Think globally, act locally and go green everywhere
Imagine this: By 2010, the eight nuclear powers of the world — the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel — form a Green Coalition.
They launch a Global Peace Corps (10 times the size of the US Peace Corps) to help bring solar and wind-generated electricity to most homes in the world. All of the nearly 200 nations of the world face threats from proliferation of nuclear weapons, global warming, oil wars, related terrorism, and economic disasters tied to depleting fossil fuels.
By 2020, all of those threats could be gone if solar panels on home rooftops and small wind turbines in backyards everywhere make families energy independent. By 2030, most nations join this Green Coalition, begun by the eight "former" nuclear nations, who have destroyed all WMDs by then.
A slogan of the 1960s was "Think Globally, Act Locally." Fifty years later let’s add to that slogan, "… and Go Green Everywhere."
From the bottom-up, greening of homes will take the lead. Certified "Cool Cities," like Austin and Albert Lea, and innovative states, like California and Minnesota, impatient with the lack of national efforts to help us all become energy independents, are pioneers in green energy.
During this election year, nearly all U.S. presidential candidates have said they favor expanding both the Peace Corps globally and AmeriCorps nationally, to which citizens could volunteer for two years of public service. For more information about joining either service, high school and college students are invited to stop by the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps table at Riverland Community College on Career Day, Thursday, April 10, in Austin.
As an older volunteer, I served in Ukraine in 1999-2001. Austin’s Dan Kane in 2005-2006 was a Peace Corps volunteer next door to Ukraine in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. We volunteered to:
1) Help peoples of other countries in meeting their needs for trained manpower,
2) Promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the people served, and
3) promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people.
Though we have returned to Austin, we continue serving the above Peace Corps goals. Some of you in August 2005 met four Ukrainian journalists here to study independent media practices. Exchange students from Ukraine, Moldova and other countries, their host families, and community leaders joined us for a "Taste of Ukraine" on Ukrainian Independence Day half a year ago.
Please join us again at the Austin Public Library anytime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, April 14, for a "Taste of Peace Corps" — drop in for one to three hours.
With us will be a member of the Board of the National Peace Corps Association and the Coordinator of the nationwide "More Peace Corps Campaign." We will discuss doubling the size of the US Peace Corps and also the ambitious idea of internationalizing the Peace Corps and expanding it maybe tenfold in 2010 before the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary in 2011.
Bring friends Monday for this "Taste" of Peace Corps, including a Moldovian salad. If you come early, by 11:15, you may bring a dish to share. I’m bringing Subway sandwiches to indicate how easy it is now to find American food in most Peace Corps countries. Or come after lunch, when at 1:15 we can repeat our 12:15 discussion about the Peace Corps and about our shared 2020 Vision.
To achieve global greening by 2020, consider this:
Instead of trying to "spread democracy" militarily as in Iraq, let’s spread the Peace Corps example of volunteerism. Peace Corps volunteers do not carry guns, nor do they take orders through a military chain of command. Instead, they work collaboratively with foreign communities in developing the basis for peace and prosperity from the bottom-up. Let’s empower people everywhere to become energy-independent. Then, we’ll achieve greater globalization of democratic processes as well as fairer economic globalization.
Our next U.S. president must obtain from UN Security Council members an agreement to help bring peace through a Global Peace Corps to help achieve energy independence for all, help halt global warming, end nuclear proliferation and remove motivations for terrorism. These common causes serve to humanize and thus unite us all.
Stevens of Austin is a retired college professor.