"It’s not the Earth that’s in peril, it’s us." Earth, BBC (2007).
Environmental responsibility is an element of the responsibility that arises from realising the common purpose is fulfilment without harm to, or from, others.
The environment is all aspects of people’s surroundings, not just nature, but homes, neighbourhoods, streets, parks, families, communities, schools and offices.
Given the world is one place, damage to one part harms all. Damaging the environment harms everyone. This is why the right to a clean, attractive, harmonious environment should be declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
When the purpose and principle are recognised people act to realise their potential without harming others, without acting to control others, and without harming the environment they share.
Recklessness and control are two aspects of pursuing power and money with harm. Both aspects arise with ignorance of the common nature of fulfilment and the principle of no harm.
Environmental recklessness is a symptom of reckless disregard for others fulfilment, a disregard that reflects ignorance of the principle of no harm. When the purpose and principle are recognised people do not act recklessly in ways that harm others.
Sustainability cannot mean reversing. Sustainable ways to maintain and increase the standard of living need to be found. Cut backs are unsustainable.
Ways to reduce the pollution and finite resources used in aviation, shipping, and road transport need to be found. Giving these things up, or settling for poor substitutes, is not sustainable.
Shared resources need to be paid for. These resources include:
- fish stock (and fishing)
- water quality (and water pollution)
- air quality (and air pollution)
- sound levels (and noise pollution)
- atmosphere (and atmospheric depletion)
- orbital space (and satellite population)
To determine the price, the resource must be measured. As resources diminish prices must rise. There should never be a price at which resources are depleted.
Most resources are not strictly limited, they do replace themselves given time. A price that will reduce their use rate to their replacement rate needs to be found. It may be that this price will lead to the need to find alternative resources or to artificially produce it with new technology.
For national measures of fish stock, water quality and air quality the measures and charges can be national (although the same model can be replicated everywhere). For sound levels the noise pollution will be local with the price agreed by residents.
For resources that can only be measured globally the cost has to be international and the same per unit for everyone.
Undeveloped countries do not have to replace existing resource processes. They can institute cleaner technologies immediately. Advanced economies may be able to afford to pay, with the revenues distributed evenly to everyone. Whatever the case, the price must reach a level where use is balanced by natural replacement.
The revenue from common resources needs to be shared in common – for national resources, across the nation; for global resources, globally.
With a shared base income the need to over exploit resources out of necessity is reduced.
[Excerpt from The Common Purpose Manifesto]