What’s in it for Me?   Why should I support the Earth Constitution?

Glen T. Martin

March 2022

Ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth often appears “utopian” when people are first exposed to the idea. Why is it that so many people have not yet heard of the idea?  Why is this a new thought to many people, even though it has been around for a very long time? Why does it seem unrealistic? This is because the media of the world, and the media gate-keepers, benefit from the current unjust and fragmented world disorder and want to keep it that way. Like the rich and powerful, and like the giant, imperial nation-states, the media do not want us to know about the “Earth Constitution Solution.”

Let us examine why the idea appears utopian to most people. We live in a world in which 1% own 45 % of the world’s wealth, and when the richest 10% of the world own 85% of its wealth. A consequence of this is that the bottom half of the world’s population live in scarcity, deprivation, and misery, owning barely 1% of the world’s household wealth [1]. We live in a world utterly corrupted by this wealth and power so that a good number of those in the bottom 80% are bribed, employed (including the media), or paid-off to serve as mercenaries, as domination-serving bosses, or as ideological lackies of the top 10-20%. 

We live in a world that in recent years is spending 1.9 trillion US dollars per year on militarism and war, that special op forces or militarized drones patrolling much of the world to assassinate, capture, torture, murder, and brutalize anyone or any group who attempt to mount a resistance to their system of domination and exploitation [2].

We live in a world in which the dominant global empire has infiltrated the United Nations System with its economic ideology of endless capitalist growth, an economic system that requires institutionalized exploitation of both people and nature, falsely justified by an ideology claiming this corrupt system contains a “hidden hand” that in the end promotes the greatest good of the greatest number of people. (I have described this colonization in more detail in Chapter 6 of The Earth Constitution Solution [3].)

The consequences of this colonization of the UN are everywhere visible in the resultant division of the world’s wealth described above.  But this ideology of endless growth (as the “only possible way” of organizing human economic life) has an additional consequence: it is destroying the ecosystem of planet Earth. It is destroying our own possible future and most certainly the future of our children [4].

The temperature of our planetary ecosystem is rising dramatically each year. And with it the oceans are rising and will soon be flooding coastlines around the planet, displacing hundreds of millions of people and flooding vast areas of fertile crop land.  For decades now many regions of the Earth have experienced major droughts, making growing crops impossible. They have experienced major floods, unstoppable superstorms in the form of hurricanes, super-monsoons, tornadoes, as well as out of control wildfires.  Life on Earth is becoming chaos due to rapid climate change, while the dominant ideology of growth does its best to ignore the problem or falsely solve it through redirected forms of growth into so-called “green capitalism.” (As if a system founded on the institutionalized exploitation of people and nature could ever save the planet [5].)

What’s in it for me?  Why should I support ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth?  On the level of the current self-destructive world disorder, I can, of course, answer that I do not want to leave future generations to ever-increasing misery even to the point of possible extinction of our species. There is something truly horrifying in the thought that our present world disorder is carrying us, like a raging river, toward extinction.

To answer this question at a deeper and perhaps more fundamental level, we need to ask who or what this “me” is.  Who am I?  What is the meaning of my existing as a human being living at this time and place and in these circumstances on this planet called “Earth”? Can we answer the question of who or what this “me” is in ways that connect my identity with supporting the Earth Constitution?  I believe this is necessarily the case. What I am as a human being is inseparable from the vision and ideals embodied in the Earth Constitution.

Traditional religions and cultures all declared that to be a human being was to be directly connected with the divine ground or source of Being.  For Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we are “made in the image of God.”  For Hinduism and Buddhism, we are identical with the divine Atman (that is Brahman) or with the Buddha-nature in all things (Dharmakaya). Later philosophers, such has Immanuel Kant in the 18th century, articulated this intuition in the form of the ethical demand to recognize the dignity of ourselves and others. Kant states the universal ethical principle: Always treat every person as an end in themselves (as having immeasurable dignity), rather than merely as a means [6].

This insight concerning our connection with the divine ground and our inviolable human dignity developed into the understanding (maturing from the 18th century to the present) that every person has inviolable human rights. The basis for these universal rights is our immeasurable dignity, which in turn derives from our inalienable connection with the ground of Being or God.  This was brilliantly expressed in the Preamble to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares: “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”

Many thinkers in today’s world have added a profound idea to the understanding of our inherent dignity—we are evolving beings, we are growing beings—a human being is a perpetual process of growth and change all the while retaining our universal quality as being human. The entire universe constitutes a divine, creative, evolutionary upsurge as many contemporary thinkers have affirmed [7].  This means that even while we retain our inalienable rights as we grow, we can also grow in dignity, in the infinite depths of our inviolable human reality [8].  What am I as a human being?  I am a growing, evolving child of God, a living embodiment of the divine source of Being.

Renowned spiritual thinker, Raimon Panikkar declares that “Becoming belongs to the very essence of Being.” This, of course, is also true of our human “Being-in-the-world.” We are all constituted as time and live in a dynamic present moment between a remembered past and an anticipated future [9].  “Were an entity not to become what it is at each moment that it is,” Panikkar writes, “it would cease to be. The entity exists and this existence is its becoming.” Our own becoming, Panikkar affirms, is linked to the destiny of the universe. What is the “omega point,” the destiny of being? “This destiny also, to a certain extent depends upon us. This is our human dignity, and our responsibility” [10].

Who I am is directly connected to what I can and should become.  I can be a better person—more honest, more attentive, more loving, more just, more compassionate—and what I can and should become actualizes and increases the depths of my human dignity.  In Panikkar’s statement, “our human dignity” means our collective responsibly as human beings. As human beings we are linked to the destiny of the universe.

Here is our true selfhood; our true self is embodied deep within our self-awareness. As Zen teacher Rubin Habito expresses this: “we hear an invitation from within, to launch into a search for our true self that underlies this delusive ego” [11]. My selfish egoistic desires cover up and obscure my deeper true self. When Mahatma Gandhi asked why he should support the cause of all humanity, his answer was that his true self was the self of all humanity as well as the divine source of all Being.

My true self participates in the deep dignity of our common humanity and in the deep divinity at the heart of the universe. If my individuality were separable from this divine deep dignity, then I would have no inalienable human rights. Without this dignity, there would be no reason why human beings should not rape, pillage, murder, and exploit one another without end.

Since we are always part of a social community that is intimately connected with our individuality and common human dignity, we understand that the community must be organized in such a way that our dignity and inviolable rights are respected and honored.  Love and justice are not just personal qualities, they must be and should be community qualities as well. As Mahatma Gandhi understood, they must be actualized in the human community as a whole.

We each know that we do have rights, that no one has a right to torture, violate, or exploit us indiscriminately. We each know that we are directly connected to the human community that gives us our common humanity and universal dignity. Our selfhood is inseparable from society and the human community. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth establishes a world system of respect for universal human dignity, a respect that is implicit in the selfhood of each person.

The Constitution is not founded on absolute territorial divisions like today’s sovereign nation-states. It is not founded on wealth and power like today’s world system of giant military powers and multinational corporations. It is founded on our common human dignity, the same dignity that forms the true selfhood of each person on the planet. That is precisely why it alone can establish peace and disarm the nations, protect universal human rights, diminish social differences, and protect the ecological balance of the Earth. These functions are all expressed in Article 1.

Why should I support ratification of the Earth Constitution?  Because it represents my true self—embodied and envisioned—in a world system that is identical with the growth and realization of my deep human dignity.  The UN Declaration of human rights, premised as we have seen on this dignity, makes explicit in Article 28 that our dignity requires a world system that embodies and reflects this dignity: “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”  In other words, “recognition of our inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” requires a world system based on that dignity (which the UN Charter and UN system definitely are not).

What I am in my deepest reality, what I am as a human being with dignity and inalienable rights, is reflected and represented in the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Why should I support ratification of the Earth Constitution?  Because it represents my true self, my true self that embodies not only my personal growth in dignity but corresponding civilizational growth in community in which my personal dignity participates and from which it is inseparable. The Earth Constitution embodies my true self and the trajectory of my growth in dignity and community. In supporting its ratification, I am supporting my own growth and self-realization. The two dimensions are inseparable.

What’s in it for me if I support the Earth Constitution?  Self-realization, self-actualization, and self-fulfillment.  We are one human community, and our selfhood fundamentally participates in that community. Today the human community is broken, fragmented, violent, and unjust [12].  My true selfhood represents wholeness, harmony, compassion, and justice. Just as the human community today violates my deeper human selfhood, so the Earth Constitution embodies and restores my deeper human selfhood. In working to ratify the Earth Constitution, I am working to actualize my true self-interest, my deeper human dignity, my fulfilled human selfhood.  This tells us precisely “what is in it for me”?


[1]  See https://www.visualcapitalist.com/distribution-of-global-wealth-chart/ and https://www.wider.unu.edu/publication/global-distribution-household-wealth#:~:text=While%20the%20richest%2010%25%20of,person%20in%20the%20bottom%2010%25.

[2] For a detailed account of this see Alfred W. McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017.

[3] Martin, Glen T. (2021). The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press. The Earth Constitution can be found on-line at www.earthconstitution.world and www.wcpa.global.

[4] Heinberg, Richard (2011).  The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

[5]  See my critique of Jeremy Rifkin’s works in Chapter 5 of The Earth Constitution Solution.

[6]  Kant, Immanuel (1964).  Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals. Trans. H.J. Paton. New York: Harper & Row.

[7]  Thinkers such as Henri Bergson, Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Sri Aurobindo.

[8]  Kirchhoffer, David G. (2013). Human Dignity in Contemporary Ethics. Amherst, NY: Teneo Press.

[9]  Martin, Glen T. (2021). “Utopian Horizon Value Theory: A Transformative Power at the Heart of Human Futurity,” article in the American International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Vol. 7, No. 1, February, 2021: aijhss.cgrd.org/index.php/54-contact/115-vol-7-no-1-february-2021

[10]  Panikkar, Raimon (2013), The Rhythm of Being: The Unbroken Trinity. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, pp. 98 & 104

[11] Habito, Ruben (1993).  Healing Breath: Zen Spirituality for a Wounded Earth. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, p. 15

[12] See, again, McCoy’s, In the Shadows of the American Century for a well-documented overview of today’s broken world-system.