Friday, November 21, 2008

The Eleven Voluntary Initiatives of Ted Turner

I recently called Ted Turner a global citizen. The founder of CNN and the Goodwill Games, giver of $1 billion to UN, mover of massive nature conservation initiatives, backer of major initiatives to stop proliferation and eliminate nuclear weapons has certainly earned the title.

Tonight I have been reading Ted Turner's new autobiography Call Me Ted. The bio is unusual in that Turner invited former friends and enemies to contribute passages, which are sprinkled throughout the book. Some of these contributors are more candid than others, such as the friend who first broke it to Ted that his former buddy, Levin of Time Warner, had "stabbed him in the back." In the same volume is Levin's own contribution. Jane Fonda also gets to have her say.

If you read Call Me Ted at first you may be baffled by his apparent lack of grudges. Turner evidently does not feel the need to bad mouth anyone in his biography -- turning its pages over to old rivals.

Because Turner has has -- for decades -- lived for ideas bigger than his job description or bank account, it's clear that he few rivals. However much his net worth has fallen recently, global citizen Ted puts every other media mogul on the planet to shame.

At the end of the book you will find "Turner's Eleven Voluntary Initiatives." They are worth thinking about.
  1. I promise to have love and respect for the planet earth and living things thereon, especially my fellow species--humankind.
  2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect, and friendliness.
  3. I promise to have no more than two children, or no more than my nation suggests.
  4. I promise to use my best efforts to save what is left of our natural world in its untouched state and to restore damaged or destroyed areas where practical.
  5. I pledge to use as little nonrenewable resources as possible.
  6. I pledge to use as little toxic chemicals, pesticides, and other poisons as possible and to work for their reduction by others.
  7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate than myself, to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life, including clean air and water, adequate food and health care, housing, education, and individual rights.
  8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and back United Nations arbitration of international disputes.
  9. I support the total elimination of all nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction.
  10. I support the United Nations and its efforts to collectively improve the conditions of the planet.
The eleventh Voluntary Initiative, which Turner says he added in 2008, is a commitment to use renewable sources of energy and not contribute to global warming.
Photo by NW Birding shows Ted Turner's Ranch which is a nature and bison conservatory.

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