Constitution of Earth
5. February 2023
PREAMBLE: We, the human race, recognise that we live as a part of Nature on planet Earth, which provides for and protects us all. Given this fact, we have decided to create a Constitution for the Earth as a concrete basis for ensuring the protection and preservation of our biosphere and the entire community of living things therein. Nature on our planet is an interconnected system that knows neither national boundaries, religions nor political systems. This Constitution is based on scientific knowledge from ecology, Nature and the wider community of living things on Earth.
I. As a global community, we recognise the responsibility that we have for the conservation and protection of the biosphere and the entire community of living things. The Earth and Nature as a whole are of immeasurable value. This Constitution establishes the Earth - its the entire biosphere, including the interplanetary space that surrounds it - as a superordinate, independent legal entity vis-à-vis human beings.
Il. The Earth belongs as a whole to the entire community of living things. The Constitution is intended to help ensure that all people on Earth can live in harmony and conformity with Nature.
Ill. All members of the human race and their governments have an obligation to protect the biosphere and the entire community of living things on Earth.
IV. Only through sustainable development can we preserve the basis of our future existence.
V. The principle of "costs-by-cause" (aka "the polluter pays"I. applies: the use, exploitation, production and any resulting damage is to be dealt with according to this principle.
Vl. All people should have equitable access to and be able to derive equitable benefit from the Earth's natural resources.
VII. All people on Earth have a right to a clean and healthy living environment, a sufficient and balanced diet, clean water and an adequate supply of energy.
VIII. All people have a right to worthwhile, secure work and to adequate education that enables them to use and develop their individual skills and resources.
IX. In addition, all people have a right to
- protection from violence, exploitation, discrimination and oppression,
- live in freedom, dignity and peace,
- equal opportunities and equal dignity,
- live together in health and peace,
- live together in peace in which the dignity and well-being of all people are protected,
- participate in shaping their own lives and society,
- an intact and living environment that safeguards our livelihoods and economy,
- a just distribution of resources and opportunities,
- sustainable development that takes into account the needs of present and future generations,
- mutual respect and fairness,
- survival and well-being, and to
- live and cultivate their own culture and identity freely.
X. Growth and ownership are subject to reasonable upper limits (e.g. forest, sensible proportional ratios.The concept of a forest is a good example of how different entities can coexist in a proportional relationship, despite natural variations in size and form. Although there may be differences, the common goal is to serve the greater good. The metaphor of a tree not growing endlessly towards the sky illustrates the importance of acknowledging limits and boundaries in nature. In order to maintain balance and sustainability, it is essential to respect these limitations.
XI. These Constitutional Principles are universally binding - on states, organisations and individuals. All states must adapt their political and legal systems to include these Constitutional Principles and to ensure that the biosphere and people are granted the rights thereby guaranteed. Through the integration of these Consitutional Principles into state and other constitutions, governments shall be enabled to enact legislation that a) ensures the integral protection of the environment and b) holds accountable those who violate these laws. Accountablility must also be retroactive.
B. Instruments for ecological transformation
I. A World Ecology Council is to be established as the supervisory board of an International Ecology Bank and an International Ecology Corps. The work of the Council is independent of government and government agencies. The rotating membership of this Council will be confined to proven experts from scientific and social-scientific fields* who are committed to the aforementioned Constitutional Principles. Political, religious or any other affiliation shall play no part in the selection of members. The Council's decisions must be based on intelligent, factual, verifiable scientific research and facts. All Council processes must be fully transparent. The Council's decisions are binding on all governments.
* These experts should be drawn from a broad spectrum: ecologists, psychologists, economists, sociologists, ethicists, lawyers, mathematicians, scientists, philosophers and artists.
II. An International Ecology Bank is to be established under the auspices of the World Ecology Council. All states pay into this bank 2 % of their annual GDP. The Bank has the role of financing projects in Protected Areas and in developing countries that will lead to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, help to restore lost and endangered habitats for wild animals and plants, or aid facilitate efforts to establish and develop a closed-loop economy. Projects must fulfil "best practice" criteria, with a bias towards innovative measures that foster new "best practice" criteria for others to emulate. The workings of this International Ecology Bank must be fully transparent, with all functionaries required to sign a disclosure agreement that commits them to guaranteeing this transparency and a body or bodies that independently supervise this transparency in order to prevent corruption.
III. An International Ecology Corps is to be established under the auspices of the World Ecology Council. The International Ecology Corps has two main goals: a) to supervise ecological restoration and regeneration in international waters and in designated Protected Areas, and b) to supervise and support the work of National Ecology Groups. The International Ecology Corps is comprised of delegates from National Ecology Corps, who are neither elected nor chosen but are randomly selected for this role. Delegates serve a maximum of four years, with a quarter of delegates being replaced each year.
IV. Each state is to establish its own National Ecology Corps. Their operational staffs consist of youth volunteers, with administration in the hands of former volunteers, randomly selected for a fixed term of employment. The workings of these National Ecology Corps must be fully transparent, with a body that independently supervises the Corps in order to promote efficiency and prevent corruption. National Ecology Corps have the role of a) monitoring the implementation of laws derived from the aforementioned Constitutional Principles as integrated in the state's constitution, and b) undertaking activities that foster the regeneration of the historical heritage of their local biosphere.
V. Protected Areas of the Earth and its orbital zone are to be established by the World Ecology Council as a heritage for all humanity, borne by all humanity. Oceans, the Amazon Rainforest, the African equatorial primeval forest, equatorial Southeast Asian primeval forests, the taiga, the tundra, the Artic and the Antarctic must be among the first Protected Areas to be so designated.
VI. An International Court of Planetary Justice is to be established. The Court is a permanent and wholly independent body that represents the interests of the biosphere and all its members and constituent parts. Appeals can be made to the Court in connection with infringements of the aforementioned Constitutions Principles - whether or not these have been adopted by the state concerned. Judgements made by the Court are to be fully publicised with the aim of "naming and shaming" states, corporations and companies that commit infringements of the aforementioned Constitutions Principles. The Court is financed by the International Ecology Bank.
C. Implementation Steps
I. All states are obliged to adopt these Constitutional Principles so as to ensure the protection of the biosphere and the entire community of living things on Earth.
II. All states are obliged to protect the biosphere and the entire community of life by enacting paramount regulations and laws, based on these Constitutional Principles, that ensure the survival and health of all species in the biosphere.
III. All states are obliged to adapt their political and legal systems in line with these Constitutional Principles and to ensure that all people can exercise the rights enshrined therein.
IV. All states are obliged to support citizens in protecting the biosphere and the community of living things by providing them with the necessary resources and informing them of the relevant measures.
V. All states have a duty to protect the biosphere from the effects of global warming and climate change by taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by ensuring that the environment is not damaged by the use of weapons or nuclear power and the disposal of harmful substances.
VI. The disposal of poisons or other substances into the environment that can damage the biosphere and the entire community of living things is strictly forbidden. Companies and governments and their agencies are to be held responsible for pollution and environmental damage that results from their actions. They are obliged to bear the entire costs thereby incurred to fully restore the natural state of that part of the biosphere affected.
VII. Companies and their Boards of Directors, governments and their agencies are to be held retrospectively financially accountable for environmental damage and pollution that their products and activities have caused. In the case of companies, financial restitution must come from companies' reserves (i.e. out of the profit they have made as a result of their commercial activities) and may not be passed on to the wider public. In the case of governments and their agencies, those having or having had the executive authority to prevent such damage are to be made personally liable under the law for their negligence.
VIII. Only renewable energy sources may be used for energy production.
IX. Agricultural subsidies for the production of meat and dairy products are forbidden, except where such production can be shown to be beneficial for the local flora and fauna. Other financial subsides for agriculture are only permitted in connection with practices that promote regeneration, rewilding and organic production.
X. The use of artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers in commercial agriculture and forestry and in communal facilities (parks, etc.) is to be phased out over a period of ten years. Farmers are to be fully financially compensated for any resulting decrease in crop yields. The sale of artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers for use in private gardens is to be phased out over a period of five years.
XI. Companies are obliged to design their use of resources and their manufacturing processes as closed-loop systems.
XII. The development of green technologies and other innovations that protect the environment is to be prioritised. Where ecological alternatives to environmentally harmful products and processes (e.g. plastics from fossil sources) are available, the latter are to be phased out of use within five years.
XIII. Each country is to set aside at least 30% of its territory as Protected Areas. In these Protected Areas ecological activities must focus upon the regeneration of the historical heritage of the local biosphere.
XIV. Deforestation of primeval forests must be stopped within five years. For every tree felled, two new trees must be planted, with tree-planting emphasising diversity of species. Existing monoculture forestry areas must be made significantly bio-diverse. Newly-planted trees must be monitored and maintained for at least ten years.
XV. Official building standards must be based on the latest developments in connection with efficient use of energy, the minimising of negative ecological impacts, and must impose a requirement of a closed-loop system of materials usage.
XVI. An internationally certified consumer label is to be created to reflect the social and environmental compatibility and impact of products and services. The label will be independent, 100% transparent and valid worldwide in order to create trust and provide a highly visible means of ensuring environmental protection and social justice. The International Ecology Corps would be responsible for certification via their National Ecology Corps.
XVlI. States must ensure that education, in particular the education of children, includes a focus upon the importance of environmental protection and of best practices in this field. A further aim is to foster a greater appreciation of nature and the environment through initiatives and activities that promote this appreciation.
D. Financial measures
A need for massive financial resources
According to calculations made at the time of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2022, a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investments of at least USD 4-6 trillion a year - $6'000'000'000'000!! When one adds to this the resources required to protect and regenerate the biosphere - oceans, rainforests, local habitats and their flora and fauna - investments of at least USD 7-10 trillion per year ( $10'000'000'000'000) will be required. To put this into perspective, this is 4-6 times more than the total annual worldwide expenditure on arms. It is over 50% more than the total annual budget of the USA (USD 6 trillion). Failing to raise and invest these massive sums in the short term will lead in the longer term to even greater costs resulting from the damage caused by natural disasters directly attributable to global warming and the destruction of habitats (floods, drought, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.).
I. Every state is obliged to contribute annually at least 2% of its GDP to a Global Regeneration Fund managed by the International Ecology Bank. The receipts from the following three measures comprise all or part of each state's contributions:
i. No organisations bear greater responsibility for the current climate and biosphere crisis than those producing, refining and selling fossil fuels and products derived thereof. Gross profits made by fossil fuel companies are to be taxed at a special annual rate of 50%. All receipts from this tax flow into the Global Regeneration Fund.
ii. Each state is required to pay into the Global Regeneration Fund an annual sum based on the "costs-by-cause principle" (otherwise known as the "polluter pays principle"). The sum to be paid by each state is to be calculated in proportion to the estimated amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions that this state has been responsible for generating - at home or abroad - since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750.
iii. Each state is required to introduce a Wealth Tax, obliging all resident individuals with an accumulated wealth of more than 50 times the local average individual wealth to pay in taxation 2% of their accumulated wealth per annum. 50% of the receipts from this source of taxation flow into the Global Regeneration Fund. (The remaining 50% is to be devoted to measures to redress social inequality in country concerned.)
iv. If the above fiscal measures render less than the 2% of national GDP, the shortfall must be made up from other state resources.
II. Of the financial resources thus acquired by the International Ecology Bank a maximum of 2% may be assigned to the management and functioning of the bank itself. The remaining resources are to be allocated to states on the basis of their population size. Resources may only be allocated to approved projects proposed by individual states. Up to 5% of the resources available for projects may be assigned to the processes of project assessment, approval and monitoring.
III. An annual Fossil Fuel Usage Tax is to be levied on all companies in relation to the degree to which their turnover involves direct use of fossil fuels and products based on fossil energy and resources. The primary aim of this tax is to encourage companies to move away from the use of fossil fuels and from products based on fossil energy and resources. This tax is payable from company reserves and may not be passed on to consumers. The receipts from this source of taxation are to be entirely devoted to measures to reduce private car usage by fostering alternative transport possibilities, in particular the extension, maintenance and subsidisation of widely accessible public transport facilities and the implementation and maintenance of an infrastructure for mobility using bicycles, etc.
IV. A Personal Tax Levy based on age is to be introduced, which recognises the impact that people's past consumption has had on the biosphere. The levy is calculated on the basis of the income tax paid by the individual concerned. The rate of levy is 0.1% per life-year for individuals aged over 18 (e.g. a 70-year-old pays a 5.2% levy, a 30-year-old pays a 1.2% levy). Only those earning more than the average income will be subject to this levy. The revenue from this tax source is to be used entirely for measures that benefit Nature in the country concerned, in particular for projects to promoting rewilding and the regeneration of the landscape and its biodiversity.
V. A Fair Tax is to be introduced to promote consumption based on ecological- and socially-minded principles. It also entirely replaces Value-Added Tax (VAT). Fair Tax tax-rates for goods and services are set in relation to the social and ecological impact of the goods and services concerned. Receipts from the Fair Tax which exceed what would have been generated by VAT are to be returned in full to the resident population, thus rewarding consumption of goods and services that exhibit a positive ecological and social footprint.
VI. Subsidies to non-organic farming must be reduced by 5% each year. This reduction is to be redirected to rewilding and regeneration projects and to the development and implementation of organic-based farming practices. Farmers making the transition to such production methods are to be fully financially compensated for any resulting decrease in crop yields.
VII. Subsidies supporting fossil fuel production, its transport and usage must be reduced by 10% each year. This resources thus saved are to be redirected to projects - local, national and international - which aim to replace fossil fuel usage by regenerative energy sources.
VIII. Each National Ecology Corps is to be financed by a gradually increasing levy on the nation's defence spending. Initially the levy will be 30% rising annually by a further 5%, so as to reach at least 50% within four years