From the United Nations to the United Biosphere
Peacemaker in Residence @ Elizabethtown College
17 July 2018
“All things are connected.” This is a mantra I have been repeating and exploring ever since I heard it for the first time in 1984. Indeed, my very own definition of peacebuilding, arising out of my 30+ years of international work, includes at its foundation a re-connecting. So, in a time when our problems as a human species transcend boundaries of nation state, ethnicity, tribe and family, it is time to innovate like all things are connected.
To solve the wicked problems of war, famine, disease and the impacts of climate change, it is imperative to develop a new consciousness of how all things are connected. An expanded human consciousness that sees all people as siblings might not even be a large enough to make sense of and respond to our current plight. Humans have to develop a biospheric consciousness.
Nearly every liberal arts college in the US and Canada has a Political Science department whose broad task is to prepare the next generation of leaders for engaging in the political space for the wielding of power. But the definitions of ‘political’ imply the human centric differentiations drawn through social and partisan groupings that included power blocks, borders, boundaries and alliances.
What we need is a Bio-litical (Biolitical) Science department in our higher education institutions. This degree would teach the next generation of leaders how to wield power for the largest greater common good that is based on an awareness of the connection rather than differentiation and boundaried nature of all things. A progression in thinking would be the formation of the United Biospheric (UB), a forum that would bring all things to a table of consensus for the common good for all. What would it mean for earth, water, air, and fire, along with species of plants and animals, to have an equal say at the UB? What would a UB Security Council look like or would having developed this forum give an unprecedented level of security only dreamed about today? What new listening skills would humans need to develop to even be able to hear the concerns of, say, fire within our biosphere yet alone honor and respect fire as an equal member of the UB?
The first tasks for humans would be to dismantle our species-centric thinking that pervades, at least in the Western World, the actions of humans. Fortunately for those of us with enlightenment and Eurocentric cosmologies, we don’t have to reinvent this. Many indigenous cosmologies already have pieces of this understanding.