77 Theses On the Care of the Earth

A Guide for Earth Trustees

Principles and Policies that will foster
the peaceful nurture and care of
the planet Earth.

Written by John McConnell, the Founder of Earth Day

"The world of tomorrow is not foreordained to be either good or bad...rather it will be what we make it. In these 77 theses I have tried to present the essentials ideas needed to achieve a historic global change - from mindless exploitation, with increasing danger of worldwide catastrophe, to the peaceful nurture of our home, Planet Earth"

John McConnell

PROLOGUE - Earth Trusteeship

The 77 Theses are especially for people who will think of themselves as Trustees of Earth and who seek to do the things about ecology, economics and ethics that foster peaceful progress on our planet.

Earth's rejuvenation can best be realized by individuals and small groups of people (preferably 5 to 15 each) who will make their own special commitment to projects for the care of Earth. And, who at the same time, affirm a common world view about the protection and care of Earth - which they share with other Earth Trustee groups - a view and commitment which hopefully will soon spread to include all, or practically all, of Earth's people. The Earth-Trustee concept can provide the measure of unity in our diversity needed for achieving Earth's rejuvenation.

A useful analogy is the way each cell in the body has its specific task, but has within it the genetic code -- or pattern -- for the whole body.

The problem is to determine the items in the Earth Trustee world view that can be accepted and shared voluntarily by people of every clime and culture, of every ideology, religious belief and temperament.

To accomplish this it is important to separate the vital facts on which most people can agree (2+2=4, etc.) from the items of belief that deal with uncertainties or differing viewpoints - in politics, religion, economics, education, social justice, etc.

The 77 THESES can obtain general support for a broad Earth Trustee world view. With this as a common template all approve - not in details of implementation, but in general purpose - rapport and appropriate bonds between groups can be established. Earth Trustees will recognize their independence and points of difference. The purpose they will share is the care of Earth.

The object then in each group will be to obtain information that will assist their choices and the pursuit of their Earth Care project, or projects, Computer networks, data banks and flow of communication about what others are doing will serve this purpose.

With the above in mind, Earth Care Handbooks* in every language will provide an Earth Trustee world view and orientation, plus guidelines for finding and choosing Earth Care projects - carefully avoiding the partisan issues that cause disagreement. Our goal is a global consensus on the care of Earth.

*Handbooks can be produced independently, with common guidelines.

Part of the program - and basis of eventual success - will be a practical determined effort by each person and group to share their enthusiastic interest with friends and thereby bring about a rapid doubling - each month if possible - of individuals joining or organizing Earth Care projects.

In these efforts a key to success will be the sense of community, or spirit of cooperation that is engendered. Special emphasis on reverent prayer, worship, dedication to and emphasis of moral and ethical values in the terms acceptable to each group will make a vital contribution.

The most important inner point of unity in the care of Earth is our love of Earth, its life and its people - especially our nearest neighbors.

The most important outer point of unity is the simultaneous celebration of and dedication to the care of Earth on each EARTH DAY, March 20-21 and will be aided by observance each day on radio and TV of global Earth Minutes. Religious groups are especially invited to participate - each in its own way. In this there is no compromise or watering down of their particular faith or belief. The point of unity is not doctrinal or ideological belief, but dedication to the care of Earth and inner love of our planet and its people.

I can engage in this united action in spite of strong differences with people of other religions or political beliefs. Loyalty to country, which exists in spite of differences with other citizens, must now be equaled and transcended by loyalty to our planet and dedication to its care.

A sign of participation can be the flying of the Earth Flag...

Dear John, I have read and reread your 77 Theses. They are wonderful and so much to the point.

Robert Muller, Chancellor of the University of Peace, Costa Rica.

Along with the Secretary General U Thant and other world leaders, Robert Muller signed the 1971 UN Earth Day Proclamation designating the March 20-21 equinox to be Earth Day. The Proclamation was written by John McConnell.

Be a Trustee of Planet Earth

Order the Earth Flag Online

77 Theses on the Care of the Earth


1. RECOGNIZING: That ignorance and neglect of our planet, combined with the folly of international rivalries, has now endangered all life on Earth;

2. That our planet's life is threatened by policies and actions that cause massive pollution of air, water and soil and dangers of chemical, biological and nuclear disaster;

3. That mutual trust is necessary in order to counter these threats;


4. That only by open communication and joint action, for a great common good, can mutual trust develop;

5. That the one thing we have in common is our planet ;


6. That a campaign for the care of Earth will create relationships leading to mutual trust and ultimately to reciprocal disarmament and stable peace;

7. That in pursuing peace it is important to identify and emphasize vital matters and the extent and nature of our accord, and to build on this accord;

8. That peaceful actions beget peace;

9. That in a world of instant global communications a strong, informed public opinion in all nation's dedicated to peace and care of Earth, could become the greatest deterrent to war and to local violence;

10. That the greatest challenge in history is the present challenge of destiny involving all humanity; a challenge to reclaim the Earth for all peoples and to free them from the fear of war and want;

11. That accepting this challenge will bring the measure of trust needed to achieve these goals


12. That the peaceful care of our planet cannot be accomplished through half-hearted or insincere efforts, but will require the dedication of all humanity;

13. That in seeking the basic change in the conduct of governments and their peoples, we acknowledge the failures of all previous efforts to achieve a peaceful world;

14. That investments worldwide in instruments of destruction endangers the human race;

15. That excessive destruction of trees, vegetation, and wildlife, from ancient times to the present, has decimated or destroyed numerous species and degraded Earth's potential for nurturing life, and that the current acceleration of this process will bring global catastrophe if it is not soon brought to a halt;


16. That world peace requires a basic long-term commitment to change attitudes and conduct, and to develop structures and programs that will foster peaceful progress in the care of Earth and in our relationships with each other;

17. That new factors in the quest for peace are Space Age global awareness and deep concern everywhere that something must be done;

18. That we owe to untold generations in our past and future a firm decision for peace and care of Earth;

19. That it is time for humanity to take charge and take care of their planet;


20. That the campaign for Earth requires ideas and attitudes conducive to the nurture and care of Earth;

21. That loyalty to community, bioregion, and planet is essential for the healing of our planet and people;

22. That a patriotism embracing people and planet as well as nations is necessary now;

23. That loyalty to our planet will not hurt, but instead will help our lesser loyalties;


24. That while national governments use police force to coerce allegiance when needed, their long-term strength depends on voluntary support by their citizens;

25. That loyalty to our planet can best be achieved through voluntary efforts to understand its life systems and processes, and then with love for our planet to help nurture and sustain the amazing web of life that covers our globe;

26. That global communication and education to foster Earth's care can provide the measure of enlightenment needed to justify and assert the authority of humanity in the management and care of Earth;


27. That voluntary support of Earth care and person-to-person communication about Earth care can provide a global communication of conscience dedicated to Earth's protection. This will bring inner peace and global peace;

28. That constraints and requirements for Earth care will then permeate society and provide our global conscience with moral authority and influence greater than that of national governments;

29. That as we develop a strong community commitment of individuals and governments to the care of Earth and to one another, and are aided by world public opinion filled with hope instead of fear, we will establish peaceful relationships and make any war unthinkable and impossible;

30. That the management and care of Earth by the people of Earth can only be achieved by their willing support;

31. That the willing support of people throughout our world can only be obtained by providing, equitable, fair benefits in return for their services;

32. That it is necessary to determine the rights and responsibility of individuals in the care of Earth;


33. That religions teach, and philosophers aver that the Earth is for all people. The Psalms state, "The Earth hath He given to the children of men";

34. That, whether considered the gift of God, or the bounty of Nature, every individual has an equal claim, or right to Earth's natural bounty; to a portion or benefit from their share of Earth's land, raw materials and natural resources;

35. That every country should provide a free homestead for each family that lacks one, or the means to obtain one. Every person who wishes to receive this basic inheritance in their planet should be given a secure habitable shelter, or be provided the purchasing capacity or land and materials;


36. That expenses of government and public needs they serve can best be met by land use fees, or single tax, based on the value of the land (not on improvements or labor);

37. That every individual, regardless of circumstances or lack of resources, should be assured an opportunity for basic nutritious food, or practical means for procuring it;

38. That raw materials - oil, coal, minerals - are the inheritance of all Earth's people. As they are mined, sold, or used, at least 2 percent of their value should be equally distributed as royalties to everyone. These unearned assets in the ground, the inheritance of all Earth's people, should be carefully mined, conserved and recycled by the owners or managers, and used by consumers in ways that will increase the Earth's natural bounty and benefit Earth's people;


39. That rights to the bounty of Earth must be equaled by responsibility for its care;

40. That every individual should be taught from childhood the requirements for Earth care by instruction and experience in caring for gardens, animals, and birds. Later instruction should include Earth Care criteria and guidelines for land use, manufacturing, recycling, energy, design of homes and communities with sustainable goals in population and development; preservation of wildlife and wilderness areas, ways to diminish pollution of air, soil and water;


41. That equitable trade and development requires a fair honest medium of exchange;

42. That money should not be a product, controlled by special interests and sold to the highest bidder, but instead should be a free medium of exchange, based on things to be exchanged, and made available through collateral loans in percentages needed to facilitate trade and exchange without inflation;

43. That amply secured loans should not require payment of interest, only the cost of paper work. Usury (interest) is condemned by major religions. It can cause inflation and results in unearned and unnecessary income by manipulators;

44. That in high risk loans to individuals or firms, security provided by the borrower should be of equal value to money provided by the bank. And both should share equally in any losses or profits; In this case money is actually an investment instead of a loan;


45. That control of capital should be widely dispersed and prevented from being used to take unfair advantages of individuals or corporations with legitimate need for money;

46. That public disclosure should be required in the management of any business or the sale of any stock setting forth the company's adherence to Earth Care criteria:
Such as what is being done to avoid pollution in production and use of products or services; energy efficiency; design for easy repair, service and recycling of products; fair wages and benefits to employees. Reports of standards adopted and adherence should be provided by appropriate independent authorities;

47. That leaders in church, state and entertainment should urge support of Earth Trustee efforts and provide examples of an Earth Trustee conscience in investments, purchases and life style;

48. That individuals who invest for greatest profit with no regard for how the money is made - bombs for poor misguided countries, production lacking environmental safeguards, unfair poverty wages for employees - should be made aware of the harm they are causing. Companies responsible for such Earth Kill practices should be exposed, penalized and their products shunned until they convert to Earth Trustee conduct;

49. That the media should be the guardian of the public's long-term interest and could serve this purpose by exposing gross Earth Kill examples, and by headlining Earth Trustee solutions and programs;


50. That a major cause of injustice, of crimes against Nature and people, is the way we have accepted and institutionalized greed, particularly greed for private profit from the land and natural resources of the Earth;

51. That most successes in selling products is presently achieved by advertising and promotion that increases greed, lust and vanity. Subtle motivational techniques are used to deceive and corrupt and thereby make greater profits: For example, in the promotion and sale of cigarettes;

52. That to attain a viable Earth Trustee future it is essential that designers, inventors, planners, producers, and consumers - and advertising executives, all learn the necessity of Earth Trustee constraints. A massive educational program in schools, churches and voluntary agencies is needed to expose Earth Kill kinds of promotion and products and instead promote public awareness of Earth Trustee values and choices;


53. That an Earth Trustee curriculum in schools is urgently needed. Earth Trustee studies can provide the best unifying purpose for education;

54. That it is essential for children to learn more about the wonders of Earth and that our generation can become trustees, custodians and caretakers of our beautiful planet;

55. That to accomplish these goals effective use must be made of every means of communication - print, fax, radio, TV, telephone, satellite, computer networks;


56. That the general knowledge about how the world works should be constantly presented by media - in news and special programs. For example, the role of light, soil, water, air and living organisms in nurturing the thin skin of life that covers our globe; the diversity of plants, trees, animals, birds, insects - all necessary to the delicate balance of life-giving nutrients on our planet;


57. That technology must be used to foster Earth's care. The present mindless use of technology in ways that poison, pollute and disrupt Nature's ecosystems must be halted. Instead of a destroyer, technology can and must become a harmonious extender of Nature's bounty;


58. That there is a right and wrong size for everything. Finding the right size is essential to the lasting success of any product, system, arrangement, institution or endeavor;

59. That everything should be as small as possible, unless there is a good reason for it to be larger. In many cases communities and businesses should be smaller - providing more intimate, humane services to smaller groups of people;

60. That constant growth of a city or a business will eventually lead to disaster. Exponential factors decree this. Cities and towns can avoid this by providing laws that only allow new construction which replaces old structures. New Earth communities using interactive technologies can relieve congestion;

61. That once a community or business reaches an optimum size, progress should be sought, not through an increase in size or profits, but through improved quality of services and products. In a small business where the employees are close to owners with a personal interest in each employee, a shared understanding of the operation and its purpose brings better give and take, the pursuit of excellence and efficiency. Given a level playing field of competition, when a business gets too big, its smaller competitors will be the ones to increase sales. Also, cooperatives will be given a better chance to prove their worth;


62. That a sense of responsibility and the practice of Earth Trustee ethics is an essential requirement for the future;

63. That major religions, philosophies and ideologies teach the "Golden Rule" - to do unto others as you would have them do unto you;

64. That while some people of faith are engaged in works of peace and works of charity, many religious people show in their actions bigotry and hypocrisy;

65. That the majority of people fail miserably to live up to their intentions;

66. That moral responsibility and ethical behavior is for the most part found in people of deep, religious faith - reflected in their compassion, fairness and charity;

67. That most conflict over religious and ideological beliefs have their roots in different hypotheses about the unknown. Does God exist? What is the nature or purpose of reality?;


68. That in the question of what life is all about, we face profound mysteries and unanswerable questions. Who can imagine the Universe never having a beginning or ever having an end?;

69. That there is in the human spirit a desire for meaning in life. Religious belief, especially belief in a loving God, provides a more promising hypothesis about the unknown. While belief in God or life after death cannot be scientifically proven, there are phenomena that suggests its possibility; for example, answers to prayer, and reports by people who were briefly dead;

70. That the value and test in the here and now of religious faith or philosophical belief is its good effect on the believer: the measure of confidence, virtue, integrity and the practice of the Golden Rule;


71. That in the present crisis of our planet the greatest virtue or moral imperative is the care and rejuvenation of Earth and securing the right of all people to its natural bounty;


72. That every adherent of ethics or religious faith should act as a responsible Trustee of Planet Earth: join the global Earth Trustee Effort and assist some Earth Care project;

73. That every municipality or community should form an independent Earth Trustee Committee, which will discuss the 77 Theses and then form their own program to help the Earth Campaign: initiating or assisting projects that eliminate poverty and pollution and benefit humanity;

74. That radio stations and TV need to program one or more daily Earth Minutes - at 0300, 1100 or 1900 GMT*. These simultaneous global "minutes without words" can be produced independently by any radio or TV station, with views and sounds of nature, children, music, bells, our planet;

75. That to foster the vital unity needed in our diversity, all individuals and institutions will celebrate Earth Day each year on the March Equinox - Nature's Day, March 20 or 21; the first day of Spring (Fall in the Southern Hemisphere);

76. That global acceptance of responsibility for the protection and care of Earth can usher in a new golden age of opportunity for all humanity;


*Whenever people hear an Earth Minute on radio or TV,
they will add their thought or silent prayer.
A growing multitude are praying and working for Earth's rejuvenation:
for the prosperity that harmony with nature and neighbors will bring.

John McConnell

Earth Trustees, Inc.
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246

Phone: 303-758-7687


Can Man Live Without God - Ravi Zacharias
The Once And Future King - T.H. White
This Freedom Whence - Charles Wesley Brady
The Discovery and Spirit of Science - Sir Richard Gregory
The Mind of the Maker - Dorothy Sayer
Progress and Poverty - Henry George
The Kingdom of God is Within You - Leo Tolstoy
The Gospel of John
The Commandments of Jesus - J.S. McConnell
Star of Hope - John McConnell
Earth Magna Charta - John McConnell
Global Rallying Cry - John McConnell
Small is Beautiful - E. F. Schumacher

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