Message from Federico Mayor Zaragoza to the Youth

Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former UNESCO Director General wrote a message to the youth, especially those who have taken Earth Charter ethical leadership course.


“There will be new words for the new history”

Ángel González

“Get involved!” was the shout out and final message from Stephan Hessel. “You will have to change course and ship,” José Luis Sampedro added. Well, the time has come to get involved, to change course and ship, for the “new beginning” that the Earth Charter advocates, a document that we should have as an essential reference for the radical changes that we must undertake.Federico-Mayor-Zaragoza

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states in the second paragraph of its preamble that, if the full exercise of human rights was not possible, people could be “compelled to rebellion.” Well, the time has come, in a peaceful but firm way to uprise, to express yourselves, to make yourselves heard, to flood the cyberspace and the streets with your presence, your voice, your points of view, knowing that addressing global challenges cannot be postponed.

Citizens of the world: do not be deceived by ideologues that have long lost their compass and do not realize – or do not want to – that it is the entire human species – this formidable and hopeful gift – the one at risk.  Therefore, humanity must not be reduced in any way, but must know how to react together in the face of the powerful, including the media, which seek to reduce the voices of “the people …” to mere spectators, abstracted and obfuscated in a sense of belonging to small “plots”, as Amin Maalouf recently warned, the challenges are unprecedented and the solutions must also be unprecedented. Instead of concentrating on issues relating to our immediate surroundings, we must jointly address the dangers that threaten us and react before it is too late.

We must be fully aware that we are, for the first time in the history of humankind, facing a situation of extreme gravity and complexity, with potential irreversible problems, in such a way that, if we do not act in time and with firmness, we could reach points of no return in the habitability of the Earth.

I always remember Albert Camus’ terrible phrase about having the opportunity to do so much yet doing so little. Let us act together in such a way that future generations will not have a reason to pronounce those words. The great challenge and the supreme duty of each generation is to assure future generations a dignified life and the full exercise of humans’ special skills: to think, to imagine, to anticipate, to create! Every human being is unique and capable of creating, this is our hope.

The time of friendship, of detachment, of listening, of affirmation, of rectification, of walking against the wind is coming. The alternative to involution and revolution is evolution. Only one “r” of responsibility separates the evolution of the revolution. If we are responsible, we will choose evolution, as nature shows us with great splendor. It is necessary to invent tomorrow. It is pressing to dare to know and know how to dare. Young people: it is necessary to overcome the media harassment that wants us to become spectators instead of actors, giving wings to skepticism instead of hope. I remember that phrase from 15-M that delighted me so much: “If you do not let us dream, we will not let you sleep”. Do not get distracted by local or irrelevant issues when we have to face problems that concern us all, from all parts of the world, all social status, all races and religions… Remembering our intergenerational responsibilities; and learn to share, to live together, and to strive for others, because solidarity and generosity are, precisely, the ignored paths of tomorrow that you should constantly indicate to us.

We have many road maps that have been ignored but are more important than ever: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Earth Charter; the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Declaration and Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace …  All of them should serve at this time to guide our daily behavior. Also today, thanks to longevity, we have a treasure that is usually underutilized: the experience of those who live the last stretches of their human journey. Experience is the balance of successes and mistakes, accumulating a value as extraordinary as precariously used. For this reason, I encourage young people to share experiences so that they help them not to falter, to decide to act boldly when their wings are still strong to fly high and without decay.

Do not tolerate any outbreak of supremacism. This is the greatest source of confrontations, the biggest responsibility for victims throughout history, a history that cannot be repeated. All human beings are equal in dignity; this is the principle of justice and peace. As I wrote recently, “Whether or not we want to recognize today’s interested and short-term leaders, we are in the anthropocene – human influence on ecological conditions – and we must fulfill our duties in due course, this becomes an inalienable ethical requirement. Now we have no excuses: we already know what is happening and we can express ourselves freely thanks to digital technology. And, above all, women, marginalized until recent times, occupy progressively a very important place in decision-making processes at all levels.

It is very important to promote the re-foundation of a multilateral democratic system on a world scale.  With a strong United Nations capable of rapid and efficient action, so that we go without plutocratic groups (G7, G8, G20) established by the globalizing neoliberalism that has led to the current situation of conceptual, social and economic confusion.

Another important step is the elimination of the nuclear threat, ensuring a dignified life, through an immediate implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreements on Climate Change, so that you can live with dignity in all parts of the world. Two transitions are essential for this: moving from an economy of speculation, productive relocation and war – it is intolerable that every day 4,000 million dollars are invested in arms and military spending while thousands of people die of hunger and helplessness – to a knowledge-based economy for sustainable and humane global development.

The second transition, which must unavoidably accompany the first one, is from a culture of imposition, domination and war to a culture of encounter, conversation, conciliation, alliance and peace. The great historical inflection, from strength to speech, that would allow this new concept of security, which not only took into account that of the territories but, above all, that of those who are born, live and die in these territories.

In view of the above, it is absolutely intolerable that President Trump has announced that he will not implement the urgent measures on climate change regulation that were agreed upon in Paris in November 2015. Those agreements were the result of an intense work done, with all scientific rigor, since many years. Already in 1947, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature was created in UNESCO, followed by international programs on geology, hydrology, oceanography … And the great programmes of “The Man and the Biosphere”  and “The reserves of the biosphere ” were created … Only blinded by short-term interests can now be said to have improvised measures to ensure quality in the habitability of the Earth. Only the unusual mediatic President of the United States, Mr. Trump, could proceed in this way: youth, above all, the most affected, including President Trump’s own relatives, must react immediately, announcing that, if he does not radically modify these attitudes, we will proceed in a global reaction in social networks, not to consume products from the great American nation, which suffers so much from the inconveniences of the Republican Party.

“There is no challenge that is beyond the distinctive creative capacity of the human species,” proclaimed US President John F. Kennedy in 1963. We must invent the future. Anything that is impossible today can be a happy reality tomorrow but, as Miquel Martí i Pol wrote so wisely, “Who, if not all?”

Everyone to promote disarmament for development. Everyone to promote the transition from strength to speech. The time of silence and submission has ended.

It is essential to redefine issues that are essential for a “normal” life, such as the new concept of work, democracy, the State of “justice”, etc. In short, we must invent the future to be able to carry out the “pending evolution”. Evolution, that is, to preserve that which must be conserved, because they are the basic foundations and the reference points absolutely essential for the road map, and to change everything that must be changed. Evolution, for a different future. The one in which we dreamed and in which we have to dream again with greater perseverance still.

Young people, citizens of the world, the time of silence has ended, the time of irrelevant efforts when they are at stake. For the first time in history, essential issues for a dignified life, must give way to conscious and determined action. Dare to know and know how to dare: only then will we achieve evolution and avoid revolution.

Link to original blog: http://federicomayor.blogspot.com/2017/11/jovenes-ciudadanos-del-mundo-es-tiempo.html