A call to be our best selves

by Mary Ann McGivern

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On July 9, 60 years ago, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein led a group of intellectuals to call for rapprochement between the Communist and anti-Communist blocks for fear of nuclear annihilation. This past July 9, a new call was introduced, a Manifesto on the Future of War and Climate Change.

This new manifesto is sponsored by Foreign Policy in Focus, the Asia Institute and World Beyond War. It calls on all nations to set aside the means of war and turn those resources toward repairing the earth.

That’s it. Very simple. “… [We] urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.”

This Manifesto is calling on us to be our best selves. There is an implied “or else” to this global call. It’s one I’ve imagined vividly for decades: small wars breaking out more and more frequently over water, food and energy resources. Meanwhile, famine is increasing. The desert is increasing. Melting ice promises the flooding of islands, costal cities and entire countries like Bangladesh. So the manifesto urges all governments to focus instead of war on “the mitigation of climate change and the creation of a new sustainable civilization on a global scale.”

A friend of mine said about Donald Trump that “he makes us all less.” A lot of politicians these days make us all less. The times are full of troubles and few speakers see those troubles as an opportunity for us to grow in stature and resolve to make a better world for our children.

So I’m heartened by this manifesto and glad that there’s a opportunity for us ordinary citizens as well as nation-states to sign it. Plans are being made to deliver it to various countries. The website says, “Help appreciated.”

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