The Global Marshall Plan at school

“Basically, it is pretty simple”, mentioned a clever Englishman some time ago. You just have to find the correct answer to the several challenges that appear. Wouldn't a society find the correct answers, it would be supposed to decline.

“Beginning in 1992, Al Gore wrote the book “Earth in the Balance – A Marshall Plan for the Earth”, which is the basis for the Global Marshall Plan. At the same time, he was a mentor and advocate of the new efforts.”

The major global challenges of the early 21 st century can be broken down into one main theme: terrorism and the ongoing environmental destruction. The key-question for today and the future is, “how can we do something for our environment and simultaneously improve the living conditions of the biggest part of the earth's population?”

Many scientists, experts and politicians from around the world are discussing an acceptable answer to that question. Al Gore is one example. The former US-Vice-President presented his book “Earth in the Balance – A Marshall Plan for the Earth” beginning in 1992, in which he formulated his opinion: “It is valid assumption that the rescue of our environment must be made the first principle of organization by our civilization.”

Within the past weeks, the 13 th grade's philosophy course at Hagen's Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium dealt with Mr Gore's book. This, under the guidance of physics- and philosophy- teacher Klaudius Gansczyk, took place before the background of the “Declaration of Stuttgart” (Stuttgarter Erklärung).

“The philosophy students in THG's 13 th grade occupy themselves with the “Declaration of Stuttgart”(Stuttgarter Erklärung) under the guidance of their teacher Klaudius Gansczyk, in which many prominent Germans, i.e. the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher deal with a new kind of economic miracle. The teacher, Mr. Gansczyk, even had the opportunity to talk with Germany's chancellor Gerhard Schröder about the GMP Initiative.”(Photos by ME)

On October 11, 2003, the “Declaration of Stuttgart” was signed by many leading personalities and introduced to the public. The former German Minister of Foreign Affaires described this 11 th October as an “historical hour” and reminded: “In September 1946, the whole world took a look onto this city”, when a concept, later to become known as the “Marshall Plan” in history, was presented on that day. The basic concept of the “Marshall Plan” was to reconstruct Europe, and the economic miracle in Germany after World War II was a result of this initiative. Nowadays, a new kind of “Marshall Plan” is coming into play, but at an advantage of the entire world.

The signatories of the “Declaration of Stuttgart” commit themselves to being “willing to bring our initiative forward for that long, until it leads to the desired result.” The declaration was initiated by the famous environmental scientist Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker(MP) as well as the mathematician and scientist for economy Franz Josef Radermacher from the city of Ulm.

The aim is to give rise to sustainable and worldwide economic growth, which doesn't only take place in the first, but rather in the majority of the under-developed third world countries. One must find an intelligent way to initiate sustainable, social and ecologic development in the entire world. The initiators demand that Europe place itself atop this movement and export its model of success to other countries. This would be an enormous historical step, which could ensure Europe's reputation and success for decades.

The “Declaration of Stuttgart” was, for example, signed by theologian Prof. Dr. Eugen Drewermann, actors Karlheinz Böhm, Sir Peter Ustinov and Senta Berger, politicians Hans Dietrich Genscher and Rita Süssmuth, and well-known mountain climber Reinhold Messner.

In the past years, THG teacher Klaudius Gansczyk tried hard to spread the spirit that led to the “Declaration of Stuttgart” to the inhabitants of the city of Hagen and his students in particular. The GMP initiators Mr. Rademacher and Mr. Weizsäcker even carried out lectures at the THG.

It is certain that Mr. Gansczyk is always trying to find more “allies” and intercessors. He is very delighted to know that Germany's chancellor Gerhard Schröder is on his side. On his way back from a “VdW”-Congress (VdW: Vereinigung deutscher Wissenschaftler – Union of German scientists) the educationalist met Mr. Schröder and within minutes was able to talk with him about the “Declaration of Stuttgart” and when he presented him with a GMP-flyer, the chancellor told him that he had just spoken with Al Gore about the initiative the day before.

On December 5 Mr. Gansczyk and his intercessors will take another step in making the declaration more widely known. On this day, the former German Minister of the Environment, Klaus Töpfer(CDU), will give a lecture with the title “Will the Globe Become Uninhabitable? – The Conditions of Life and Our Chance to Preserve Creation” at the university in the Bavarian city of Eichstätt. Prof. Ulrich Bartosch, who has been deputy principal for political education at Hagen's adult education centre for several years, invited Mr Töpfer to Eichstätt.

That reminds me of the next lecture that will be carried on Wednesday, December 10, 2003, when Prof. Dr. Dr. Johan Galtung, “Alternate Peace Nobel Prize” winner, will visit the Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium to talk about “Peace in the World” on “Human Rights Day.”


Wochenkurier Hagen, article was published on November 26, 2003 Photos and article by Michael Eckhoff (ME)
Translated by Max Arndt