Power and Beauty

There are at least three ways in which a Global Citizens Graph could be beneficial:
  • visualizing the oneness of humanity
  • providing a verifiable voter database for a global referendum
  • helping us see exactly who is lacking in food, clean water, decent shelter, and so on.

A number of people have told me that they are uncomfortable with the idea of having their personal relationships made publicly viewable through a graph of all of humanity. I had not anticipated that response.

A couple of points of clarification could be made. Yes, asking permission from other people before adding them to the graph is a good idea, and permission should be asked first from parents of small children.

Also, an optimal number of other people for any individual to add to the graph might be between ten and twenty. If someone adds just two or three other people, that would be fantastic. There might even be a cap of 20 other people that any individual is allowed to add to the graph, even for social workers and aid workers in refugee camps, both for reasons of verifiability and for maintainability.  

In the future, it will be desirable for each person to be able to maintain their own information in the graph. Until then, the person who has added other people to the graph may be responsible to help maintain the records of those other people.  

One particular event that will require a person's information to be maintained by someone else is when a person dies. Obviously, the deceased person would not be able to update their own record. It will require someone else to input the date of death, and optionally, the cause of death.

One of the things that has been on my mind while thinking about this visualization of humanity is the thousands of children around the world who die each day of preventable causes: malnutrition, lack of clean water, poor shelter, lack of medicine. Who are these children?  

The graph of humanity would not only help us visualize our oneness, it could help us see exactly who in the world is suffering and dying of preventable causes. If we could see the needs better, we might do a better job of meeting the needs.  

A number of candidates for President of the United States have described the actions of ISIS as barbarous. Well, of course. In comparison, what word would we use to describe the deaths of thousands of children each day from preventable causes? Maybe in a world where all children have enough to thrive, ISIS as it exists today would no longer exist.

When we see ourselves, all of us as citizens of planet Earth, what is the meaning of a caliphate? How can there be immigrants? We are all citizens of planet Earth, and we are one. 

There is a power at work in the world. We know this because we exist. You could not be reading this right now if not for this power. It is the power of love; the power that binds together and makes whole; a power that overcomes fear.

There is a video presentation at youtube by the statistician Hans Rosling in which he says that the wealthiest billion people on Earth are responsible for half of humanity's consumption of fossil fuels which is closely related to greenhouse gas emissions. The next billion wealthiest are responsible for about half of that, and so on till we reach the poorest billion people who are responsible for less than 1% of humanity's consumption of fossil fuels.

The billion people in the middle are therefore responsible for about 6% of the 36 gigatons of CO2 that we are putting into the atmosphere each year. So, the billion people in the middle are emitting about 2.2 gigatons of CO2 each year.  If all of humanity did likewise, it would amount to about 16 gigatons, which would be a reduction of more than 50% compared with current emissions. That might be good enough, at least as a first step.

Is the lifestyle of the middle billion people so bad? Could each of us who emit more than two tons of CO2 per year find a way to bring our emissions down to that level, and maybe even lower? Not that it would be easy. A round trip trans-Atlantic flight emits one ton of CO2 per passenger. Driving a Prius about 5,700 miles releases one ton of CO2. It adds up quickly. 

It's all connected. What a tragic, terrible injustice it would be for the people who have released the fewest greenhouse gases to suffer the most as a consequence of the behavior of others. We are one with each other, and we are one with the rest of the ecosphere.  

If there is a consciousness in the universe that is not human, that is aware of what is happening on this planet, how would it seem to this consciousness if humanity set about identifying who in the world was neediest, and then meeting those needs so those people were no longer the neediest, and then identifying who was neediest next, and so on until everyone had enough, and at the same time, the balance of nature was restored?  

This consciousness might say, "Whoa, what just happened there, on the third planet orbiting that star? It was like a burst of light; no, not just a burst, it's a stream of light, some kind of power; it feels like the force of love radiating from that planet. It's beautiful."

Even if humanity is the highest expression of consciousness in our galactic neighborhood, it would be great if we could be bold, powerful, and beautiful simply for our own sake. 

There might be a fourth way that a Global Citizens Graph could be beneficial. When someone dies, their node would not be deleted from the graph. The date of death would be added to their node, and maybe the node would be kept visible in a lighter shade of color for a week after death in memory of their passing. The node would continue to be retrievable in perpetuity. 

In the future, perhaps for our grandchildren's grandchildren, there might be an interest in studying this period of our history; the time of our great transformation, the time when we took the next step in our social evolution, the time when everyone rose to a higher plane of existence. They might like to know who had the courage and the vision to make it happen.  

By the way, more than one out of a hundred responded to the two questions at the bottom of the article "Global Citizens Graph" by saying that they are willing to be added to the graph, and that they are willing to add other people to the graph. With the awareness that it is better for each person to add fewer rather than more other people to the graph, it looks like we might need closer to one out of ten who are willing to help in order for this to work. 

To get a better sense of the interest, responses from additional people are welcome. As you respond, please think about what it means to be a citizen of planet Earth.

John Kintree
November 19, 2015