic development. Rather than growth, our economic policies need to concentrate on what is important – meaningful employment, the environment and social well-being. They need to adapt to the changing needs of our societies, reflect local priorities and treat people equally.

Our social development and progress need to be tracked using well-being measures that account for people, nature and culture. Military spending needs to be vastly reduced, extensive breaches of our right to privacy need to end and our welfare systems need to be reformed and improved, not dismantled.

Achieving these objectives will require considerable change in our national political systems and an effective form of global governance (see point 5). The majority of today?s political figures have been swayed by conflicts of interest. Rather than serving all the people and taking into consideration the needs of the natural environment, they have given priority to the desires of a wealthy minority and large corporations, with too much short-term focus.

We want our politicians to adopt different ideas, or make way for those who can implement economic and social changes. We want them to be transparent and to behave fairly, limited by their responsibilities to establish and maintain a good society. They need to think about the long term, and recognise that the basis of humanity – nature – must be protected. Governance structures and systems need to be designed to facilitate and reward, not restrain, this behaviour

Our second demand is that we adopt new measures of progress, seek out better political thinking and promote a new generation of leaders, empowered to change society. Local and global leadership that works in harmony to promote long-term goals is needed to help change the course.

– We accept that the welfare of the planet is the foundation for our activity. Our third demand is that the environment be classed as a global security issue. We propose a principle of climate and planetary justice, with those who abuse the Earth, or cause it unnecessary harm, classified as criminals. They are acting against the common good, violating the wishes of the majority and damaging the chances of future generations to live well.

Future generations need to be given a fundamental right to be able to enjoy the planet as we do and given representation in governance structures.

Companies and individuals guilty of harmful activities, that have contributed to climate change or the destruction of our environment, need to be forced to undertake restorative efforts in direct proportion to their negative impact.

When it comes to climate change, we demand clear international targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, with a detailed plan and timetable for these to be achieved.

To get around the hurdles that have stopped these targets from being developed so far,, every global citizen could be given the same right to use a fixed annual amount of fossil energy each year. This would be gradually reduced to zero, in an equitable fashion to ensure that the impact was felt fairly across society, over several decades. We also propose that individuals should be able to buy and sell their rights to use fossil energy to encourage carbon-trading and wealth redistribution, allowing the poor to sell part of their allocation to the rich.

If this suggestion proves impossible, and no global agreement can be reached quickly, we propose the introduction of progressively rising taxes and removal of subsidies on the use of coal, oil and gas in each country that has the will and conscience. This tax should be high enough to make low-carbon or non-carbon alternatives cheaper than the conventional solutions - for transport, heating, cooling, energy production, etc – in the long run. To achieve this will almost certainly require a revision of the WTO. Countries choosing to act responsibly can then defend their economies with high tariffs against under-priced carbon-intensive imports.

Reducing planetary carbon emissions will not only require us to cut our use of fossil fuels,, we also need to stop deforestation and begin an extensive programme of reforestation. In the interests of the planet, and because the rainforests are only present in a small number of countries, this will require global cooperation. Countries with large forested areas need fair compensation in order to prevent deforestation. If they fail to comply, economically debilitating sanctions need to be applied.

We understand that the consequences of these changes will be hard for many people to understand and that they will carry economic costs in the short term. However, the changes will also encourage innovation and much greater energy efficiency which could entirely offset the costs in the long run. We have undervalued the world's raw materials and wasted them for too long. This imbalance needs to be corrected if our grandchildren are to enjoy the average quality of life that exists today.

As well as stopping deforestation and encouraging a shift to alternative forms of energy to reduce fossil fuel emissions, we also need to cut our output of other greenhouse gases. We need to capture and utilise the methane from coal mines, waste-water treatment plants and landfills, penalise companies that release damaging gases while drilling for oil or gas, stop leaks from natural gas pipelines, use bio-digesters to cut emissions from livestock and ban the burning of crop stubble.

We also need to prepare for the consequences of anthropogenic emissions that are already in the pipeline. Many parts of the world will suffer climatic extremes in the future and these will raise food and energy prices as well as reduce standards of living. Failing to prepare for these changes is irresponsible.

We therefore demand that governments take action to promote human welfare and protect ecosystems. We need to build flood defences in vulnerable areas, plan for rising food costs and develop the capacity to cope with more pests and droughts.

At a time of economic weakness around the world, preparing for these changes will have the benefit of job creation on a large scale.

How much will it cost to reduce our carbon emissions and build defences against climate change? This really does not matter. If governments can print money to solve the financial crisis, they can fund the costs of protecting our future. Financial crises do not kill us, at least directly, climate change will.

– The media informs us accurately about the challenges we face and the options. The media, which has so much power and influence over our views and the direction of our social development, has an essential role to play. Citizens around the world need to be properly informed about the challenges we face and the options.

In recent years this has become a problem. An industry has grown up, often fuelled by big corporations, to throw doubt on the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change and to unquestioningly support a model of economic, social and political development that is based on endless growth and extreme individual freedom, both of which have proved detrimental to good society and the planet. As a result, reports in many news media have been selective, distorting the facts. There has been a focus on market-based, quick fix solutions with corporate dominance and short-term thinking encouraged. While many of our problems are global, the suggested responses have too often been local or regional. There has been too little holistic, joined-up, analysis.

As a consequence, many people are poorly informed. Few understand the true price the environment and society have paid for our focus on economic growth while the doubts created over climate change have encouraged inaction and weak decision making.

We believe that the media can better support a system of public discussion, ecological innovation and economic change. We want news organisations to avoid sensationalism or scaremongering when complicated and uncomfortable issues are at stake. We want the media's support to re-frame the problems we face, to engage citizens in the solutions and encourage them to participate.

– We develop a functioning means of global political governance. A new global governance structure needs to be established because today's mechanisms are neither efficient nor effective. The new structure should be democratic and focussed on long term global issues. A primary principle must be that nations are able to evolve independently of external forces and keep their culture and traditions intact, insofar as these do not damage the planet or hurt any other society. While recognising the links between local activities and global ones, we should also adopt the principle of subsidiarity. That is, issues ought to be dealt with on the lowest level possible, if no higher level can address them more effectively. For example, issues that are purely local should be dealt with locally.

Once established, national governments need to be made answerable to global authorities on issues of global concern and all countries, irrespective of their military and economic might, must play by the same rules. National governments need to be given binding, measurable commitments to address our global problems and secure the world for future generations. The lobbying activities of big corporations also need to be fully transparent, with their influence over policy makers at every level drastically reduced.

We accept that such changes will be hard to achieve, because of the inherent loss of national sovereignty. If the development of effective global governance mechanisms proves impossible, we ask that those nations and regions with the conscience to act, move ahead together. National and regional cooperation on issues such as energy efficiency, economic development, taxation and environmental protection can support the long term needs of many billions of people.

– We value natural and social capital properly. The costs of our exploiting natural and social capital, ignored by our current economic model, need to be properly valued and paid for. Biodiversity needs to be fully accounted for too.

Today, many of the costs associated with the goods and services we use are ignored. When we burn a barrel of oil, the costs of the pollution caused are not included in the price we pay. The value of ecosystems destroyed when rainforests are cleared and the costs of the damage caused by soot particles to the Earth's ice shelves are not recognised either. In modern economics, these costs are regarded as “externalities” and ignored. This means that our standard of living is being subsidised not only by people and societies in less privileged regions, the planet and other species, but also by future generations.

To correct this imbalance and ensure that the price we pay for our behaviour reflects the full cost, we demand taxes to encourage us to use fewer resources and better protect our environment. We can create public commissions to define the real value of products and then set the taxes that need to be applied. Other commissions should be established to set ecological standards for public transport, housing and food production.

Polluters should be heavily taxed, with the revenue given to environmentally responsible projects. We also advocate the formation of International Sustainability Councils with the power to establish binding rules, to ensure the same standards are met around the world. Countries refusing to comply with these standards would face debilitating sanctions.

We also support an international financial transaction tax, to penalise speculation, which has no economic value, as well as high taxes on “No Basic Need Products” (NBNP). Too many of the items we consume are disposable when they do not need to be, or are designed to have short lives and so encourage a replacement market. All these products should be penalised, to encourage firms to make durable, long-lasting goods, that use scarce resources wisely. The revenue raised can allow governments to reduce the taxes they impose on essential items and productive work.

We also demand that companies publish details of their commitment to the social well-being of their employees and the environment, including their carbon footprint, along with their annual reports. All products need to be clearly labelled with their full-life contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

– We reform our values. As well as making changes to our economic and political systems, we will need to work on our values too, if we are to overcome the difficulties that we face. The widespread belief in endless growth and desire for extreme individualism are not sustainable and cannot be changed by legislation.

In this, human nature and time are the greatest obstacles. Changing values is difficult, and can take a generation or more. It often takes social upheaval too, of the sort that comes from revolution, a prolonged depression or even war. It is better then for us to try to change them consciously and carefully than to wait for change to be forced upon us.

At the core of our world was once the ancient Greek word oikos which meant household. It is the word from which ecology and economy are derived. We believe that we need to put this concept back at the centre of our thinking and to re-establish the connection between the environment and our economy. We would like to see the following principles drive our world: our economies are managed to meet the needs of our societies and the environment, not the other way around. businesses are led by those who value the environment and good society, not excess profit and greed. the values underpinning our economic systems meet the needs of current and future generations equally.

– We reform our education systems. To achieve the change in values we need a widespread reform of our education systems.

Economics teaching needs to change radically, to reflect the changes we need. There needs to be an emphasis on scarcity, morality and fairness. For years, economics has been based on a logical impossibility; that we can have infinite growth while living on a planet with finite resources. We need to teach that our economies should be about the creation of well-being and human progress again, not consumption.

In schooling, the concept of sustainability needs to be integrated into national curricula. We also need to teach a sense of shared responsibility to protect our societies, the planet and nature. We need to see ourselves as global citizens, not individuals of different nationalities, religions or ethnicities.

Ideally, we would like to see the word education redefined. Education should not just be about teaching children and students in schools and universities. We need to institutionalise life-long learning for everyone. Education should be about teaching the values and the skills needed to make decisions that are in the interests of good global society, the environment and future generations. We also need to train a new generation of political and business leaders, who can move our species in a better direction, by making the right long term decisions.

– We recognise the use of new forms of media and the arts as catalysts for change.

As we require creative solutions to many of the challenges we face, and original ideas, we need to mobilise new media and the arts to foster change. New media have already supported change in many parts of the world and have become major tools for developing a change in consciousness. The arts frequently offer new perspectives on trenchant issues, helping us question structures that are otherwise seen as fixed. For too long, scientists, economists and politicians have proved that they do not have all the answers. Yet they have tried to run our world. If the process of change is to be effective, and if we are to identify holistic long lasting solutions, we demand that the ideas of writers, philosophers, musicians, film makers and many others are included in the debate.

Daft list of Intended recipients of the manifesto

  • CEOs and board members of 100 biggest companies worldwide, /wiki/List_of_companies_by_revenue
  • All governments
  • Ban-Ki Moon, Kofi Annan, delegates of the United Nations, UNEP and other large international NGOs
  • All European heads of state
  • All members of the US house and senate
  • All Club of Rome members
  • Swiss Bundesratsmitglieder
  • All European heads of state
  • All members of the US house and senate
  • Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet
  • Chris Anderson (Curator of TED)
  • All governments especially governments of developing countries
  • All attendees at the WEF (partnership with Klaus Schwab Foundation?)
  • WEF Young Global Leaders
  • Religious Leaders, the pope
  • 50 largest newspapers in the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_in_the_world_by_circulation (especially important: Wall Street Journal, NYT, The Economist)
  • The public / civil society
  • Members of the youth / major youth coalitions
  • Academics / scientists, especially those at top universities (i.e. http://www.usnews.com/education/worlds-best-universities-rankings/top-400-universities-in-the-world)
  • Grass-root and social movements leaders
  • The most powerful groups in the UNFCCC negotiations
  • To the mayors of all the million plus cities in the world
  • Artists and arts organisations
  • Educationalists and leading economists

We want to use different sorts of media to inform the public about our aims. We would like to establish a credible committee of scientists and filmmakers to create an entertaining, cool, smart and short TV-documentary series to educate everyone about the facts. We then want to launch a series of provocative social media campaigns.