NEWS

PLANET EARTH FOUNDATION  

 

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1977 to 2018

Planet Earth Foundation began its 42nd year in March 2018. In many ways the Foundation marked the beginning of the 52nd year of the genesis of its work, which is elaborated on further on the site of  World Campaign, where the initial work of the Foundation has been carried forward in the 21st century related to the evolution of the great issues of our time.

Planet Earth Foundation was created out of the convictions that accelerating inter-related global tragedies afflicting the human family such as hunger, poverty, disease, environmental devastation and violence were both morally unacceptable and threatening all life on Planet Earth, that pragmatic solutions to end the worst aspects of these conditions could be applied, and that accomplishing this in the media age required effective media communications, targeted both to the general public and to key policy-makers. For over four decades Planet Earth Foundation (also operating under globally registered trademarks Planet Earth, Planet Earth Media and others) has been at the leading-edge in efforts to save millions of lives and change history.

The concept, willingness and capacity to utilize media solely for social benefit without influence of the profit market at a time when media is changing dramatically, and to research and determine how to best accomplish this, with ideals and open-minded pragmatism trumping ideological rigidity, as the entire world undergoes unprecedented change, is a more daunting challenge than ever.  And it has never been more critical to life on earth surviving and thriving.

 

The following is a small sample of excerpts from commentary related to our work over the decades:

 

"This letter is in strong support of assistance to the work of the non-profit Planet Earth Foundation - with its associated Planet Earth Media, World Campaign, and Campaign to End Hunger - and its principals, Keith and Lisa Blume.

The Planet Earth Foundation is an organization whose initial foray into public communication on the great issues of our time, nearly three decades ago - the film The Hungry Planet - was seen by President Carter and his family at the White House upon the urging of eight U.S. Senators, and helped to catalyze the formation of the White House Hunger Working Group and the Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger. (The latter, in turn, have resonated down through the years in a series of Executive Branch commitments from both Republican and Democratic administrations on the hunger issue.)

...The Planet Earth Foundation, though small in size, holds a vast repository of knowledge...on 'how to get the word out' successfully to a mass audience on such great issues - domestic and foreign - as hunger, disease, poverty, energy consumption, population, violence, and the environment. I believe it represents an irreplaceable national resource.


Many of the Foundation's projects have helped plant the seeds of awareness on issues on which broad action is only now coming to fruition, such as their award-winning media campaign in the early nineties on the importance of breast feeding, or their campaign on energy conservation which won the International Broadcasting Award for best environmental television ad in the world.


I was myself much involved in Planet Earth Foundation's early work, as President and then as a director for the first ten years, collaborating with Keith Blume in the making of The Hungry Planet film and a second successful film on the issue of world hunger, I Want to Live. While I have not been directly involved in more recent years, I have followed their later work - now expanded to major use of the internet as well as television PSAs - with the highest admiration.

...Given the scope of the problems that our planet earth currently faces, and the deep threats posed on so many fronts to the kind of world our children and grandchildren will inherit, it seems to me that 'enlightened self interest' provides a restrained characterization of why the unique resource that the Planet Earth Foundation represents should be sustained and nurtured."

~ Roy Prosterman, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Washington, and Chairman Emeritus, Rural Development Institute, Seattle


(To President Jimmy Carter, The White House): "Mr. President, we believe that you and your closest advisers on this issue should see this film...(on the need for Americans to address the critical international problem of world hunger)...and hear these committed people...(John Denver; Mrs. Denver; Robert Fuller, former president of Oberlin College; Roy Prosterman, instructor at the University of Washington law school, who has testified frequently on world hunger; and Keith Blume, the maker of the film)...Their energy, enthusiasm, and tone are very compatible with the significant attention that you have given to human rights as a matter of international policy."

~ United States Senate:  Wendell R. Anderson, Minnesota; Dennis DeConcini, Arizona; Hubert H. Humphrey, Minnesota; George McGovern, South Dakota; John C. Culver, Iowa; Gary Hart, Colorado; Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont; James R. Sasser, Tennessee

 

"The President said he recently saw a film with his son Chip on world hunger, a subject which concerns him very much and which was discussed briefly at the recent spring budget review on foreign aid.  He plans personally to do more work on the issue and noted the natural connection between dealing with world hunger and espousing human rights.  He said that AID Director Jack Gilligan and Mr. Vance are eager to help with this work and noted that P.L. 480 is very popular on the Hill and might be used effectively toward these ends.  He added that the U.S. entertainment industry has adopted eradication of world hunger as its humanitarian goal."

~ The White House, Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting

 

(To Keith Blume, Planet Earth Foundation Founder and President): "Dear Keith,

Thank you for sending along the information on hunger. I will be in touch with you if there is more material that I need. Thanks again!

Best Wishes, Chip"

~ Chip Carter


(To Professor Roy Prosterman, William Hazzard, M. D., Michael James): "RE: Keith Blume film 'The Hungry Planet'

You all might be quite pleased to know that I have viewed 'The Hungry Planet', here in the Family Theatre at the White House today. You have made a fine effort in conveying to lay people the needs for land reform, food distribution, and US and international commitment in these matters.


Mighty nice to see Seattle acquaintances on the screen here during my first week on the job!


Best wishes to each of you."

~ Dr. Gil Omenn, Assistant Director, Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy

 

"I am writing In support of Planet Earth Foundation's Campaign to End Hunger, an exciting and unique public service campaign for television.

My Introduction to Planet Earth Foundation's work was in 1977, when I had the opportunity to see the documentary film, The Hungry Planet, produced by Keith Blume, Founder and Executive Director of the foundation, featuring hunger expert Roy Prosterman, President of the foundation. The Hungry Planet moved me and many others to commit ourselves to ending hunger on our planet. This film was In many ways the catalyst for President Carter's creation of the White House Hunger Working Group, which subsequently organized the Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger. After seeing The Hungry Planet, I asked Keith Blume to produce another film on hunger, in association with myself and the Windstar Foundation, titled I Want To Live...


I had the opportunity to serve on the bi-partisan Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger...Hunger is the worst killer in human history, taking 13 to 18 million lives every year...media publicity is the key to public awareness, leading to both private and government action. Television is increasingly the most important source of information for the American public. The Campaign to End Hunger is designed to bring the issue of hunger before the American public continually over a number of years through public service spots broadcast around the nation. In addition to raising public consciousness and concern, the campaign will be a unique service to both the public and the organizations working to end hunger.

I have just appeared In a public service spot produced for the campaign that I believe makes a powerful and effective statement. I ask you to support the Campaign to End Hunger in any way you can."


~ John Denver, Singer, Songwriter, Actor, Activist

 

"The U.S., our western European allies, the Japanese, cannot live alone in affluence and have the rest of the world in poverty...but we'll also live happier, if we're compassionate and generous"

~ President Gerald Ford, interview with Keith Blume

 

"As somebody once said, if you can split an atom and if you can put a man on the moon, you ought to be able to a meal on the table!"

~ Senator Hubert Hunphrey, interview with Keith Blume

 

"What greater human right can anyone have than the right to be fed, and the right to a balanced diet?"

~ Senator Robert Dole, interview with Keith Blume

 

"And the girl was starving...and I gave a social worker who would go out in the hills my quart of milk to give to the little girl.  That was only one, while there were thousands around."

~ Lillian Carter, former Peace Corps Volunteer, The White House, interview with Keith Blume

 

"With mass communications letting us know what's going on everywhere on the face of the globe, I think we're beginning to sense a certain responsibility for the wealth and plenty that we enjoy, and in a sense realize, that there but for the grace of God go I."

~ Andrew Young, Associate of Martin Luther King, Jr., US Ambassador to the UN, interview with Keith Blume

 

(To Keith Blume, Planet Earth Foundation Founder and President): "I am writing to you in regard to plans for a video production of the Target Seattle experiences...It is important that we effectively communicate to people in other cities, this new approach to involve people in the issue of preventing nuclear war.

We are convinced that your film will be of great benefit, not only to the people of this region, but to groups throughout the country who are contacting us for information on what it was that took place here.

What makes the project so important is the massive involvement of schools, churches and community organizations of all kinds.  There were, as you know, literally hundreds of activities that resulted from this broad-based foundation...Because of this, the project represents a new phase in the movement to involve citizens in working to prevent a nuclear holocaust.  The materail you have on video tape is the best way we have to communicate...It is so much more effective to show someone what happened than to try and tell them about it.  The Production will also of course, itself communicate important information on the subject...

I am writing to urge that you do everything possible to overcome the financial difficulties of producing a film.  I realize the challenges are significant, but it is of the greatest importance that a person of your experience and ability organize this information so that we can reach more people, more effectively, on the issue of our survival as a civilization."

~ Jarlath Hume, Project Director, Target Seattle

 

"The only thing I really care about is to try to communicate with people about Issues like are we going to blow ourselves up off this planet, are we going to be able to get along, are we going to allow things like starvation and needless waste and war?"

~ Keith Blume, Planet Earth Foundation Founder and President, KING TV News Report, Planet Earth Foundation nuclear war film gala premiere, "Target Seattle, Target Earth", which subsequently aired on PBS stations and worldwide

 

"After my Father's presidency, television began to be a force in American politics, and by the end of the Eisenhower years, it was fast becoming the pre-eminent force...Television concentrates on providing images.  Who is the most photogenic?  Who projects the best and appears to be more natural?  Who can deliver his or her lines in the most convincing manner?...Unlike any previous work, this book dramatically demonstrates the responsibility of television journalism itself in terms of creating and contributing to these images and perceptions...This book should be must reading for all in the business of television, particularly news departments...I also recommend it to all political analysts, historians, journalists, students of government and public affairs, as well as every concerned citizen." 

~ Elliott Roosevelt, Forward, "The Presidential Election Show", by Keith Blume, Founder and President, Planet Earth Foundation

 

"My friend, Keith Blume, reminds me a great deal of the early Ralph Nader...As for Keith Blume...I first met him shortly after he made a documentary film in the basement of his house...the documentary, 'The Hungry Planet', which had enormous impact on the problem of world hunger.  Because of this first film, former President Jimmy Carter...Cabinet members, government agencies and politicians of both parties became interested in the continuing catastrophic problem of world hunger...Much of the information in the famous 'Live Aid' broadcast had its origins in 'The Hungry Planet'. Keith produced the John Denver film on world hunger, 'I Want To Live', and for most of his working life has been obsessed with the problem of planetary starvation...The strategy of the Planet Earth Foundation is to raise money to produce public service television spots...'The beauty of this campaign is that its totally nonpartisan. We intend to make the public aware of the horrible problem of world hunger...people will be given a list of all the major organizations that deal with the problem of world hunger--UNICEF, CARE, USA for Africa, Catholic Relief, Church World Services, American Jewish World Services and so on. This has never been done before.' 

World Hunger, unfortunately, is often seen as an unsolvable problem--too big, too vast for comprehension.  But that, he argues, is not true...'Starvation,' he adds, 'is the worst ongoing killer in human history...we know how to end hunger.  We have a great deal of experience in overcoming the social, political and technical obstacles.'  What is needed, says Keith, are four things: land reform, small-farmer support, health care and education...'What was Lenin's slogan in the Bolshevik revolution? Bread, Land and Peace. And President Kennedy once said, If you don't make peaceful revolution possible, you make violent revolution inevitable'...

His goal is a lofty one, but its fun to be around people who dream big."

~ Emmett Watson, Columnist, Seattle Times  


(To Planet Earth Foundation's Campaign to End Hunger): "I can assure you that the Bush Administration shares a commitment to the goal of ending hunger. As AID Administrator Alan Woods has observed, reaching the goal requires a two-pronged attack -- meeting emergency feeding requirements while promoting sustainable development.

Your continued support will be important as we work toward achieving that goal."

~ Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor, The White House

 

(To Keith Blume, Planet Earth Foundation Founder and President):  "Congratulations on the fifteenth anniversary of your organization's efforts...Glad to hear that TBS was able to play some small part in your success.

Appreciate your nice comments. Keep up the good work!"

~ Ted Turner, Turner Broadcasting System

 

"Those are real, those are real bullets...Take care, take care, please, please!"

~ Host in Bethlehem home exhorting Keith Blume to be careful while filming clashes between Palestinians and Israelis

 

"You can see this place.  We haven't got toilets.  We haven't got water.  We haven't got shops.  And we are paying a lot of rent."

~ Keith Blume interview of woman resident of the township of Soweto, South Africa

 

(To Keith Blume, Planet Earth Foundation Founder and President): "Thank you for informing me of the project being planned by the Campaign to End Hunger to increase public awareness concerning the incidence of hunger throughout Washington State.


I am pleased to lend my support to your organization's efforts to draw attention to this pressing problem. All too often, the tragedy of hunger in our local communities goes unrecognized by the general public. I believe that your project will focus the necessary media attention on this issue and, in turn, increase the public demand for support of ongoing efforts to find a solution to our local hunger problem.


If the Campaign to End Hunger's success on the national scale is any indication, I am confident that you will enjoy equally positive results on the local level. Good luck with your project and best wishes for the future."

~ Daniel J. Evans, United States Senator

 

(Comment on working with Planet Earth Foundation)

"I never dreamed an organization could do so much with so little untiI I started working with Planet Earth Foundation and saw the talent and commitment of Keith and Lisa Blume and the sacrifices for the good of others they were prepared to make."

Jim Church, Former President, Bellevue School Board, Secretary-Treasurer, Planet Earth Foundation

 

"Lisa Blume (Planet Earth Foundation CEO)...said a public opinion survey two years ago revealed that only 6 percent of the state's population believed hunger was a problem.

At that time she said, 'There were 213,000 children in Washington living in poverty, and where there is poverty, there is hunger.'

She suggests that the lack of visible proof - in the form of stricken ghettos and housing projects - contributes to the problem.

'The fact that people don't see it negates the fact that it exists,' Blume said."

~ Ron Fitten, Seattle Times

 

"About 144,619 children under 18 in Washington are hungry and 213,000 live in families with incomes below the poverty line, said Lisa Blume (Planet Earth Foundation CEO)...Experts say programs exist to feed children, but they remain underfunded.

'We don't need to go out there and re-create the wheel,' Blume said. 'We just need to reach every single child in need. And right now we're not.'

The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, for example, serves only 43 percent of those in need, Blume said. 

Also, not enough schools offer the free or reduced breakfast and lunch program, she said.

...To Blume, there is no excuse. This should be offered across the board,' she said. 'It is just as basic as the desk the child sits at and the chalkboard the teacher writes on.'

...Hunger not only damages children physically. It destroys self-esteem.

'We're telling these children that society doesn't care enough to take care of this one basic fundamental need,' Blume said.

'That's a powerful message we're sending these children.'"

~ Barbara Laker, Linda Yoshikawa-Cogley and John Iwasaki, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

 

(To Keith Blume and Lisa Blume): "In light of your record of concern for those in need, I am pleased to congratulate you on the fine example of generosity you have set for your fellow Americans...I commend you for making a difference in the lives of those around you. You have my best wishes for continued success in the future."

~ C. Gregg Petersmeyer, The White House, Assistant to the President & Director, Office of National Service


(To Keith Blume and Lisa Blume): "Here's to a couple of dynamos whose work is an inspiration to us all!" (Support letter):  "I have been involved with the Campaign To End Hunger for 10 years now and enthusiastically urge you to get together with Lisa and Keith Blume."

~ Ann P. Wyckoff, Civic Volunteer

 

"Earlier this year, the state of Florida passed landmark legislation supporting mothers who breast feed their children. The 'breastfeeding bill' led to national media attention, with prominent coverage in the New York Times, on CNN and elsewhere.


Breast milk is well recognized as the best food for newborns...Unfortunately, only about half of the mothers in the United States breast feed their babies. Two-thirds of low-income mothers do not, although breastfeeding is even more important in low-income families where babies may already be subject to poor nutrition and health care.

In support of the nationally acclaimed non-profit public service media program, the Campaign To End Hunger, the state of Florida, HRS and the Florida WIC program have joined forces to launch the enclosed "Breastfeeding Is Best" television and radio public service advertising (PSA) campaign. These PSAs are designed to appeal to different ethnic groups and to all economic groups.

Effective promotion of breastfeeding and maternal and infant nutrition and health can be accomplished through ongoing TV and radio broadcasts of this top-quality PSA.  Florida has the opportunity to lead the way in breastfeeding promotion in the U.S."

~ Lawton Chiles, Governor, State of Florida  

 

(To Lisa Blume, Planet Earth Foundation CEO):  "I am writing to thank you for the lovely, sensitive WIC (The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) PSAs that CTEH (Campaign to End Hunger) completed this year. State and local WIC staff who have seen the PSAs have said they are excellent and beautiful. I have gotten a wonderful response from every group that has seen them. Once again, your creative team has produced exceptional PSAs that are very appealing to the target population.


The timing of the completion of the PSAs couldn't be better. As I told you over the phone, the Washington State WIC Program has received funding to serve 23,000 additional mothers and children needing WIC services. That's the good news...This is the largest increase we have ever attempted in such a short period of time in the thirteen years I have been working for the WIC program!


We will use the PSAs to bring more clients into WIC during this period of expansion. We already purchased air time and got a favorable response. I plan to put additional funding into television outreach in the next month. I will try to get air time as soon as possible. I am so glad we have the new PSAs at this critical time.


Again Lisa, please extend the appreciation of the entire WIC-community and the mothers and children currently left out of the WIC Program to all those who worked on this project. The PSAs you have developed will effect the lives of many!"


~ Kristin J. Sasseen, Outreach Coordinator, Public Health Nutrition Services, WIC Program

 

"...Planet Earth Media (PEM) conducted a highly successful national multi-media public service advertising (PSA) campaign for the Alliance To Save Energy entitled "Campaign To Save Energy." The Campaign was funded in part by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. As the former Director of Communications at the Alliance, I had the honor of coordinating this national effort with PEM staff...

PEM developed, produced and distributed the Campaign To Save Energy to broadcasters and publications in the top 50 markets nationwide. In 16 months PEM obtained over $10 million dollars worth of free placements. Alliance staff, partners, associates and supporters regularly viewed the PSAs on television and heard the radio PSAs. Based on the early success of the campaign, the Alliance obtained additional funds for PEM to coordinate an effective multi-state expansion of the national campaign...Given the enormity of the campaign, I am grateful the Alliance was in such capable hands. One of the PSAs entitled "Save Earth" received the prestigious International Broadcasting Award for best commercial in the world on the environment.


One of the many highlights for the Alliance during the campaign was Vice President AI Gore describing the Campaign To Save Energy as the new standard for the industry and urging other agencies and organizations to undertake such projects.


...PEM provides the highest quality public service advertising in my experience. Their advice is sound and performance superb. Their credentials are unmatched. One of the advantages of their being an agency solely dedicated to advertising for socially beneficial purposes and cause-related marketing, as opposed to other advertising agencies which generally are for hire to sell anything, is that PEM has a unique understanding of the markets for their efforts and commitment to the issues and entities they advertise for. The quality of their work and their credibility with broadcasters brought outstanding results in my experience. When PEM said they were the most award-winning PSA producer in the nation, it turned out that they were as good as advertised.


I can say without reservation that anyone able to secure the services of Planet Earth Media would be fortunate to do so.

~ Mary Ann Gourlay, Assistant Dean and Director of External Relations, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

 

(To Lisa Blume, Planet Earth Foundation CEO): "Thank you very much for sharing your proposal to address the increasing public health threat posed by underage drinking. I share the concerns of the Foundation and acknowledge that we need a comprehensive public health based education effort or campaign for parents, health care providers, school officials and students. There simply has been no major effort to educate on the dangers of underage drinking. We need to wage the same war on underage drinking that we have waged on illegal drugs and smoking."

(To the National Institutes of Health): "I have been contacted regarding federal efforts to combat underage drinking. It is clear from recent reports, including the report conducted by the Institute of Medicine, that we need to do more to educate parents and children on the dangers of underage drinking. We have made great strides in anti-drunk driving campaigns, but we have failed to address the growing public health threat posed by underage drinking. We need effective community based public education and outreach on the dangers of underage drinking.


I have attached a media outreach proposal that was developed by the Planet Earth Foundation in Seattle. I welcome your input on efforts at CDC to address the growing problem of underage drinking and any efforts to form partnerships with groups like the Planet Earth Foundation."

~ Patty Murray, United States Senator

 

"If Insurance companies do not follow established law in performance of their duties to their policyholders, then directors, officers and entities, non profit and for profit, are vulnerable to any wrongful allegations without resources for defense that can harm or devastate their capacities and harm the economic and social interests involved, which effects the public interest substantially."

~ Brief on insurance and the public interest, from Planet Earth Foundation, Keith Blume and Lisa Blume, Plaintiff/Appellants (after prevailing on primary related underlying claims), supporting Petition for Review to reverse Court of Appeals on insurer duties, accepted by the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, supported by Amicus Curiae, Washington State Association for Justice Foundation

 

"The internet could and can be an alternative source of information, more democratic in the sense of being more readily accessible—as we certainly hoped and still hope will come to pass in a healthy manner. But with freedom comes responsibility as always, and the wild west of the internet has a long way to go. ... Before the age of the internet, Muhammad Ali was convicted of a felony for refusing induction when drafted because of his religious opposition to the Vietnam War, lost again on appeal, basically went broke while being kept out of boxing, and then won an historic unanimous decision at the Supreme Court overturning the previous court decisions. In today’s world, you might see the obvious at first, his historic victory, at the top of an internet search, only to see it disappear and see instead the losses the historic victory overturned, giving completely misleading impressions, because of the limitations and manipulations possible in the internet context. ... a leading industry publication has questioned whether the internet will survive because of the abuse associated with it. In some form it seems clear it will, including on the cell phone in your hand, and like all new communication technologies, it will come under adequate control eventually. Meanwhile, it's a bit like Orwell meets 2001: A Space Odyssey."

~ Planet Earth Foundation project, World Campaign, Updates excerpt

 

“For decades, many media critics have noted that media in general and journalism in particular have increasingly moved in a direction away from informative factual news and useful information focusing on the most important issues facing humanity, toward entertainment over substance even in news presentations and emphasizing the lowest common denominator in general in entertainment, ranging from movies to music to various kinds of programs for television and radio to new media on the internet. The latter new medium has offered promise of more diverse information and participation on the one hand, but has been rife with abuse, lack of basic accuracy and numerous problems to be worked out, in addition to providing new concerning communications tools in a number of areas. Although there are striking and ongoing exceptions to this rule in which extraordinary journalism and entertainment is provided which demonstrates the capacity for informative and inspiring media, the general trend has been concerning over time. Many observers, including some of the best media information sources themselves, have echoed these concerns, and among other things noted that increasing monopolization and the motive of profit at nearly any cost have been at the root of the problem."

World Campaign, Message of the Day

 

On this day, December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The person acknowledged that day with an ovation at the UN as most responsible for this extraordinary achievement was Eleanor Roosevelt, the former First Lady and wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had passed away three years earlier. The Human Rights declaration embodied the values President Roosevelt had espoused as the reasons for fighting the Second World War, the worst conflict in human history, in which over 50 million people died. In August 1941, FDR and Winston Churchill issued a joint declaration on the Atlantic Charter, subsequently adopted by other allies in the war against fascism, as the embodiment of principles envisioned for the post-war world, which was also a precursor for the creation of the United Nations. Elliott Roosevelt, the late son of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who wrote the forward to a book on media and politics by Keith Blume, founder of Planet Earth Foundation, which created World Campaign, reported that FDR told Churchill at the meeting where the Atlantic Charter was adopted that ‘The structure of the peace demands and will get equality of peoples.’ The Universal Declaration of Human Rights embodies basic principles that apply to all the issues addressed by World Campaign, including rights to life, liberty, equality, food, health care, adequate standard of living, education and so on, without discrimination on any basis. The co-founder of World Campaign, Lisa Blume, noted ‘information equals motivation equals action’, as a premise for World Campaign. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the numerous related declarations, resolutions, issues, programs and actions of the United Nations over the nearly six decades since the Declaration can be viewed and researched at UN.org."

~ World Campaign, Message of the Day, beginning 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

"Last week was the eighth anniversary of the launching of World Campaign. The focus of World Campaign has been on raising awareness on the environment, population, hunger, war, disease, human rights, economic opportunity to end poverty, and personal growth in consciousness on these interrelated issues. World Campaign was established with the conviction that ongoing public education on these issues is required to reinforce motivation to identify appropriate and workable solutions, and sustain support for taking successful action. Last year, 67% of voters said they believed global awareness has increased on the majority of these issues since World Campaign was launched. An additional primary goal of World Campaign has been to raise awareness on the essential interrelated nature of these issues, which by definition means that successfully addressing any one issue requires addressing all in a sustainable manner.


Regardless of opinion about progress or lack of progress on various issues, or opinion on how they should be addressed, do you believe that since World Campaign began, global awareness has increased on the interrelated nature of the majority of issues World Campaign focuses on, and the need to address these issues in relationship to each other in order to achieve sustainable success?"

Results: Yes 75%, No 25%

~ Issue of the Week, World Campaign, beginning ninth year of World Campaign

 

"Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the launching of World Campaign. The focus of World Campaign has been on raising awareness on the interrelated issues of the environment, population, hunger, war, disease, human rights, economic opportunity to end poverty, and personal growth--and to frame these issues as they are in reality, interconnected to the point of, in effect, being different aspects of the same question--how and whether a sustainable future for life on the planet will occur. Over the past decade many have noted the success of World Campaign in raising awareness and framing these issues in a new and needed manner. However, although World Campaign noted at the outset that both significant progress had been made on the great issues facing humanity and serious crises still threatened the future of life on earth, the past two years have in a number of ways appeared to show more regression than progress on such major issues as the global economy (in the worst crisis in many decades), hunger (over a billion people seriously malnourished, and growing), the environment (the world's leaders essentially abandoning a binding treaty being signed at the Copenhagen climate change summit as had been expected), human rights (sexual slavery and abuse of children, ongoing genocide), the threat of regional and global conflict, nuclear proliferation and other issues (Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the middle east and so on). At the same time, change and progress always encounter resistance, and there are also signs that the gravity of the global situation may be increasing focus on the need for positive pragmatic solutions.

Do you believe that the world is in some ways in a measurably greater state of crisis and danger than it has been for some time in terms of issues such as the global economy, hunger, the environment, the threat of regional and global conflict, nuclear proliferation and other issues, whether you think a sustainable future of life on earth will ultimately be achieved or not?"

Results: Yes 80%, No 20%

~ Issue of the Week, World Campaign, beginning eleventh year of World Campaign

 

The following includes excerpts from a March 2005 news posting

March is a special month for Planet Earth Foundation for many reasons. It is the anniversary month of the founding of Planet Earth as an entity, (now in its 37th year).

In March 1968, the founder, Keith Blume, began work as a Bay Area student coordinator for Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign after Kennedy's announcement he would run on March 16 and coordinated Kennedy's speech at the University of San Francisco in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassaination, shortly before Kennedy's Asassination. The values embodied in the campaign were reflected in significant ways in the creation of the Foundation.

In March 1974, Keith Blume and vice president, Darryl Stromberg, visited Calcutta, India, arriving at night and witnessing thousands of bodies on the streets, who they first thought dead and then realized lived there. This was the city of the late Mother Teresa (whom Keith met with in later years), who made Calcutta a symbol in the heart of all humanity. Before dawn, Keith set off through the streets that were home for millions and met with them on their turf in an experience that had a major impact on the Foundation’s creation.

In 1975 work began on a documentary film on the interrelationship between major global issues such as violence, population and environment, with hunger as the focal point, showing that the planet must and could be turned around at a time when 13 to 18 million people, mostly children, died from hunger and related disease every year, while birth rates soared, fueling environmental devastation and the age-old violence caused by billions of people having no hope.

In March 1977, whirlwind meetings and film showings began in Washington, D.C. and the United Nations with Keith, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Roy Prosterman (initial Foundation president), former Oberlin President Bob Fuller (and former Foundation board member), and the late John Denver and Annie Denver, which, along with the work of others such as the late Harry Chapin, who also appeared in the Foundation’s first film, led to major politicians of all stripes and the President of the United States becoming involved, establishing the White House Hunger Working Group. More films were produced on these issues and others, such as the threat of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear war. A book was published on the impact of media on the public in a democracy and acclaimed by the Library Journal and others, including the son of President Franklin Roosevelt, the late Elliott Roosevelt, who wrote the forward.

From the mid-eighties to early nineties, the Campaign To End Hunger brought global and local issues interrelated with hunger and the many organizations working on these issues to the attention of the American public with the help of people such as Ted Turner in committing substantial public service advertising, and with bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans. The Foundation also utilized its talents for many socially beneficial causes over the years through award-winning public service campaigns from Planet Earth Media, with the guidance, and particularly the commitment to the most vulnerable in our communities and our world, of chief executive, Lisa Blume, who met or worked with public figures varying from Senators such a Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray (accompanied by former board member Anne Brixner), Democratic and Republican White Houses, public health organizations and leaders, state govenments and maternal health programs and women, infants and children programs throught the nation, as well as educational, envionmental programs and organizations providing basic needs and development worlwide for those in need.

Meanwhile, at the start of the millennium, World Campaign became an honored new voice uniting major global issues such as the environment, population, hunger, disease, poverty, human rights, war and personal responsibility under one ongoing project with the internet as its base.

Planet Earth has been blessed to be part of efforts to help millions of people and to change consciousness on crucial social issues. Numerous board members have supported these efforts. The Foundation has sometimes needed to be a pioneer in telling uncomfortable truths and paying the price for taking stands, which have always been the necessary precursors for change, personal and social. Planet Earth has both pleased and displeased those of all persuasions because we believe that ideology is the enemy of ideals. We believe that pragmatism, objective analysis of issues, balance and tolerance, informed by universal ideals and values, are the solutions in a world that often doesn't’t wish to see beyond the current vogue news crises—tragic and deserving of attention as they are—to the underlying issues which cause the most ongoing suffering to humanity and damage to our planet, and which will determine the future of life on Planet Earth.

We have watched the wretched of this world live and die, close-up and personal, sometimes with bullets flying and the stench of extreme poverty and disease surrounding us. And we have been melted by the smiles of those who have the least in material things and the most in their hearts. The Foundation is not endowed and has ultimately depended on the generosity and willingness of a few to put everything on the line for what they believe. Anyone willing to risk everything for their values has a keen awareness that we can all lose everything at any time. But we gain so much more in this short life by being willing to take this risk for something worthwhile. A public opinion poll on the eve of a quarter century of work by Planet Earth showed that the Foundation’s name was well known and highly regarded by the American public.

But if there is an opinion we care about most, it is of our children, the next generation. The founder of Planet Earth had the opportunity to speak to all 6th grade classes in a local school about Planet Earth’s work. Some of the comments in the many letters received in response follow:


Thank you so much for coming to our class and talking to us…it truly was amazing. I learned so much and you really opened my eyes to a whole new world out there. The stories you told were very powerful. Now I want to go to someplace in need so I can volunteer…Also, the commercials were clear and got the picture across. You really influenced me and made a huge impact on the way I view others. Thank you so much again.

One thing I enjoyed is when you talked about the time you went to Calcutta…when you talked about how you first got there and there was people lying all over the ground I felt sad and I realized how lucky I was to have shelter. That’s really great how the family that smiled at you made you do what you do now…I liked your videos because they are really simple and they are really good…You have had an amazing life…I think that it’s great that you want to be part of the solution, I will try to be part of it too.

Until I heard you speak, I never really (understood) how and why the population is so large. I also didn't’t understand why so many people are in hunger. Before you told the story about the family, I never knew how much a smile is worth…I really appreciate your hard work and enthusiasm for helping those in need.

I really think that what you are doing is an amazing, caring, kindhearted and thoughtful thing to do…I was really amazed at what you did (in Calcutta)…to go out with them, join them, and most of all, smile at them. I also thought your campaign ads were a very good way to teach the world…Your visit has really influenced me and made me think about what I can do to be part of the solution.

I learned so much that I had not known before…I never realized those things in world hunger about so many people dying from starvation until you told us about it! I also enjoyed your movie productions and how they really showed how we could help…Thank you so much for coming in! I loved your speech!

What really touched me was that story about the family that smiled back to you even though they went through a lot of bad things…Your talk meant a lot to me…I’m really thankful that you spent your free time to talk to us about the homeless and poor. That question is still in my head, because I don’t know if I’m part of the problem or the solution. God Bless.

To the last writer, you are definitely part of the solution. To experience a twelve year old having the intellectual and moral integrity to question herself on such a level is an extraordinarily humbling and inspiring experience. May we all learn from her to always remain open to what we have to learn. If we all do everything we can now to hand a world to the next generation, which it needs and deserves, it appears the planet will be in good hands in the future.

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