human activity and the destruction of the planet

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Is it time for a Global Planetary Authority?

I have been reading a blog, written by Angus Forbes, on the website of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), which exists to help bring about a transformation of the economic system, of society and of institutions so that all actors prioritise shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.

The WEAll Amp team

The piece by Angus Forbes is the first in a series of guest blogs, exploring a range of new ideas for how we can move forward and create a future economy with human and environmental wellbeing at its heart.  I will not copy it in its entirety but just give extracts here.  Those who want to respond to his ideas should do so in the comments section of his blog:

Guest blog: Is it time for a Global Planetary Authority? – by Angus Forbes

Here it is:

Two extraordinary things have just happened to the human race. The first is the understanding that we now run, along with Mother Nature, the life-support system of our planet. This is tantamount to a second Copernican revolution. The second is that we have now formed into a connected global citizenship.

From this point on, the future of both Earth and us humans is inextricably linked due to our size and power. So, we now have part responsibility for the planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it. We, yes, us humans, have to decide what the biophysical integrity of this planet will be in 2120, 3020, 4020 and thereafter.

We created our 200 countries though numerous acts of national self-determination when the global population was, on average, just under two billion (1924). Now we number just under eight billion people, we are urban, we are powerful and things have changed.

We now have a global problem that clearly cannot be handled by the system of independent countries and their multilateral organizations that we have created. For in the 50 years since the 1972 UN Stockholm Declaration which stated that the natural assets of Earth must be safeguarded, we have witnessed the accelerating destruction of our most valuable global asset, the biosphere. So something is structurally very wrong….

I am absolutely convinced that in order to protect the biosphere, we need a specialist global authority to do the job. We need to give it powers of regulation and revenue collection over all human organizational form (including the nation state) sufficient to impose the necessary biophysical boundaries for us all. Our new specialist authority will make decisions based on time frames different from those used by any existing human organization, i.e. 100, 500 and 1,000 years.

I believe that humanity is just about to embark upon our first act of global self-determination and enter the current void in global governance to create this authority. In 2022, 32 years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the computer program HTML and gave us the World Wide Web, five billion of us will be connected to each other via the internet. Five billion global citizens who are only seconds apart…..”

It is interesting that I have just been sent the link to this piece, for I was at a workshop two nights ago, with presentations from different people involved in various ways to try to reduce the impact of climate change. One spoke about upskilling people to do green jobs, another talked about the importance of supply chains and another about reparation needed for those countries who were most affected by climate change but who had done nothing themselves to cause it.  This last speaker used the following phrase: “We need a global reset of systems rather than carrying on as things are at present.”  Perhaps what she was saying is similar to Angus Forbes comments above.

I am not an economist but, for a long time, I have realised that national and global economies need to be reformed.  You will find my comments on this in my book and in several blogs posted on this site.  I have been hoping that progressive economists would get together and tease out a workable structure that will reform the way economics is taught and implemented.  Maybe the Wellbeing Economy Alliance is a body that could take this forward.

And this morning I have been sent a link to another publication on a similar theme:

“Economics: a Crash Course: become an Instant Expert” by David Boyle and Andrew Simms, available for £9.69 at:–Become-An-Instant-Expert/23812700