[uri-contacts] amazing perspective on peace education

Roger Eaton rogerweaton at gmail.com
Fri Sep 24 15:53:33 CDT 2010

Dear Cynthia Sampson,

Your Commonwealth of Life email reminded me of a letter of inquiry I did a
few years ago in pursuit of a grant. In that LOI I recommended a course of
action to address the current extinction crisis.  I was living in Los
Angeles at the time.  I am digging it out because I am still very much
interested in making it happen:

The extinction crisis is a practical indicator of humanity's dangerously
destructive impact on the planet, but it requires an idealistic solution:
world peace, a just and sustainable world economy, universal education and
health care, a stable or slowly declining human population. A tall order,
but all these ends must be achieved in any case, or, very plausibly, Society
will face its own Extinction Crisis; it is an all or nothing proposition.
Forced by necessity and beckoned by a promise, we can expect a great
upwelling of human endeavor to accomplish even what seems impossible in the
current state of affairs.

Not only practically, but also in a deep religious sense, the extinction
crisis serves as a key to resolving the human crisis. Religious compassion
complements the scientific notion of the selfish gene with the heartfelt
belief that life is One, even that Life itself is alive. We mourn the loss
of species as a tangible impoverishment of the world and ourselves. We
realize that if life is One, then humanity is One, and it is from the
viewpoint of humanity as a whole that practical solutions to the extinction
crisis emerge.

With the big picture in mind, then, what I propose is to create a "Voice of
Life" as a springboard for a "Voice of Humanity", which in turn will build a
human consciousness, provide a platform for coordinating positive human
energies, and administer a salutary shock to the thinkers and movers of the
planet. As progenitor, the Voice of Life will have an inside track in the
process, making sure that the Voice of Humanity does not ignore the needs of
God's creatures. The following paragraphs will bring these thoughts down to

The underlying idea is to create a peer-to-peer network of online forums,
one for each of the species or genera, accumulating them by habitat into
biozones and thence to the global level. Forum participants will adopt a
favorite animal or plant and locale and, over the course of a year, will
write messages to represent the interests of their adopted species first,
then their adopted habitat, then zone and finally Life on Earth. These
messages will be fed back in the forums to the participants to be rated for
interest and approval. At each level, there will be one winning message for
each forum, culminating in a single message that represents Life as a whole.

This culminating message, with input from around the world, will be
newsworthy. Of course, there is no guarantee that the Voice of Life will
address the extinction crisis; however, since that is the big story, odds
are that it will. In any case, at the level of the individual participant,
probably mostly high school and college age students, interest in the fate
of the species will be awakened.

The process of putting together the Voice of Life will necessitate the
building of a global coalition, and this coalition will inevitably have its
own ideas how to proceed, but we can provide some good ideas as a starter

First, the message that represents Life will be an annual production.
Second, school classes from middle school through college are prime sources
for participants. Third, the youthful energies of the participants can be
enlisted towards an annual Global Parade of the Animals and Plants to occur
in many locations on the same day, timed to publicize the Voice of Life
message for the year. Parade participants will greatly enjoy the costumes
and festivities, and the production of the parade will cement the local
groups. Parade participants will be asked to enlist supporters to donate
money through the participants. This is the Aids Walk idea, which is a
brilliant concept, since the supporters buy into the Voice of Life
themselves, greatly magnifying its cultural significance, and at the same
time providing the funding needed to make the movement grow. A portion of
the money raised will be donated up the ladder to fund organizations at the
zone and global level. (As a practical matter, the divvy between the amount
of money that goes into actually preserving habitats and the amount that
goes into political and organizational activities must be left to the
organizations created as part of the overall movement.)

We may expect that within the structure of the Voice of Life, a Voice of
Humanity will be nurtured. Life requires humanity to get its house in order.
Heading towards a 9 billion plus peak population, we are under the necessity
of utilizing all our resources efficiently if we are not to exceed the
carrying capacity of the biosphere. The process of creating the Voice of
Humanity will provide a rallying point for persons of goodwill everywhere,
and we will greatly increase our influence by coordinating our efforts on a
world scale.

To be sure, 50 thousand dollars is not enough, even with the advantage of
the Internet and a shoestring mentality. However, 50 thousand dollars is
enough to get the online forums built as an open source project within one
year. (Open source means the resulting code will be freely available for
download.) The budget would be 40 thousand for programming and ten thousand
for publicity to attract initial participants for the second year, chiefly
from the Los Angeles area. Second and third year grants of an additional
$50,000, contingent upon satisfactory progress would be needed to get the
Voice of Life off the ground. The second year budget would be 20 thousand
for programming maintenance, and $30,000 to establish a local Los Angeles
organization with a part time director. Finding the right director will be
the key to the project. By the end of the second year, we should know if the
project is going to succeed. If it looks good, then the third year budget
would go to the new organization and be aimed heavily at the first Los
Angeles Animals and Plants Parade, targeting schools and religious groups
across ethnic lines in this extremely diverse city. Once the parade is
institutionalized, then the process will have become self-sustaining.

All this seems easily replicable. Success in Los Angeles will spark sister
cities kinds of efforts and we can hope that the fundamental appeal of the
Voice of Life / Animals and Plants Parade combination will ignite a
worldwide movement.


-- Roger Eaton
USA 415 933 0153

On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 1:29 PM, <CySampson at aol.com> wrote:

> I agree this is a terrific perspective, more fulsome than most. What I mean
> by that is, "planetary consciousness" and functioning as global citizens
> imply much more to me than peace among humans. For me this implies a larger
> whole ~ that human surviving and thriving are set within the greater
> community of life, thereby constituting a *commonwealth of life *on Earth*.
> *Without that, peace among humans, if achievable at all, will be
> short-lived.
> Best regards ~ Cynthia Sampson, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
> Subj: *[uri-contacts] amazing perspective on peace education *
> Date: 9/23/2010 5:29:30 PM Central Daylight Time
> From: smahe at uri.org
> To: contacts at lists.uri.org, mi at uri.org
> *Sent from the Internet *
> Dear friends,
> I just received this quotation from my friend, Dot Maver, Director of the
> National Peace Academy in the US.
> *"The general purpose of peace education, as I understand it, is to
> promote the development of authentic planetary consciousness that will
> enable us to function as global citizens and to transform the present human
> condition by changing social structures and the patterns of thought that
> have created it. This transformational imperative must...be at the center of
> peace education."
> Betty Reardon*
> I think that each in its own way, CCs are functioning as global citizens
> experimenting with their own innovative social structures (interfaith
> self-organizing groups locally relevant and globally connected) to create
> transformation toward a new planetary consciousness.
> Sharing inspiration,
> Sally
> _______________________________________________
> contacts mailing list
> contacts at lists.uri.org
> http://lists.uri.org/mailman/listinfo/contacts_lists.uri.org

Roger Eaton
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