S. Elworthy "Our Responsibility to Safeguard the Rights of Future Generations“
At this time of turbulence and rapid change, we recognise the challenges and anxieties faced by young people today, as well as our responsibility to safeguard their rights, and their children’s children’s rights.
Throughout history, ancient indigenous peoples around the world have forbidden any decision that might threaten future generations. By contrast ‘modern’ peoples are busy doing the exact opposite – menacing our own grandchildren by piling up air-miles, filling the oceans with plastic bottles, becoming incapable of growing our own food, even ignoring the suicides of 350,000 Indian farmers bankrupted by Monsanto’s non-reproducing seeds.
Now a group of elders who constitute the World Future Council – many of them former presidents, prime ministers, judges and policy-makers – are becoming active on the issue of nuclear weapons. They know that the combined explosive yield of more than 15,000 nuclear weapons around the world is enough to destroy life on Earth as we know it. Many of these weapons are still ready to be “launched on warning” as soon as enemy missiles are detected, under the old ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ or M.A.D. policy that most people thought had died with the Cold War.
In fact, the Global Security Institute calculated that if less than one per cent of the 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world were to explode, tons of debris would enter the stratosphere, lower the earth's temperature, destroy the stability of the ozone layer and end agriculture as we know it. In sum, a nuclear exchange of the arsenals of only India and Pakistan would end civilisation everywhere.
The World Future Council are turning to the wisdom of ancient peoples to engage the energy of the young people of today and to protect the children of tomorrow. They are establishing Guardians for Future Generations at global, regional and national levels, following the lead of countries like Hungary, Israel and Wales. These Guardians will act as catalysts – not just for ‘sustainable development’ but going much further. They will support the re-generation of the Earth and its oceans – for citizen action to clean their local freshwater riverbeds, for the solar-powered ships that can suck up 22 million kilos of plastic a year to clean up the Great Pacific garbage patch, twice the size of France, and for the re-forestation of entire mountains – as Councillor Thais Corral is already doing in Brazil.