Carol Bellamy writes: We need an Earth Corps to work with existing service organizations all over the world to recruit and help citizens address the U.N. Millennium Development Goals
National service is a worthy idea -- after all, at least 30 countries, including Norway, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Chile and Israel, require every 20- and 21-year-old to serve one or two years in either military or alternative national service. But national service is not enough. The crises we face are global crises, and they need global solutions.
We live in a time of unprecedented planetary crises -- global warming and climate change, species loss, the depletion of groundwater and fossil fuel, the pandemic spread of HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and small arms, the expanding gulf between the rich and poor, the conflict between secularism and fundamentalism -- the list goes on. These crises are coming to a head in the next 10 to 20 years. Something must be done about each and every one of them now. We propose to establish an independent, nongovernmental, all-volunteer Peace Corps for the whole earth, an Earth Corps.
What would an Earth Corps actually do? It would work with existing service organizations all over the world to recruit and help citizens address the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. They include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and women's empowerment, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
Volunteers would work to monitor and reverse global warming, clean up polluted rivers and toxic waste sites, teach basic computer skills and business practices to the recipients of micro-credit loans, provide information and medical care and so forth. Together, working with our neighbors, and in voluntary service settings around the world, we can make a difference -- perhaps the critical difference.
During her professional career, Costa Rica RPCV Carol Bellamy has been a lawyer, banker and politician
During her professional career, Carol Bellamy has been a lawyer, banker and politician. "If you add Realtor into the mix, I'd have done all the jobs your mother wouldn't admit to your next-door neighbors," Bellamy joked. While demonstrating a keen sense of humor, Bellamy's purpose is much more serious. Bellamy served as UNICEF's executive director for 10 years. UNICEF is the world's leading children's organization.
She discussed her experiences heading UNICEF and her previous jobs as a Peace Corps volunteer and New York state senator. "I was a banker," Bellamy said, "but it took me coming to UNICEF to realize that something like helping a young woman is more likely to multiply." She meant that by investing in education of an underprivileged young woman, that person is more likely to raise a family, not get infected with HIV and be a stable adult. "Where else can you get that return in an investment?" Bellamy said.