Those Who Claim to Speak for the Future
Some people have a high opinion of themselves. I mean, what sort of personality type do you have to be to imagine that you, self-anointed you, are the voice of future generations?
What kind of ego trip do people embark on prior to concluding that, among the billions of souls inhabiting this planet, it’s their own special calling to speak on behalf of those who haven’t yet been born?
A long list of individuals with this exalted regard for themselves can be found on the website of the World Future Council. Actually, there are four lists. The first consists of those who are the Councillors and Honorary Councillors of this body. Among these self-aggrandizing mortals we find:
- the Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah
- Tim Flannery, the head of Australia’s government-funded Climate Commission
- Fabio Feldmann, who sits on the boards of Greenpeace International, The Nature Conservancy (Brazil), and Friends of the Earth Brazil
- the president as well as the director general of another activist group called the International Union for Conservation of Nature
- a Vice President of the Club of Rome (which has been issuing bogus doomsday warnings since the 1970s)
- at least four people currently or formerly employed by the United Nations: Maude Barlow, Rae Kwon Chung, Ahmed Djoghlaf, and Hans-Christof von Sponeck
Then there’s the Supervisory Board of the World Future Council. This includes a gynecologist, the directors of two foundations (presumably these are bankrolling the venture), a benefactress, and what no self-respecting group of speakers-for-the-future can do without – a Middle Eastern expert.
List number three is the organization’s Board of Advisors. The bios of those folks are handily collected in this 7-page PDF (backup link here). It turns out that Cyril Ritchie, the chairman of that board, is also “serving his fourth term as Secretary of the Conference of UN NGOs (CONGO).”
I’ve never heard of this body, but evidently it spends its time “actively promoting the involvement of NGOs in the working of the United Nations.” Here are some of the other board members:
- Reto Braun, whose day job involves working with the UN
- Bo Ekman, a former adviser to a former UN Secretary General
- Monika Griefahn, a co-founder of Greenpeace Germany
- Anita Herrdum, who lives in a commune and serves as “chairwoman of a German speaking network of heiresses”
- Beatrix Pfleiderer, a professor of anthropology who spent six years “involved in training with free dolphins on healing communication”
Oh, and let’s not forget Farhad Vladi. This gentleman is equipped to speak for future generations, apparently, because he’s president of three companies that “sell, develop and rent privately owned islands world-wide.” Moreover, he’s “very much involved in art and music” and is “interested in the subject of global warming and renewable energy.”
Finally we come to the last list of names. These people are responsible for the day-to-day activities of the World Future Council. Jakob von Uexkull is “a patron of Friends of the Earth International and a member of the Global Commission to Fund the United Nations.”
Alexandra Wandel used to work for Friends of the Earth before she became a spokesperson for a group of “major European environmental NGOs” that included the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.
No doubt you’ve heard the term social justice before. Well the World Future Council is pushing future justice. It has a Director of Future Justice, a Campaign Manager for Future Justice, and two policy officers who also have that slogan in their titles.
Quelle surprise, the Director of Future Justice, Maja Göpel, has a history of working for NGOs. A link embedded in her bio takes us to an entire Future Justice page (backup link). Here one finds eyebrow-raising statements such as:
- The world is warming dangerously. A quarter of our mammals face a high risk of extinction in the near future.
- We need Future Justice because we need to overcome the obscene inequity between people.
- Putting Future Justice into place means tackling head-on our culture, policies and laws…
In the new, improved world these people wish to substitute for our current one:
Fair treatment would be a basic human need, set out in law. Fair shares and fair burdens would be a matter of justice between all humans living, and those yet to be born.
Those who act without concern for the planet, and the human and non-human life upon it, would be pursued and prosecuted.
Notice the legalistic tone. These people imagine that fair burdens and fair shares is simply a matter of passing laws. And if you behave in ways they disapprove of – if you act without concern for the planet – you can look forward to being pursued and prosecuted.
The World Future Council, therefore, doesn’t use the term justice the way most of us do. Rather than simply advocating for certain improvements, these people would have us believe that their particular vision of the future is indistinguishable from justice itself.
In reality, the World Future Council is a collection of NGO brats, self-important rich folks, and UN bureaucrats who think everything would be just so much nicer if they were running the planet.
In my view, their analysis is both infantile and creepy. May future generations be spared their meddling.
UPDATE: A few hours after this post went live I removed a word and two commas from the last line of the second-last paragraph. It used to read “so much nicer if they, themselves, were running the planet.”
Entry filed under: activist scientists, ethical & philosophical, Greenpeace, NGOs, World Wildlife Fund. Tags: activist scientists, Alexandra Wandel, Anita Herrdum, Beatrix Pfleiderer, Club of Rome, Cyril Ritchie, Daryl Hannah, Fabio Feldmann, Farhad Vladi, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Jakob von Uexkull, Maja Gopel, Monika Griefahn, Nature Conservancy, Tim Flannery, United Nations, World Future Council, World Wildlife Fund, WWF.