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Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Preserving national resources

Lumps of coal

60 seconds to change the world

Can a simple idea help make the world a better place? Each week we ask a guest to outline an idea to improve all our lives. Here, landscape architecture professor Martha Schwarz argues we should all be shareholders of the world's natural resources.

Resources will no longer be owned by specific countries but by all the citizens of the earth.

Every person would be a shareholder of the value of all global natural resources.

I'd create a global resource oversight committee and the initiative would be capitalised by the G8 countries, which would have to donate 80% of their military funding over the next five years.


This would allow for $1 trillion a year for seed money.

This committee will act as a steward for the maintenance, protection and operations of all global natural resources and to bring gross economic inequity into global balance, through the redistribution of wealth.

As a first step, in a series of steps, to bring environmental balance - the economic value of all natural resources will be determined.

For example, the rainforest is valued not only for the trees but for its production of oxygen, its intake of carbon dioxide, its ability to absorb water and its biodiversity.

Finally, the top 20 countries of the world would be taxed based on the amount of pollutants they produce and paid to poor countries to help protect environmentally critical resources.

Martha Schwarz is Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University

Below is a selection of your comments.

A great idea. My contribution would be Earth Energy Conversion. A proprietary technology that utilizes AMD/ARD pollution from abandoned and orphan mines for mass energy storage while facilitating self energized remediation. By incorporating passive mine water treatment lagoons in landscaped mine sites with geodesic dome structures along the lines of the Eden Project in Cornwall, sites could be redeveloped as sports facilities, wellness centres, or horticultural research institutes. All capitalizing on abundant clean unpolluted water and low cost electrical energy.
Anthony J. Maxwell, Aveiro, Portugal

Great idea. Count me in to work on them. The combination with carbon bonds and the Tobin tax for speculative financial operation, and this one could be a fantastic one.
Elosegui Nicolas, Viedma, Argentina

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