Updated: Feb 1
How to check off "Save the World" on your bucket list?
Welcome to Chapter 19 of the Planet Republyk project!
This is the sixth of 10 chapters of the third and final part of the Planet Republyk project.
If you were to read only one part, it would be this one.
With the "Why" portion of Part 3 completed, we are now presenting the "How" and the method of the Planet Republyk project.
The present 3 chapters on "The Proposal" are the most important of the series.
Chapter 19: Building Universal Citizenship
A society without dreams is a society without a future.
Carl Gustav Jung
In spite of the personal feeling that with the advent of the second millennium, everything has been thought, said and written and that humanity can hardly give birth to a truly original idea, I have not come across, in the course of my research, any motion that goes in the direction of the one I am about to propose to you. This is of course no guarantee that this idea has not already been formulated by some people, in some time, in some corner of the world...
Nevertheless, even if it had been, this would only add to its relevance and to the imperative to work, with all the more celerity, tenacity and urgency, on its promotion. In light of the illustrated shortcomings of the international political models proposed so far, as well as the demonstration in the preceding pages of the need for free, legitimate and democratic global governance, Planet Republyk proposes that:
In this ideal world parliament to be conceived, the representation of the citizens is made along the parallels. Supranational electoral districts would be created on the entire surface of the globe. Per degree of latitude. Roughly equivalent to south-north land strips of 111 kilometers: one degree. In principle one degree, because obviously, in order to preserve the value of each vote, each parallel zone would have an equal number of voters.
For example, if a planetary population of eight billion people in 2023 were to have one representative in equal increments of 50 million, its world parliament would initially have 160 members. This number of deputies would, of course, vary according to the rhythm of the planet's demography.
At the most populated latitudes, around 1/4 of a degree, or a south-north strip of land of about 28 kilometers would be enough to count 50 million people. At the most depopulated latitudes, in the extreme North and South, a few tens of degrees would be necessary to count the same number of people.
As an illustration, on a full degree taking as center the 30th parallel North (111 kms) you find the cities of Houston in Texas, Cairo in Egypt and Lhasa in Tibet for a total of approximately 200 M inhabitants. It would therefore take about a quarter of a degree (28 kms in the North-South axis) in this area to reach the target of 50 M people. The satellite geopositioning technology would allow a surgical cut of the electoral zones.
And all of this is made possible today because we have increasingly accurate information about the distribution of populations across the globe. Using data banks such as those of the Socioeconomic Data and Application Center [i], an appendage of NASA, tools developed such as those by Engaging Data[ii] (click on the map above) or Andersen Global [iii] eloquently demonstrate the progress of this knowledge.
Planet Republyk would like to quickly commission a scientific research team to make a proposal for a preliminary delineation of global electoral areas.
The main reason for preferring latitude over meridian/longitude (which also guarantees impartiality) is to ensure diversity. If you try the same exercise, but using longitude, you will soon realize that many nations are isolated on their meridian. The representation would then lose its universalist objective. The old nationalistic reflexes would dominate in these areas, with little possibility of changing.
Another justification: even if the main objective of the proposal is to deconstruct nationalism, for the system to work, humans being human, the populations will have to appropriate it: develop a feeling of belonging to their new electoral zone.
This would be facilitated by the fact that people living in the same latitudes often have much in common despite their ethnic and linguistic differences. Much more so than those living at the same longitudes.
Scandinavian, Icelandic, Alaskan, Russian or Canadian peoples, from the Baltic countries, northern Kazakhstan, Mongolia or Japan share the same culture of winter, of changing seasons and light. This influences their environments, economies, languages, cultures and characters. On what defines them, in fact. Much more than we might think, at first glance. A Canadian from Manitoba would probably have more in common with a Russian from Khakasia than with an American from Arizona.
Similarly, desert or forest areas (temperate, Mediterranean, flooded, tropical, etc.) are found in the same parallels. The three largest forests in the world (Amazon (South America), Congo Basin (Africa) and New Guinea (Asia)) grow at the same latitudes. The people who live "IN", "NEAR" and "FROM" these forests (as well as the farmers who live on the outskirts of the deserts, share the same reality of accelerating desertification of arable land on all continents) would benefit from working together to find sustainable solutions to common threats and challenges; to be represented by a single, strong voice in a global parliament
Representation by latitude therefore allows for a better mix of cultures, with more fertile ground for the growth of a sense of belonging to the zone. Catchy zone names could also contribute to the development of this sense of belonging: the Parallel Zone of the Tropic of Capricorn, the Snow Peoples, the residents of the centre of the world (the most densely populated zone), the navel of the world (equator), the lungs of the earth, the rice, wine, coffee or chocolate peoples, the fringe of the deserts, the heirs to the monsoon, etc.
It would of course be up to the citizens living in these areas to choose and name for themselves what unites and characterises them the most.
The establishment of world cultural and sports games, similar to the World Peace Games, where the different zones would compete, could also contribute to the development of a sense of belonging to these parallel zones.
Planet Republyk hopes that exceptional candidates will run for office in their respective latitudes. Role models, enjoying international recognition for their commitment, courage, self-sacrifice, virtues. To give just three examples, let's think of the Congolese Kino, Denis Mukwege, the Indian, Vandana Shiva, or the young Swede, Greta Thunberg.
Moreover, Planet Republyk wants to believe that this type of candidacy can vibrate the cosmopolitan fiber of the voters and incite them to give their vote rather than to candidates, certainly of the same nationality, but nevertheless less inspiring.
Logically, in a concern of neutrality and independence, the headquarters of this world parliament should be erected at latitude 0° 00′ 00″; longitude 0° 00′ 00″. According to the current data, it would sit, in the open sea, in the South Atlantic, a few kilometers off the coast of Gabon... But as the zero meridian was imposed at the end of the 19th century on Greenwich, a district of its capital, by Great Britain, the superpower of the time, the new world parliament could consider reinitializing the zero meridian at a more pragmatic, apolitical and scientific longitude, such as the easternmost point of the Mediterranean Sea, which traditionally defined roughly where the Levant, and therefore the Orient, began.
Thus the Americas, minus Alaska, almost all of Europe and Africa would be part of the Western Hemisphere. The hemispheres would then correspond better to the conception that humanity has of the West and the East.
According to this hypothesis, the new world capital would be built near Lamuria, Kenya, in Africa, the cradle of humanity.
Human rights and universal civil rights will only be respected on one condition. Man must realize that he is responsible for the whole world.
You can click on the map above to access a tool that allows you to find out which major cities in the world are at the same latitude as your area of residence.
If your city is not on the map, and you don't know your latitude to approximate your position on the map, you can click here to get it.
What do Rome, Chicago, Istanbul and Barcelona have in common?
These world cities are all on the same parallel. The 41st North.
Philadelphia in the United States, Ankara in Turkey and Beijing in China sit on the 39th North.
Sydney in Australia, Cape Town in South Africa and Santiago in Chile are all located on the 33rd parallel south.
Venice, Zagreb, Lyon, Montreal and Portland, Oregon are also located on the same latitude, the 45th North.
Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, El Paso in the United States, Marrakech in Morocco, Alexandria in Egypt, Jerusalem in Israel, Kandahar in Afghanistan and Shanghai in China are all on the 31st north.
And the future of the planet will increasingly be shaped by its major cities. According to a UN report[iv], 66% of the world's population will be urban by 2050. This proportion was only 4% in 1800.
Metropolises have always been and remain swarms for the most educated, progressive and universally aware cosmopolitan populations. Under the influence of this type of citizen, the great cities of the world are increasingly and publicly opposing the legislation of their national capital. Everywhere on the planet, they assert their uniqueness.
In various issues, (notably those related to climate change, as seen in the case of New York and Los Angeles, which rebelled against Washington's inertia), large cities are demanding more power and freedom for their governance. Cities in the same electoral area could work together to defend certain issues.
This is precisely the spirit that prevailed in 1949 when Silkeborg (Denmark), Bad Kissingen (Germany), Nivelles (Belgium), Chelmsford (Great Britain) joined the symbolic globalization movement of world cities by jointly adopting the resolution of "world citizen city" and the suffix "Mundi". (See episode 13)
If earlier we suggested electoral zones of 50 M inhabitants for a parliament of 160 deputies, instead of a "parliament of a thousand" with 1000 elected representatives for constituencies of 8M citizens, it is specifically with the objective of preserving the unity of cities. This unity within the zones would also promote the development of a sense of belonging among the voters.
That's it for Chapter 19!
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[i] Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) website
A Data Center in NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) — Hosted by CIESIN at Columbia University. https://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/sets/browse?facets=theme:population
Accessed March 24, 2022.
[ii] Engaging Data website, Map section, World Population Distribution by Latitude and Longitude, https://engaging-data.com/population-latitude-longitude/. Accessed March 24, 2022.
[iii] Website of the private international consulting firm Andersen Global: http://world.andersen.im/. Accessed April 2, 2022.
[iv] 2014 Edition of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs : Urbanization Outlook Report. http://www.un.org/fr/development/desa/news/population/world-urbanization-prospects.html