Solidarity and Sustainability
A Newsletter on the Socio-Ecological Impacts of Religious Patriarchy

Volume 1 - Number 5 - September 2005
Luis T. Gutierrez

The primary goal of this research is to facilitate progress in the path from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and sustainable human development. This journey attempts to understand how to mitigate all manner of patriarchal and misogynic barriers to human development and, in particular, how to overcome the enormous obstacles caused by religious patriarchy. There is no presumption of new discoveries. Rather, it is a matter of integrating existing knowledge (experience, wisdom, empirical evidence) to show that true religion should never be an obstacle to human development. The United Nations "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) are used as point of reference.


In previous issues, we have examined the transition from patriarchy to solidarity. Now we start looking ahead to the transition from solidarity to sustainability.

The solidarity-sustainability process model has been simplifies and, hopefully, clarified as a model of a dynamic process that is neither sequential not divisible into a finite number of discrete phases.

Next, some further reflections on solidarity are offered, pertaining to discerning the authenticity of solidarity, terrorism as the oppositum per diametrum to solidarity, and some numerical indicators of male-female solidarity.

Now we are in the "solidarity-to-sustainability" transition phase. Several definitions of sustainability are given, in order to show that, basically, sustainability is solidarity with nature. This follows from the need to conserve and take care of the human habitat for the common good of humanity, present and future.

Therefore, the motivation to attain sustainability follows from the solidarity ethos. The patriarchal mentality of greed and domination is incapable of factoring sustainability into decision making; maximizing short term benefit is incompatible with assuring the long term viability of the human habitat. Conversely, if human solidarity is the prevailing mindset, then the maximization of short term benefit can never be pursued at the expense of the long term degradation of the biosphere.

A continuation of exponential population and consumption growth is not a feasible option for the wellbeing -- indeed, for the survival of human civilization. There are no limits to growth in wisdom and other forms of human development, but there are physical limits to growth in the consumption of resources, and there are physical limits to how much waste can be dumped in the biosphere.

The "Micah Challenge" is proposed for prayer and action. Originally addressed to Christians, it is a call to all people who believe in God. Prayer is a source of authentic hope. The power of prayer increases when we do what we can do, and cease doing what we should not do. All religious traditions agree on this. It is time for all people to work together in truth, freedom, and care. After millennia of wars and violence, it is time for a solidarity of reconciliation and collaboration.

Table of Contents








Let us assume (see Figure 1) that we have made significant progress in the transition from patriarchy to solidarity. The patriarchal mindset is still around, but in a mitigated form due to the gradual emergence of collaborative networks (as opposed to hierarchical control) and gender equity (as opposed to phallocracy). The emergence of the solidarity mindset is supported by the ethos of truth, freedom, and care. This is a quantum jump forward in human civilization. It probably will take a long time for the solidarity ethos to take root in the collective unconscious of humanity.

Human development mitigates patriarchy. As human maturity increases, tolerance for patriarchal behavior decreases.
The mitigation of patriarchy, and the emergence of solidarity, paves the way for growth in truth, freedom, and care; hierarchical control is replaced by network collaboration; gender equity makes the transition feasible and sustainable.








Sustainability is a catalyst for human development. As sustainability increases, it enables integral human development to increase at all levels:
physical, intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual
Solidarity leads to sustainability. In fact, solidarity is required to make progress toward sustainability. As decisions increasingly seek both individual and common good benefit, sustainability increases.

Figure 1 - The solidarity-sustainability process model

Some of the remarks in the process model keep changing. This is work in progress, so they will continue to change as we go around the loop, hopefully gaining further insights on how the process works. For instance, the model now shows four transitional phases:

1 - The transition from patriarchy to solidarity
2 - The transition from solidarity to sustainability
3 - The transition from sustainability to sustainable development
4 - The transition from sustainable development to the demise of patriarchy

It is proposed that these transitions generally proceed clockwise over time, but they are neither discrete steps nor mutually exclusive. It is a dynamic and fluid social process, with phases overlapping and, sometimes, regressing counter-clockwise rather than progressing clockwise. This is a highly complex process. It does not follow a predefined roadmap. It is not like a bridge on the highway, or a manufacturing process, or even a surgical procedure ... "traveler, there is no road; you build the road as you go" [01].


The term "solidarity" has been used and abused ad nauseam in recent years. Let us pause and try to understand the authentic meaning of the solidarity ethos.

Authentic Solidarity

Authentic solidarity is the mindset that allows people to make decisions seeking a fair balance between individual gain and the common good. This applies at all levels: family, neighborhood, city, region, nation, the world. It is appropriate to consider definitions offered by some of the best scholars and practitioners:

"Unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards" [02].

"An entire union or consolidation of interests and responsibilities; fellowship; community" [03].

"Mutual support and unity of interests, aims and actions among members of a group" [04].

"The essence of solidarity lies in the hypothesis that people are capable of responding sympathetically to (or empathising with) a condition afflicting 'others', irrespectively of who those others are or whether one cares for them personally" [05].

"Solidarity is manifested in the first place by the distribution of goods and remuneration for work. It also presupposes the effort for a more just social order where tensions are better able to be reduced and conflicts more readily settled by negotiation.

"Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.
"The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities" [06].

In other words, solidarity is not merely a sentimental feeling. It does not require a disregard for the legitimate needs and aspirations of individuals and groups. But it does not become authentic unless it leads to concrete decisions and actions pursuant to the common good.

Solidarity and Terrorism

Solidarity and terrorism are mutually exclusive. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, New York, 11 September 2001, may be the worst single act of terrorism in human history. It may turn out that it was also a turning point for humanity. Patriarchal religious fanaticism perished that day as a tolerable way of settling human disputes. And yet, it seems that there are still some people who plan to keep using terrorist violence as a political instrument. Consider the following graph:

Figure 2 - Trends of annual terrorist incidents by region, 1995-2005
Source: National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT),
Graph Wizard of the Terrorism Knowledge Base (TKB), last updated 9 August 2005.

A terrorist act is intrinsically evil, regardless of how many people die or how much damage is done. This is not to say that the terrorists are evil -- only God can judge individual intentions. It is not coincidental, however, that the annual rate of terrorist incidents is increasing most in those regions where patriarchy remains the normative mindset in both religious and social affairs. The mullahs who preach violence today suffer from the same phallocentric syndrome as the priests who burned heretics during the Middle Ages. Indeed, solidarity and patriarchy are mutually exclusive.

Solidarity and Gender Equity

What is the outlook for achieving gender equity? Are we making progress? Are we going backwards? By how much can gender inequities be resolved by 2015 -- a critical checkpoint in the UN's Millennium Project? A case has been made that gender equity is required to attain sustainability. Gender equity may be the most critical of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and yet it is receiving only tangential attention by most world leaders. The following table attempts to capture current trends in pursuing gender equity:

[gender1] Source: UNESCO, Global Monitoring Report 2004, Gender and Education for All, Table 2. Adult and youth literacy. To examine the data, click here. [gender2] Source: International Parliamentary Union (IPU) - latest update 31 May 2005. To examine the data, click here.
[gender3uc] Sources: Female Priests in the Episcopal Church, by Louie Crew, Rutgers University, 2002. Fact Sheet on Women Clergy 2005, Evangelical Church of America, 15 July 2005. Leadership and Vocation Statistics, Presbyterian Church USA, 2003. The data is fragmentary (thus the chart is still "under construction") but the situation is painfully clear. The upward trend shown is for the Episcopal Church USA, and is representative of many of the mainline Protestant denominations. All the others have "zero-tolerance" for female clergy -- regardless of the definition of "clergy" in the various religious traditions.
Three indices of global progress toward gender equity are plotted: the percent of women who are literate, the percent of parliamentary seats occupied by women, and the percent of clergy who are women.
The percent of women who are literate is perhaps the most basic indicator of gender equity, especially when it is compared to the percent of men who are literate. There are many variations of this index, but they all show bias in favor of male literacy and very slow progress toward improving female literacy.
The percent of parlamentarians who are women is an indicator of women's access to roles of government authority. There are similar indices to measure the access of women to executive positions in business and industry, senior teaching positions in universities, etc. Again, they all show persisting inequity in favor of males, but progress is being made.
The percent of clergy who are women is an indicator of women's access to roles of religious authority. Except for many of the Protestant churches, most other religious institutions remain firmly attached to a male-only clergy. These other religions (Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Islam, many of the Eastern religions ...) include about 4.5 billion people, or 75% of the world population. The huge, phallocentric influence of these religious bodies are the main obstacle to gender equity.

There is no technical or financial fix for the gender equity issue. There is no educational fix either, as long as the largest and most influential religious institutions remain attached to the phallocentric syndrome. All religious institutions must stop creating impairments to retard the inevitable transition from patriarchy to solidarity. Else, true religion will suffer, and this means humanity will suffer unnecessarily. It may be that humanity must go through "the dark night of the soul." Let's hope and pray, that the religious leaders who are called to preach and practice the love of God will do so, and refrain from making the journey longer and harder.


Sustainability is the science of stability between humanity and the human habitat. Let us consider some of the most authoritative definitions of sustainability:

"Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." [07].

"Sustainability is a systemic concept, relating to the continuity of economic, social, and environmental aspects of human society. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals indefinitely. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire planet." [08].

"From a systems point of view a sustainable society is one that has in place informational mechanisms to keep in check the positive feedback loops that cause exponential population and [physical] capital growth. That means that birth rates roughly equal death rates, and [physical] investment rates roughly equal [physical] depreciation rates, unless and until technical changes and social decisions justify a considered and controlled change in the levels of population or capital. In order to be socially sustainable the combination of population, capital, and technology in the society would have to be configured so that the material living standard is adequate and secure for everyone. [09].

"In order to be physically sustainable the society’s material and energy throughputs would have to meet three conditions:
1. Its rates of use of renewable resources do not exceed their rates of regeneration.
2. Its rates of use of unrenewable resources do not exceed the rate at which sustainable renewable substitutes are developed.
3. Its rates of pollution emission do not exceed the assimilative capacity of the environment." [10].

"It may be convenient to think about sustainability in terms of four dimensions -- human survival, biodiversity, equity, and life quality ... Survival refers to the bare minimum conditions required for the continued presence of the species homo sapiens on the Earth, and we start there because without species survival, the rest is moot. This is not our main focus, however, because human environmental blunders and excesses are not likely to threaten us as a species. More important are the remaining three elements, which contribute to our survival as a species but also encompass the survival of humans as communities of individuals, as well as the forms of human welfare we pursue -- freedom, fairness, fulfillment, and related ideas -- after we’re reasonably assured of survival. We make this distinction because history offers many examples of human cultures that were hardly fair or just but still managed to last a long time." [11].

"Usage of the word "sustainability" is widespread and incorporates a plethora of meanings ... [we] propose a sustainability hierarchy to structure a broad array of issues that have been associated with sustainability. These issues vary widely in their urgency, severity and uncertainty of consequences, and temporal and spatial dimensions. It categorizes actions some view as unsustainable based on their direct or indirect potential to (i) endanger the survival of humans; (ii) impair human health, (iii) cause species extinction or violate human rights; or (iv) reduce quality of life or have consequences that are inconsistent with other values, beliefs, or aesthetic preferences. Effects considered include impediments to the ecosystem functions that support human life, human health, and species viability." [12].

In other words, sustainability is tightly coupled with solidarity. It would be absurd to care for human beings and not care for the human habitat. The basic concept is simple enough, but the formulation of sustainability policies at any level requires integrated analysis of human relations (especially, cross-gender relations), international relations, ecological economics, governance ... indeed, it is hard to think of any social process that is irrelevant to sustainability. See [13] for additional references and current research.


The concept of sustainability is simple enough. The socio-economic and ecological implications are best understood by examining diagrams of the production-consumption-usage-disposal-recycling process of goods and services that require natural resource utilization.

Oil is a case in point. Sustainability requires developing alternative sources of energy to meet energy demand when we run out of oil, and this is expected to happen early in the 21st century [14].

Figure 3 shows the latest updates to the projections for the use and depletion of oil worldwide. In his original analysis (1956), Hubbert [14.1] had predicted the timing of peak oil to be around the year 2000. "Peak oil is the point in time when extraction of oil from the earth reaches its highest point and then begins to decline. We won't be able to say with certainty when we have reached peak oil until after the fact. Many experts say we have already reached the peak. Others say not yet, but within the next few years" [14.10]. Until alternative sources of energy materialize, the only sensible sustainability policy is conservation.

Figure 3 - Peak Oil and Gas Trends, 1930 to 2050
Source: Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO), Wikipedia, 2005.
ASPO currently estimates that oil production will peak around 2007.
For a full size image of the trends, click ASPO2004.
Note: Image copied under the terms of Wikipedia's GNU Free Documentation License.

Oil is a non-renewable resource. Renewable resources also require stewardship management; else, the recycling capability of the global ecosystem can degrade, with negative repercussions for the human habitat. For instance, consider the carbon cycle [15]. Carbon is an indispensable element of life. However, carbon is discharged (in the form of carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere as a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. The accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has become so huge that photosynthetic activity by terrestrial vegetation and ocean phytoplankton cannot recycle much of it. Therefore, it remains in the atmosphere, and there is wide consensus that an excessive concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributes to global warming [16]. This may degrade the stability of the planet's climate, with rather nefarious effects: warmer ocean waters are the breeding ground of hurricanes [17]. .

In the ultimate analysis, a timely reversal of these resource depletion and cycle disruption trends is contingent on human decisions. Decisions and actions guided by the patriarchal mindset of excessive consumption and wealth accumulation, excessive concentration of power, and excessive ego gratification, will exacerbate the unsustainable trends. Decisions and actions guided by the solidarity ethos of moderate consumption, nonviolence, and ego-less collaboration, may reverse the unsustainable trends.

Like two sides of a coin, solidarity and sustainability are tightly coupled. Sustainability is solidarity inside out. There can be no sustainability without a social order guided by solidarity. There can be no authentic solidarity without seeking sustainability.


Is sustainability a matter of survivability for human civilization? It sure is, though planet Earth and the biosphere (the human habitat) are so resilient that it may take a long time before it fails to support human civilization as we know it. The time, however, is not unlimited, and many experts think it may not be that long. Social institutions are not as resilient as the biosphere, and may collapse first. Nobody really knows; only God knows. But one thing is certain: every human being alive today has a civic responsibility (if not a moral one) to face the future in solidarity and take concrete actions to protect, and even improve, the human habitat for future generations.

World War I, World War II, Vietnam, 9/11, Iraq ... these calamities clearly point to the most fundamental action to be taken, i.e., gender reconciliation ... for machismo is the root cause of them all. Chernobyl, Tsunami, Katrina, global warming, air pollution that already requires people to wear masks outdoors in some Chinese cities ... these are events that clearly point to concrete actions that can be taken by everyone, especially the rich: minimize the consumption of unnecessary or luxury items, minimize unnecessary driving (car pools, buses, and trains are in; SUVs are out), minimize unnecessary travel, especially air travel -- use of the internet and teleconferencing can significantly reduce superfluous business flying.

There are basically three ways to get started on these conservation practices: voluntarily, rationing, and taxation. Voluntary conservation is the best option. Rationing will inevitably create inequities and social tensions, not to say a costly bureaucratic mess. Taxation may be the most effective option (for example, an oil tax such that regular gasoline costs $100 per gallon at the pump would significantly reduce oil consumption, air pollution, and traffic jams), but the poor will be the ones who suffer the most. Needless to say, conservation buys time, but some resources (such as oil) are non-renewable, and therefore the time will come when oil reserves are exhausted; what then? Alternative -- and hopefully, renewable -- sources of energy must be made ready to replace oil. The plural in "alternative sources" is key. When the energy crisis comes, there will be no "silver bullet" that can replace oil. A multiplicity of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, etc.) will have to be used. This transition will induce economic and social disruptions for which we must be prepared. The most difficult will be a disruption of mindsets.

It is recognized that "old habits die hard." There is a lot of research activity underway, pursuant to helping people change old mental habits that may impair the wellbeing of people worldwide, not to say the survivability of human civilization. Some "therapies" are emerging to heal people of the phallocracy syndrome, including addictions to excessive consumption, violent forms of domination, and extravagant honors. In previous issues, we have mentioned the "visioning, networking, truth-telling, learning, and loving" method proposed by Dennis Meadows [18], and Charles Lindblom's method for reducing mindset change impairments [19]. Michael Cohen's method of regenerative ecopsychology [20] deserves consideration. Other methods are already showing up in the scientific and educational literature available online. See, for example, the websites of the Mind & Life Institute, the Center for Ecoliteracy, the Institute for Global Education, and Integrative Spirituality.


In summary:

1. There can be no solidarity without sustainability.
2. There can be no sustainability without solidarity.
3. It is time for solidarity and sustainability to overcome patriarchy.
4. To work for a sustainable social order is a most critical civic duty.
5. To pray and work for sustainability is a sacred moral imperative.

In fact, most religious traditions, and most religious institutions, have always declared that humanity has a duty of stewardship toward nature and natural resources. These natural resources are a gift of God to humanity, and it is the moral duty of each human generation to preserve this gift for future generations. In practice, however, this duty has often been relegated to a very low priority, and this has been a concern of many religious people. St. Francis of Assisi is the best known example, but there are many other "green saints" in all the religious traditions [21].

The Micah Call: A Challenge for Christians

Actually, isn't this is a call to all who believe in a God who is Love?

"This is a moment in history of unique potential, when the stated intentions of world leaders echo something of the mind of the Biblical prophets and the teachings of Jesus concerning the poor, and when we have the means to dramatically reduce poverty.

"We commit ourselves, as followers of Jesus, to work together for the holistic transformation of our communities, to pursue justice, be passionate about kindness and to walk humbly with God.

"We call on international and national decision-makers of both rich and poor nations, to fulfil their public promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015.

"We call on Christians everywhere to be agents of hope for and with the poor, and to work with others to hold our national and global leaders accountable in securing a more just and merciful world."


Below is a selected list of references. This is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography. Care has been taken to include references that reflect opposite viewpoints in some controversial issues. Some references are supplemented by relevant quotations as well as brief comments relevant to solidarity, sustainability, and patriarchy issues.

[01] Machado, Antonio, Cantares, in Antología de la poesía hispanoamericana, Blanca Orozco de Mateos, Palabra Virtual, 2002. Machado's dictum in Spanish is "caminante, no hay camino; se hace camino al andar".

[02] Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 2005.

[03] Brainy Dictionary, BrainyMedia, 2005.

[04] All Words DictionaryAllSites, 2005.

[05] Arnsperger C. and Y. Varoufakis, Toward a Theory of Solidarity, Erkenntnis, Volume 59, Number 2, September 2003, pp. 157-188.

[06] Cathechism of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, The Vatican, 1983; articles 1940, 1941, 1947.

[07] Brundtland, Gro Harlem, Our Common Future: The Brundtland Report, World Commission on Environment and Development, United Nations, 1987.

[08] Sustainability, Wikipedia, 2005.

[09] Meadows, Donella, et al, Beyond the Limits, Chelsea Green, 1992, p. 209.

[10] Daly, Herman, Steady State Economics, Island Press, 1991

[11] Prugh, Thomas and Erik Assadourian, What Is Sustainability, Anyway?, World Watch Magazine, September/October 2003.

[12] Marshall, Julian D. and Michael W. Toffel, Framing the Elusive Concept of Sustainability: A Sustainability Hierarchy, Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 39, No. 3, pages 673-682, 2005.

[13] See the list of sustainability resources on the right-hand column. The following are some additional references:

[13.1] Tibbs, Hardin, Sustainability, Deeper News, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 1999.
[13.2] Malitza, Mircea,
Sustainability, a new way to look at the world, Moscow Conference of the Club of Rome, 2000. No resource should be consumed at a rhythm higher that its speed of regeneration."
[13.3] Vincent, J. C., Sustainability: Searching for Soluations, New Internationalist 329, November 2000.
[13.4] N. S. Mirovitskaya, N. S., William Ascher, and Natalia Mirovitskaya, Editors, Guide to Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy, Duke University Press, 2002.
[13.5] Diamond, Jared, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking, 2004, 592 pages.
[13.6] Starik, Mark and Sanjay Sharma, Editors, New Horizons in Research on Sustainable Organizations, Greenleaf, 2005.
[13.7] Nee, Victor and Richard Swedberg, Editors, The Economic Sociology of Capitalism, Princeton University Press, 2005.
[13.8] Filho, Walter Leal, Editor, Handbook of Sustainability Research, TuTech, Hamburg, in cooperation with University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF), forthcoming 2005.
[13.9] "Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.", Dalai Lama

[14] Powering the Future: Where on Earth can our energy-hungry society turn to replace oil, coal, and natural gas?, Michael Parfit, National Geographic Magazine, August 2005. For background material and projections of oil usage and depletion, see the following:

[14.1] Hubbert, M. King, Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, American Petroleum Institute, 1956.
[14.2] Campbell, Colin J., Peak Oil, Presentation at the Technical University of Clausthal, December 2000. This article includes excellent graphs to illustrate the depletion of all hydrocarbons.
[14.3] Hubbert, M. King, Peak Oil Theory, Wikipedia, 2005.
[14.4] Hubbert, M. King, Peak Oil Forecast, Wikipedia, 2005.
[14.5] Hubbert, M. King, Peak Oil Graph, Wikipedia, 2005.
[14.6] Williams, Mark, The End of Oil?, MIT Technology Review, February 2005.
"If the actions—rather than the words—of the oil business's major players provide the best gauge of how they see the future, then ponder the following. Crude oil prices have doubled since 2001, but oil companies have increased their budgets for exploring new oil fields by only a small fraction. Likewise, U.S. refineries are working close to capacity, yet no new refinery has been constructed since 1976. And oil tankers are fully booked, but outdated ships are being decommissioned faster than new ones are being built."
[14.7] Widen The Road Instead. Traffic, Cars and Peak Oil., Analysis of the National Roads Authority of Ireland, Independent Media News, 24 November 2004.
[14.8] Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO), Wikipedia, 2004. ASPO currently predicts that oil production will peak around 2007.
[14.9] Annual Energy Outlook 2005 with Projections to 2025, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, 2005.
[14.10] Peak Oil Information Website, Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, 2005.
[14.11] Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, Newsletter No. 57, September 2005. [14.12] World Energy Outlook 2005, International Energy Agency, forthcoming November 2005.

[15] The Carbon Cycle, Wikipedia, 2005. This article includes an excellent diagram of the global carbon cycle. See also H. H. Janzen, Carbon cycling in earth systems: a soil science perspective, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, volume 104, pages 399-417.

[16] Global Warming, Wikipedia, 2005. This article provides an excellent explanation of the "greenhouse effect," and includes graphs showing the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It also provides an extensive directory of links to global warming research published on the web. The following paper is a survey of 928 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts on climate changees: Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, by Naomi Oreskes, Science Magazine, Vol 306, Issue 5702, 3 December 2004.

[17] Hurricane Warning: Last year's record hurricane season may have been just the beginning, Christ Carroll, National Geographic Magazine, August 2005.

[18] Meadows, Dennis, et al., Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, Chelsea Green, 2004, see pages 271-284.

[19] Lindblom, Charles E., Inquiry and Change: The Troubled Attempt to Understand and Change Society, Yale University Press, 1990, 314 pp. See pp. 81-82, 86-87 on impairments induced by secular elites, and pp. 114-115, 285 on reducing impairment, 295 on impairments induced by religious elites.

[20] Cohen, Michael, The Web of Life Imperative: Regenerative Ecopsychology Techniques That Help People Think in Balance with Natural Systems, Institute for Global Education, 2005. See also Cohen's article, The Hidden, Unified-Field Voice in Natural Systems: Why Counseling, Learning and Relationships Work Better When Connected to the Web of Life. The full text of the article is available online. The abstract is as follows:

"A broken computer cannot repair itself if its malfunction prevents it from making the repair. Similarly, we suffer our personal, social and environmental dysfunctions because we have "broken" our computer, our ability to think clearly with regard to our human relationship with nature. Our broken thinking creates and sustains our dysfunctional relationships because our mind can't repair itself.
"Nature can be seen as an energy of God and we are part of nature. Normally, nature's creative intelligence produces the non-polluting perfection and healing ways of natural systems within and about us. But we live excessively nature-separated lives. Our separation removes our thinking from nature's universe of grace, balance and restorative powers. This loss creates a wanting natural system void in our psyche, an emotion and information void that produces dysfunctions in our thinking. We must replace this loss by connecting our psyche with nature, for our thinking is our destiny.
"Today, an organic, nature-reconnecting education and counseling tool is readily available on the Internet. It enables us to genuinely tap our psyche into natural systems and think like nature's perfection works. This tool helps us remedy our mental dysfunctions by inviting nature's regenerative ways to fill the void we have produced in our mind and heart and to help us recycle our polluted and misguided thoughts.
"This Article suggests that our thinking has become so dysfunctional that, without help, our thinking may not appreciate or use the new nature-reconnecting tool and the opportunity it presents. However, the Article also empowers you and your readers to provide the help our thinking needs to use the tool."

[21] For instance, see Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, an important exegetical work, first published in 1896, concerning the most important topical divisions in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. He wrote:

"Instead of pursuing her appointed path of separation, persecution, world-hatred, poverty, and non-resistance, [the Church] has used... Scripture to justify her in lowering her purpose to the civilization of the world, the acquisition of wealth, the use of an imposing ritual, the erection of magnificent churches, the invocation of God's blessing upon the conflicts of armies, and the division of an equal brotherhood into clergy and laity."

"Human nature is gendered to the core."

Leonard Sax, Ph.D., M.D.
Why Gender Matters, 2005

Luis T. Gutierrez


Copyright © 2005 by Luis T. Gutierrez

From Patriarchy to Solidarity and Sustainability
in both Religion
and Society

September 11, 2001

Hurricane Katrina

The global climate experts are not in full agreement, but many think that the number of hurricanes is increasing in frequency and intensity (Tsunami, Katrina) due to global warming, which in turn is due to the excessive use of fossil fuels. If so, 9/11 and Katrina share the same root cause: the addiction to extravagant consumption and wealth accumulation that is intrinsic to the patriarchal mindset.

This is highly recommended:

9/11 And The Sport of God, by Bill Moyers, Common Dreams News Center, 9 September 2005.

Then compare to the typical patriarchal response reported here:

Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans , by Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo, Common Dreams News Center, 10 September 2005.


Feedback from readers, subject to editing, will be included here, as well as responses from the editor if appropriate. Inflammatory feedback will be discarded.

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Recent Feedback

Dr. David Henkel, Director of the Community and Regional Planning Program, School of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico, wrote to offer a couple of practical suggestions and an important question:
1. There is so much contained on this web page that, in addition to the Table of Contents in the left column, some kind of site map might be helpful.
2. A detail - you might want to add a link to the Society for Human Ecology (SHE) under your resources section.
3. What would you like it do accomplish further than your stated aims?
1. A FREEFIND box has been added to search the website and generate a sitemap. It needs more work. The table of contents has been expanded to show the topics covered in each issue. Hope this is helpful.
2. Excellent suggestion. A link to the SHE has been added.
3. Given the complexity of doing research at the intersection of society, ecology, religion, and gender, the newsletter is a modest attempt to get started. For some reason, nobody wants to touch the gender angle that tightly couples social and ecological issues, not to say the religious angle. And yet, I think it is critical to consider these angles together in order to make progress toward solidarity and sustainability.

Dr. Theresa Sweeney, Mental Health Specialist, Boynton Beach, Florida, and a member of Project NatureConnect (PNC), Institute for Global Education, wrote to inform about Dr. Michael Cohen's article, The Hidden, Unified-Field Voice in Natural Systems: Why Counseling, Learning and Relationships Work Better When Connected to the Web of Life, as well as his book, The Web of Life Imperative. The full text of the article is available online.
Thank you for bringing this work to my attention. Given that a radical mentality change may be required to transition from patriarchy to solidarity and sustainability, the emergence of mindset transformation methods is a sign of hope. The method developed by Dr. Cohen is specifically for the purpose of getting mentally and emotionally closer to nature, so it is hard to imagine that it could be used to manipulate people for any other purpose. The article is very instructive, and is one of the references in this issue.

I am grateful to all those who took the time to write.


The United Nations

The United Nations have an extensive network of websites, some of them including global databases. Some of the most useful are listed below. For an index of all the UN websites, go to the UN Website Locator.

UN Main Portal
UN Development Program
UN Environmental Program
UN Millennium Project
UN Millennium Campaign
UN Statistical Division
UN University
UN WomenWatch
Reform the UN

U.N. Millennium Development Goals
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development


African Union
European Union
Global Community Foundation
International Data Base
International Monetary Fund
International Standards Org
SE Asian Nations Assoc
Union of International Assoc
World Bank
World Development
World Energy Council
World Environment Center
World Health Organization
World Labor Organization
World Trade Organization

United States

Bureau of Economic Statistics
Census Bureau
Endowment for the Humanities
Energy Information
Environmental Health
Environmental Protection
Federal Reserve
Geological Survey
Library of Congress
National Academies
U.S. Government
Women's Bureau


Amnesty International
Christian Solidarity
CSR Directory
Europe Solidarity Forum
International Solidarity
Facing the Future
Gender Equity Links
Gender Issues
Global Issues
Global Security
Mind & Life Institute
Religious Freedom Center
Social Capital
South Asian Network
Trade and Gender
Women/Gender Resources


Definitions of Sustainability
Earth Policy Institute
Ecocosm Dynamics
Ecoliteracy Center
Ecology and Society
Ecological Economics
Energy Storm
Environmental Risk Analysis
Friends of the Earth
Intl Inst for Sust Dev
Population & Sustainability
Sustainable Measures
Sustainability e-Journal
Sustainability Now
Sustainability Internetwork
Sustainability Web Ring
Society for Human Ecology
The Kyoto Protocol
World Business Council for Sustainable Development


Domestic Violence
Gender and Society
Gender Resources
Patriarchy Website
The Patriarchal Family

Gender in Religion

Eastern Orthodox
Lutheran Federation
Roman Catholic
Salvation Army
World Council of Churches
World Congress of Faiths
World Religious Texts

Web Research Tools

Deep Web Research
Governments Worldwide
Life Sciences
Physical Sciences
Research Discovery Network
Search Engines Directory
Social Sciences
Universities Worldwide
Wikipedia Encyclopedia

New Resources

Recently published:

The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman: The Marvel of the Human Body, Revealed, by Alexander Tsiaras and Barry Werth, Doubleday, 2004, 264 pages.

Responsible Growth in the New Millennium, World Bank, 2004.

World Resources 2005: The Wealth of the Poor -- Managing Ecosystems to Right Poverty, World Resources Institute, 2005.

Report on the World Social Situation 2005: The Inequality Predicament, United Nations, 25 August 2005.

Human and Environmental Health, Steve Salmony, 2005.

Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, by Leonard Sax, Doubleday, 2005, 320 pages.

What are the Greatest Risks to the Environment?, Lois Levitan, Ph.D. and Eric Strong, M.Eng., Cornell University, August 2005.

Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World, edited by Michael K. Stone and Zenobia Barlow, Center for Ecoliteracy, forthcoming 2005. Preorder from Bioneers.

Where is the Wealth of Nations?, World Bank, 2005.

The Little Green Data Book 2005, World Bank, 2005.

Ensuring Environmental Sustainability, World Bank, 2005.

Women, Forests, and Plantations: The Gender Dimension, Edited by Hersilia Fonseca, World Rainforest Movement (WRM), August 2005, 109 pages. Hardcopy available in English, Spanish, and French. A collection of very informative real life stories on "gender and sustainability" from all over the world. The WRM International Secretariat is headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, while its European support office is based in Moreton-in-Marsh, United Kingdom.


Before Katrina

Drowning New Orleans, Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, 1 October 2001.

Louisiana Wetlands: Gone with the Water, Joel K. Bourne, Jr., National Geographic Magazine, October 2004.

After Katrina

Katrina's real name, Ross Gelbspan, Boston Globe, 30 August 2005.

A roundup of environmental news on Katrina, Dave Roberts, Grist Magazine: Environmental News and Commentary, 31 August 2005.

The fallout from Katrina, The Economist, Global Agenda, 2 September 2005.

Unnatural Disaster: The Lessons of Katrina, Worldwatch Institute, 2 September 2005.

The real costs of a culture of greed, Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, 6 September 2005.

Hurricane Katrina: Complete Coverage, National Geographic News, 7 September 2005.

Picking Up the Pieces from Katrina: What Lies Ahead, Knowledge@Wharton, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 7 September 2005.

Acts of God or Sins of Humanity?, Wes Granberg-Michaelson, Sojourners, 8 September 2005.

Unnatural Disaster: The Lessons from Katrina, World Watch Magazine, September/October 2005.

Other News

Eco-religion of the Bishnois of Rajasthan, Kiran Prasad, Prabuddha Bharata, 2005.

Healthy ecosystems 'critical in fight against poverty', Ehsan Masood, Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net), 31 March 2005.

Religious dialog needs to remain open, Ati Nurbaiti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 31 August 2005.

The 9/11 Commission's Final Report, Edward Morrissey, The Daily Standard, 31 August 2005.

Iranian women in resistance and gender equality in Islam, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), 31 August 2005.

Connecting Nature, Power and Poverty, Jim Lobe, World Resources Institute, IPS News, 31 August 2005.

Development versus Sustainable Development, Prakash Poudel, Peace Journalism, Nepal, September, 2005.

Beijing+10 Declaration, People's Daily Online, Beijing, China, 1 September 2005.

Scholars convene to discuss sustainability, Wang Zhenghua, China Daily, 6 September 2005.

Women, Health, and Development, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, IPS News, 8 September 2005.

Gender Perspectives in the 21st Century, Femme Globale International Congress, Humboldt University, Berlin, 8-10 September 2005.

What's Wrong with the Millennium Development Goals?, Michael Clemens and Todd Moss, Center for Global Development, 13 September 2005.

End of oil era in sight, Rifkin warns, Jeremy Rifkin, EUObserver, 13 September 2005.

Shaping the Potential for Global Environmental Governance, International Global Change Research Conference, Bonn, Germany, 9-13 October 2005.

The Millennium Development Goals: how close are we?, by Amir Attaran, Jeffrey Sachs, and others; Science and Development Network, 16 September 2005.

Closing of the U.N. World Summit, IPS News, 16 September 2005.

March Toward MDGs Leaving Millions Behind, IPS News, 16 September 2005.

For more news and information related to global stewardship,
go to the
home page.


Mind & Life
November 8-10, 2005
The Mind & Life Institute, in conjunction with co-hosts Georgetown University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, presents:

Mind and Life XIII:
Investigating the Mind 2005
The Science and Clinical
Applications of Meditation
DAR Constitution Hall,
Washington DC
November 8 - 10, 2005

The Dalai Lama will participate fully in all sessions

For conference and
registration information,
click here.


1. Meditation-Based Clinical Interventions: Science, Practice, and Implementation
2. Possible Biological Substrates of Meditation
3. Clinical Research I: Meditation and Mental Health
4. Clinical Research II: Meditation and Physical Health
5. Integration & Final Reflections


Applications of meditation are now common in the treatment of stress, pain, and a range of chronic diseases in both medicine and psychiatry, and some approaches are currently the subject of NIH-supported clinical trials and research studies. At the same time, the power of our non-invasive technologies have made it possible to investigate the nature of cognition and emotion in the brain as never before, and to begin to explore the interfaces between mind, brain, and body, and the implications of particular forms of meditative practices for modulating and regulating biological pathways to restore or enhance homeostatic processes and perhaps extend the reach of both mind and body in ways that might potentially promote rehabilitation and healing as well as greater overall health and well-being.

Recent studies are showing that meditation can result in stable brain patterns and changes over both short and long-term intervals that have not been seen before in human beings and that suggest the potential for the systematic driving of positive neuroplastic changes via such intentional practices cultivated over time. These investigations may offer opportunities for understanding the basic unifying mechanisms of the brain, mind and body that underlie awareness and our capacity for effective adaptation to stressful and uncertain conditions.

For more information:
Mind & Life Institute


The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:

V1 N1 May 2005 ~ Cross-Gender Solidarity

V1 N2 June 2005 ~ The Phallocentric Syndrome

V1 N3 July 2005 ~ From Patriarchy to Solidarity

V1 N4 August 2005 ~ Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity

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