A Matter of Consciousness

I like the statement, "It's a matter of consciousness." Being conscious of resources and possible solutions is as important as being conscious of pressing needs.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that "about 805 million of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014."

On September 25, 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a plan for action through the year 2030.  

Target 2.1 of the SDG says, "By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round."

There are similar targets for clean water, housing, and health care. Fifteen years is a long time to wait for someone who is hungry now, or is lacking in clean water, is homeless, and has unmet health needs now.

Why are there hungry people when there is more than enough food for everyone on planet Earth?

Target 9.c says, "Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020."

If we can do it for people who live in the least developed countries, we can do it for everyone. There are a number of proposals for ways to reach this target by 2020.

Target 12.8 says, "By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature."

Wait a second. If we reach target 9.c of universal Internet access by 2020, why would it take another ten years to reach target 12.8?  

Statement 63 says,"We reiterate that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development and that the role of national policies and development strategies cannot be overemphasized. We will respect each country’s policy space and leadership to implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments."

If the goal is to eliminate poverty and hunger for all people, is it really a good idea to leave this in the hands of corrupt and repressive national governments?

Statement 74 says, "Follow-up and review processes at all levels will be guided by the following principles: (a) They will be voluntary and country-led, will take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and will respect policy space and priorities. As national ownership is key to achieving sustainable development, the outcome from national-level processes will be the foundation for reviews at the regional and global levels, given that the global review will be primarily based on national official data sources."

It looks like we have the same problem of corrupt and repressive national governments with statement 74 as we have with statement 63. Plus, saying that national official data sources will be the basis of the global review is sadly lacking in vision.  

Let's go back to target 9.c about universal and affordable Internet access by 2020. Information and communications technologies have a lot to do with what we know, and what we know has a lot to do with our consciousness. Our consciousness has a lot to do with our behavior, and it is our behavior that determines the distribution of matter and energy within human society.  

We can expect that the price and performance of information and communications technologies will continue to improve; still, considering the state of the technology today, when it comes to taking the next step in our social evolution and in raising all of humanity to a higher plane of existence, now it really is a matter of consciousness. The next step in our social evolution is recognizing that all of us are citizens of planet Earth, and that we can act collectively at a global level.

Close to half of humanity is already using the Internet in 2015. By 2020, most of the relatively small percent of humanity that will not be using the Internet will likely be living in countries that are crippled by corrupt and repressive governments.  

That should not prevent the vast majority of humanity from organizing and holding the first global referendum, the outcome of which will be supreme law for all of humanity, regardless of national borders. Corrupt and repressive governments will not be able to hide this from their own people, and will be replaced with more open and democratic structures. Not only is the whole world watching, future generations will remember what we do during this time of great change.

It could be suggested that the items on the ballot of the first global referendum would be 1) to ratify the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Earth Charter, and 2) in order to realize those principles, to approve a plan for immediate, worldwide demilitarization.  

Ballot item #2 will instantly liberate more than $1 trillion per year to help accomplish the other goals.

Then, rather than asking why there are hungry people, we might ask the more useful question, Who is hungry?  The answers to that question may raise the next questions, Where is the closest food that these hungry people can eat, and how much does it cost? What resources do these hungry people need in order to grow their own food if that is how they would like to gain food security?  

Similar questions can be asked for the other needs. Who does not have clean water? Who is living in inadequate housing? Who needs health care and is not receiving it? Just as importantly, we can ask, Who has resources and possible solutions to meet these pressing needs?

With universal and affordable Internet access, entering and managing this information, which was formerly formidable and unattainable, will become trivial. We should not be thinking in terms of 2030 to reach these goals. We should get it done by 2020.

It won't really be done then. Once we have raised ourselves, all of us, to a higher plane of existence because the technologies of 2020 will be superior to those in 2015, we will just be getting started. The sky will no longer be the limit. It's a matter of consciousness.

John Kintree
October 31, 2015