Messrs. Presidents Biden and Putin, it is your decision
Dear President Biden and President Putin,
Presently, the world is experiencing enormous challenges both politically and environmentally. Nuclear arsenals and cyber weapons are a growing power obsession as we return to the fear-filled days of the Cold War. At the same time, our planet earth is at a tipping point, with little time left to avoid climate catastrophe.
Today we witness the broken relationship between nations and nature. It is time to stop this process leading to the abyss and concentrate on creating a better future for our countries and all humankind.
Such is the urgency facing our species that we ask you, as the leaders of your respective countries, to consider a symbolic gesture towards transforming the pattern of conflict into an opportunity to resume meaningful dialogue – not to ignore the past but, instead, to focus on taking new approaches.
We must promote our commonly shared aspirations to Live in Peace and Save the Planet together by toning down dangerous and uncompromising rhetoric and concentrating on a positive agenda.
April 25th, the 76th anniversary of the historical linkage when our two countries - at the time, allied nations- met at the Elbe River in Germany to end WWII, provides the opportunity to recall this vision of alliance and become a watershed to rebalance U.S.-Russia relations.
Scientists across the globe confirm that a trillion new trees will substantially reduce the concentration of harmful emissions in the atmosphere. This is an achievable target and will cost only a tiny fraction of our military expenditures or current battle budgets with a virus.
Therefore, on April 25th, 2021, we invite you to jumpstart the dialogue by planting a symbolic tree in the White House and Kremlin gardens with the respective ambassadors present as a gesture in support of a better outcome for our own nations and the entire world.
It is time for a fundamental reset and, in an atmosphere of mutual trust, let us make 04/25 a date in history that will be remembered by generations yet to be born as the day you both heralded a turning point on the roadmap to Save Our Planet.
The upcoming April 22-23 global summit on climate change will witness around 40 world leaders coming together. May we humbly suggest that you follow up by inviting all UN member nations’ leaders to join with you on April 25 and hold their own tree-planting ceremonies in their respective capitals?
We need a new world vision: let us all, through your actions, begin the walk away from confrontation towards cooperation for a better future.
Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. He is the author of the book "Operation Elbe”, which describes joint US – Russia anti-terrorist efforts.