The willingness to look and learn is the beginning. It will move our hearts, lead us to risk change, and open us to making sacrifices that bring transformation.
The current events in our world cry out for transformation. Environmental crisis, global pandemic, refugee displacement, the upheaval of racial pain, economic and social injustice and an increasing level of violence and terror all unequivocally show us that the status quo is no longer sustainable. In fact, the current state of degradation and exploitation show us that it never was a sustainable way to exist on Earth.
We, the citizens of this planet, are called to create another way - to transform what is untenable into a world that works for all beings. If we embrace the task of transformative change, we can create a world for future generations that is just, peaceful and sustainable. To do this, we will need great imagination to envision what we have not yet seen in our history, courage to leave the known ways behind and a strong determination to build and repair the cumulative harm humanity has caused to itself, to our fellow creatures and to the planet.
Many might argue that we only need to return to a past state of “greatness” - a time of stronger moral character and values - not imagine a new way. To those, I would respond that the times you are recalling had very limited success in terms of global harmony, economic/social justice and peaceful interdependence. If they had been solutions, they would still be in effect now and we would be reaping the benefits of sustainability and global cooperation, racial equity and enduring peace. We are far from that and hindsight shows us that those moments of “greatness” were fraught with conditions that allowed ease for a few and suffering for many others.
The times call for a revolution ... an evolution. It is time to overthrow and dismantle the current social structures that are grounded in a foundation of hierarchical power. It is time to dream a new dream built on mutual respect and shared empowerment for all humans, all creatures and our Earth. The dismantling must be done within our own individual, embattled psyches; within our family systems; our communities and our nations. Simultaneously, we must begin bringing ourselves to a higher consciousness where we can see a new way.
One visionary organization committed to shaping a just, peaceful and sustainable world is The Parliament of World Religions(PoWR). It is a global organization of spiritual and religious that convened in 1993 and ratified Towards A Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration . It boldly states “a fundamental consensus on binding values, irrevocable standards, and personal attitudes” necessary to bring forth a new global order. It was initially signed by over 200 religious leaders from over 40 different faith traditions and continues to be endorsed by individuals and religious leaders around the world.
The Global Ethic rests upon two fundamental, enduring principles:
Treat others as you wish to be treated (The Golden Rule)
Accord dignity to all of life: children, women, men and the natural world.
From this foundation, it outlines the principles from which a new global order can be shaped and created. It directs us to abiding care of and interconnection with one another and the Earth and urges all governments, institutions, communities, families and individuals to do the same. Through the principles of non-violence, tolerance, just economic order, truthfulness, equality, sustainability and care of the Earth each of us is called to participate, uphold, and cultivate these values as the way to reduce suffering, terror, despair, corruption, and degradation.
This document is an urgent call to evolve toward justice, peace and sustainable care of the Earth and its resources.
“Together we can move mountains! Without a willingness to take risks and a readiness to sacrifice there can be no fundamental change in our situation! Therefore we commit ourselves to a common global ethic, to better mutual understanding, as well as to socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and Earth-friendly ways of life.”
Now is the time. All over the world people are rising up and demanding reform of the systems that keep injustice in place. We all live within these systems and it is time to bring them into the light, examine and consciously review how they operate and what they serve, dismantling what is corrupted and building up the just. Our ethical responsibility is upon us. We cannot change what we do not see and it is incumbent upon each one of us to identify what does not uphold the highest global ethics and to do what is needed to bring transformative change.
The first step is to take a deep look at the systems you live within and how they operate for you, for people of different cultures, genders and ethnicities, for the animals and for the environment. Ask yourself if these systems are just - do they treat all with dignity and respect, tolerance and equality? Next, listen with openness to others tell of their experiences; what do they feel is needed? Learn what works and what does not based on the fundamental ethic of dignity and The Golden Rule. What must change? How can you get involved and lend your support? Remember, this is the work of evolution and it begins within you.
Our ethical responsibility is upon us. We cannot change what we do not see and it is incumbent upon each one of us to identify what does not uphold the highest global ethics and to do what is needed to bring transformative change.
Together we can do this for we are soulfully made for these times. It is up to us to forge a new way. The willingness to look and learn is the beginning. It will move our hearts, lead us to risk change, and open us to making sacrifices that bring transformation. Through our collective imagination and shared vision, we can act with strong resolve to dismantle the current systems that are grounded in the injustices of hierarchical power. Through mutual respect and shared empowerment, we can act with kindness and tolerance contributing to the transformative compassion upon which we will realize a new global order... one of justice, peace and sustainability for all.