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Speeches

Y.C. Song: What Values Should Define Sustainable Growth?

Text of Speech at a UPF Forum at the House of Lords
London, UK, July 6, 2011

The Universal Peace Federation's core vision is that of humankind as ‘one family under God.’ Its founders, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, are very concerned about the ‘perfect storm’ of crises that face humankind and for that reason initiated a number of projects together with professors and scholars from across the globe. The crises include environmental issues and the issue of poverty as well as economic injustice. However, at the root of all of these is the question of values – whether people have developed a sense of responsibility and conscience for those who suffer. In the view of UPF, the main issue is not a lack of resources or finance, but the failure to utilize those in the service of others. Here in Europe we created “butter mountains” and “milk lakes” in order to keep these products competitive, while millions suffered from hunger and malnutrition in other parts of the world. Ultimately this is an issue of the priority of values.

I lived in Oceania for a number of years. I lived on the Solomon Islands and visited numerous Pacific islands and understand the fear of small island nations that see the possibility of their country being destroyed by rising sea levels. Humans have lived selfishly and out of harmony with nature and may suffer the consequences if we do not reflect upon our actions and lifestyles. On the other hand, there is hope if we see the idealism of an age that can envisage Millennium Development Goals and can harness that idealism within a vibrant and vocal NGO community.

In earlier years, the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences and the Professors' World Peace Academy, together with a number of eminent scholars from the London School of Economics such as Prof. Karl Popper and Prof. Friedrich von Hayek, considered absolute values in the relationship between scholarly fields, between energy and matter, between the use of resources and communication and transport systems, etc.

A model of international transportation linking the globe was considered even during the Cold War days of the 1980s. Proposals for tunnels to link nations and transportation links that encompass areas of the world that are lagging behind economically were presented in an effort to overcome the disparity between the First and Third World countries. During a worldwide speaking tour after the inauguration of UPF in 2005, Dr. Moon proposed the construction of a bridge or tunnel across the Bering Strait linking the United States and Russia to allow the development of untapped areas of the world as well as to create a real bridge between East and West.

Dr. Moon has especially devoted much time and resources to the fishing industry and the development of the ocean. He has promoted interaction with the sea as good for the human character and also for the sustainable development and growth of the human family. He recognizes that the sea, comprising more than two thirds of our globe's surface, is one of the solutions to resolve the problem of hunger. He has initiated a number of businesses, such as fish farming and other ocean-related activities, to develop those resources and trained people to work in this area.

In Brazil’s Matto Grosso do Sol and in Paraguay, Dr. Moon purchased large tracts of land in order to protect it and the precious ecological systems that only exist in the undeveloped areas of the world. His vision for those areas as training grounds for young people to experience life in harmony with nature remains to be fulfilled. While there have been reforestation initiatives and other notable achievements, much remains to be done to fulfil the vision he has for the benefit of humankind.

Since the fundamental issue is one of values, Dr. Moon and UPF have initiated numerous programs in areas such as character education and good governance that stimulate discussion in this area and make people aware of the need to consider the value systems which underlie the way in which we run our politics and economies. I am convinced that through collaborative efforts we can make a vital contribution to the betterment of humankind’s situation and provide a hopeful future for our children and for generations to come.