Education for sustainable development (ESD) is education for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The core ingredient of both ESD and the MDGs is integral human development (IHD). IHD is both the source and the goal of sustainable development. In other words, IHD is the required intersection between ESD and the MDGs. This concept can be represented as follows:
Figure 1. IHD as the most vital ingredient of ESD and the MDGs
Note: Figure 1 is a causal-loop diagram. The notation is as follows:
ESD = Education for Sustainable Development (8 UNESCO themes)
IHD = Integral Human Development (basics to self-actualization)
MDG = Millennium Development Goals (8 UN MDGs and 2015 targets)
DEV = Development to close the rich/poor gap (GDP per capita, etc.)
ENV = Carrying capacity of the environment (the human habitat)
LTG = Limits to growth due scarcity of natural material resources
Directed Arrows = Show the direction of causality or influence
Plus Signs = The directed arrow has a positive or reinforcing influence
Minus Signs = The directed arrow has a negative or limiting influence
There are four loops, shown as the yellow, green, orange, and blue loops. Notice that IHD is the point of intersection for the four loops. In the yellow loop, IHD is the source and goal of ESD for a given set of environmental conditions (ENV). In the green loop, IHD is the source and goal of sustainable (ENV) development (DEV). In the orange loop, IHD as source and goal of the millennium goals (MDG) and development (DEV). In the blue loop, IHD is the source and goal of ESD for a given set of socioeconomic trends (MDG & DEV).
Figure 1 is a hypothesis about the dynamics of the sustainable development process when it is driven by making IHD the top priority. As the number of people reaching the higher levels of IHD (e.g., the higher levels of the Maslow hierarchy of needs) increases, consumerism would decline and the reserve of environmental resources (ENV) would increase subject to the geophysical "limits to growth" (LTG); and, enhanced environmental quality would make it possible to focus more ESD effort for IHD. This is the yellow loop. Simultaneously, as IHD increases and natural resource reserves increase, room is created for further economic growth (DEV), which in turn allows more people to shift their priorities from survival to IHD. This is the green loop. Furthermore, the MDGs are energized as IHD increases, thus fueling even more economic development and creating additional opportunities for people to seek higher levels of human needs and aspirations, thus pushing toward IHD even more. This is the orange loop. Finally, higher standards of living (DEV) also drive ESD priorities toward IHD. This is the blue loop. The four positive (reinforcing) feedback loops would work together to foster development that is sustainable and allows for progressively increasing the number of people that can make IHD their top priority.
According to this hypothesis, the best way to untie the Gordian knot of sustainable development is to make IHD the top priority of ESD. This is also the best way to make progress toward the 2015 MDG targets. The following section provides further elaboration on this hypothesis.
Integral human development (IHD) is defined as follows:
"The IHD concept envisions a world where all people are able to live to their full potential, meeting their basic physical needs sustainably,
while living with dignity in a just and peaceful society. It is based on “right relationships”. Three key elements of IHD include:
"Holistic: Integral Human Development promotes the good of every person and the whole person; it is economic, social, political,
cultural, ecological and spiritual. It also promotes the integrity of creation.
"Solidarity: Integral Human Development promotes the rights and responsibilities of each person and of every person to one another.
"Justice and Peace: Integral Human Development promotes a just and peaceful society that respects the dignity of every person."
Let us reconsider ESD, the MDGs and Maslow's hierarchy of human development needs in light of the definition of IHD. The levels of Maslow's hierarchy are defined here and here; and a summary is provided here. Figure 2 shows a correlation between Maslow's human development needs, the MDGs, the ESD themes, and IHD. The MDGs and ESD themes are listed under the table, with links to their UN/UNESCO definitions.
Figure 2. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the MDGs, ESD, and IHD
The dynamics of IHD as a person moves from the lowest to the highest level of Maslow's pyramid might be described as follows
Physiological Needs. These most basic human needs include breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. In other words, the person is able to grow from childhood to adulthood unless the process is terminated by disease or fatal accident. These needs are analogous to those of animals, but homo sapiens sapiens is a "rational animal" and therefore human development starts at this fundamental level, e.g., by having sex that is consensual, nonviolent, and face to face. Applicable MDGs and ESD themes:
MDG 1 - eradication of poverty and hunger, to allow children to grow physically and mature psychologically
MDG 3 - gender equality, for early recognition that human sex is more than just animal sex
ESD 1 - nothing is more important in ESD than helping people recognize that humans are more than sexual object
ESD 2 - another important mission of ESD is to help people understand the importance of personal hygiene
Safety & Health Needs. These needs refer to security of body, employment, resources, morality, family life, health, and property. Assurance of human security (nonviolence) and access to health care are pivotal at this level. Primary and secondary education are indispensable to gain employment. Tertiary education is increasingly required to find good jobs. The seeds for life-long education are planted at this level of human development. None of this is feasible without a wholesome family life that nurtures the children (both boys and girls) and give top priority to their education.
MDG 2 - universal education for all (boys and girls, men and women) is indispensable for employment and advancement
MDG 3 - gender equality, to foster life-long recognition that "having sex without responsibility" if proper for animals, not for humans
MDG 4 - if there is no healthy development of children, regression to the first level is inevitable
MDG 5 - if there is no adequate maternal health care, regression to the first level is also inevitable
MDG 6 - the HIV/AIDS epidemic should be extinguished, and the same applies to other diseases such as malaria
ESD 1 - education on gender equality to explain why human sex is more than just animal sex
ESD 3 - education as to why taking good care of the human habitat is a matter of human security
ESD 6 - education on conflict avoidance/mitigation, education on social justice as the best to work for peace
Love of Self & Others. These are needs for friendship, family life, and sexual intimacy. Family life is where love of self and others is learned. In particular, the kind of sexual intimacy proper to this level entails a mutual sharing of the nuptial gift of love and the nuptial gift of life, where "nuptial" means a permanent covenant of mutual self-surrender. Then, and only then, authentic love of self and others can extend beyond family boundaries to friends and the entire human family. This in turn is necessary to foster human solidarity and good care of the human habitat.
MDG 3 - promotion of gender equality is indispensable for healthy family life and healthy sexual intimacy
MDG 7 - promotion of environmental stewardship is a requirement for global friendship/citizenship
MDG 8 - promotion of a global partnership for development is the only way to close the rich-poor gap
ESD 1 - education on gender equality to explain the nuptial (commitment, responsible) character of human sexuality
ESD 4 - education of rural development to explain the link to sustainable urbanization
ESD 7 - education for sustainable urbanization so as to attain rural-urban balance
ESD 8 - education for sustainable consumption so as to attain balance between population and natural resources
Esteem & Self-Esteem. This level is about self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect to others, and respect by others. Esteem and self-esteem start with mutual esteem and respect among men and women. It then becomes extensible to the entire human family, crossing borders of nationality, ethnicity, race and even religion. Respect to others, and respect by others, is no longer reduced to a zero-sum game whereby one wins and the other looses.
MDG 3 - at this level, promotion of gender quality should not exclude any human institution, either secular or religious
ESD 1 - at this level, education for gender quality shows the need for gender balance in all human institutions
ESD 5 - education for recognizing the value of all phases of cultural diversity -- ethnic, racial, religious
Self-actualization. This is the culmination of IHD and includes morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts. This is equivalent to Carl Jung's concept of "individuation," where each human person is capable of facing life and living life to the fullest possible extent. This requires embracing a body of ethics, growth in both skills and wisdom, spontaneous and unconditional service to others without expectation of reward, dealing with the inevitable difficulties and issues that everyone encounters, liberation from all manner of prejudice, and "courage to change what must be changed, acceptance of objective realities that cannot be changed, and wisdom to know the difference."
IHD - sustains the full development of each human person (male and female) physically, psychologically, spiritually
IHD - sustains respect for the rights and responsibilities of each person (male and female) and of every person to one another
IHD - sustains social responsibility by every person (male and female) and taking good care of the entire human habitat
IHD - sustains a just and peaceful society that respects the dignity of every person (male and female)
In Figure 2, Maslow's pyramid is shown with most people being at the lowest level, and few people at the highest level. There may be more than just one person at the top level, but very few are given the opportunities to get there. On the other hand, the lowest level is over-populated by a large percentage of the human population, with current estimates being that the number of people suffering hunger surpasses one billion. The long term project of sustainable development is to invert the population content of Maslow's pyramid, so that eventually most people reach the IHD level, few people remain in the lower levels, and very few remain in the lowest level.
In order to make progress in that direction, gender equality (ESD 1, MDG 3) are shown at every step from the lowest to the highest. This may be due to the personal bias of this writer, but consider the UNESCO definition of "education for gender equality":
"The pursuit of gender equality is central to sustainable development where each member of society respects others and plays a role in which they can fulfill their potential. The broader goal of gender equality is a societal one to which education and all other social institutions, must contribute.
"Discrimination based on sex is often structurally embedded. In many societies women bear the major burden of responsibility for food production and child-rearing, they are excluded from family and community decisions affecting them, and they have little or no access to the means of income generation.
"Gender issues must therefore be mainstreamed throughout educational planning – from infrastructure planning to material development to pedagogical processes. The full and equal engagement of women is crucial to ensuring a sustainable future."
The reader is invited to reflect on whether or not people can develop upward toward IHD in the absence of gender equality. This invitation is especially extended to the authorities of all institutions -- secular or religious -- that persist in excluding women from roles of real authority.
Since gender issues have a prominent role in IHD, it is important to liberate the pursuit of gender equality from ancient prejudices that have emerged as so only recently in human history:
"In the last fifty years or so we have undergone a genuine human discovery of the sort that we, the human race, don’t make all that often. A genuine anthropological discovery: one that is not a matter of fashion, or wishful thinking; not the result of a decline in morals or a collapse of family values. We now know something objectively true about humans that we didn’t know before: that there is a regularly occurring, non-pathological minority variant in the human condition, independent of culture, habitat, religion, education, or customs, which we currently call “being gay”. This minority variant is not, of course, lived in a way that is independent of culture, habitat, religion, education and customs. It is lived, as is every other human reality, in an entirely culture-laden way, which is one of the reasons why it has in the past been so easy to mistake it as merely a function of culture, psychology, religion or morality: something to get worked up about rather than something that is just there."
In other words, there is a "gender continuum" between the male and female polarities. This is not surprising if we keep in mind the Jungian insight about the anima (feminine presence) in men and the animus (masculine presence) in women. Furthermore, Alison's statement is corroborated by reports of recent advances in understanding gender diversity:
Constructions of Gender in Partnership Narratives, Miroslav Popper, Gabriel Bianchi, Petra Szeghy, and Ivan Luksik. Human Affairs, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2006, pages 144-159. The section on "Sex and the construction of gender," pp. 145-146, is excellent. The authors then proceed to show how gender boundaries blend across four dimensions of gender stereotyping: rational, emotional, dominant, and submissive. They use the focus group method (9 focus groups, 4-6 young persons per group) and both narrative and structuralist analysis to compare the combination of the rational-dominant stereotype for men and the emotional-submissive stereotype for women with other combinations based on the participants' narratives of relationship stories from first love to the state of the relationship after ten years. They conclude that blind acceptance of traditional gender stereotypes are becoming increasingly irrelevant for young people today.
There are overview articles about gender (last update 24 October 2009) and human sexuality (last update 26 October 2009) in Wikipedia. The following is a digest of key points that pertain to sustainable development:
Gender and Human Sexuality
Biology determines sexual differentiation and, in particular, the differentiation of genitalia (usually, either male or female) as required for sexual intimacy and reproduction. Gender differentiation is determined by a myriad of cultural factors. Either biologically or psychologically, there is no such thing as a rigid dichotomy between male and female. As Popper et al have pointed out:
"While sex (besides its connotation of performing sexual activities) refers to the biological quality of an individual, gender refers to the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being male or female at a particular point in time (www.who.int). Scientific knowledge has to accept the overcoming of the dual understanding of sex as only-either-male-or-female. As Fausto Sterling (2000, 468-473) puts it, "sex is a vast, infinitely malleable continuum that defies the constraints of even five categories" (two sexes and three intersexes called hermaphrodites, male pseudohermaphrodites-merms, and female pseudohermaphrodites-ferms, differing in the relative presence of male and female reproductive organs in a particular individual). Similarly, the original bipolar concept of the psychological gender expressed in femininity and masculinity (mutually reversal, exclusive and opposing) has been deconstructed into a flexible set of approaches starting with Sandra Bem's (1974) conceptualization of androgyny with the common idea that the "best way for a person to be is neither stereotypically male nor female, but having the best qualities of both genders" (Stainton Rogers and Stainton Rogers 2001, 115)."
It is critical to understand that most gender and sexual traits tend to significant overlap in both men and women and the overlap tends to increase during life in conjunction with growth in experience and wisdom.
Unity, Diversity and the Gender Continuum
To insist that gender and human sexuality are strictly binary (either 100% male or 100% female) is a crude oversimplification that cannot be reconciled with medical evidence. While it is true that the majority of men and women are heterosexual, it is also true that there is a gender continuum, with a minority of human beings displaying various degrees of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender propensities and behavior. Nothing in human nature requires that heterosexuality remain normative in the future as it has been in the past. For there is one and only one human nature across the entire gender continuum, and this human nature subsists at each point between the male and female polarities.
The Fallacy of Male-Female Equality
The term "gender equality" must be properly understood. It properly refers to gender equity, and to equality in dignity and human rights. But it is absurd to insist -- as some egalitarian ideologies propose -- that men and women are equal in everything. Such "equality" would result in a uniformly boring humanity devoid of diversity. Indeed there are many differences between men and women, but these differences do not cancel their fundamental unity in human nature.
The Fallacy of Male-Female Complementarity
The term "complementarity" also requires proper interpretation when applied to male-female relations. The idea that all masculine and feminine roles are mutually exclusive is a fallacy that has been abundantly exposed in modern society. Apart from their mutually complementary roles in sexual intercourse, men and women share all roles of responsibility and authority pursuant to social life and sustainable development. Surely, women seldom play football and men seldom worry about menstruation, but these are exceptions that confirm the elasticity of male-female roles in society and religion. Lamentably, the fallacy that only males can image God is one that still hangs around.
Gender Equality and Integral Human Development
As Mahbub ul Haq (Pakistan, 1934-1998) wisely pointed out, "human development, if not engendered, is fatally endangered." Even more so if the goal is IHD as defined at the beginning of Section 2. It is no coincidence that the world geography of gender equality closely overlaps the world geography of the First World. Likewise, it is no coincidence that the world geography of gender inequality closely overlaps the world geography of the Third World. The United Nations has designated gender equality as a top priority for sustainable development (MDG3). All over the world, human development goes hand in hand with gender equality. But gender equality in the secular world is not enough. Let us hope that religious institutions will take notice and abandon archaic practices of gender inequality that cannot possibly be for the glory of God and the good of humanity.
Patriarchy is rooted in prejudice, and prejudice is adsorbed during childhood:
"If segregation of sexes or races prevails, if authoritarianism and hierarchy dominate the system, the child cannot help but learn that power and status are the dominant factors in human relationships."
Patriarchy is so ingrained in human minds that some people fear (and others hope) it will never be overcome. But the end of patriarchy is already visible in the horizon, and it is unwise to spend too much time and energy tearing down patriarchal buildings that are already collapsing. As Ina Praetorius has recently pointed out:
"Most of these buildings that often intimidate us contain, as substructure, the Aristotelian idea that the world is bisected in higher rational male and lower emotional female spheres, that is: the belief that we women are not made for creative thinking but for feeding male theorists and produce and raise their offspring. It’s hard to get rid of this permeating structure for it is very old and, above all today, often invisible on the surface. [....] Fortunately the big buildings of patriarchal thinking have already been undermined by feminist thinking. Women have found holes and passages and exits and tricks to find their way out. And luckily, as I already said, not all the thoughts and words that build the hindering blocks are untrue. There is also wisdom in our traditions. We can find it out. We can play with traditional words, ask our mothers how they got fruitful advice out of them. We can laugh about men who all too seriously think to have found out the truth. Friendly laughter is one of the strongest and most peaceful weapons of women struggling out of domination."
In other words, let the patriarchs die in peace. Most patriarchs are benign, albeit oftentimes a bit condescending. Usually, they don't bite. Even if they manage to bite, as they sometimes do, biting back is useless. Leave them alone, and never take them too seriously when they utter veiled threats from their deathbeds. There is an overwhelming body of scholarly research and literature that will provide ample grounds for cemeteries in which they can rest in peace. As St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) once remarked, the way to deal with the devil is simple: when the devil suggests to do something, the thing to do is the oppositum per diametrum, i.e., that which is diametrically opposed to what the devil wants. Surely, this tactic is simple to understand but oftentimes is not easy to follow, as vested interests may impel us to negotiate with those who want to perpetuate the rigid patriarchal mindset. If so, let us at least negotiate with some understanding of the price to be paid in terms of human underdevelopment and human suffering. The following is a very brief bibliography on how to negotiate with benign patriarchs, fossilized patriarchs, and radically rigid patriarchs:
The Nature of Prejudice, Gordon W. Allport, Addison-Wesley, 1954. Basic Books, unabridged 25th anniversary edition, 1979, 576 pages.
World economy, patriarchy, and accumulation, Maria Mies, In: Women in the Third World: an encyclopedia of contemporary issues, edited by Nelly P. Stromquist. New York, New York, Garland Publishing, 1998:3-45. (Garland Reference Library of Social Science Vol. 760)
Constructions of Gender in Partnership Narratives, Miroslav Popper, Gabriel Bianchi, Petra Szeghy, and Ivan Luksik. Human Affairs, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2006, pages 144-159. See, especially, the section on "Sex and the construction of gender," pp. 145-146.
A digest of key points to keep in mind is as follows:
The Phallic Syndrome
On the "phallic syndrome," let us revisit the June 2005 and September 2009 issues. It is sufficient here to quote from section 3 of the September 2009 issue: "The phallic (or phallocentric, phallagocentric) syndrome (i.e., the preference for what is masculine) is rooted in the misconception that both men and women are human beings, but men more so than women. This absurdity has led to women being excluded from many roles of authority and leadership, with great loss to human civilization. In particular, it has led to the exclusion of women from roles of religious authority, and there is evidence that such exclusion is an obstacle to the integral human development of both men and women. Clearly, this is the work of human hands and contrary to God's will; for God only desires what is good and enhances human wellbeing." Specifically, in the September 2009 issue, see sections
8. What else is there to say?
Patriarchy, Warfare, and Wealth Accumulation
Consider the following:
"This essay on the relationship of the world economy, patriarchy, and capital accumulation opens by exploring why capitalist development has not eliminated patriarchy. The analysis exposes as false the common assumptions that progress is a unilinear, evolutionary process; that capital accumulation is driven only by the productive forces of science and technology and the exploitation of wage labor; that colonialism is extinct; that violence exists only in traditional societies; that modernization has overcome patriarchy; and that elimination of gender violence can be achieved solely by pursuing equalization. The next section provides a definition of "patriarchy" as a historical system of dominance of men over women rooted in warfare and notes that patriarchy is not universal in time or place or caused by the biological differences between the sexes. This section uses examples drawn from patriarchal civilizations to illuminate patriarchy's historical and cross-cultural continuity and then notes that the power supporting modern patriarchy is capital. The essay continues with a consideration of how images of women as housewives are used to control wages and labor practices in the Third World. The essay then discusses the ecological impossibility of extending the modern model of development globally. The essay ends by outlining examples of the resistance of Third World women to halt deterioration in their everyday life arising from "modern" development."
The phallic syndrome is a social pathology. Patriarchy is built on this pathology, and therefore it is also a pathology with both secular and religious manifestations. That humanity has come this far under the burden of this pathology makes evident the resilience of human nature. But let us not become melodramatic about going forward under this heavy burden. In fact, the best way to proceed is to cure the disease with friendly laugh. "We can laugh about men who all too seriously think to have found out the truth. Friendly laughter is one of the strongest and most peaceful weapons of women struggling out of domination" (see page 3).
A culture of solidarity is a culture in which people recognize that taking into account the common good in making decisions is good for their own self-interest. Social solidarity is not a utopian concept. It is not a naive concept. It is the rational mindset of those who know that nobody is self-sufficient and we are all part of the global web of life.
"Solidarity is not a matter of altruism. Solidarity comes from the inability to tolerate the affront to our own integrity of passive or active collaboration in the oppression of others, and from the deep recognition of our most expansive self-interest. From the recognition that, like it or not, our liberation is bound up with that of every other being on the planet, and that politically, spiritually, in our heart of hearts we know anything else is unaffordable."
There are as many variations in the exercise of solidarity as there are human beings on the planet. A concrete example that has become very important with globalization is the exercise of solidarity with migrants:
"The world distribution of opportunities is extremely unequal. This inequality is a key driver of human movement
and thus implies that movement has a huge potential for improving human development.
Yet movement is not a pure expression of choice—people often move under constraints that can be severe,
while the gains they reap from moving are very unequally distributed. Our vision of development as
promoting people’s freedom to lead the lives they choose recognizes mobility as an essential component of
that freedom. However, movement involves trade-offs for both movers and stayers, and the understanding
and analysis of those trade-offs is key to formulating appropriate policies."
Unfortunately, there are also an infinite number of ways in which the principle of solidarity can be violated. A current example is the global financial and economic crisis triggered by the cumulative effect of years of irresponsible financial manipulations by bank executives and equally irresponsible consumerism by many others. But there is only one remedy, and it is to embark on a transition from unregulated power (such as patriarchy) to some form of democratically structured solidarity with appropriate checks and balances. And this is also the one and only path toward sustainability. The fact that solidarity and sustainability are like two sides of the same coin, has been discussed extensively in this journal. The following list is a sample of recent additions to scholarly research and various initiatives on human solidarity:
For a more comprehensive list of links on solidarity and subsidiarity, click here.
The following is a digest on recent advances toward a culture of solidarity:
Solidarity in Human Relations
Solidarity is a commitment to pro-active improvement of human relations. For the most fundamental pillar of solidarity, see the May 2005 issue on cross-gender solidarity. For the most fundamental barrier to solidarity, see the June 2005 issue on the phallic syndrome. Solidarity in human relations is a norm that applies at all levels worldwide. Solidarity starts at the level of each family and each locality, and from there extends to the global level. There are online resources the principle of solidarity (google them up!).
Solidarity and Subsidiarity
The principle of subsidiarity basically states that decisions should not be over-centralized to the point of depriving localities of authority to make decisions to resolve local issues. Conversely, it also means that decisions should not be over-decentralized to the point of empowering local authorities to make decisions about issues that transcend their localities. Generally speaking, the best practice is to delegate authority to the lowest level at which the decision can best be made. See the July 2005 issue, section on solidarity and subsidiarity, and the December 2005 issue on solidarity, subsidiarity, and sustainability.
Solidarity and Democracy
Solidarity without democracy becomes inoperative. Democracy without solidarity degenerates in political corruption. See the November 2008 issue, section on democracy and sustainable development, and the October 2009 issue, section on socioeconomic democracy and the sociopolitical context for sustainable development. Socioeconomic Democracy is a concrete proposal to foster democracy based on solidarity. Minimum universal incomes and maximum wealth thresholds can support distributive justice, close the rich-poor gap, and provide incentives for innovation and adaptation to changing needs.
Solidarity and Globalization
Globalization has enabled large corporations to manipulate international trade and take advantage of low salaries in poor nations to inflate profits at the expense of increasing pollution-inducing air and surface transportation. It has also facilitated migration of people seeking jobs. This is a mixed blessing, as migrants contribute to enhance cultural exchange and diversity and send money home but induce "brain drain" and deprive those at home from their presence and services. See the October 2007 issue, section on globalization, egalization, and cycles of humiliation. See also the October 2008 issue, section on cultural issues in globalization.
Solidarity and Integral Human Development
A committed mindset of solidarity is an essential ingredient of IHD. This includes solidarity in all dimensions: gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion. It also includes solidarity at all levels: local, national, regional, global. Individually, a human person cannot find h**self unless he or she gives h**self to others. This is not just a matter of giving away some of what you have. It is a matter of sharing with others what you are. Socially, a prevalence of solidarity is the best way to enhance IHD opportunities by mitigating the excesses of patriarchy and domination
Sustainable Development Communications Network (SDCN). "The Sustainable Development Communications Network (SDCN) is a group of leading civil society organizations seeking to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development through broader, integrated information and communications about what we know."
For a more comprehensive list of links on sustainability and sustainable development, click here.
Basic definitions of sustainability and sustainable development:
"Sustainability, in a broad sense, is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources."
The term "sustainable development" continues to be problematic. Some interpret it as meaning "sustainable growth" in population and material consumption, which is a mathematical impossibility in the long term. A much better interpretation, and one that is mathematically feasible, is to envision sustainable development as a mix of sustainable consumption and human development -- there are no limits to human solidarity, and there are no limits to human maturity and wisdom. That "sustainable growth" is a Gordian knot is succinctly stated by Fey and Lam:
"The two main characteristics of The Ecocosm Paradox are:
"If human consumption growth continues, the planetary life support system will be disabled and humanity will itself become endangered.
"If consumption growth is stopped, the viability of the world's economic and financial systems will be threatened, and the stability of governments and society will deteriorate.
"This paradox is best represented by a diagram showing the major system feedback loops that perpetuate it:
Both population and per capita consumption have positive feedback loops that force them to grow. Population growth is driven by a natural reproduction loop (upper right) and a biotechnology loop that extends life expectancy (middle right). Per capita consumption growth is caused by technology loops (middle left) reinforced by world economics and government action loops (far left). These major loops arise in our society from human needs and motivations (bottom). Environmental collapse, resource exhaustion, and toxic pollution constraints may create negative loops that will finally stop the growth (small loops in the very middle)."
The following is a digest on recent advances toward a culture of sustainability:
Consumerism and Sustainability
The level of awareness about the impossibility to abuse natural resources indefinitely is increasing. However, the recognition that cultural change (i.e., change in human behavior) will be required to steer human civilization toward a sustainable future has yet to crystallize. There are basically two strategies to resolve the sustainability paradox: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation can buy time, but will not be enough in the long term. A significant degree of adaptation (cultural change) will be required to reverse the unsustainable exponential growth in the combined growth of population and consumption per capita. False hopes about new technologies getting humanity off the hook only serve to reinforce the futility of denial. Cultural change is the name of the game.
Population Growth and Sustainability
Since the mid-20th century, in both developed and developing countries, energy consumption has been increasing much faster than population (see time series data in TWAS 2008, page 14). Therefore, while population growth is part of the problem, consumption growth is by far the greatest part of the problem. Here again, cultural change is the name of the game. See the November 2005 issue on population and consumption, the May 2008 issue on marriage and population growth, and the December 2008 issue on consumption growth and population growth.
Solidarity and Sustainability
Sustainability is unfeasible without solidarity. See the September 2005 issue on solidarity and sustainability, the October 2005 issue on solidarity-sustainability symbiosis, and the January 2006 issue on the synthesis of solidarity and sustainability.
Some issues of sustainability can be resolved locally or at the national level. But the most critical issues, such as climate change, require global solutions guided by global management. It is hoped that, at the forthcoming meeting in Copenhagen, the leaders of nations (and, in particular, the leaders of the First World nations) will stop messing around and come up with ways to defuse the time bomb.
It is hard to imagine IHD happening in the context of an unsustainable human community. This is the reason that fostering a culture of sustainability is so critical. Furthermore, since sustainability and sustainable development cannot happen without a foundation of solidarity, it is clear that fostering a culture of solidarity is equally critical. And solidarity that is not supported by democracy is unfeasible, so democracy with checks and balances (i.e., subsidiarity) is also required at all levels, including democratic global governance.
Technology is a double edge sword. Technology can contribute to the progress of humanity when it contributes to IHD. For instance, ICT has provided new horizons for global education that never existed before. But technology can also be detrimental to IHD when it is driven by short term profit incentives alone. For instance, a significant fraction of internet bandwidth is consumed by pornographic traffic, which is very profitable but has a negative value from the perspective of IHD.
Proper Roles of Technology
There are two proper roles for technology: to help meet legitimate human needs, and to help humans take good care of the human habitat. Nothing wrong with profit as long as it is not inflated at the expense of the two fundamental goals.
Role of Technology is not to Exacerbate Consumerism
Technology can offer many contributions to sustainable development, but inducing further growth in consumerism is not one of them. It is time for emission-generating traffic congestions and polluting gas stations to mercifully disappear from the face of the earth. Excessive air and sea cargo traffic induced by unnecessarily long supply chains should be reduced as much as possible, and the way to do it is to distribute the supply of goods and services so as to shorten supply chains. Peak oil will take care of that in due time. The ubiquitous cell phones, and other similar widgets, decrease quality of life by reinforcing the tendency to seek gratification in externals rather than the inner life. The jury is still out regarding the health hazard created by the radiations emitted by these electronic "marvels."
The Management of Technology
The current idol of technology management, especially during the research and development phases, is "time to market." This means, among other things, cutting corners on quality and performance as required by ISO-9000 (quality management), ISO-14000 (environmental management), ISO-26000 (social responsibility), and other similar standards. Time to market is to be minimized, even if it means selling garbage to consumers; for this is the way to maximize profits one quarter at a time. Honest professionals who have the audacity to resist this insanity are fired because they "don't want to work."
The Rise and Fall of Fossil Fuels
The end of humanity's dependence on fossil fuels as a source of energy (also known as "peak oil") is a mathematical certainty. The precise timing is uncertain, but it will happen during this century. More drilling (and/or improved drilling technologies) may buy some time, but not much; and even if more reserves are found, continued reliance on fossil fuels is not sustainable due to the ecological damage they cause. For a reasonable scenario about the transition from oil dependency to oil independence, see Life After the Oil Crash.
In anticipation of the "peak oil" turning point, both new technologies and new disciplines are emerging. For instance: "Industrial Ecology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the sustainable combination of environment, economy and technology. The central idea is the analogy between natural and socio-technical systems. The word 'industrial' does not only refer to industrial complexes but more generally to how humans use natural resources in the production of goods and services. Ecology refers to the concept that our industrial systems should incorporate principles exhibited within natural ecosystems." Industrial Ecology, Wikipedia, 2009. See also the Journal of Industrial Ecology (since 1997), the International Society for Industrial Ecology (since 2001), and the
Progress in Industrial Ecology journal (since 2004).
Horizons of Renewable Energy Technologies
In the long term, solar energy is the future. "The United States [and the entire world] currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out. Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses." Renewable Energy Technology News, Information, and Resources, Renewable Energy World.
Horizons of Environmental Protection Technologies
Environmental protection technologies include water & wastewater treatment, sewage treatment, emissions control, and proper disposal of toxic wastes. Engineering schools are training a new generation of "environmental engineers" to deal with the physical, chemical, and biological issues; but inclusion of the humanities and social sciences in engineering programs is still lagging. Social responsibility awareness does not require a large number of courses that would dilute the engineering curriculum. A one hour seminar per week may be sufficient. Just make sure that engineering graduates do not graduate with delusions about technology being the solution to all human problems.
Technology and Integral Human Development
IHD requires a reasonable appreciation for technology: what it can do, what it cannot do, the associated risks to human health and the health of the human habitat. This should be an important theme in education for sustainable development. Transfer of technologies from developed to developing countries seldom works for the benefit of either the giver or the receiver. Experience confirms that it is much better to enable people in the developing countries to produce local technologies applicable to their needs. Keep in mind the story about the Amazonian people who had "no fishhooks".
Technology Management and Integral Human Development
The management of technology for sustainable development should become less driven by short term profits and more drive by human needs. This may require a reformulation of incentives, such as using the so-called "triple bottom line" (people, planet, profit) evaluation method. It may require stricter adherence to ISO-9000 and other quality management standards. Working under such incentives would contribute significantly to the IHD of both managers and workers. Even users (customers) might benefit: experiencing the difference between junk and quality products might motivate them to pursue their own IHD so that they in turn can be of service to society.
The following is an annotated listing of recent publications about developing and managing technology for sustainable development. For additional links click here.
Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology, Barney L. Capehart (Editor), CRC, 2007, 1936 pages. "Using limited resources in sustainable ways, energy engineers and technologists have made people's lives comfortable and affordable with efficient and cost-effective technology, from air conditioners to waste fuels. But to accommodate the expanding world population, the global supply of energy has been increasingly strained. Energy efficiency, energy conservation through energy management, and the use of renewable energy sources are three of the major strategies that can provide the energy and energy services for the world's population and economy."
Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, NAS USA, 2009: "The Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability provides a forum for sharing views, information, and analyses related to sustainability. Members of the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability include senior decision-makers from the U.S. government, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations who are in a position to play a strong role in promoting sustainability." The last meeting of the roundtable took place 24-25 September 2009. The next meeting is scheduled for 5-7 May 2010.
List of Emerging Technologies, Wikipedia, 2009: This interesting article provides tabulations of emerging technologies, including energy technologies. For each emerging technology, the following are identified: technology name, current development status, potentially marginalized technologies, and potential applications
Renewable Energy, Wikipedia, 2009: "Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewable sources, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning. Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% of global energy consumption and 15% of global electricity generation."
Environmental Technology, Wikipedia, 2009: "Environmental technology (abbreviated as envirotech) or green technology (abbreviated as greentech) or clean technology (abbreviated as cleantech) is the application of the environmental science to conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement. Sustainable development is the core of environmental technologies. When applying sustainable development as a solution for environmental issues, the solutions need to be socially equitable, economically viable, and environmentally sound."
Sustainable Design, Wikipedia, 2009: "Sustainable design (also called environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally-conscious design, etc) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. The intention of sustainable design is to "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design". Manifestations of sustainable designs require no non-renewable resources, impact on the environment minimally, and relate people with the natural environment."
Sustainable Technologies, Wikipedia, 2009: "Sustainable technologies use less energy, fewer limited resources, do not deplete natural resources, do not directly or indirectly pollute the environment, and can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life. There is a significant overlap with appropriate technology, which emphasizes the suitability of technology to the context, in particular considering the needs of people in developing countries. However, the most appropriate technology may not be the most sustainable one; and a sustainable technology may have high cost or maintenance requirements that make it unsuitable as an "appropriate technology," as that term is commonly used."
Technological innovation fostering sustainable development, Cécile Patris, Gérard Valenduc, Françoise Warrant, Work & Technology Research Centre, Fondation Travail-Université, Namur, Belgium. "The purpose of this research project is to study under what conditions technological
innovation can foster and promote sustainable development. It considers all forms of technological innovations that are potentially conducive to sustainable development: process innovations, product innovations, organisational innovations, market innovations. It also looks at the entire chain of innovation and gives particular attention to the existence of many innovation schemes."
International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, Intellect Ltd, UK. "The International Journal of Technology Management & Sustainable Development (IJTMSD) is a refereed multidisciplinary journal dedicated to publishing high quality, original and research-based papers addressing policy issues arising from the relationship between technology and development. In its aim to respond to the growing awareness of the need to understand sustainable development in terms of its underlying dynamics, IJTMSD draws on a whole niche area of issues in the relationship between emerging knowledge markets, technological management and sustainable development, and seeks to promote discussion of these in the context of globalisation trends, environmental sustainability and the challenge of world poverty."
International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, Scribd: "The International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development supports new philosophies on technology and development, their relationship to globalisation, and the problems of world poverty and environmental degradation. The journal explores global, social, economic and environmental conditions in relation to shifts in technology and market paradigms."
TechCast: A Virtual Think Tank Tracking the Technology Revolution, TechCast: "People everywhere sense the world is passing through a technology revolution, but they lack reliable information. TechCast scans the literature and pools the knowledge of 100 experts to forecast breakthroughs in all fields. Results are automatically distributed over the site to corporations, governments, and the public - anywhere in the world, on any prominent technology, in real time."
World Technology Network (WTN), WTN: "The World Technology Network (WTN) is a global meeting ground, a virtual think tank, and an elite club whose members are all focused on the business and science of bringing important emerging technologies of all types (from biotech to new materials, from IT to new energy sources) into reality. The WTN's membership is comprised of approximately 1000 members from more than 60 countries, judged by their peers to be the most innovative in the technology world."
Virtual Library for Technology Assessment, Institute of Technology Assessment: "Technology Assessment (TA) investigates the use of new technologies within their societal context. Analyses provide the basis for developing technological and organisational design alternatives and regulatory measures which may be required. The overall aim is to foster a balanced development of society and the environment, which maximizes societal benefits from technological progress while avoiding negative impacts. TA is always interdisciplinary, often transdisciplinary."
International Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED), IASTED: "The International Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting economic and cultural advancement. Established in 1977, IASTED organizes multidisciplinary conferences for academics and professionals, mainly in the fields of engineering, science, and education. IASTED holds conferences and courses in both industrialized and developing nations."
Climate Technology Initiative (CTI), CTI: "The Climate Technology Initiative (CTI) is a multilateral initiative, operating as an Implementing Agreement under the International Energy Agency (IEA). Its mission is to bring countries together to foster international co-operation in the accelerated development and diffusion of climate-friendly and environmentally sound technologies and practices."
Renewable Energy Technology News, Information, and Resources, Renewable Energy World: "The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out. Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses."
For a progress report on the analysis and synthesis of the responses for Survey Versions 0 to 1.7, as well as the updated archive to the survey forms, databases, and reports, see the annex to this front page. A grand total of 1004 responses were received during 2009. All the feedback contained in the 1004 responses has yet to be fully digested. The plan is to post the final report for this initial phase by the end of this year, and start on the second phase (Survey Version 2.0) early next year.
The tripod of prayer, study, and action is a basic ingredient in the life of any person who wants to pursue, and help others pursue, integral human development. It is an essential ingredient in those who hope to attain the abundant life (John 10:10) which is, in one way or another, promised by God in all religious traditions.
Prayer is the expression the person’s basic commitment of his or her life to living out the implication of faith in God and the divine love for humanity. It also refers to the person’s awareness of the need of an active life of worship, both in private and in public. Human beings simply cannot function without living in communion with God and other humans.
Study and reflection refers to the need for some real intellectual effort on the part of the person in order to keep his or her human life alert and growing. This should include reading and meditating on the sacred scriptures (e.g., the Bible, the Koran, etc.), keeping informed about current social issues, and seeking courses or competent guidance to grow in skills and wisdom.
Action is the third indispensable leg of the tripod. It entails a deliberate personal commitment to do good to others. This means a commitment to be of service to other people -- in the family, in the workplace, and in the various communities that constitute the social environment of each person. This service includes encouraging those communities to be of service to other communities.
The process of sustainable human development for the human family requires the support of this tripod of prayer, study, and action. The current financial crisis has made it abundantly clear that we are all in the same boat. The tripod assures a solid foundation for both integral personal development and integral social development.
Study the feedback loops. At what point(s) in the loops can you become active in fostering sustainable development?
What about in your own family?
Start at home, fully sharing the gift of love and the gift of life.
Family life is the pillar of both integral personal development and integral social development. It is also the pillar for every conceivable dimension of sustainable development. The inner fire that will enable you to keep going is the one that is lighted in the womb of your family. Do you want to work for sustainable development? Start at home, fostering solidarity and sustainability in your family.
Then, other opportunities will start coming your way, and you can respond as a family!
Without the support of your family, what can you do?
Gender equity is a "sign of the times." Gender inequities are universally rooted in the utter misconception (the so-called "phallic syndrome") that men are superior to women, and lead to incalculable forms of physical and psychological gender violence. It follows, that gender inequities constitute a huge obstacle to human solidarity and sustainable development. It is imperative to overcome, sooner rather than later, gender inequities in both secular and religious institutions, because human development stagnates in the absence of gender balance, and this cannot possibly be what God desires.
Visualization Barack & Michelle Obama
Unity in diversity enriches both the individual and the community, and so does diversity in unity. Unity in uniformity enriches neither the individual nor the community, and forced uniformity never leads to unity of hearts. In fact, forced uniformity leads to a fossilization of human relations that eventually corrupts unity and brings about tensions and even violence. For neither individuals nor communities can stay healthy (let alone happy) when confined to any form of straitjacket. Both human development and community development wither when constrained by forced uniformities. It follows that unity in uniformity makes sustainable development impossible. But sustainable development flourishes when unity and diversity enhance each other, thus enabling humanity to forge ahead along the path of peace and justice.
Ethnic World Collage
Image created using Wordle
EARTH SYSTEM GOVERNANCE "Earth System Governance: People, Places, and the Planet." 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. Amsterdam, 2-4 December 2009. Launch event of the Earth System Governance Project, a new ten-year research programme under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). For more information, visit the conference website or contact Frank Biermann.
PARLIAMENT OF THE
WORLD'S RELIGIONS Parliament of the World's Religions, 3-9 December 2009, Melbourne, Australia. Key topics: Healing the Earth with Care and Concern, Reconciling with Indigenous Peoples, Overcoming Poverty in a Patriarchal World, Securing Food and Water for all People, Building Peace in the Pursuit of Justice, Creating Social Cohesion in Village and City, Sharing Wisdom in the Search for Inner Peace. For more info: PWR2009.
ROAD TO NUCLEAR ZERO AND ARMS CONTROL Sponsored by the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts (ISODARCO), Università di Roma "Tor Vergata," Rome, Italy. Location: Andalo (Trento). Dates: 10-17 January 2010. The 2010 ISODARCO Winter School will be devoted to the practical steps to be implemented to arrive to a nuclear-weapon free world, with emphasis on the potential role for arms control. Apply on-line at the ISODARCO web site or download an application form from the same location. Applications should arrive not later than 16 November 2009 and should be addressed to the Director of the School, Prof. Carlo Schaerf
NEW GREEN ECONOMY The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) is pleased to request your participation at the 10th National Conference for Science, Policy and the Environment: The New Green Economy: Aligning Science, Education, Markets and Systems for Sustainability to be held January 20-22, 2010 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Please plan to join NCSE in a large interactive conference to develop and advance science-based solutions for the creation of a “green print” to achieve a sustainable, new green economy. See the conference website. Questions? Contact the NCSE Green Economy Conference
ENERGY TRANSITIONS Energy transitions in an interdependent world. Sponsored by the Science & Technology Policy Research Group, University of Sussex. The conference will be held at the University of Sussex, near Brighton, on the 25th and 26th February 2010. Further details including the full conference call and application guidelines are available from the conference web site. Point of contact: Lee Stapleton.
GOING GLOBAL The UK's International Education Conference, Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Central London, 24-26 March, 2010. This year's conference theme is "World Potential: Making Education Meet the Challenfe." Is the vision of a truly international education system under threat? In the face of the worst recession in decades are countries becoming increasingly isolationist? If so, what are the implications for international education? How is the global mobility of staff and students being affected and what should they do? And how does it impact the sharing of knowledge and ideas worldwide? Visit the conference website and/or contact the British Council.
EVO-ENVIRONMENT EvoEnvironment 2, an event of the EvoApplications Conference is devoted to the use of nature inspired methods for environmental issues. Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, 7th - 9th April 2010. Further details including the full conference call and application guidelines are available from the EvoStar 2010 Web Site. Points of contact: Marc Ebner, University of Tuebingen, Germany, and Neil Urquhart, Edinburgh Napier University, UK.
NEW ECONOMIC THINKING Inaugural conference of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). Theme: "The Economics of Crisis and the Crisis in Economics: Implications for Economic Theory and Regulatory Policy." April 8th to April 11th, 2010, Kings College, University of Cambridge, UK. With the participation of leading economists and policymakers including Nobel Laureates George Akerlof, Sir James Mirrlees, A. Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz. Contact: Robert Johnson.
GLOBAL HEALTH The World's Leading Idea Incubator For Global Health Innovation A Conference Presented Annually by Unite For Sight. Saturday, April 17 - Sunday, April 18, 2010. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The Global Health & Innovation Summit convenes more than 2,200 participants from 55 countries. The Summit challenges students, professionals, educators, doctors, scientists, lawyers, universities, corporations, nonprofits, and others, to develop innovative, effective solutions to achieve global goals. Visit the conference web site for registration and contact information.
APPLIED ENERGY International Conference on Applied Energy (ICAE2010). Sponsored by the University of Singapore. Theme: "Energy Solutions for a Sustainable World." 21-23 April 2010, Singapore. Call for papers and other conference information: ICAE 2010 Web Site. Point of contact: ICAE 2010.
GLOBAL LANDSCAPES The interdisciplinary conference “Global Landscapes: Ethics, Entrepreneurship and Organizations in an Era of Global Economic and Financial Crisis” will assemble scholars, educators, graduate and undergraduate students, and community members interested in ethics, entrepreneurship, and organizations. 22-23 April 2010, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA. Visit the Conference Web Site. Point of contact: Conference Chair.
SELF-DETERMINATION The 4th International Conference on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) will be held at Ghent University (Belgium), May 13-16, 2010. More information about the conference is provided in the SDT Conference Web Site, including guidelines for papers and posters submissions. Point of contact: Maarten Vansteenkiste.
JEAN PIAGET SOCIETY Join social scientists and educators from around the world as they explore new and compelling research on the development of self-regulation and autonomy. 40th Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society. Theme: "Self-Regulation and Autonomy: Exploring Social, Developmental, and Educational Currents of Human Conduct." St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 3-5 June 2010. For more details see the conference website. Point of contact: Frederick Grouzet.
URBAN & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES & POLICIES First International Congress on Urban and Environmental Issues and Policies, 3-5 June 2010, Trabzon, Turkey. The aim of the congress is to give opportunity to approach urban and environmental issues and policies in terms of social sciences (politics, economics, management, law, sociology, etc.). For more information visit the congress website and/or contact the secretariat: Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Administrative and Economical Sciences, Department of Public Administration, Trabzon, Turkey, INTERCONURBEN.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FOOD & AGRICULTURE International Symposium: Innovation and Sustainable Development in Food & Agriculture (June 28-July 1, 2010, Montpellier, France). Theme: "Facing the crisis and growing uncertainties, can science and societies reinvent agricultural and food systems to achieve sustainability?" Sponsored by CIRAD. For more information: ISDA 2010 Web Site. Email: ISDA 2010.
SOCIOLOGY CONGRESS International Sociological Association (ISA) World Congress of Sociology, 11-17 July 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden. Session on "Peace, Conflict, and Climate Change" currently scheduled for Wednesday 14 July 2010. See the conference web site for more details or contact the conference chair, Hans Joas, Universität Erfurt, Germany.
SYSTEM DYNAMICS 2010 International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Seoul, Korea, July 25 - 29, 2010. The main theme will be "Beyond the Crisis: Greening Economy, Society and Future," reflecting global concerns about the environment and economic problems. Conference Chair: Man-Hyung Lee, Chungbuk National University. Points of contact: Program Chair or Seoul Conference Team.
SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION NCSR 2010: The 20th Nordic Conference in Sociology of Religion. August 4 - 6, 2010 at University of Agder Kristiansand, Norway. Theme: "Multi-Religious Societies: Polarization, Co-existence, Indifference." Visit the conference website or contact Professor Pål Repstad, University of Agder, Norway.
ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS ISEE 2010. This is the 11th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE). Theme: "Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crisis." To take place in Oldenburg and Bremen, Germany, 22 - 25 August 2010. For more information visit the conference web site. A presentation containing general information about the conference can be downloaded here. The point of contact is Prof. Bernd Siebenhüner, Oldenburg University.
EUROPEAN POPULATION CONFERENCE The European Association for Population Studies invites contributions to the European Population Conference to be held in Vienna, 1-4 September 2010. The EPC 2010 is a general scientific conference where the theme Population and Environment will receive special attention.
For questions concerning the meeting please contact EAPS, the European Association for Population Studies.
STUDY OF THE COMMONS The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) has announced its 13th biennial conference. The conference will be hosted by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES). It will take place in Hyderabad, India, 10 - 14th January 2011. To visit the IASCP web site, click here. A PDF file containing general information about the conference can be downloaded here. For more information contact IASC executive director, Jim Robson.
PEACE CONVOCATION The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) will be the Harvest Festival of the Decade to Overcome Violence and at the same time a planting season for fresh initiatives. May 2011, Kingston, Jamaica. Sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC). Visit the IEPC web site, which provides points of contact worldwide.
CALL FOR PAPERS SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). PNAS has launched a new section of the journal dedicated to sustainability science, an emerging field of research dealing with the interactions between natural and social systems, and with how those interactions affect the challenge of sustainability: meeting the needs of present and future generations while substantially reducing poverty and conserving the planet’s life support systems. PNAS seeks original research contributions for this new section on both the fundamental character of interactions among humans, their technologies, and the environment, and on the use of such knowledge to advance sustainability goals relevant to water, food, energy, health, habitation, mobility, and ecosystem services. PNAS welcomes outstanding sustainability science papers addressing spatial scales from the global to the local and drawing on a wide range of disciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. For more information, please contact Josiah Armour.
CALL FOR PAPERS RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY This issue of Feminist Review, edited by Lyn Thomas and Avtar Brah, will explore a range of religious and spiritual practices through the lens of gender, and will encompass both theoretical and empirical approaches. We hope to engage with feminism’s long history of critique of the patriarchal nature of world religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and more recent problematisations of these approaches in light of feminism’s relationship to the Enlightenment and to colonialism. Recent work on the gendering of secularisation theories and on women’s practice of faith and spirituality has complicated and nuanced feminist approaches to religion; this issue will address these questions, while attempting to broaden the debate beyond the binary oppositions and alignments of religion (and most notably Islam) with tradition and ‘backwardness’, and of feminisms with modernity and secularism. Submissions for the issue are welcomed from now until February 28th, 2010. Point of contact: Dr Lyn Thomas.
INTERNATIONAL ECUMENICAL PEACE CONVOCATION
Kingston, Jamaica, will be the host city for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in May 2011. The convocation is sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and will meet under the theme "Glory to God and peace on earth". It will be the culmination of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV), which has sought to network and bring attention to the peacemaking initiatives of its various member churches. Read the convocation announcement.
Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels
NAP USA 2008
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships
NAP USA 2009
Policy Innovations is the Carnegie Council's online magazine for a fairer globalization. "Building a fairer global economy starts with protecting fundamental freedoms, and moves toward maximizing human fulfillment, potential, and innovation. This process must be guided by an ethical framework: innovations + ethics = better globalization."
"The Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) is an information and analysis tool on global climate change developed by the World Resources Institute. CAIT provides a comprehensive and comparable database of greenhouse gas emissions data (including all major sources and sinks) and other climate-relevant indicators. CAIT can be used to analyze a wide range of climate-related data questions and to help support future policy decisions made under the Climate Convention and in other fora."
Both subscribers and nonsubscribers are cordially invited to submit a paper to be considered for publication in the PelicanWeb Journal of Sustainable Development as an "invited paper." It should be related to the journal's theme about solidarity, sustainability, and nonviolence as the three pillars of sustainable development. In particular, the current focus is on education for sustainable development. Some suggested themes:
Successful initiatives to foster solidarity, sustainability, and nonviolence
Gender equality as a positive factor for sustainable development
Removal of obstacles for progress toward any or all the UN MDGs
Management of technologies for social and environmental justice
How to foster human development via spirituality and the inner journey
How to foster human and social development via acts of solidarity
How to improve systems of governance via checks and balances
How to evolve collectively toward a culture of sustainability
Invited papers will be published in a separate web page. If you have friends who could submit a good paper, please invite them to do so.