To declare the world’s forest reserves and hydrographic basins as a humanity world heritage and elevate to the category of crime any damage caused to them is the proposal that the Brazilian journalist Samuel Sales Saraiva presented to the United Nations.
In the document, Saraiva, who has lived in the United States for 15 years and works in the Washington D.C. area, says that just as the UN is in charge of mediating in international conflicts, it should also act as an organization that protects the environment.
"To preserve the Earth’s health is more important than interfering in tribal or religious conflicts that are solved in the long term," declares Saraiva as part of the arguments of his proposal.
In order to provide support to the proposal of converting into crime all damages caused to the forest and water reserves, Saraiva uses a metaphor in which he explains that "no passenger in a ship’s cabin has the right to turn on a fire just for being there. The cabin is part of the ship and its destruction affects all and puts them under risk."
In the document presented to Ban Ki-Moon, elected UN General Secretary, and to members of the organization representing different countries, Saraiva also proposes the creation of an "army" that supervises every country’s behavior with regards to their work in order to preserve the forest reserves. This army could be created by representatives from NGOs, professionals who work in the academic sector and government agencies.
In case his initiative is accepted, Saraiva suggests that in order to create the laws that would regulate the forest and water reserves’ care, the United Nations can use the rules that some countries have already created individually.
But, in order to enforce them, the UN and its "army" would have to be very rigorous to the point of using their strength with the aim of protecting the planet.
"The objective is to elaborate a transcript whose content is aimed to all nations and more globally to all humanity," says Saraiva. His proposal is careful in not hurting the sovereignty of any nation — a reason why it suggests the creation of strong regional organizations that can act in association with the UN.
In this context, he proposes the creation of a Special Committee in which the member nations can interfere, particularly those considered as "developing" where there are still huge lands with tropical forests and water sources. "If the subject is presented as a members’ initiative, the common acceptance of the policy would be much easier," argues Saraiva.
The fear of this journalist who lives in Washington D.C. is based on the short life term that the Earth has left and the bad quality environment that we are leaving to coming generations. And it also finds support in the Bible’s Ecclesiastes book passage that says: "One generation leaves and other comes, but the Earth always remains."
With regards to this, Saraiva says that the short-term thinking and the blindness of a few people to see the economical interests destroy valuable goods which are essential and cannot be restored:
"In any of the cases, despite the fact that individuals can be replaced in a few years, no one can assure the birth of a new river which died due to the action of pollutant substances."
That is why he emphasizes that although international organizations should pay attention to solving bellicose conflicts which have various origins, "the protection of the earth’s capacity to support life deserves much more attention," says the journalist’s proposal.
He adds that the UN can seek the support of scientists, professors and professionals specialized in the environment, in order to have an extensive group of collaborators that, under the UN technicians’ coordination, "can make a difference to understand the existent problems and look for practical and effective solutions."
Saraiva stresses the need to treat the topic in a democratic way, so that none of the countries that have natural resources that could be preserved as a "humanity heritage" feels threatened of its sovereignty.
Saraiva highlights the work of various members of the United Nations that worry about the global warming that affects the planet’s weather as a whole and not only the weather in those countries that produce a higher level of pollutant elements.
"It is a sacred rule that social aspects should be a priority over individual aspects, and collective interests over particular interests," indicated the proposal.
It says that if a building can be declared as a "humanity heritage," with much more reason the Earth’s forest and water reserves should also have this possibility.