The international ethecon Blue Planet Project
and the two international ethecon Awards
The two international ethecon prices Blue Planet Award and Black Planet Award have been conferred by ethecon – Foundation Ethics & Economy since 2006. Today they belong to the most well-known anti-globalisation prizes worldwide.
What are these prizes all about? What is the presentation of these two ethecon Awards all about?
My foundation members, supporting members of the ethecon foundation, the donors and of course also I, together with my co-founder Ms. Rehmann, are involved in ethecon because we do not want to stand by and watch how fundamental principles of ethics are being trampled underfoot, just so that the rich and powerful of this world can become even richer and more powerful. And this while there has been already done vast damage by humans and ecology with the danger of a full social and ecological ruin of humanity. We are convinced that the reason for our social and ecological downfall of our Blue Planet is the profit principle and the associated destruction of fundamentally ethical principles caused by our economy. We are in favour of establishing ethical principles in economy and of a reorientation of a profit-based system to a solidarity-based system. Saving the planet will be only possible if we crash the profit principle.
The idea to promote efforts to preserve and rescue fundamental ethical principles with a foundation prize already came up during the foundation year in 2004. There were and are many prizes that award achievements in various sectors of society. However, there are not many prizes that honour resistance against abuse and ruin of ethics and moral that has the consequence of destruction of the environment, war and exploitation.
Our idea corresponded to the cycle of works “Blue Planet” of the artist Otto Piene (born 1928/deceased 2014) . He belonged to the big artists of the 20th century. Together with Mack and Uecker he created the epochal ZERO art and is responsible, amongst other, for SkyArt. With the mentioned work Piene demanded: “Keep the Blue Planet green!” Piene’s credo was simple as well as astonishing: “Yes, I dream of a better world. Should I dream of a worse one?”
Piene launched together with ethecon the International ethecon Blue Planet Project in 2005 and it was based on the idea to have an international prize. However, the discussion process about this prize quickly showed that it is not enough to just honour actions that fight for ethics and moral. It showed that it is equally important to denounce misdeeds against ethics and moral. Finally, the idea emerged to have two linked together ethecon prizes: The positive ethecon prize Blue Planet Award and the negative ethecon prize Black Planet Award.
Both ethecon prizes are one unit, two sides of the same medal. Together they reflect the state of the ethical principles that shape our world. At the same time, they illustrate the vision of ethics and moral that enables a world without exploitation and oppression. The two ethecon prizes outlaw ruthlessness, greed, war and destruction of the environment. And they follow the ideals of solidarity, peace, environmental protection and justice. They demand resistance, change and commitment in the interest of the ideals; stand for a liveable future for this, our world.
The first prize, the International ethecon Blue Planet Award, awards commitment to preserve and rescue the Blue Planet and calls attention to the pressing scope of actions and opportunities. The second prize, the International Black Planet Award, denounces the desecration of our world or the danger of a Black Planet and it condemns indifference and ignorance.
The two international ethecon prizes together show: There is hope. The force is in us, in every single of us.
The two international ethecon prizes fundamentally only award people and no institutions. Like that growing and targeted anonymization of decisions are supposed to be opposed. Especially in the events of negative developments the responsible people like to hide themselves behind the facades of any institution. They like to refer to alleged constraints and blame decisions that were sort of taken automatically. However, whether it is positive or negative, it is always the same: They are always people who take decisions and bear responsibility.
The presentation of the two international ethecon prizes usually takes place once a year. At the beginning of every year an internationally widespread call is initiated in which about 10 thousand recipients are asked to make proposals for award winners – for the International ethecon Blue Planet Award as well as for the International ethecon Black Planet Award. After a thorough advisory and decision-making process the award winners are announced on the occasion of the international anti-war day, on September 21st. The international public is informed in detail in two extensive dossiers in at least three languages about the reasons why certain winners were chosen – one for the Black Planet Award and one for the Blue Planet Award. The two ethecon prizes are awarded every third weekend of November of each year at a public, big ceremony in Berlin.
Many actors from all over the world are involved in the activities to present the awards. However, we deliberately do not involve actors from the prevailing circles and institutions but actors from resistant movements who fight for peace, ecology and justice. Like that the inseparable connection of the two awards and the meaning of these prizes to support our aim are supposed to be stressed and become visible.
The recipients of the International ethecon Blue Planet Award are invited to a ceremony in Berlin. After a detailed presentation of reasons (laudation) the prize will be handed over in person. We offer the recipient the possibility then to cooperate with ethecon and the network of the foundation.
This is different for the ethecon Black Planet Award though. The awarding of this negative prize will only be justified with a diatribe at the ceremony. The prize winners are only informed of this awarded infamous prize by an “Open Letter” that is published in three languages. However, the presentation of the award in person does not take place during this public ceremony. But also for this awarding people and organisations of international, social movements are involved.
When the two International ethecon Awards were born in 2005, a process to find prize trophies was created. Otto Piene spontaneously offered to create the trophy for the International ethecon Blue Planet Award and since 2006 he designed the annual prize trophy for the International ethecon Blue Planet Award as a unique, valuable sculpture that is made out of glass and wood. Until 2009. He asked then – now 82 years old – for reasons of age to be released from this responsible task.
With Katharina Mayer, the great photo artist and Becher student (Born in 1958), we have found someone who worthily continues the Blue Planet Project that was established by Piene and ethecon and who also gives the project its own character. In 2010, the prize trophy of the International ethecon Blue Planet Award was not designed with a brush for the first time. It was designed with the help of photo art. We are proud to have Katharina Mayer on our side.
The prize trophy of the International ethecon Black Planet Award is created in a completely different way. This trophy is a plastic globe that is industrially manufactured under exploitative and environmentally unfriendly conditions that is designed annually as a Black Planet by young people. The artistic alienation is deliberately not carried out by the artist who creates the annual positive prize but by a young person who is randomly chosen. In doing so, it is avoided to create the infamous trophy of the International ethecon Black Planet Award as an art of work of high quality. It is guaranteed that in our world that is oriented towards usability no new precious objects are created. Especially for someone who does not deserve this appreciation – in the truest sense of the word. At the same time the young person is a symbol for the endangered future of the Blue Planet, for those who are threatened by a Black Planet. It is the youth whose future is destroyed by the ecological, social and martial ruin of the world.
It is significant and important to mention that the denounced people who are awarded with the International ethecon Black Planet Award generally despise this award trophy. Down to the present day not one of the reviled persons has accepted the award personally and has laid him/herself open to criticism by the public. The prize trophy could be handed over to a delegate at the best, such as to an employee of a press office. However, most of the times we could observe how the prize was destroyed by security guards.
ethecon Foundation Ethics & Economics is a foundation from the bottom. The foundation has emerged from global movements against globalisation and big corporations that fight for environmental protection, peace and justice; supported by activists who fight against corporate power, exploitation, war and environmental destruction; globally networked, connected with principles of international solidarity. ethecon is a foundation that sees itself as being responsible for future generations.
The International ethecon Blue Planet Project that compromises the two international ethecon prizes wants to express this solidarity and these principles. Searching and finding the annual recipient on the basis of the mentioned principles, the annual presentation of the ethecon prizes during a ceremony that has a different topic every year in the context of the responsibility to sustain a liveable world, the presentation of the International ethecon Black Planet Award in the context of broad international actions – that is the International ethecon Blue Planet Project.
The international ethecon awards
Both International ethecon Awards are given only to persons and not to institutions in order to counteract the anonymisation of decisions which has been increasingly and systematically practised in the realm of social processes. In both the positive and negative ways it is always humans who bear responsibility. Especially when it comes to negative developments, the responsible love to hide behind the facade of some institution, to blame (alleged) “practical constraints” and “(unavoidable) inherent necessities” for (forcing) their decision.
Both International ethecon Awards have been assigned since 2006. Each year, in spring, an international call is sent out to up to 10,000 organisations and people all over the globe, in which ethecon Foundation for ethics and economy - asks for submission of proposals for the recipients of the two awards. From all the proposals received the prize-winners are then determined in a well-defined procedure.
ethecon’s international Blue Planet Award is presented within (the framework of) a festive celebration and handed over to the award winner, who is invited and usually (if possible) present in person or takes part in the ceremony.
ethecon’s international Black Planet Award is accorded in the same ceremonial act, but handed over at a later point in time. For this purpose, shareholders’ meetings, corporate headquarters or the residences of those vilified are paid a visit; always accompanied by public protests by international social movements and wide-ranging media work. It is quite symptomatic that until now not a single one of those vilified by the International ethecon Black Planet Award has accepted the prize in person and publicly faced the critique.