The last year has been a remarkable journey for me. This is my story.
It began with a simple thought on the 28th June 2008 after seeing my brother's film on the 10 New Commandments at last year's Edinburgh Film Festival. What would be the top 10 Rights that should be drafted into a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights? I had been playing around with the idea of how to instigate a Duty of Care for the planet into international legislation, and the UN seemed the inevitable starting point. Three days later whilst up a Scottish hillside searching out the ancient cup and ring rocks of the Kilmartin Glen , I set my intent. Such a Declaration was the necessary starting point to re-establish the relationship we humans have lost with nature. How, I wondered, could I get this to the attention of the UN?
Telephone reception being rarer than sightings of mating osprey, I switched on my mobile; a momentary flicker of activity and it rang. It was the United Nations. The date was fixed, and 5 months later I had presented my proposal.
That was the beginning, and those who have followed my blog, the Trees Have Rights Too website and heard me speak at various conferences know of some of the landmark moments. Last week, my journey culminated with me travelling into the heart of Sweden to present the call for a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights at the Tallberg Forum.
Tallberg is a remarkable place in Sweden situated on the edge of the Siljan, a lake created by a meteorite over 300 million years ago. Such achingly beautiful countryside, the stillness of the lake stretching out below, it served as a potent reminder of the planet it all it's glory.
We heard from the world's foremost experts on climate change, we held workshops on potential solutions, we plotted and planned. People from the world's foremost institutions came together with the intent of making the planet a better place. These are the people who can take an idea and make it happen. As a counterbalance to all the intense discussions, I camped out beside the lake, I swam, and I thought more. Two messages came across strongly; firstly, it is too late for many of the longer-term plans being debated within the international fora. Secondly, our time-lines are wrong. We need to be looking at the next 3 years, not the next 20 to 50 years.
I realised that a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights was Plan A, but that a Plan B was needed, and by the 28th June, I had in my hand a Plan B.
So, I arrived at Tallberg with an idea - an idea for international legislation, and departed with an idea for a global social movement - a social declaration for all beings, a declaration that applied to individuals and communities rather than one within the hard law context, one that all could apply to ensure life for all, one based on values and our duty to the planet. This is not to negate the Planetary Rights, it is a part of it, but we need to go further, I realised.
Of course, no-one has ownership of ideas, and so I have now handed over the baton for Planetary Rights to the institutions and organisations that can drive it into the UN. That is the top down approach. My work in this regard is now done - my campaign is in effect over, as I believe that the baton has now been safely handed over.
Now we also need is to address matters from the other end of the spectrum - something that speaks not to institutions but to people.
What I devised was a matrix - a matrix for all life.
I can feel a global social movement coming on...
Today is the 4th of July, my birthday, and it's a glorious day. I am beside water again, this time the wide and wild expanse of Holkham beach in Norfolk, with winds caressing the sands over the empty dunes. Time now for a little time out.
Today is also known as Independence day. I look forward to the day it is renamed Interdependence day.
Thankyou all who have helped me in my journey over the past year. May this next one be even more exciting.