‘Today we truly stand at the crossroads of human history. Our actions and our failure to act will decide the future of life on Earth for thousands of years, if not forever.’ World Future Council Hamburg 2007
Five years in the making, the World Future Council is up and running with fifty pioneers and thinkers from five continents promising to do everything in their power to help sustain life on Earth, with all its beauty and diversity for future generations.
The Founding Congress in Hamburg, chaired by Human Rights Advocate, Bianca Jagger, issued a Call to Action, urging governments to listen to the voice of future generations in their summits and deliberations. Outdated rules and economic dogmas must not be allowed to endanger our common future.
‘Natural laws supersede all others because they determine the conditions of our existence. We must share, co-operate and innovate together to build a world worthy of our highest aspirations. This new politics should be free from dogmas, which sacrifice our real wealth ñ our climate, water, soil air and the health of our communities.
‘We all know what needs to be done. We have unprecedented skills and re-sources. Our Earth receives ample energy from renewable sources, which we can no longer afford to waste, because the sunshine and wind of today cannot be harnessed tomorrow!’
‘In Hamburg, together for the first time, the Councillors jumped heart and soul into the challenge of creating a new, strong voice for our future generations,’ says Council member, Francis Moore Lappe, author and founder of The Small Planet Institute. ‘Whether from India, Ethiopia, Finland or Brazil, Councillors share a sense of urgency in turning our planet towards health.’
The Council is focussing first on climate change because it is no longer just an environmental issue. It touches every area of our lives: human rights, peace, security, poverty, hunger, health, mass migration and economics.
In Surviving the Century, its first major publication, eight international experts, reveal the quickest and most practical ways to avoid the worst impacts using technologies that already exist. And it does not include nuclear energy, which the Council says is totally impractical. Even if we wanted nuclear power it would take far too long to build.
‘In two years Germany built the equivalent of two nuclear power stations worth of wind energy,’ the Director of Programmes, Herbert Girardet, said. ‘The idea that we can build enough nuclear power stations in the eight years we have left to turn things round is ridiculous! It can’t be done.’
The Call to Action makes clear: ‘It is not possible to negotiate with melting glaciers or to re-schedule environmental debts. The protection of the Earth’s vitality, diversity and beauty is not only a matter of political choice but it is a sacred trust.’
With members drawn from parliaments, business, civil society, science and the Arts, the World Future Council will work with policy makers, civil society worldwide and all the many growing initiatives already working to support the planet, says founder Jakob von Uexkull. It will fill the vital gap among global institutions as we create a new politics of realism, which is based on ethics and science.
Francis Moore Lappe said: ‘It is a powerful new vehicle for reaching citizens around the world. The founding of the World Future Council gives me enormous hope.’
As Vandana Shiva, Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, in India, puts it: ‘We have just begun to tap our potential for transformation and liberation. This is not the end of history, but another beginning.’
Surviving the Century’ is available
from the World Future Council
Contact: World Future Council, Trafalgar House,
11 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AU
Tel: +44 (0)207 863 8833
Left: Councillors Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger (Canada), Bianca Jagger (Nicaragua), Kaarin Taipale (Finland), Beate Weber, Deputy Chair (Germany). Centre: Vandana Shiva (India) with Prof CS Kiang (China). Photo: © WFC