Kirsten Levermore is introduced to the supranational body that will save the biosphere
One-and-a-half billion people and their mobile phones could save the biosphere. Such is the claim made by Angus Forbes at the start of his latest book.
Glancing at the cover, I thought this slim volume was going to be yet another book on saving the rainforest; a cry for more reducing, reusing and recycling; or a pleading with oil companies. Yet Global Planet Authority is none of those things. What we have instead is a series of clear, game-changing research reports and a passionate manifesto advocating the installation of a supranational environment-focused Global Planet Authority (GPA).
“Let’s imagine,” suggests Forbes, “a single supranational government body decides that all of South Africa, the massive Białowieża forest in Poland and the whole of Madagascar need to be protected… Hello, are those the Presidents of Poland, South Africa, Madagascar? We need to take your national parks to global status immediately, increase them in size fivefold within five years and then work out a plan for taking your entire country to Global Protected Area status.”
Appealing to the world’s citizens aged 13 and over, this book sets out how 1.5 billion people might elect the first global government body made of up of the world’s top scientists, lawyers, logisticians, strategists and more, tasked with protecting the biosphere. The dedicated environment-focused professionals would be given 6% of GDP per annum – a 15-fold increase on the UN’s pitiful $10 billion budget – and empowered to act as they see fit across business, politics and borders.
Examining the need for the authority, the first half of the book paints a bleak – but necessary – fact-based picture of global climate change. The second half is devoted to the practicalities of voting for the GPA, complete with a step-by-step guide to how the authority will take shape and how readers can get involved in the movement. A particularly intriguing question-and-answer section is aimed at the most sceptical readers.
Forbes’ natural dry humour infuses the text: “Most of the countries that we see today didn’t exist just 200 years ago,” he observes, “so what’s one supranational organization among friends?” With dozens of statistics in every chapter, it can get a little sticky, but the investment-banker-turned-environmentalist balances analytical cynicism and engaging optimism throughout in setting out his dream.
Part hard-hitting research report, part passionate manifesto, Global Planet Authority is not a soft nor philosophical read. Rather, it is a factual explanation, and an urgent, emotive ask, which many readers might find themselves tempted to adopt. Global Planet Authority is available in bookstores from July 2019.