An interview with Marcus Nobel about United Earth’s mission to build a sustainable future for all
United Earth is bringing people and nations together – shaping a sustainable future for our planet. Founded by Claes Nobel, grand-nephew of Nobel Prize creator Dr. Alfred Nobel, the not-for-profit organization is galvanizing worldwide environmental and humanitarian efforts. We are inspired this month as Marcus Nobel, Executive Director and President of United Earth, shares the NGO’s vision to empower and revitalize the world through societal and environmental healing.
Parvati Magazine: You come from a famous lineage that supports peace, leadership and sustainability. What were some of the values instilled in you at an early age that inspired you to envision United Earth?
Marcus Nobel: The values that were instilled in me at an early age were a direct result of my Swedish upbringing – the respect and love of nature. Outdoor sports were always part and parcel of growing up in Wisconsin. One aspect of this cultural tradition was the little log cabin in Door County on Lake Michigan. No electricity. Water from a hand pump. Skinny dipping instead of hot showers. Catching crayfish and picking thimbleberries. I loved it all.
Once in second grade, the teacher was showing us pictures of the great redwoods in Sequoia National Park. One of the three-hundred-year-old trees had a tunnel cut through the middle, with a Model T Ford driving through the ancient tree. The teacher asked the class why don’t we cut tunnels through all the trees? I raised my hand and said, what to me was an obvious fact, “Because that would be destroying nature.” The teacher was so stunned that she made stand up in front of the entire class and repeat, “Because that would be destroying nature.”
With the creation of United Earth and the Earth Prize, the greatest influence was Alfred Nobel and the impact of the Nobel Peace Prize. The ultimate goal was to have what CNN called the Green Nobel Prize, with the same stature and significance of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The connection between peace and sustainability
Parvati Magazine: Why is it important, for the sake of peace, to address environmental sustainability as well as resolve conflicts?
Marcus Nobel: The link between peace and environmental sustainability is one that only in recent history has come to the forefront of human consciousness. Humanity’s war against itself and nature are two sides of the same coin: humanity has not evolved spiritually.
During Alfred Nobel’s lifetime, the “environment” did not exist. War was front and center in mankind’s destructive primitive instincts. It still is. But, environmental sustainability, and the protection of species and habitats, is now a common cultural goal that unites all of humanity in protecting the only home – planet earth – that has been given to us.
Parvati Magazine: Earth Prizes, also known as “The Green Nobel Prizes”, are awarded to leaders working for a sustainable future. What impact have you found this award has had on younger generations to become leaders for the environment and ultimately peace?
Marcus Nobel: The Earth Prize and the Earth Ethics Prize have had some impact for a sustainable future especially with younger students, high school and college-age students. Of course, there is much more impact that is necessary. Especially with young people.
Millennials are in particular looking for communities that support their beliefs and desires for peace and sustainability. For many millennials, politics is not the answer. United Earth’s vision is to unite people around our common causes that unite us, not divide us. Peace. Sustainability. Protection of species, habitats. Women empowerment.
The Earth Prize and the Earth Ethics Prize are vehicles for worldwide transformation. It is a great spiritual celebration of peace and community. Peace is a big tent. Everyone is invited. No ideology or theology required. Only love.
Executive Director & President of United Earth, Inc. Marcus Nobel is the Publisher and Editor of the Earth Ethics Forum, advancing Earth Ethics, World Peace and Sustainable Development. Among numerous lifetime accomplishments, Marcus received a Cinematography Fellowship from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and is an experienced writer, producer and director.