Bratislava, Slovak Republic
October 5th to 7th, 2007
By Ricaardoe Di Done
It is my great privilege and a real honor to be here with all of you in the historic city of Bratislava.
First, I must thank and congratulate the organizers of this magnificent event. I would like to particularly thank my very good friend Dr Timi Ecimovic. Prof. Ecimovic is an eminent international independent scientist, researcher, lecturer, first director of SEM Institute for Climate Change, Chairman of the World Thinker’s Forum, International Consultant of UN, and professor of environmental sciences at Ansted University.
But most importantly, he is a man with a beautiful soul and great determination to bring positive change in the world.
If only his determination and the determination of you all were contagious and millions and millions of people would get that fever, what a beautiful world it would be. But I know that slowly but surely, if we all work together, it will happen.
In 1983, I became the founding president of the Organization for the Protection of Children’s Rights. The objective of our organization is to make sure that all children of the world have all the tools that they need in order to flourish in life. We are a multidisciplinary group of professionals with international representatives who have the well-being of children at heart. Our main focus is prevention and education – why should we cure when we could prevent the problem altogether?
Let me tell you why I am here today.
Because, it is not right that more than 30,000 children around the world die every day because of preventable diseases, lack of food and water. This must stop.
It is not right that the poverty rate among children keeps increasing. In Canada, even after we so proudly ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the poverty rate increased. And here we are referring only to financial poverty, what about psychological poverty?
It is simply not right that the breakdown of the family, dysfunctional homes, single parent homes cause so many helpless victims (especially our children, parents, grandparents, and society as a whole).
It just is not right that the problem of street gangs consumes our youth and society in so many industrialized countries.
It was essential for me to send a powerful message of hope for children and that is why I decided to develop a Manifesto that is simply entitled GAIA 2031.
What is GAIA 2031? It is an important opinion piece that is to sensitize decision makers and government officials in addition to the different communities of the world to the urgency of developing human and environmental strategies that will preserve the evolution of future generations. It is in the spirit of this important link between children and the environment that we have written this Manifesto.
Why unite children and the environment?
The link between the future of our planet and the future of our children is clearly obvious. However, if we have a healthy planet but we do not provide our youth with the tools that they need so badly to flourish, what kind of world will we have? On the other hand, if our children finally have all they need in life to be happy and healthy without clean water, clean air, or should I say, basically, without a world, what have we accomplished?
As you already know, GAIA is the name that is given to Mother Earth in Greek mythology. The year 2031 represents the approximate period in time when the population of India will probably surpass that of China and where the Earth will be subjected to a veritable ecological “hallucination” if this same population follows the identical frenetic habits of consumption of the Americans. The objective of Gaia 2031 is to demonstrate the urgency and the necessity to protect our natural resources and to keep children, for today and for tomorrow, in an environment where they can evolve and be healthy.
Gaia 2031 is presented “head to tail” that is, without a beginning and without an end. It is done this way to present the two facets of a same reality, that is, it demonstrates the gravity of the situation of the planet and of our human conditions as we are experiencing them right now as well as the solutions which must be put forward, according to us, in order to re-establish the power of humanity at the very heart of the environment.
Why the children? After all, they are vulnerable, we do not listen to them, they do not decide….the adults decide and children are simply subjected to these decisions. And of course, most governments may not pay much attention to children perhaps it is because they do not vote!
We have already given them everything….even silence. Our actions have negative consequences on their future. Of course, we have even given them our fears which they have transformed into all sorts of distressing situations.
Children have no problems if we forget, in industrialized countries, all the separation and divorces, the single homes, the dysfunctional homes, the lack of love and abandonment that we have thrown them into.
Children have no problems if we forget that many of them runaway and find themselves involved with drugs, street gangs and prostitution, because they lack that sense of belonging at home.
Children in developing countries have no problems when they are subjected to acts of violence at a very young age or when a young 10 year old boy works in a factory. No problem either for the young girl who must get water every day from a well and bring it back on her head for 3 kilometers when she should be going to school.
No there are no problems either for children who are forced to become child soldiers or for children who are victims of war.
It is maybe for this reason that our modern societies inject so much money in the public health system. It is because our children have no problems! We are rich with problems!
In Canada, criminality alone costs us over $70 billion dollars a year. Whereas a number of research studies have demonstrated that for every dollar that we invest in prevention, we save between $6 and $13 dollars that it would cost to cure.
Our children have no problems, for sure. With reason, we give them ours. How? By depriving them of the resources that they will need for survival. The natural resources that they will need to live in a healthy environment: air, water and even the forests that we pollute.
And what do people do by endorsing these positions. We must understand that, our political decisions affect our societal choices.
And what should we say about our waste, our over-consumption and our indifference which are at their highest level. For example, we are planning to considerably increase the number of cars on the roads and to use more fossil fuels. Black gold. Our careless behaviours for the last twenty five years have major irreversible effects. We consume more than the Earth can give us. We are now more than ever at the breaking point. No, our children will not have any problems. They will only suffer the consequences of what we have left them to inherit!
But, there are solutions. And that is where you can intervene. You, you and you too….all of us!
We all have this responsibility.
Please allow me now to open my soul and I dare to hope, yours also to this humanity. Please allow me to believe in each small gesture. Please allow me, with you, to make the difference. We are here today to create this new world cooperation. This new universal truth which must be solely based on the development of our humanity.
Our planet, GAIA, has its resources and can constantly adapt to its needs. She protects herself. But in order to survive, human beings must make an effort and understand the situation that they have created themselves.
I hope therefore that this Manifesto GAIA 2031, encourages a kind of collective awakening since it constitutes the basis of our survival. The different political, scientific and ideological communities must, now more than ever, be united in order to recreate this intergenerational link that we are cutting.
Changes must be made. I am not a fundamentalist or an extremist. But I sincerely believe that we must immediately make choices before chaos chooses us.
I do not want to indoctrinate anyone, but simply encourage a profound reflection which concerns us all. Since in this global village, no one is an island safe from a tsunami or human acts of violence that are generated by fear.
In conclusion, be vigilant in your surroundings and remember the children that you meet and ask yourself what action have you accomplished today for Sarah, Roshni, José, Ming or Ali, who are growing today in this world that we are preparing to leave them as their legacy.
It is also for them that I believe in this Manifesto.
I have attached two pages of the recommendations contained in the Manifesto that will hopefully create a sprint in the right direction. If you would like a complete copy of the Manifesto Gaia 2031 you can download it by visiting the following website: www.theodone.com
I wish you all a productive summit and a long life.
And remember this, the sky is not the limit, it is only the beginning.
Ricaardoe Di Done
Organization for the Protection of Children’s Rights
For the love of the world
recommendations of the organization for the protection of children’s rights
for the respect of children’s rights and future generations
In order to obtain stable climate conditions and a greater respect for the balance of biodiversity and the survival of our children, four general objectives guide our actions in our approach for new worldwide cooperation.
That is, favor a preventive approach that encourages actions which provide more incentives to recycle and regenerate as well as the adoption of school programs for children during the compulsory years of schooling.
Mutual Human objective
That is, pass on values of solidarity and environmental interdependence which affect the entire world’s populations, those who are present and those to come.
That is, encourage the support of all social partners towards mechanisms of decisions and achievements. The new forms of governance will have to foresee policies and action plans that favor this purpose.
Objective of Support and surveillance
That is, a surveillance of the parameters that have been established and tools which will allow to evaluate and judge the validity of the actions that have been undertaken and their possible reorientation if necessary.
The Organization for the Protection of Children’s Rights recommends:
As a whole, the respect of a worldwide concept on the environment and in particular Agenda 21, action program established for the 21st century from the main principles adopted at the Earth’s Summit.;
An immediate and controlled worldwide decrease of at least 2% per year of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions linked with transportation and all economic activities related to energy in the industrial, commercial and residential sectors;
The drawing up of a management strategy for transportation and the adoption of an approach to favor the number of environmentally friendly vehicles or the establishment of incentives that promote and favor the use of public transportation;
Enhance the image and the use of renewable sources of energy (solar, hydroelectric, etc.) and fossil fuels that are less polluting (ethanol/gas) and the incitement to develop environmentally friendly technologies;
The obligation for companies to conform themselves to stronger social and environmental laws when exploitating natural resources;
A better management of water, forests and natural resources while protecting species and ecosystems, in order to protect biodiversity;
Providing support to emergent countries in order that they adopt an appropriate “eco economic” policy and create development programs that are within the limits of the planet;
The immediate creation of a 5% emergency tax on any gas that does not contain ethanol or less polluting fuels and on the purchase or the renting of any new vehicle that has a higher mass, more than six cylinders, and four driving wheels. We also recommend that 25 % of the multinational gas companies’ annual profits be dedicated to the world community (The same principle should apply to the multinational pharmaceutical companies which should automatically remit a certain percentage of their annual profits to humanitarian causes which specifically deal with children in the world) ;
The immediate creation of specific and obligatory programs for students of the primary and high school levels so that they offer all the necessary tools for assuming the responsibility of their environment and the development of a social justice.
For Gaia’s children
The recommendations of the organization for the protection of children’s rights
for the respect of children’s rights and future generations
WHEREAS the future of children is inextricably linked to the living conditions of their parents;
WHEREAS children living in particularly difficult conditions and those having particular needs must be fully part of programs whose aim is to prevent and eradicate financial, psychological, spiritual and political poverty;
WHEREAS a huge number of major social problems affecting society cannot be solved without first improving the critical situation of children;
WHEREAS the protection against violence, the access to healthy food, to health and to education should constitute essential preconditions for the fundamental rights of children;
WHEREAS children are able to develop a vision of the world and to freely express it according to their age and maturity;
WHEREAS obstacles to improving the living conditions of the world’s children are often related to lack of political-will and a bad distribution of the available resources;
The Organization for the protection of children’s rights recommends:
FOR ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD
That they ensure the safety and the stability of children in an adequate family context, that is favorable to their development;
That they ensure that children’s rights to education be respected;
That the essential physical needs of children are met, in particular providing healthy foods;
That children have psychological safety and learn how to develop their self-esteem.
That children have access to healthy foods, drinking water and the essential nutrients for their development;
That they can evolve in a healthy and safe environment without violence;
That they can adequately learn how to read, write and maintain hope in their future.
That they can learn how to respect the differences between humans and that they manage to solve conflicts with peers in a rational and peaceful manner;
That they understand the significance and the responsibility to communicate within all human and family relationships.
FOR ALL THE PARENTS OF THE WORLD
That there is more responsibility and the acquiring of tools which allow for a good education, the importance of good nutrition and the preservation of a good environment;
That they recognize the importance of the bond which links them to their children through out their lives;
That they understand that children are lent to them and that they are responsible for them on a physical and psychological level;
That they understand with complete freedom and justice that spirituality brings universal values of love which must be both respected and promoted.
That states of the entire world must recognize that the establishment of social programs centered on the protection and development of children constitutes a major responsibility;
That a society should not tolerate conditions which create street children;
All societies must adopt mechanisms allowing them to be full members of a community;
That it is essential to establish a world ministry for children who will have as foundation the CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD and who must ideally have a representative in all nations.
Each member will have complete power to bring to light any important problem which
is a hindrance to the rights of children in the world.