For a new foundation of the UN: a new charter “article zero” by the people on this living planet facing a climate and ecological breakdown
It is true, we should push from now on in country after country for declarations of climate emergency. That’s good and important. Even if the risk is that the governments just go on as usual. And there will in September or October 2019 even be a coordinated rebellion-week in many countries, pushing for “telling the truth”, zero emission societies within ten years (in Europe) and democratic citizen assemblies guiding this transformation.
But there is something equally important. At some point, the people on this living planet have to sit down, together, and decide to declare themselves “as one”: as together living within the boundaries of an earth system, treating nature and what some call natural resources as gifts to all of us. This can now only be done by the UN, the “united” nations. We need a new “article zero” in the UN-charter: we see us as one people, inhabiting this living planet, sharing the gifts. This should be linked to a common decision where we organize together that the coal, oil and gas stay in the ground, banning the building and financing of all new fossil infrastructure and building together a renewable grid. With sustaining each other, according to social and historical justice criteria (https://www.fossilfueltreaty.org/).
We need to redefine the meaning and goal of the UN. The first two articles were important after WW2, securing the integrity of every nation from being attacked, but they are not fit for the climate and ecological breakdown which we face now. There is a crucial dimension lacking. The dimension of “we, the people”: of the common unity of us, and the relation to the living planet, the common ground we stand on and live from. The UN-charter’s first two chapters make it impossible to see nature and the earth system as a common ground for all people, not only as nation´s and businesses commodity.
That is why its brilliant that the worlds young people of FridaysForFuture and XRs rebellion is global. We can together push for a shared caring for nature, keeping coal and oil in the ground. So let us go for a new foundation of the UN.
Article one is about peace for everybody.
Article two is about national and territorial integrity.
But when one nation can burn up coal or forests which change the climate for all of us, there is no sense in these foundational articles.
We need an “article zero”: declaring us, all the people, as together responsible for the living planet; that no nation, individual and no corporation can treat natural resources in a way which is damaging the life of all.