Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Community of Creation
"Laudes Creaturarum" ("Praise of the Creatures")
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.
St. Francis of Assisi, ca. 1224
Understanding the Links between Ecology, Gender, and Poverty
Motivated by agricultural devastation in her home country of India, Vandana Shiva became one of the world’s most influential and highly acclaimed environmental and antiglobalization activists. Her groundbreaking research has exposed the destructive effects of monocultures and commercial agriculture and revealed the links between ecology, gender, and poverty.
In The Vandana Shiva Reader, Shiva assembles her most influential writings, combining trenchant critiques of the corporate monopolization of agriculture with a powerful defense of biodiversity and food democracy. Containing up-to-date data and a foreword by Wendell Berry, this essential collection demonstrates the full range of Shiva’s research and activism, from her condemnation of commercial seed technology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the international agriculture industry’s dependence on fossil fuels, to her tireless documentation of the extensive human costs of ecological deterioration.
This important volume illuminates Shiva’s profound understanding of both the perils and potential of our interconnected world and calls on citizens of all nations to renew their commitment to love and care for soil, seeds, and people.
This report examines the latest progress towards achieving the MDGs. It reaffirms that the MDGs have made a profound difference in people’s lives. Global poverty has been halved five years ahead of the 2015 timeframe. Ninety per cent of children in developing regions now enjoy primary education, and disparities between boys and girls in enrolment have narrowed. Remarkable gains have also been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, along with improvements in all health indicators. The likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half over the last two decades. That means that about 17,000 children are saved every day. The target of halving the proportion of people who lack access to improved sources of water was also met.
The concerted efforts of national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector have helped expand hope and opportunity for people around the world. But more needs to be done to accelerate progress. We need bolder and focused action where significant gaps and disparities exist.
Member States are now fully engaged in discussions to define Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will serve as the core of a universal post-2015 development agenda. Our efforts to achieve the MDGs are a critical building block towards establishing a stable foundation for our development efforts beyond 2015.
The MDG-1 target has been met, poverty rates have been halved between 1990 and 2010, but 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty.
Despite impressive strides forward at the start of the decade, progress in reducing the number of children out of school has slackened considerably.
Women are assuming more power in the world’s parliaments, boosted by quota systems.
Despite substantial progress, the world is still falling short of the MDG child mortality target.
Much more still needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality. Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates.
There are still too many new cases of HIV infection.
Millions of hectares of forest are lost every year, threatening this valuable asset. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue their upward trend.
Official development assistance is now at its highest level, reversing the decline of the previous two years.
The 2014 Human Development Report - "Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience" provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience.
"Persistent vulnerability threatens human development, and unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable.
"According to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day. However, the latest estimates of the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index reveal that almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And although poverty is declining overall, almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur.
"By addressing vulnerabilities, all people may share in development progress, and human development will become increasingly equitable and sustainable," stated UNDP Administrator Helen Clark today.
"The 2014 Human Development Report comes at a critical time, as attention turns to the creation of a new development agenda following the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
"Zeroing in on what holds back progress, the report holds that as crises spread ever faster and further, it is critical to understand vulnerability in order to secure gains and sustain progress.
"It points to a slowdown in human development growth across all regions, as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). It notes that threats such as financial crises, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and violent conflict significantly impede progress.
"Reducing both poverty and people's vulnerability to falling into poverty must be a central objective of the post-2015 agenda," the Report states. "Eliminating extreme poverty is not just about 'getting to zero'; it is also about staying there."
"A human development lens on who is vulnerable and why. "Reducing vulnerability is a key ingredient in any agenda for improving human development," writes Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, in a contribution to the Report. "[We] need to approach it from a broad systemic perspective."
"The 2014 Report takes such an approach, using a human development lens to take a fresh look at vulnerability as an overlapping and mutually reinforcing set of risks. It explores structural vulnerabilities - those that have persisted and compounded over time as a result of discrimination and institutional failings, hurting groups such as the poor, women, migrants, people living with disabilities, indigenous groups and older people. For instance, 80 percent of the world's elderly lack social protection, with large numbers of older people also poor and disabled.
"The Report also introduces the idea of life cycle vulnerabilities, the sensitive points in life where shocks can have greater impact. They include the first 1,000 days of life, and the transitions from school to work, and from work to retirement.
"Capabilities accumulate over an individual's lifetime and have to be nurtured and maintained; otherwise they can stagnate and even decline," it warns. "Life capabilities are affected by investments made in preceding stages of life, and there can be long-term consequences of exposure to short-term shocks."
"For example, in one study cited by the Report, poor children in Ecuador were shown to be already at a vocabulary disadvantage by the age of six. Timely interventions-such as investments in early childhood development-are therefore critical, the Report states.
The reward of working for a nonprofit or social justice organization is truly intangible. With the rapid proliferation of such organizations, it is understandable that the market has become increasingly competitive, and the smallest edge would be beneficial. As these organizations grow and take on more responsibilities, it is necessary to plan for the future as well. Performing a comprehensive SWOT analysis allows for the exploration of internal strengths and weaknesses and their relation to external opportunities and threats. Furthermore, a SWOT analysis provides the analytical template necessary to foster thought about the direction the company or organization is going, and the steps necessary to get there.
SWOT analysis can be especially useful to nonprofits and social justice organizations by raising awareness of what their current state is. Conducting a SWOT analysis can allow a company to step back and observe what their company is strong at, struggling in, and how to proceed going forward. SWOT promotes future growth by asking the important questions that might not be addressed in the business of daily life. What strengths or specialties should be expanded? Are there organizational and technological improvements that can be implemented? What characteristics contribute to our successful outreach? Are there any apparent mistakes to impede future growth? As evident, it is necessary to address both the internal and external factors in order to optimize the results of the SWOT. Through SWOT analysis, you can plan the future of your nonprofit or social justice organization and bring maximal results to society.
The SWOT Guide, by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille, includes two templates so you can begin your analysis immediately!
"The sixth annual release of Maplecroft’s Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas has revealed that 31% of global economic output will be based in countries facing ‘high’ or ‘extreme risks’ from climate change by 2025 — a 50% increase on current levels and more than double since the company began researching the issue in 2008."
The 2015 Global Peace Index reveals a divided world, with the most peaceful countries enjoying increasing levels of peace and prosperity, while the least peaceful countries spiral into violence and conflict.
Millennium Institute is developing models that will enable policy makers and planning officials at all levels of governance to understand the interconnectedness of policies designed to achieve the SDGs and test their likely impacts before adopting them. For more information about the model and to preview the demo version contact email@example.com.
"C-ROADS is an award-winning computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It allows for the rapid summation of national greenhouse gas reduction pledges in order to show the long-term impact on our climate." For more information, click
The scale of the global sustainable development challenge is unprecedented. The fight against extreme poverty has made great progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but more than 1 billion people continue to live in extreme poverty. Inequality and social exclusion are widening within most countries. With the world at 7 billion people and current annual GDP of US$70 trillion, human impacts on the environment have already reached dangerous levels. As the world population is estimated to rise to 9 billion by 2050
and global GDP to more than US$200 trillion, the world urgently needs a framework for sustainable development that addresses the challenges of ending poverty, increasing social inclusion, and sustaining the planet.
Under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, and in line with the recently launched High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was announced on August 9, 2012 and will provide global, open and inclusive support to sustainable-development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. The SDSN will work together with United Nations agencies, other international organizations, and the multilateral funding institutions including the World Bank and regional development banks, to mobilize scientific and technical expertise to scale up the magnitude and quality of local, national and global problem solving, helping to identify solutions and highlighting best practices in the design of long-term development pathways.
"A new report issued today by a top-level United Nations knowledge network under the auspices of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lays out an action agenda to support global efforts to achieve sustainable development during the period 2015-2030.
"The post-2015 process is a chance for the global community to work towards a new era in sustainable development," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "The latest report from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the result of a collaboration between top scientists, technologists, businesses, and development specialists, is a critical input to the work we are doing to shape an ambitious and achievable post-2015 agenda." To download the report, click here.