Published: May 1, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
Read More

We all have responsibilities to family, friends, co-workers, and employers, to name just a few.  But the ethical value of responsibility goes beyond individuals and institutions within our own circle to include our community, country, as well as the world at large.

I’ve talked about David Krieger before.  Founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, David has served as the organization’s president for the last twenty-seven years.

Last week, David sent me a list of eleven responsibilities that target our duties beyond our individual circle.  I cannot pretend that I live up to them all, but I now have a clear, focused reminder in which to strive.

By David Krieger

  1. Responsibility to allocate resources so that greed for the few does not eclipse need for the many. (Survival Principle; Democracy Principle)
  1. Responsibility to preserve the planet and its resources for future generations. (Intergenerational Equity Principle)
  1. Responsibility to do no irreparable harm to the planet and its inhabitants. (Precautionary Principle)
  1. Responsibility to foster diversity of species and ideas.  (Anti-Monopoly Principle)
  1. Responsibility to make war a last resort, not a first resort of the powerful.  (Nonviolence Priority Principle)
  1. Responsibility to hold accountable the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity, including genocide.  (Nuremberg Principles; International Criminal Court)
  1. Responsibility to guarantee basic human rights for all individuals.  (Human Rights Principle: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Torture Convention)
  1. Responsibility to cooperate across national borders to achieve these ends.  (State Cooperation Principle: Global problems are incapable of solution by single states, no matter how powerful.)
  1. Responsibility to choose hope over despair.  (Hope Principle; Perseverance Principle)
  1. Responsibility to leave the planet a better place than you found it.  (Individual Action Principle; Horace Mann Principle: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”)
  1. Responsibility to educate for global sustainability.  (Education Principle; Critical Thinking Principle)

“In sum, I would encourage you to seek to advance global sustainability by adopting a planetary perspective, doing no harm, engaging in doing good for the planet and its present and future inhabitants, choosing hope, and persisting.

“If we accept these responsibilities as individuals and work to implement them in our national and international policies, we can turn Earth Day into a year-around commitment to creating a planet we can be proud to pass on to future generations.”


Leave a Comment

Read More Articles
The Latest... And Sometimes Greatest