OnlyOnePlanet's Values 

While OnlyOnePlanet is primarily concerned with the protection of the planet's aquatic ecosystems, we endorse the following values and principles (not in order of priority):

1 Equality
All people should be treated fairly, with natural justice, irrespective of their wealth, age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. This principle includes a special responsibility for disadvantaged people, including attempts to right historic wrongs.
 
 
2 Accountability 
Transparency and accountability especially within government, and more generally within private organizations impacting public life, including for example a commitment to freedom of information. In general, citizens should be provided with, or able to access, information to explain decisions which affect them.  Public decision-makers must be accountable for decisions they make. Specific controls to counter or discourage corruption must be put in place. Processes providing accountability should demonstrate, rather than assume, the honesty and competence of decision-makers.
 
 
3 Commitment to democracy
According to the political scientist Larry Diamond1 democracy consists of four key elements: (a) a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; (b) the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; (c) protection of the human rights of all citizens; and (d) a rule of law in which laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

In practical terms democracies need the following cornerstones: 
  • informed voters: universal access to education; a free and independent national broadcaster; freedom of speech; a ban on the deliberate publication of false or misleading information by political parties;
  • free and fair elections, one vote one value, with multi-party electoral alternatives;
  • fully transparent electoral funding and political donations (including effective limits on large donations);
  • public agency provision of services relating to: revenue collection, public infrastructure (transport, water, sewerage, energy), health, welfare, education, the management of natural resources, policing, and national defence;
  • a regulated market economy operating only where effective markets exist, noting that even where effective markets do exist, major problems will arise where significant externalities are present, or natural resources are involved needing long-term planning frameworks;
  • a free and independent press and judiciary, beyond the reach of the tentacles of the rich and/or powerful;
  • a rule of law including both statutory and legal precedent;
  • separation of church and state; and
  • an outright prohibition of the use of police and defence forces for political purposes.
 

4 Long term planetary responsibility
The size and activities of the human population of Planet Earth is now altering the functioning of climate and essential ecosystems. For the sake of all the occupants of our planet, planning must move from the time frameworks of electoral cycles to the timeframes of the natural systems of the planet. Action must be taken to protect natural ecosystems, including, importantly, the use of the precautionary principle.
 
 
5 Speaking up for those without voices, including the planet's animals and plants. This includes but is not restricted to animal welfare, oppressed peoples around the world, and future generations of humans. The planet is home to a huge variety of organisms. Humans must accept a responsibility for the welfare of all the planet's inhabitants, irrespective of their commercial or utilitarian value.
 

6 Commitment to the establishment of global frameworks for decision-making
Many global issues cannot be effectively addressed within the decision-making frameworks of individual nations. Many aspects of our world pay no respect to national boundaries, for example natural features like ocean currents, winds and weather patterns, the distribution of special natural resources or organisms (like the movement of fish and birds), contagious disease, expanding deserts, and vital freshwater flows. Smuggling drugs, arms and people are international cross-boundary problems, as are issues like cross-national pollution and illegal fishing. Over the last century, the United Nations has provided a forum at which cross-national issues can be explored, debated, and decision-making frameworks created through international conventions and other agreements. However a major problem is that these frameworks usually come with no incentives or punitive repercussions. Nations such as Australia can sign up to agreements, then simply ignore their responsibilities. OnlyOnePlanet.com contains extensive material documenting failures in regard to the protection of freshwater and marine ecosystems. The Australian Government, at the time of writing, is flagrantly violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (with respect to refugees held in detention). Global decision-making frameworks are not only important but essential to the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants, and must be taken seriously.

7 September  2019

Footnotes:
1.  Diamond, L. and Morlino, L., The quality of democracy; in Diamond, L., (2016) In Search of Democracy. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-78128-2

 

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