We Can Change Our Future!
Principles and Values Standards
Interest in principles and values expanded rapidly in the early 2020’s. We Can Change! was part of that, but so were many other efforts. So were theatre plays, films, art, music, festivals and public speaking. Principles and values were “in the air” in those times, ripe for discovery, exploration and growth, perhaps kind of like early theories of evolution were when they emerged through Darwin and Wallace at about the same time, or calculus emerging from Leibniz and Newton at about the same time.
Early in the period, values and principles proliferated. Many seemed to grasp that to come together, and be and do what we really needed to, to combat the common mortal enemies of global climate change and greedy capitalist social corruption, we needed deep change in our core conditioning or programming, so we’d each change our personal and collective thinking, beings, behaviors and actions. Without that, there wouldn’t be adequate change at levels of human beings or our common systems. We could do that through deep common principles and values. Many people and groups began espousing various candidate principles and values, like those of We Can Change Our Programming!.
That recognition of the need and opportunity were great, but the early proliferation of different values and principles created confusion and misalignments. Different people and groups created different principles and values that sounded similar, but represented subtly or fundamentally different ideas. Largely agreed upon values like “non-violence” were added. Many for profit enterprises and politicians paid lip service to and pretended to align with principles and values at surface levels, but were fundamentally at odds with those principles and values in their actual thoughts, behaviors and actions.
For example, “sustainable” was a common word in expressed values and principles. However, some meant by that things like “collect, crush and melt any random cans and bottles, so their raw materials could be used to make new cans and bottles;” others meant “collect, return, wash, refill and reuse standard glass bottles only, so there is no need to remanufacture cans or bottles, with their associated environmental costs;” others meant “in the end, there may be no detectable human waste at any point in any production or consumption cycle;” and others meant “we’re willingly to sustain our efforts to produce waste and harms forever if we can put ‘sustainable’ lipstick on our pig and convince you to keep giving us money for it.” We needed an effort to determine collectively what the word sustainable meant and when it was met. We needed common definitions of terms. We needed common values.
“Community” was another common word in expressed values and principles. For some, that meant people living together with shared property, economy, food and energy production, decision-making and religious belief. For others, it meant people joined and became members of an online shared interest group, whether they participated in that group at all. Corporations tried to brand themselves as communities through marketing and PR without changing anything else at all about their operations. We needed an effort to determine collectively what a community was and when something was one.
In 2021, a global working group formed to standardize language and content of values and principles, taking in representatives of people from most countries on Earth, and working much like a technical standards development body. Over 3 years, it took public comments, held public forums, worked internally and socialized publications. In 2023, it published 10 Shared Principles for Earth Citizens and Their Supporting Underlying Values. The 10 principles easily fit on a card in a wallet, so they were easy to learn, stay connected to and work with. The whole book fit in a purse. It was refined with a 5-year review cycle, for opportunities to learn from experiences and incorporate changes, as a living document. By 2050, that book had one of the largest total global distributions of any book in history.
With publication of that book, that global working group also began global public dissemination efforts including endorsements and support from all kinds of organizations and individuals around the world, who provided quotes, audio and video messages, and polished media presentations supporting the principles, values and adoption efforts. It was promoted and distributed widely, free in electronic forms.
The global working group set up a registration system. Any individual or organization could self-identify as an “Earth Citizen” by simply saying they were. That meant they agreed to adopt and try to live with integrity toward Earth Citizen Principles and Values. Registering individual and organization names in Earth Citizen registration systems declared that publicly, endorsing Earth Citizen Principles and Values.
Registration in that system grew exponentially throughout the 2020s, and by 2030 more than half the people on Earth had declared themselves as Global Earth Citizens, adopting and endeavoring the live by Earth Citizen Principles and Values, a tipping point that moved humanity and, because of humanity’s great impacts on all life on Earth, a tipping point that moved all of the Earth toward a prosperous, healthy, happy, high spirited, cohesive and peaceful new era, an Era of Principled Earth Citizens.
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