Turning Business Savvy To The Challenge Of A Dying Planet
June 10, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Education NewsEvery American head of household needs to know exactly how many trees are needed to provide oxygen for their family and then plant a few more. It's amazing how few trees per family it actually takes. It is a simple solution, which, multiplied by the number of families in the US alone, could begin to reverse the trend of overloading our atmosphere with greenhouse gases," declares long-time California resident, Barbara Wiseman. Following her recent appointment as International President of a South African-based organization, The Earth Organization (EO), Wiseman provided the keynote address at EO’s first US Environmental Conference held in Los Angeles last month.
"As a successful business consultant accustomed to turning around failing operations, I took a look at the current environmental statistics on planet Earth and realized that something had to be done about it - and fast," said Wiseman. "With over 50 dead zones in our oceans (massive areas which will support no life), with tens of thousands of plant and animal species going extinct every year, with billions of tons of toxins spewed annually into the air we breath, with deforestation depleting oxygen sources, with the quality of food we eat becoming less and less nutritious, the population is heading towards an unhealthy state indeed. There was really no other choice."
Wiseman, as a result of years of marketing experience, says she first studied the many surveys conducted by The Earth Organization. They gave adequate evidence that there was in the United States a very strong interest in doing something to turn things around environmentally, but that desire was accompanied by the anxiety of not knowing what they themselves could or should specifically do. "The Gallup Poll alone showed that 50-60% of those surveyed are concerned about the environment "a great deal", and that another 20% think about it "a fair amount". When you have approximately 70 percent of the population with serious concerns about a current issue, that is huge," says Wiseman.
The Earth Organization was founded by internationally acclaimed
environmentalist, conservationist and explorer, Lawrence Anthony who lives with his wife on his private game reserve in South Africa. On returning from an extraordinary act of courage in rescuing the animals in the Baghdad Zoo early during the Iraqi War, Anthony met with Wiseman in London. Impressed by the success of her management consulting company, which has worked with government leaders in Russia, Mexico and Haiti to improve various conditions, her personal service in a refugee resettlement facility, and capped by seven successful years hosting and/producing a national radio show called "Building a Better World," Anthony invited her to join him in creating a new international environmental organization.
Since then they have been building a large membership base and quickly taken on a variety of projects, "primarily with the purpose of raising the public's awareness of how human survival is braided together with the survival of all of life on earth," says Wiseman. "Getting educated and getting active are an important part of being an Earth Organization member. So we are currently working on a variety of projects: from saving endangered Black and White Rhinos in South Africa, to creating an historic eco-tourism alliance with 6 Zulu tribes, to creating a global tree-planting campaign, to raising awareness in large groups and organizations in the Los Angeles area on the vital importance of reusing and recycling."
The Earth Organization's first US conference, hosted by EO in a glass-ceilinged conference facility provided by the Human Rights Department of the Los Angeles Church of Scientology, brought together ecology experts and advocates. The conference addressed both endangered species and the increasingly toxic environment. Dr. Gary Herbertson, former Chief Executive Officer of Earth Day International and an associate of 2004 Nobel Peace Prize awardee, Wangari Mathai, spoke about the United Nations Earth Charter. Licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Michael Chill, spoke on the reclaiming of natural animal habitats for a balanced environment. Toxins as they affect the individual was the subject of a presentation by Dr. Megan Shields, a board certified family physician and expert on the eradication of toxins in the body. Dr. Carl Smith, Vice President and Senior Editor for the Foundation for Advancement in Science and Education, delved into dangerous disposal tactics of toxic materials, and Dr. Mark Gold, Executive Director of Heal the Bay, an environmental organization focused on increasing water quality of the southern California beaches, discussed the crises occurring in the ecology of the oceans of earth, especially the Santa Monica Bay, and effective strides that have been made over the past several years to handle marine pollution. The focus of these panels was on what each individual person can do to improve the environmental quality of life around him or her.
During her keynote speech, Wiseman referenced some of the writings of humanitarian and conservationist L. Ron Hubbard. Through his research Hubbard identified the dynamic principle of existence: the urge to survive, and broke this urge down into eight separate human thrusts toward survival – through self, as a family, through groups, Mankind, all living things, the physical universe, spirit and an awareness of infinity or a Supreme Being. Mr. Hubbard wrote: "It is
important to remember that these dynamics comprise life. They do not
operate singularly without interaction with the other dynamics. Life is a group effort. None survive alone." "Those last words — 'none survive alone,'" says Wiseman, have become the overriding theme that drives The Earth Organization forward, because it is a fundamental realization that enables people to grab hold of the idea that environmental issues are absolutely integral to their own day-to-day lives."
Rounding out the day, the first Environmental Crusader award was presented by Emmy Award winning actress and spokesperson for the Earth Organization, Michelle Stafford (Star of "The Young and the Restless") to Deb Baumann, Executive Director and Environmental Justice Specialist of the Tujunga Watershed Council for outstanding advocacy. And at the close of the conference, all attendees were invited to participate in the planting of a young tree, a "child tree"— to symbolize the care and nourishing that the earth is in need of, if it and we are to survive. The five-foot, Majestic Beauty Indian Hawthorne was provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power as part of their program which offers trees at no charge to property owners who
wish to lower temperatures in their homes by providing additional shade on their property (visit ladwp.com). For more information on ongoing Earth Organization programs or to become a member of The Earth Organization, visit the website atwww.earthorganization.org.