The opening words to the Earth Charter

“We stand at a critical moment in history, a time when humanity must choose its future.”

There is no guarantee that the world will not have changed completely by the time that you read this, as we hover between war and peace. The choices made now will affect us all. There is cause for hope. More and more people are calling for peaceful co-operation rather than aggression. At the European Social Forum it was agreed that a Europe without weapons was both desirable and possible.

On the day Positive News goes to print, a meeting is being held in a House of Commons committee room chaired by MP Peter Kilfoyle discussing a study that proposes the UK adopts an inoffensive defence stance. The study draws on the defence policies of Sweden, New Zealand and Japan. Sweden for instance is entering the biggest restructuring of its armed forces in 100 years and is proposing that funds should be redirected into modernising equipment and the rest of their defence budget could then be used to end unemployment.

In New Zealand, MP Keith Locke speaking in a parliamentary debate, said that New Zealand “was now acting as an independent country and equipping itself to meet its own needs ñ focussing on UN peace keeping and not allied war fighting.”

The people of Japan have retained article 9 of their constitution and, despite pressure from the US to spend more on armaments, they are determined to stick to it. Article 9 reads as follows:
“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish this aim, land, sea and air forces as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.

In finishing his keynote address to the Earth Charter Community Summit, David Korten, the chair of the Positive Futures Network, finished with these words: “We are privileged to live at the most exciting moment in the whole of human history. For this is the moment when we are being called by the deep forces of creation to awaken to a new consciousness of our own possibilities and to embrace the responsibilities that go with our collective presence on the living jewel of life called Earth. We have the need and the means to create a true Earth community. The choice is ours. The time is now. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

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