Becoming An Earth Citizen

The Brain Declaration
I declare that I am the master of my brain.
I declare that my brain has infinite possibilities and creative potential.
I declare that my brain has the right to accept or refuse any information or knowledge that it is offered.
I declare that my brain loves humanity and the earth.
I declare that my brain desires peace.
Take Back Your Brain!

The above Brain Declaration was adapted from the Declaration of Humanity, a document endorsed at the Humanity Conference in Seoul, South Korea, in 2001. I, together with world-renowned academics, political leaders, and senior journalists, held the Humanity Conference to suggest the need for a common identification beyond the limits of religion, nationality, and ideology. We introduced the idea of the “earth human” — someone who lives for the betterment of humanity and the earth. At the conference, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore gave an inspiring presentation on the connection between “Our Efforts for the Environment and Peace.” I believe that the challenges we are facing —  from individual problems to the well-being of nations to global environmental issues — arise because we are not using the full potential of our brains.

Humanity has been facing a crisis for a long time. Many scientists and academics have been warning us about this crisis, but nothing has really changed. The environment continues to deteriorate. The population continues to grow. Natural resources are being depleted. But the desire to produce and consume is unending. Some predict that, at the rate we are going, the future of humankind will be in jeopardy 50 years from now.

Today, even the average person realizes that a fundamental change in the way we live is needed in order to prevent greater problems. However, most people aren’t sure what they need to do or how to start fixing the problem, so they continue living as they have. I believe there is a solution. It is humans who have created the problem, and it is humans who will solve it — we are the key to solving the problem. I would like to suggest three approaches needed to heal society and the earth.

First, everyone needs to consider the earth’s problems as their problems. Rather than just saying, “This is a problem,” or “That’s a really big issue,” we need to seriously ask ourselves, “What should I do?” I would like to suggest the concept of earth citizenship as a common identification that will encourage individuals to place the well-being of the earth before that of individual people or states. When the earth is well, humans will also be well.

Second, we need training and education that helps people to understand with their hearts, not just their heads, what the problems are and how to solve them. I suggest brain education as an approach designed to help people actualize their potential, encouraging them to contribute to the world and helping them understand and manage the brain’s functions — from physical health to emotions to creativity and imagination.

Third, we need concrete action to actualize this philosophy and training in our lives. The Earth Citizen Movement is a simple initiative that encourages individuals to identify as earth citizens and take responsibility by donating to environmental and humanitarian projects. The goal is to eventually have 100 million earth Citizens donating. Much more than a means of fundraising, the project is intended to be an expression of the power of many individuals making a common commitment to take action to heal the world.

Until recently, humanity had forgotten about the earth. We saw the world as divided, separating you and me, nature and humankind, right and wrong. We have been emphasizing differences, competition, and superiority rather than our commonalities. We have lived our lives confronting, fighting and dominating each other within the limited boundaries of nation, religion, race, gender, and political ideology.

We need a new approach — a new point of reference to overcome this antagonistic dualism. We need one focal point that can reconcile our conflicting values and ensure a global spirit of cooperation that offers real solutions to our difficulties. Everyone breathes air and eats food that comes from the earth. Before we are people from different cultures or nations, we are people who live on the earth: earth humans. When we realize that the earth is the basis for all of our existence, we can overcome our differences.

Just because someone is living on the earth, though, doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is an earth human. An earth human, I would like to suggest, is someone who cares for the earth like it is his or her own body, someone who makes decisions based on what is beneficial for the earth, and someone who has the mindset that we are all from the earth and owe it our help. This is an earth human. And that is earth citizenship, the kind of philosophy we need now. And it is this philosophy that is contained within the Brain Declaration.

I believe if we all become earth citizens — individuals who recognize their responsibility to humanity and the earth, and who seek to find solutions using their full brain potential — we can create a better future on the earth.

“I declare that my brain loves humanity and the earth … Take back my brain!”

Ilchi Lee is the founder of the International Brain Education Association and the Earth Citizen Organization.

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