The Way To Global Accord
and a Peaceful, Prosperous Future

Advance copy of speech at the United Nations by John McConnell
on or just before Earth Day (March 20, 2004).
John McConnell is the 88 year old Founder of Earth Day.


"When we set out to explore Space, we discovered Earth."

Now we know we are one human family and have only one Earth. Also, the view from Space inspired the idea of Earth Day.

Today, many world leaders in government, business, science and religion are seeking the way to global understanding and harmony on our planet.

The great enigma is their failure to focus on the annual event and its agenda which has thus far made the greatest contribution to peace, justice and the care of Earth -- in spite of limited attention.

In the last 33 years, the Earth Day observance at the United Nations on the March Equinox got attention for efforts that were promoting a sustainable future. They were also one of the key factors in ending the "Cold War."

The theme of Earth Day is "peace, justice and the care of Earth." This is the Earth Trustee agenda Earth Day seeks to promote -- and has worked wonders in spite of limited funds.

The big money is in the hands of warmakers who long ago discovered they could make billions by promoting war and then getting a big profit from the warring parties by selling them their devilish weapons. The big problem facing humanity is these "Dealers in Death" with their vast wealth and skill in deception. They own and control much of the mass media.

Today, there are thousands of scientists and scholars of every kind -- in Think Tanks and Universities -- looking at different aspects of the world and its mysteries, but ignoring what we already know. They publish thousands of books and fill Internet with their data. But with the huge amount of data we now have a new problem. We find that when our data doubles, wisdom diminishes.

It reminds me of a story I heard in my youth. A College Professor was traveling on a boat down the Mississippi River. He was standing at the rail, talking to a farmer about the discoveries of science. In each instance the farmer said he didn't know about that. To which the scientist responded, "Your losing half your life."

Suddenly, the boat hit a rock and began to sink. The farmer said, "Do you know how to swim? The scientist replied, "No." The farmer said, "You're losing your whole life."

In this dissertation I want to look at the big picture: the state of the world, the different aspects of global problems and opportunities -- recognizing the differing perspectives due to race, culture, religion, wealth, poverty, education, genes. At the same time, we are affected -- not only by our nature, but the nature of our institutions.

Another important item is to remember that while words can be important, they are often imperfect vehicles of your thoughts. It helps to convey what is meant by giving an example.

Also, many religious scholars believe that when you hear a speaker that is "anointed, or charismatic" it will fasten saving impressions on your mind and be followed by action. This is a factor in what people believe and support.

What I say and do is a result of all the factors in my life. However, I contend that what headed me in the right direction and resulted in my amazing life adventure and accomplishments was the inspired passion I obtained as a child -- to know what the miracle of life is all about.

The more I learn, the greater the mystery. But along the way I believe I found in Earth Day and its Earth Trustee agenda the key to global accord and peaceful progress.

More and more people now recognize the future depends on our coming together on the vital matters in which we agree -- leaving room for our differences. Successful efforts for conciliation and cooperation around the world have been based on this premise.


I think most people will agree that our society is negatively affected by mass media. Our actions are largely a result of what we see and hear. Instead of headlining items that heal, build and unite, TV, radio, press and the web, feature items of hate, fear, greed and lust. Attitudes and actions, good or bad, begin in the mind. In today's world the altruism taught by leaders in religion and studies in ethics is a minor factor in the minds of most people. A key factor is the lust for money and power.

To avoid global disaster, we need to look in depth at what we can agree is the cause of civilization's failure. Throughout history, scholars, scientists, and religious leaders have disagreed about the fundamental question: What's life all about? - Why are we here? Where are we going? Is there life after death? These questions involve inexplicable mysteries. There is no indication that real global unity in these matters is possible.

But we can agree that we have a planet and that we will all benefit from understanding the nature of the skin of life that covers our globe. And that we must provide global education that will foster peace, justice and the care of Earth.

We must now obtain the measure of understanding and cooperation needed to avoid catastrophe and continue the human adventure.

In this critical moment of danger and opportunity, let's put aside our differences and warmly support what all can agree on. As we turn a global page and enter a new millennium, here is an idea that all can accept and act upon. We can then end history's long, sad, evil record and realize the age-long hope for the new day "where the lion will lie down with the lamb and the nations will learn war no more."


The following is the simple, practical, formula that will appeal to most people and do the most good for people and planet:


"Let all individuals and institutions now think and act as Trustees of Earth, seeking in ecology, economics and ethics to foster a sustainable future and eliminate poverty, pollution and violence."

Let the people who receive this message make a commitment to Earth Trustee actions -- and foster this commitment in any groups to which they belong. Let's circle the world now with positive Earth Trustee visions that can save and rejuvenate our planet.

Share the Earth Trustee idea with people you believe could make a difference. Begin with a few friends. You who have access to leaders in government, finance, religion or mass media, email and phone them.

To succeed, spiritual help is needed. There is documented evidence that great changes for the better have resulted from spiritual awakenings when people prayed. Pray that Earth Day and its Earth Trustee Agenda will bring a global change of heart.


One of the people who influenced my thinking was Dr. Hayakawa, who wrote "Tyranny of Words." The theme of the United Nations is, "Peace through understanding." Every one of us come to this event with assumptions -- many of them unexamined, that affect our understanding of what is said. For real communication we must constantly ask ourselves, "What does the speaker mean." Our experiences have led to word usage and meaning that often differs from that of other people -- especially if they are of a different race, religion or culture.

In addition, modern life has caused short attention span and many listeners allow other things on their mind to distract them from what is said.

I would like to interject here, our character and attitudes are shaped by what we think. Actions good or bad begin in the mind. It is a good idea to occasionally stop and think of what is going on in your subconscious mind. There can be two or more tracks of thought going on at the same time. Young people especially, know how erotic and other unspoken thoughts -- good or bad -- influence our lives. "As a man thinks, so is he." Awareness and discipline in your unconscious mind is a key to character. Daily prayer or meditation and quiet times for reflection are food for the soul.

I was fortunate in the experiences of my early life. My father was an evangelist and I was the eldest of six children. A Bible phrase that especially influenced me was "Seek first the kingdom of God." Since God is love, we should seek the rule of His love and wisdom on our planet. Beginning at age 6 or 7 I have learned more and more through the years about what this could mean.

My ever-inquiring mind continued its search through the ups and downs of my life adventure. I made mistakes and committed sins -- for which I had to ask God's forgiveness. But I kept coming back to my desire to understand and further a kingdom of love and peace on our planet.

My search led me to explore science, religion and philosophy. My father's ideas influenced me. At one point he wrote a tract, "What's Life All About? Why are we here? Where are we going?" About that time (around 1939) I was a partner with Albert Nobell, a chemist, in The Nobell Research Laboratory in Los Angeles, California. While my formal education was limited (one year in High School and one semester at Pepperdine University) our work brought me in personal contact with leading scientists and their books.

I became interested in space exploration. Much later I was Co-Publisher of The Toe Valley View in Bakersville, North Carolina. When the first Sputnik satellite was launched on October 4, 1957, I wrote an editorial, "Make Our Satellite a Star of Hope." It urged a bright, visible satellite be launched as a symbol of hope for humanity.

This editorial was picked up by the wire services and got front page attention around the world. I was on several TV network programs and received hundreds of letters of support. Among them were letters from Eleanor Roosevelt and a telegram of support from Billy Graham.

In 1963 I was Co-publisher of The Mountain View. This was a weekly paper back in the San Francisco area where I grew up. When President Kennedy was assassinated, I urged that on December 22 we end the period of mourning for the President with a global "Minute for Peace." This too brought World-Wide attention.

Then the idea of a daily Minute for Peace on radio and TV was backed by the Mayor and City of San Francisco, who in 1965 sponsored my trip to New York where the New York World's Fair featured our Minute for Peace. Later, UN Secretary General U Thant issued a Minute for Peace message heard round the world.

Working with Minute for Peace at the United Nations led to my idea for a global day for planet Earth. This Earth Day would be celebrated each year on the March Equinox.

In 1970 I wrote the Earth Day Proclamtion. UN Sec. Gen. U Thant was one of the first to sign the Proclamation. The statement he then provided was sent worldwide and helped bring support from many parts of the world.


To obtain the measure of agreement and cooperation needed for the rejuvenation of our planet, we need to recognize two levels of reality -- the physical and the metaphysical: the area of mental and religious phenomena.

Here we have questions pertaining to God and life after death. While these questions are important to most people, we do not have an accepted scientific basis for certifying they are true. I don't have a documentary video of what they are doing in heaven. However, faith in life after death has a powerful value. I once heard a group of prisoners in a jail all join when one of them started singing, "What are they doing in heaven today, where sin and sorrow are all done away." It brought me to tears. And of course no one can prove heaven doesn't exist.

Great benefits have come when religious belief resulted in greater compassion, humility and cooperation for common goals. On the other hand, religious bigotry and intolerance has been a major cause of violence and war. Now we are beginning to learn how to cooperate for common goals and mutual benefit -- and at the same time leave room for differences about religious creeds.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is another dimension of reality. Experiences around the world with mystics and researchers provide evidence of phenomena -- good and bad -- that cannot be explained by science. The difficulty is that so many explanations contradict other accepted explanations. We are left with unproved hypotheses about their meaning.


Fortunately, when it comes to the physical world, the here and now, we do have science on our side and a potential for honest agreement and action. Most people, including scientists, will agree that an Earth Trustee agenda can rejuvenate our planet and provide a peaceful, prosperous future here on Earth.

To achieve this requires that we determine what we have in common and look for every point where we can honestly agree. This policy will solve problems and provide new solutions.


"We set out to explore Space and discovered Earth." The view from Space set me on my Earth Day/Earth Trustee mission. Remarkable coincidences are part of the mystery of life. I have experienced many "coincidences" that some would consider a divine miracle. Whatever the explanation, I know that back in 1969 I prayed about an idea I had. I then felt led to pick up my father's Bible, open it at random and put my finger on any part of the page. I don't make a practice of such things, but on this occasion the Scripture I got was Psalms 115:16 "The Earth hath he given to the children of men."

This was right after I had written a brief article, "Planetary Inheritance," contending that the natural earth was the property of the whole human family and everyone had equal claim to its natural bounty. The Scripture I got in the Psalms was the one Scripture in the Bible that best confirmed this. In the 1970 Earth Day we used buttons that showed the Earth as seen from Space and said, "Our Inheritance, Our Responsibility."

Since God is no respecter of persons and provides equal justice, every individual on our planet has a claim to an equal benefit from his Earth-right inheritance. To provide this, governments should asses the value of all real estate -- less improvements, plus the value of any oil, gold or other minerals produced each year. 2% of this sum should be distributed each year to every family on Earth. The money would come from a 2% tax paid by those who have title to these assets -- which in a sense, belong to the whole human family. This would provide a fair, honest solution to the problem of poverty. People would still benefit most from their labor. But the child in a wealthy family would not be the only one to inherit unearned wealth. Everyone would have a minimum inheritance from our planet's natural bounty. This would be accompanied by voluntary efforts to be responsible Trustees of Earth and help protect and nurture Earth's amazing web of life.


In efforts for the rejuvenation of our planet we not only need to change our personal attitudes and conduct, we need to change the institutions that harm our lives. Chief among these are not only the institutions and policies involved with global assets of Earth's raw materials -- land, oil, gold, etc., but also the unfair banking system that rewards the powerful and punishes the poor. An honest medium of exchange is needed that would be available without interest where suitable assets are put up as security. Let's get attention for the solutions being demonstrated in different parts of the planet.

In addition, the evils of our present income tax and unfair property taxes should be addressed. The Henry George Schools advocate honest, fair taxation and are proving its value in many communities where their land tax program has been adopted. Earth Trustee Message Boards on the Internet should be provided that will tell of such efforts and report progress and success.


Can the future be a prosperous future where the Earth Trustee agenda will enable people to realize their human potentials? What you do will help decide. We're all in this together. Action now will halt history's long sad record and provide a continuation of the human adventure with more answers to our questions about the mystery of life. Do what you can with faith and vigor - and you will make a difference. Together, we can foster Peace on Earth -- and in Space!

John McConnell


If you are guided to help Mr. McConnell in this effort,
please contact him at

John McConnell
4924 E. Kentucky Circle
Denver, CO 80246

You may email Mr. McConnell at