Writing of the Earth Constitution

April 8, 2020

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth was written at the time when the alarm was being widely raised concerning our collapsing environmental stability and viability. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring appeared in 1962 and had launched a worldwide movement in environmental studies and concern. The World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) had been founded in 1958 by Philip and Margaret Isely and others explicitly to write a constitution for the Earth, and the lists of world problems produced in the literature of WCPA exhibited very clear awareness of the environmental crisis.

Philip Isely set up WCPA World Headquarters in Denver, Colorado, in a two-story building. He and Margaret hired several employees to coordinate a worldwide effort to bring world citizens together in the process of writing the Earth Constitution. This process included many international meetings, regular phone and mail correspondence, and a sustained effort at coordination. The high points of the process included four “Constituent Assemblies” that took place in Interlaken, Switzerland, in 1968, Innsbruck, Austria, in 1977, Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1979, and finally, Troia, Portugal in 1991.

At the first of these assemblies, the delegates choose a drafting committee of 25 persons (chaired by Dr. Reinhart Ruge from Mexico) and specified what should be included in the Constitution. At the subsequent three assemblies, successive drafts were critiqued and modified. (At the 2nd session, no changes were thought necessary, but the group issued an important declaration stating that the people of Earth had the right and duty to ratify the Constitution regardless of whether this process was led by nation-states.) At the 4th assembly, after a number of final changes, the Constitution was declared finished and ready for ratification by the peoples and nations of Earth under the democratic procedures set forth in Article 17. The process took 23 years, hundreds of mailings, thousands of telephone calls, and many sub-meetings.

Of the 25 persons on the drafting committee, there were 5 primary authors: Philip Isely, Secretary-General of WCPA from the USA, Dr. Terence Amerasinghe, International Lawyer from Sri Lanka and Co-President of WCPA, S.M. Hussain, who was to soon become Supreme Court Justice in Bangladesh, D.M. Spencer, Professor of Law from Mumbai, India, and Dr. Max Habicht, renowned International Lawyer from Switzerland. The first drafts emerged in 1972 and were circulated worldwide several times to the participants who later gathered at the Second Constituent Assembly in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1977.

The Constitution was intended to replace the unworkable Charter of the United Nations. It explicitly states that all relevant agencies of the UN will be incorporated into the Earth Federation government. But the UN as it operates under its antiquated charter (based on the 350 year old paradigm of militarized sovereign nation-states) has been utterly unable to deal with the climate crisis both at that time and clearly today as well. The design of the UN system cannot possibly produce sustainability. It was never designed to do that and the consequences of the design it does have are the global chaos that we see all around us.

A 1994 publication of WCPA, for example, written by Philip Isely, was called “A Bill of Particulars Why the UN Must Be Replaced.”  Its section on “Environmental Destruction” lists the following:

Despite much attention given to global environmental deterioration by the U.N. General Assembly by the United Nations Environmental Program and by U.N. sponsored conferences, the U.N. has been unable to implement actions necessary to reverse major environmental damages and to sustain a good livable environment on Earth.

Although it has been known for many years that the rain forests of Earth are needed to recycle 50% or more of the Earth’s oxygen supply, and to store excess carbon dioxide, the U.N. has been unable to stop continued destruction of the rain forests at very rapid rates, and at current rates most of the rain forest will be gone within two generations.

Although delayed action to save the rain forests gravely endangers all of humanity by resulting atmospheric imbalances, while reforestation of rain forest is extremely difficult because of bad soil and water conditions after rain forests are removed.

Although it has been known for many years that the burning of fossil fuels is raising the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere so that resultant heat trapping will cause disastrous climatic changes, nothing has been done by the U.N. to stop oil and coal production and burning for fuel.

Although the technical feasibility for safe, sustainable and plentiful energy supplies from solar and hydrogen sources has been known for many years, no intensive global “crash” program has been launched to develop such sources rapidly to replace oil and coal.

Although the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 20% has been encouraged at various conventions, this will not stop the other 80% from continuing to cause a rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and the U.N. has no way to achieve even the 20% reduction….

Although it has been known for many years that the phytoplankton in the oceans are needed to recycle 50% or more of the Earth’s oxygen supply, as well as store excess carbon dioxide and begin the food chain for fish and sea life, and that ozone depletion will result in the destruction of phytoplankton by ultraviolet rays, this problems has not even been taken up at the U.N.

To reverse the catastrophic climatic changes, which are sometimes recognized as probably already underway, requires a very massive and globally coordinated program of many interrelated parts, which will cost many hundreds of billions of dollars per year for many years if human civilization on Earth is to be saved, but the U.N. is totally unprepared and unable to launch or administer such a program.

Text Box: “To reverse the catastrophic climatic changes, which are sometimes recognized as probably already underway, requires a very massive and globally coordinated program of many interrelated parts, which will cost many hundreds of billions of dollars per year for many years if human civilization on Earth is to be saved.”                       Philip Isely

The most drastic result of climatic changes, following upon imbalances of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and heat trapping, will be agricultural failures worldwide and consequent global starvation of a magnitude reaching into billions of people, but this problem is not even mentioned seriously at U.N. conferences or in the U.N. General Assembly or Security Council….

When taking up the issue of the ownership and development of the oceans and seabeds as the common heritage of humanity, the decision made at the U.N. sponsored “Law of the Seas” conferences was to give 200 miles offshore to each nation with a seacoast, which is the 200 miles containing the most accessible resources of the common heritage of humanity, and is also the areas needing the most protection by global intervention from pollution.

Although radioactive wastes and residues from the production of nuclear power have been accumulating since nuclear power production started 41 years ago, and it is known that these radioactive wastes and poisons are a deadly threat to human life for thousands and tens of thousands of years, the U.N. has done nothing to stop the production of nuclear power with the resulting accumulations of radioactive poisons, despite the additional fact that there are no safe disposal procedures known for the accumulating life-threatening nuclear wastes.

Now that the treats to human life on Planet Earth from the enormous over supplies of nuclear weapons is being recognized (when even one nuclear bomb is an over-supply), and now that the objective of dismantling some nuclear weapons has become a diplomatic negotiating point, there is no compelling and safe procedure ready for the extremely complicated and enormously expensive and dangerous work of dismantling. Meanwhile the nuclear bombs which proliferated during all the years of U.N surveillance become older and more unsafe each year….

Since 1945, enormous quantities of other toxic wastes have been accumulating from a great many industrial processes, which are dumped in the oceans or shipped from the “advanced” industrial nations to “less advanced” countries, and the U.N. has no program for safe disposal or control over this global problem.

Dozens of other urgent and extreme environmental problems continue to proliferate and become worse, such as soil erosion and deterioration of agricultural lands globally, depletion and pollution of fresh water supplies globally, depletion of ocean fisheries globally, oil spills and discharges everywhere, multiple atmospheric pollutions globally, and the U.N. is unable to do anything except make studies, collect documentation, establish commissions to study the problems, and hold conferences which cannot make any binding decisions to solve the problems.

The people of Earth are living under an increasing poisonous and ugly global haze, which spreads everywhere, and even if mentioned at U.N. meetings, the U.N. is unable to eliminate the sources which cause this haze, even if a threat and a burden to life everywhere….

The foregoing is only a partial listing of the global environmental problems with which the U.N. has been unable to cope.

Clearly this document was far ahead of its time. It represents the thinking behind the Earth Constitution. It is stating many of the ideas we have seen raised by the recent authors whom I considered in Chapters Three and Four above. Another WCPA document from that period entitled “Who Speaks for Humanity? also provides a “partial list of inter-related world problems and immediate needs”:

  • Spread of nuclear and hi-tech weapons; threat of war in many places
  • Armaments robbing people of resources and human talents needed to serve peaceful human needs, while at the same time breeding wars, dictatorships and revolts.
  • Massive climate changes underway, threatening global starvation, more hurricanes & earthquakes.
  • Use of fossil fuels, making world environment unlivable.
  • Proliferation of million-year nuclear waste hazards and other toxic wastes.
  • Need for global transition to safe and sustainable energy supplies, quickly.
  • Extreme food supply problems: hunger, starvation, and adequate nutrition.
  • Agricultural fertility, soil erosion, pest controls, droughts, deserts spreading.
  • Water supplies adequate for multiple uses, river-valley planning across borders.
  • Environmental destruction and ecological disruptions from many causes.
  • Recycling of the Earth’s oxygen and carbon dioxide, phytoplankton fertilization and reforestation.
  • Spreading ozone holes resulting from CFC gasses and oxygen depletion.
  • Paying for the maintenance of the global commons for healthy living.
  • Population increases exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity, migrations, need for family planning.
  • Encouragement for alternative health treatments; finding solutions to the increase of cancer, AIDS, etc.
  • Selective use and transfer of technologies and technological innovations.
  • Unemployment, partial employment, brain drains, and extreme differentials in wages.
  • Capital intensive hi-tech production vs. labor-intensive production.
  • Global priorities for financial credits and development, guideline planning.
  • Control of multi-national corporations under global standards.
  • Necessity for new world financial & credit system based on productive potential.
  • Reduction of trade barriers while at the same time protecting labor standards and the environment.
  • Rapidity of technological changes and urbanization.
  • Conflicts between rich and poor nations, extravagance and poverty.
  • Protection of human rights; achieving equal opportunity for all.
  • Ethnic, religious, and political intolerances; political fragmentation and refugees.
  • Safeguarding democracy, cultural diversity, and civil liberties.
  • Education to live in an interdependent society with social responsibility.

From this list it should be clear what the framers of the Constitution understood: We live in a single, holistic world system that requires planetary integration and coordination on all these issues. The UN is simply not designed to address any of the environmental problems listed in the first list. It is a merely a coordinating organization for sovereign militarized nations and carries little or no binding authority. It continues to develop international “conventions” or agreed upon treaties, but has no authority to pass binding, enforceable legislation. Nor is it designed to effectively address any of the problems in the second list immediately above.

The World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) in coordination with the Earth Federation Institute (EFI) to this day remains the sponsor and promoter of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. It is organizer of the Provisional World Parliament (PWP) and the other features of Provisional World Government described below. A new generation of activists now run the worldwide programs of WCPA, focused especially on getting the word out to the people of Earth that there is a simple and effective way of transcending and transforming the current world mess.

Only a democratic World Parliament can address the problems outlined above by Philip Isely and his colleagues in these documents from the World Constitution and Parliament Association. Some anarchistic collaboration of independent units as envisioned by many of today’s environmentalists will never supply the Earth with the “brain” it needs to create a world where human survival and flourishing can only happen by design.

The holistic paradigm that has emerged from 20th century science was embodied in the Earth Constitution. The system is designed to address the entire nexus of these global problems efficiently and effectively. The hundreds of world citizen thinkers, international lawyers, and practical engineers working together to write the Earth Constitution designed it to explicitly to holistically and synergistically address these problems.

Take note of the above diagram of the Earth Federation Government as defined by the Constitution. Reciprocity goes both ways, especially through the House of Counsellors and the House of Peoples, but even some nations in the House of Nations may choose to have their Earth Federation delegates elected. The empowerment of the people of Earth in multiple ways (already begin through Provisional World Parliament legislation) will follow from the design of this democratic world government.