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

Volume 1 - Number 7 - November 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.

Issue Theme

This issue attempts a "reality check" of the process model against objective evidence. There are many forms of objective evidence, including numerical data and verbal descriptions. Most of the extant objective evidence on solidarity and sustainability is descriptive rather than numerical. The data of experience is indispensable. In that the nature of our research pertains to the fundamentals of human nature, wisdom is the final arbiter.

There is ample consensus that exponential growth of both population and consumption, as the world has experienced starting in the early 1900s, is driven by addictions to wealth, power, and honors. These are clear symptoms of a patriarchal mindset, often disguised as the "angel of progress." These addictions constitute a formidable obstacle in the path from patriarchy to solidarity and sustainability.

There is abundant objective evidence that the continued exponential growth of population and consumption has negative impacts on both the quality of human life and the quality of the human habitat. Psychological stress is getting to the point in which even the rich cannot enjoy what they have. Environmental stress is getting to the point in which the stability of geological and atmospheric systems is being affected. Observable symptoms are the frequency of mental depressions and the phenomenon of global warming.

At this early stage of the research, it seems we are getting close to the root cause of our inability to make progress toward solidarity and sustainability. The root cause is patriarchy, i.e., the utter lack of cross-gender solidarity. And, encapsulated within the patriarchal roots, there may be a truth awaiting liberation: the path from patriarchy (and gender inequity) to solidarity and sustainability is the path of renewal for all the patriarchal religions, so that they become egalitarian theocracies and, for the glory of God and the good of humanity, leaders in a new human journey toward global peace, global justice, and the fully integrated development of each human person as imago Dei.

Some empirical data is shown to support each state of the process model, as well as the state transitions. Nothing definitive, but enough to anticipate that objective evidence in support of our working hypothesis will accumulate as we iterate around the main process feedback loop. General awareness is increasing, but overcoming patriarchy will be a long and difficult journey. Everyone can contribute. Some suggestions are given for prayer, study, and action to prepare a better future for humanity and the human habitat.

Table of Contents










This issue attempts a "reality check" of the process model against objective evidence. Figure 1 is a simplified representation of the process model, showing just the four main stages (the patriarchy, solidarity, sustainability, and sustainable development boxes) and the four main transitions (the four arrows representing the "clockwise" dynamics of the feedback loop.









Human Person



Human Habitat




Figure 1 - Process Model for Dynamics of Solidarity and Sustainability

Needless to say, there are situations in which "counter-clockwise" dynamics become dominant. All wars (including terrorism and any other form of social violence) inevitably induce a regression from solidarity back to patriarchy. There are also inner loops between the four stages. For instance, wars may lead to a new solidarity (the USA and Germany after WWII) or may lead to more difficult patriarchal regressions (the USA and the Soviet Union after WWII). Human history frequently shows this pattern: two steps forward, one step backward. But in the long term progress is made, driven by the human need to move forward and grow in truth, freedom, and care [01].

Let's see if we can put together pieces of objective evidence (including, but not limited to, quantitative data) that fits the process model as the human journey continues moving forward. Perhaps, if this process is better understood, some of the social regressions can be prevented or mitigated, and we may eventually start taking three or more steps forward in between backward episodes. We also need to understand how is it that the dynamics of solidarity and sustainability can revert to patriarchal dynamics. These backward steps inevitably happen as a result of one or more of the three patriarchal addictions: wealth accumulation, absolute power and honors, and foolish pride [02].


Figures 2 and 3 show the global growth in population and consumption, 1950-2000. Both curves are growing exponentially. This means they are growing at an increasing rate [03]. It has been estimated that if world population and world consumption keep growing at the current rate, population will exceed 9 billion people and consumption will at least quadruple, to 120 billion dollars or more, by 2050 [04]. The concern here is not so much the accuracy of the estimates as the certainty that continued exponential growth in number of people and material consumption is not sustainable.


Figure 2: Population Growth

Source: UN Common Database,
30 September 2005.


Figure 3: Consumption Growth

Source: UN Common Database,
30 September 2005.

Managing Population Growth

Explosive population growth is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history [05]. Many people, including most international development institutions and feminist organizations, are of the opinion that managing population growth requires the use of condoms and other artificial contraceptives, even selective abortion. This opinion has been reinforced by alluding to the so-called "reproductive rights of women" as well as concerns about the HIV pandemic.

The fact is that such birth control techniques have been available everywhere for a long time, and have been effective to some extent only among the educated in the wealthiest nations. But the widespread use of artificial birth control in the first world has had highly detrimental side effects. It has blurred the vision of marriage and the family as the channel of both the gift of life and the gift of love. It has contributed to sexual promiscuity in adult men and women, and even among teenagers. Not many can resist the temptation to "pleasure without responsibility." Men are notorious for avoiding the responsibilities of fatherhood, and the result is a huge increase in the number of "single mothers." This is patriarchal behavior, pure and simple. This is definitely not cross-gender solidarity [06].

In the poorest countries, the detrimental side effects are the same, with none of the adduced "advantages" in terms of reducing birth rates. It is recognized that sex is the consolation of the poor, but it is a consolation with a very long tail. It may well be that that managing population growth cannot be achieved by a "technological fix." It may well be that natural family planning is a much better option, in terms of limiting pregnancies and avoiding the undesirable side effects of using condoms and other artificial techniques. Needless to say, natural family planning includes abstinence, even among husbands and wives. Such abstinence is not, as some would say, a violation of human rights for either men or women. It is, to be sure, the safest method and one that builds character. And there may be a limit to how many people can live on the planet, but there is no limit to character and human integrity. Managing population growth has nothing to do with fostering irresponsible sex. It has everything to do with building character, integrity, and cross-gender solidarity [06].

Managing Consumption Growth

Managing consumption growth also requires cross-gender solidarity. Some would say that women consume more than men, but this is a gross oversimplification. It may be that women go shopping more often, but it is doubtful that they do so against the wishes of men. In fact, men produce most of what women buy, and consume a good share of what they buy. Besides, if women were busier working in responsible jobs now mostly reserved for men, it is reasonable to think that they would have less time to go shopping. In families where both spouses work, shopping activity (among many other chores) tends to be shared in a more balanced manner.

The addiction to wealth accumulation, and therefore to extravagant consumption, is intrinsic to the patriarchal mindset. Even in very patriarchal societies where only the men can earn the wealth, both men and women can own wealth, and both men and women can become addicted to highly extravagant lifestyles. Many warnings have been issued by scholars and wise people about the dangers of excessive consumption, not only for the ecological health of the planet, but for the health (physical and mental, let alone spiritual) of the consumers themselves [07].

A new discipline, ecological economics [08], has emerged to seek ways to manage consumption growth and ensure that the flows of natural resources through the world economy are sustainable, taking into account the recycling time required for consumed renewable resources to become available again for consumption. In the case of non-renewable resources (such as oil and other fossil fuels), it is clear that there is no such thing as sustainable consumption forever; and, in the case of oil, the well known Hubbert peak oil curve anticipates a decline in the extraction of oil shortly after 2000 [09]. As long as the patriarchal mindset drives business decisions, short term profits will remain the one and only priority, and renewable energy sources will not be developed to the extent required to replace fossil fuels. Nobody knows how things will unfold when we run out of oil, but it is hard to imagine a peaceful transition.


This section provides additional objective evidence about the net negative effect of excessive consumption on human wellbeing [7], [10]. For a number of years, an important analysis priority has been to formulate indicators of human wellbeing that can be compared to the usual measures of economic growth, such as GDP and GWP. There are many indicators of human wellbeing. Some of them are based on measurable data, others on subjective estimates. Some of them attempt to provide indication of general wellbeing, others are focused on specific dimensions of human wellbeing (e.g., income per capita, literacy rates, gender equity, etc.). These indicators should be used with caution, as none of them is free of ambiguities and implicit assumptions.

Figure 4 shows one of them, the Genuine Progress Indicator formulated by Redefining Progress (RP). The contents of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) include:

I. Crime & Family Breakdown
II. Household & Volunteer Work
III. Income Distribution
IV. Resource Depletion
V. Pollution
VI. Long-Term Environmental Damage
VII. Changes in Leisure Time
VIII. Defensive Expenditures
IX. Lifespan of Consumer Durables & Public Infrastructure
X. Dependence on Foreign Assets

Click the link in Note 3 under Figure 4 for a detailed discussion of these ten factors. RP provides the following summary: "The GPI starts with the same personal consumption data the GDP is based on, but then makes some crucial distinctions. It adjusts for certain factors (such as income distribution), adds certain others (such as the value of household work and volunteer work), and subtracts yet others (such as the costs of crime and pollution). Because the GDP and the GPI are both measured in monetary terms, they can be compared on the same scale."


Figure 4 - Economic Growth and Human Development Trends

Note 1: The GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator) is a measure of human progress defined by Redefining Progress. A detailed definition of the GPI, and the calculation method, are available online (free download).

Note 2: Data source is The Genuine Progress Indicator 1950-2002 (2004 Update),
Appendix A, by Jason Venetoulis and Cliff Cobb, Redefining Progress, 2004.

Note 3: Contents of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)

Beyond a certain point, authentic human development stagnates even if material consumption keeps growing.
It may actually deteriorate with excessive material consumption.

When the GDP and the GPI are plotted on the same graph over a number of years (say, 1950 to 2000), the GPI curve clearly shows stagnation of "genuine human progress" even though GDP keeps growing. There are a number of indices of human wellbeing in addition to the GPI [11]. When plotted against material production / consumption growth, they all seem to tell the same story: in the first world at least, we may be consuming too much for our own good. Experience confirms that, beyond the basic needs such as food and housing, meaning and satisfaction in life is not proportional (and may be inversely proportional) to wealth accumulation.

The United Nations, and most scholars and NGOs, are fully aware of this. It is hard to imagine that national governments still lack such awareness. A neurotic fixation persists whereby "economic growth" in the financial sense is the one and only policy-making priority that is politically correct. Thus the rich keep getting richer (financially) and the poor keep getting poorer, because attention remains focused on wealth accumulation and nobody cares about distributive justice. Globalization provides many opportunities for large, financially powerful corporations to keep making billions by paying miserable salaries to workers in the third world and selling their products at high prices in the first world. Even in the richer nations, short term gain continues to be the main driver of business decisions even if nefarious long term repercussions are already visible. With millions of children dying daily of malnutrition and inadequate sanitation, the huge profit margins recently reported by oil companies in the United States [12] borders on the obscene.

But even more disconcerting is the fact that most religious institutions, while preaching against social injustice and offering minimal (and often paternalistic) help to the poor, utterly fail to denounce the addiction to consumption and wealth accumulation. They surely know that "the first step [is] riches, the second honor, the third pride" [02]. They surely know that "from these three steps the evil one leads to all other vices" [02]. And yet, they continue to indulge in expensive church and cathedral buildings, costly liturgical vestments, and costly travel without substantive justification. Financial manipulations are done in secrecy, with no accountability to anyone, except when they have to pay millions to persons -- mostly women and children -- who have been sexually abused; and in many countries they don't even have to make such reparations, because the abused people are too afraid of the clergy and never come forward to dennounce them in public [13].

In brief, the entire fabric of society, including the family, is imprisoned by the patriarchal mindset of quick financial gain, even if this is at the expense of solidarity and sustainability. This includes most government institutions and most religious institutions. Religious institutions contribute to reinforce the prison walls by the exclusion of women from roles of religious governance. A perpetuation of this socio-religious order cannot possibly be for the glory of God and the good of humanity. Indicators can detect trends which are contrary to human progress, but cannot fix them. Both social and religious institutions must work together to reform themselves and remove obstacles to solidarity and sustainability [14].


"Growing consumption can cause major environmental damage. This is becoming especially significant through the emergence of over 1 billion new consumers, people in 17 developing and three transition countries with an aggregate spending capacity, in purchasing power parity terms, to match that of the U.S. Two of their consumption activities have sizeable environmental impacts. The first is a diet based strongly on meat, which, because it is increasingly raised in part on grain, puts pressure on limited irrigation water and international grain supplies. Second, these new consumers possess over one-fifth of the world's cars, a proportion that is rising rapidly. Global CO2 emissions from motor vehicles, of which cars make up 74%, increased during 1990-1997 by 26% and at a rate four times greater than the growth of CO2 emissions overall. It is in the self-interest of new consumer countries, and of the global community, to restrict the environmental impacts of consumption; this restriction is achievable through a number of policy initiatives" [15].

If patriarchal economics tend to ignore the health of human civilization, it is not surprising that the health of the human habitat is also disregarded as a fiction of "green activist" dreamers. But a number of research institutions have formulated indicators to estimate how excessive material consumption correlates with environmental degradation. For example, the WorldWatch Institute's "Living Planet Index" (LPI) is shown in Figure 5. The LPI measures the health of the biosphere in terms of biodiversity; specifically, in terms of the number and abundance of 555 terrestrial, 327 freshwater, and 267 marine species. In Figure 5, the LPI is compared to "World Growth Product" (WGP, similar to the GWP shown in Figure 3; both are the summation of the GDP or GNP for all nations). The LPI fell by about 40% from 1970 to 2000, a period of just 30 years. The LPI is basically an indicator of biosphere health ... and the biosphere is the one and only human habitat! If these trends continue, what will happen in the next 30 years?


Figure 5: Ecological Impact of Population & Consumption

Source 1: State of the World 2004: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society, Linda Starke et al, Norton, NY, 2004, 245 pp.
Source 2: LPI, World Wide Fund, Living Planet Report 2004
Note 1: WGPI = WGP / 10 (trillion dollars divided by ten) and is simply a device to adjust the scale for comparability with LPI.
Note 2: LPI measures the health of the biosphere in terms of the number and abundance of 555 terrestrial, 327 freshwater, and 267 marine species.

The Living Planet Index of biosphere health fell by about 40% from 1970 to 2000, a period of just 30 years ... and the biosphere is the one and only human habitat!

What will happen in the next 30 years?

Many indicators have been formulated to assess sustainability and sustainable development [16]. Basically, all indicators of earth / biosphere / human habitat wellbeing are indicators of sustainability. There are many such indicators at the global, regional, national, and local / community levels. There are sustainability indicators for corporations and other social institutions. Generally speaking, sustainability indices are more precisely defined than indices of human wellbeing, but many ambiguities remain, and none of them provides an absolute measurement.

Nevertheless, there are unmistakable signs, such as global warming, that the human habitat has been significantly damaged by use and abuse. This is the consequence of the patriarchal mindset of quick financial gain; a mindset where neither people nor the planet matter. The United Nations, some think tanks, and some governments are coming around to face the music. Most religious institutions perpetuate the patriarchal mindset by the exclusion of women from roles of religious governance. In order to avoid facing the music, they use literalist interpretations of specific texts of the sacred scriptures (without considering the entire body of sacred texts), protest that they are not authorized by God to include women in religious governance, and suppress dialogue on this critical issue. But we know that the good of humanity is the cause of God, and we know that good stewardship of creation is indispensable for the good of humanity. Therefore, a perpetuation of the patriarchal socio-religious order cannot possibly be the will of God, here and now. It follows, that both social and religious institutions must work together to reform themselves and remove obstacles to solidarity and sustainability [14].


One of the front page headlines in the Washington Post, 30 October 2005, reads as follows: "A young bride lived long enough to tell authorities that her husband and in-laws had set her on fire for not meeting their dowry demands." [17]. This tragedy didn't take place among in "poorest of the poor" in the slums of Calcutta, or in the "chavelas" that surround Rio de Janeiro, or in some remote village of Sub-Saharan Africa. It happened in a middle class Sikh household in New Delhi. The bride was 19 years old, had been married for 9 months, and was 3 months pregnant. Her husband has a college degree, works for a computer graphics company, and makes a good salary. So this is not a case of very poor, illiterate people, doings things based on primitive thinking. This is a case of patriarchal brutality, pure and simple. It is a case of patriarchal family governance in which the husband has absolute power over his wife.

Domestic violence, and other aberrations of patriarchal family life, does not differ much from social violence (including terrorism) and religious violence (also including terrorism, because there are many forms of terrorism). All forms of violence are rooted in abuse of absolute power and lack of checks and balances. In family life, the lack of male-female balance in authority figures is a sinister prescription for many forms of abuse: husbands abuse wives, who sometimes can retaliate in subtle ways; parents abuse children, who seldom can retaliate; young adults abuse the elderly and infirm, who are at their mercy. Beyond family life, all forms of violence (social and religious) are likewise rooted in the absence of male-female balance [18]. Figure 15 illustrates a significant case of gender imbalance in governance at the national level. It is well known that the situation is similar in corporations and other secular institutions. In religious institutions, it is even worst [19].


Figure 6: Gender Inequity in Governance

Source: United Nations, Statistics Division, Millennium Indicators Database, 12 September 2005

Note 1: MDG 3 = UN Millennium Development Goal 3: Gender Equality

Note 2: MDG 3 Indicator 12 = Percentage of Parliamentary Seats (Single or Lower House only) Occupied by Women

Note 3: Indicator 12 value of 15.9% for 2005 is as of January 2005

The lack of male-female balance makes good governance impossible. This is true in the family, and in both secular and religious institutions; for men and women complement and complete each other in all dimensions of life.

Much human suffering might be avoided if we ever get to the point that 50% of the world's political leaders are women. Progress toward solidarity and sustainability may stagnate as long as political gender balance is lacking. The fact that most religious institutions remain silent on this issue is daunting. Perhaps the problem is that they don't want to preach what they are not practicing. But the solution is not to remain silent. The solution is to open wide the doors of religious governance to women. It is hard to believe that most religious bodies are dragging their feet on this issue. Abbe Pierre, a popular, 93-years old French Roman Catholic priest, recently expressed this concern: "I have never understood why Jean-Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger stated that the Church would never ordain women," he writes. "It is hard to see why, when ideas have evolved so profoundly on the question [of women's equality with men], the Church must remain faithful to this prejudice." [20]. Until rather recently, the church considered women to be inferior to men in family and society, let alone in church governance. Now that this prejudice is no longer the official position of the church, the continued exclusion of women from ordination (and, therefore, from church governance) is incomprehensible. It is also reprehensible, because such exclusion is a grave obstacle to cross-gender solidarity in most religions and cultures [21]. How can this be the will of God? How can this be for the glory of God and the good of souls?

At this early stage of the research, it seems we are getting close to the root cause of our inability to make progress toward solidarity and sustainability. The root cause is patriarchy, i.e., the utter lack of cross-gender solidarity. And, encapsulated within the patriarchal roots, there may be a truth awaiting liberation: the path from patriarchy (and gender inequity) to solidarity and sustainability is the path of renewal for all the patriarchal religions, so that they become egalitarian theocracies and, for the glory of God and the good of humanity, leaders in a new human journey toward global peace, global justice, and fully integrated development of each human person as imago Dei.


That gender-inequities are the bad fruits of patriarchy, and the root cause of violence and poverty in the world, as well as abuse of the human habitat, is a tentative working hypothesis. Indeed, we started this series of newsletters with this hypothesis in mind, and our reflections and analyses of objective evidence would seem to confirm that it is a legitimate working hypothesis. But we will have to iterate several times around the main feedback loop (Figure 1) before we can go from working hypothesis to something credible and useful for removing the patriarchal obstacles and fostering solidarity and sustainability. At this point, it is beneficial to attempt a synthesis. This is done in Figure 7, which is the same as Figure 1 except that some objective evidence is shown for each of the four states: patriarchy, solidarity, sustainability, and sustainable human development.



Patriarchal Mindset
Sex - Consolation of the Poor
Poor Populations Grow Fast
Rich Populations Grow Slow

Figure 7.1

Solidarity Ethos?
With Huge Gender Gaps?
With Huge Rich-Poor Gaps?

Figure 7.2

Sustainable Development?
With Minimal
Human Development?

Figure 7.4

Sustainability Ethos?
Cross-Gender Solidarity?

Figure 7.3



Acronyms: GDI = UN Gender Development Index. GDP = UN Gross Domestic Product. GDPPC = UN Gross Domestic Product Per Capita. GEM = UN Gender Empowerment Measure. H, M, L = High, Medium, Low. HDI = UN Human Development Index.

Data sources: UN Common Database, 30 September 2005. Human Development Report 2005, UNDP, 2005. Human Development Data 2005, UNDP, 2005. UN World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, UNPP, 2004. Demographic and Social Statistics, United Nations, 24 August 2005. Millennium Indicators Database, United Nations, 12 September 2005. These are free downloads and include definitions, assumptions, and data.

Figure 7 - Data on Dynamics of Solidarity and Sustainability

Patriarchal Mindset

The data for figures 2 and 7.1 is based on the UN Common Database and the UN World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision Population Database, [22]. Figure 7.1 is a decomposition of Figure 2 to show the difference in population growth rates in high, medium, and low income countries. It is well known that "the bed is the consolation of the poor." What other leisure do they have? It is easy to say that they are lazy, inept, and corrupt. Who has given them a good example of being hard work and ethical behavior? Did the colonial powers prepare them for political independence? How many people is the first world would behave in socially responsible ways when they are hungry? And it is not simply a matter of giving them food and writing checks. Nor is it a matter of giving them technologies they can barely use. There is no financial fix. There is no technological fix. There is no knowledge fix as long as the brain drain continues, and it will continue as long as the wealthy nations abuse their financial control of trade agreements [23]. And this abuse will continue as long as the patriarchal mindset drives international policy-making; and will persist until gender balance is achieved at the national and global levels of governance. This is not to say that gender balance will be a magical "gender fix," but it will be a crucial factor.

Solidarity Ethos

The data for figures 3 and 7.2 is based on the UN Common Database and the UN Human Development Report 2005, [22]. Figure 7.2 is a comparative analysis of economic and human development indicators. The bottom line is that huge rich-poor and male-female gaps persist, in terms of both economic and social wellbeing. The largest gaps are between rich men in the first world and poor women in the third world. Analyses of interactions between economic, religious, and political factors lead to the following conclusion: "It seems highly likely that underlying the neglect of gender issues in PRSPs [Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers] is a set of powerful economic, religious, and political forces that reinforce gender inequality [24]. These "powerful economic, religious, and political forces" are exacerbated by (what else?) the patriarchal mindset and constitute a crucial obstacle for the transition from patriarchy to solidarity.

Sustainability Ethos

Figure 7.3 shows the distributions of the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) and Gender-Related Development Index (GDI) for 178 countries. The GEM and GDI are among the Human Development Indicators (HDI) of the UN Human Development Report [25, Tables 25 and 26]. It is abundantly clear, especially when the 178 countries are sorted by decreasing values of either the GEM or GDI, that the countries at the top of the list are also at the top in terms of both economic performance [25, Table 14] and ecological impacts [25, Table 22]. Since high GEM and GDI scores are indicative of a high degree of gender equity and, most likely, a highly mitigated patriarchal mindset, this supports the working hypothesis that patriarchies are an obstacle that must be removed to allow the transition to both solidarity and sustainability. In other words, both solidarity and sustainability are incompatible with patriarchy. But the difficulties found in precisely defining and measuring solidarity and sustainability are a reminder that overcoming patriarchy is not a process that can be reduced to numbers. It goes deeper, much deeper.

Sustainable Development

Indeed, it goes to the deepest level of human nature, which is "gendered to the core." [26]. Figure 7.4 shows trends for the average HDI of low, medium, and high income nations. It also shows the trend for the nations with the highest and lowest HDIs. Now we have come full circle in the process model (Figure 1) and the bottom line is that the sustainable development (=human development) trends are increasing very slowly. It must be stressed that we equate sustainable development with human development. Regardless of how "sustainable development" might be defined and measured, the ultimate goal is human development at all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. To be attainable and sustainable, any human development process must happen in time and space, i.e., in a concrete human habitat. Robert Prescott-Allen has developed a "barometer of sustainability" that combines indexes of human wellbeing and ecosystem wellbeing [27].

There is enough objective evidence to link exponential population and consumption growth to patriarchal structures, which in turn are reinforced by continued failures in sustainable development. This objective evidence, however, must be carefully judged by subjective experience and wisdom. The slow pace away from patriarchy and toward solidarity and sustainability is a legitimate concern, but any attempt to define the optimal path to follow must be treated with extreme caution. For experience confirms that what is best is sometimes the enemy of what is good; and wisdom points to the need for ethical values to guide decision-making guidance as the transition process unfolds. On thing is to know a code of ethics, another how to use it wisely. In a recent personal communication [28], it is stated that "the views of women and men on future ethical issues are strikingly similar around the world." This is not surprising, since most people can distinguish between right and wrong. But the question remains: will the future ethical issues be resolved any better as long as there is no gender balance in the governance of both secular and religious institutions? It is critical to keep researching this question. [29].


At the moment, let us assume that improving gender balance in the family, and in both secular and religious institutions, is a key priority to facilitate the transition from patriarchy to solidarity and sustainability.

The tripod of "prayer, study, and action" is one that is used in many religious traditions (e.g., the Cursillo Movement in the Roman Catholic Church) to help people keep a balance between the inner journey, the intellectual journey, and the outer journey. Excessive introspection, without any socialization, can drive people crazy or into reclusion. Excessive study and research, without socialization, can get people imprisoned in a self-made ivory tower. Excessive activism, without time for prayer and reflection, may produce a lot of noise but seldom leads to positive contributions.

Each reader must discern what mix of prayer, study, and action is best for him/her, given your religious tradition, your talents, your limitations, and your concrete situation relative to family and work.

The following suggestions for prayer, study, and action come to mind:


Pray to God, in your own words but at least once a day, for peace with justice in the world, for those who are addicted to excessive consumption, for those who use violence and terror to advance any cause, for those who make business decisions (or political decisions) without consideration of the common good, for those who suffer depression and despair, and specially for religious leaders, that they always seek the glory of God and the good of souls ....


Think, study (and, if possible, do research) about practical ways to help people become free of old traditions and mindsets that no longer serve the cause of authentic human progress; and to be able to distinguish between what traditions are good and what traditions are bad, to let go of the bad ones but persevere in those that are good; and put new ideas to the test, to determine whether they are good or bad, keeping in mind that "not everything that glitters is gold" ....


Work to enable girls to get a good education, in parity with boys. Work for the termination of any form of degradation of women, such as dowry killings and women trafficking. In your family, in other families, and in both secular and religious institutions, work to increase gender balance in roles of authority at all levels. Encourage girls to get an education pursuant to managerial or political careers. Encourage young women to go into politics. Encourage young women to go into the ministry or the priesthood, and to pursue positions of religious authority in all spiritual traditions.


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, patriarchy, and gender equity issues.

[01] The following references are recommended:

-- The Triumph of Liberty: A 2,000-Year History, Told Through the Lives of Freedom's Greatest Champions, Jim Powell, The Free Press, New York, 2000, 574 pp.
-- Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes, and the Course of History, Robert S. McElvaine, McGraw-Hill, NY, 2001, 453 pp.
-- The Outline of History, Herbert G. Wells, Collier, 1922, 1395 pp., is a classic and includes the following statement (written in 1920!): "Our true State, this state that is already beginning, this state to which every man owes his utmost political effect, must be now this nascent Federal World State to which human necessities point. Our true God now is the God of all men. Nationalism as a God must follow the tribal gods to limbo. Our true nationality is mankind."

[02] See, for example, St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 142 (A Meditation on Two Standards), translation by Louis J. Puhl, S.J., Loyola University Press, Chicago, 1951, 216 pp.: "The first step, then, will be riches, the second honor, the third pride. From these three steps the evil one leads to all other vices." (page 61)

[03] See Exponential Growth, Wikipedia, 2005. It is critical to understand the nature of exponential growth. A quantity that grows exponentially (i.e. 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, etc.) doubles at fixed intervals until it hits some hard limit, which may be physical, biological, or social. The limit is not approached asymptotically (as in the so-called "s" curves), so hitting the limit may be traumatic and, in some cases, catastrophic.

[04] See the following sources for basic definitions and downloadable data:

-- UN World Population Prospects, United Nations, 2002.
-- UN Common Database, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division, 2004.
-- World Economy, Wikipedia, 2005.
-- Gross World Product, Wikipedia, 2005.
-- Gross Domestic Product, Wikipedia, 2005.

[05] The following are recommended sources of both data and historical perspective:

-- An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Robert Malthus, 1798.
Thomas Malthus, Wikipedia, 2005. This article provides an excellent synthesis of Malthus' concerns and ideas. It is noteworthy that Malthus considered contraception to be a vice, and favored natural methods such as late marriage and sexual abstinence.
-- The Population Bomb, Paul R. Ehrlich, New York: Ballantine Books, 1968 and The Population Explosion, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, Simon & Schuster, New York, USA, 1990. 330 pp.
-- Population & Sustainability Website.

[06] See Volume 1 Number 1 of this newsletter for the definition and importance of cross-gender solidarity.

[07] The following are but a few examples:

-- Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, Mariner Books, 1963, 400 pp.
-- Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, Harper & Row, 1973, 352 pp.
-- Small is Still Beautiful, Joseph Pearce, HarperCollins, 2001, 254 pp.
-- Small Is Beautiful: An Introduction to E. F. Schumacher
, Noah Enelow, Center for Popular Economics Bulletin, May 2003.
-- The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz, HarperCollins, 2004, 265 pp.

[08] The following are some of the fundamental references of ecological economics:

-- Ecological Economics, Wikipedia, 2005.
-- Online Encyclopedia of Ecological Economics (OEEE), published by the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE).
-- Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability, Robert Costanza, Columbia University Press, 1991.
-- Herman Daly, Wikipedia, 2005. His interest in economic development, population, resources, ecological economics, and the environment has resulted in over a hundred articles as well as numerous books, including Steady-State Economics, 1977, Valuing the Earth, 1993, Beyond Growth, 1996, and Ecological Economics and the Ecology of Economics, 1999. He is co-author with theologian John B. Cobb, Jr. of For the Common Good, 1989, which received the Grawemeyer Award for ideas for improving World Order.
-- The Elephant and the Flea: Reflections of a Reluctant Capitalist, Charles Handy, Harvard University Press, 2002, 233 pages.

[09] The following are references that can serve to understand current headlines on oil prices, uncertainties about the future of oil supplies, and prospective impacts on the world economy and national economies:

-- Energy from Fossil Fuels, M. King Hubbert, Science, vol. 109, pp. 103-109, February 4, 1949.
The End of Cheap Oil, by Colin J. Campbell and Jean H. Laherrère, Scientific American, March 1998.
-- The End of Cheap Oil, By Tim Appenzeller, National Geographic Magazine, June 2004.
-- Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Taxpayer Perspective, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Washington DC.
-- Hubbert Peak Theory, Wikipedia, 2005.
-- Oil: Anatomy of an Industry, Matthew Yeomans, The New Press, 2004.
-- Oil: A Concise Guide to the Most Important Product on Earth, Matthew Yeomans, The New Press, forthcoming 2006.

[10] Additional references about the negative effects of excessive consumption on human wellbeing:

-- Ecology and the Politics of Survival: Conflicts Over Natural Resources in India, by Vandana Shiva, United Nations University, 1991.
-- Sustainability is Dead-Long Live Sustainability, A Manifesto: Written to Mark the End of Millennium Two, and the Beginning of Millennium Three, Alan AtKisson, The AtKisson Group, 2000.
-- Are We Consuming Too Much?, by Kenneth Arrow et al, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 18, 3, page(s) 147-172, Summer 2004. "Is humanity's use of Earth's resources endangering the economic possibilities open to our descendants? There is wide disagreement on the question. Many people worry about the growth in our use of natural resources over the past century. Some of this increase reflects the higher resource demands from a growing world population. But it also reflects the growth of per capita output and consumption."
-- Are We Consuming Too Much???, by Jon Christensen, Conservation in Practice, Volume 6, 2, page(s) 14-19, April-June 2005. "It turns out we may be worrying too much about how much we consume and far too little about how to invest."
-- Inclusive Wealth, by Alan AtKisson, The AtKisson Report, issue 11, 4 August 2005. "What exactly is "Inclusive Wealth"? It is an attempt to measure the the change in value over time of all the critical capital stocks in an economic system, at constant prices. Natural resources. Ecosystems. Manufactured capital. Human welfare. Human knowledge. Inclusive Wealth is "inclusive" for two reasons: one, because it tries to include everything that actually matters in economic development (which is a first, even for economics); and two, because it includes the interests of future generations. This is a genuine economics of sustainability."

[11] The following are some credible and useful indicators of human wellbeing:

-- UN Human Development Indicator (HDI)
-- UN Gender-related Development Indicator (GDI)
-- UN Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM)
-- Millennium Development Goal Indicators (MDGIs)
-- Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)
-- Global Corruption Barometer (GCB)
-- Corruption Perception Index (CPI

[12] Exxon's $10B net a U.S. corporate record, CNN, 27 October 2005.

[13] See, for example, Child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Clergy, Horrors of child abuse in the Hindu culture, and Wife beating in Islam. Do a Google search on "clergy sexual abuse." Religious institutions must seek the truth and face the truth, even when the truth is ugly. Numerically, it may well be that sexual abuse of women and children are no more prevalent in religious institutions than it is in secular environments. But one case is one too many, and the fact that it has been happening for centuries does not make it right. The cover-ups by high level religious authorities are even more shameful

[14] Religious Values and the Measurement of Poverty and Prosperity, Bahá'í International Community, Johannesburg, South Africa, 12-14 January 1999. Excerpt: "In the final analysis, the measurement of poverty and prosperity can best be determined by those who are most directly affected. Certainly, traditional measures can offer valuable insights and can be used to help identify where resources should be deployed, but by themselves they are insufficient. Existing development indices fall far short of bringing into relief the essential spiritual and social dimensions of life, so fundamental to human welfare. Without a way to identify and track these essential elements of prosperity, our development efforts will continue to be dictated by mainly material considerations and true progress will prove to be illusory. It is, therefore, not only timely but critical that organizations of civil society and religious communities be engaged with development agencies in charting new measures of social progress."

[15] Myers, Norman, and Jennifer Kent, New consumers: The influence of affluence on the environment, PNAS, 15 April 2003, vol. 100, no. 8, pp. 4963-4968.

[16] The following are some useful sustainability indices:

-- Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)
-- Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI); see also the 2005 ESI Report
-- Living Planet Index (LPI)
-- The Ecological Footprint (EF - Global, National)
-- Compass Index of Sustainability
-- Wellbeing Index and Barometer of Sustainability
-- Dashboard of Sustainability
-- State of the Future Index (SOFI - Global, National)
-- International Sustainability Indicators Network (ISIN)
-- Global Directory of Sustainability Indicators (652 as of 5 November 2005 - Global, National, Local)

[17] Indian Middle Class Grows, But Ugly Tradition Persists: A young bride lived long enough to tell authorities that her husband and in-laws had set her on fire for not meeting their dowry demands, by John Lancaster, Washington Post Foreign Service, The Washington Post, Washington DC, 30 October 2005.

[18] On the influence of male-female balance for good governance:

-- Equality for Women in the Church of the Brethren, Church of the Brethren, 1977.
-- God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, Phyllis Trible, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1978, 206 pp.
-- The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in each us Us Affects our Relationships, John A. Sanford, Paulist Press, 1980.
-- The Velvet Glove: Paternalism and Conflict in Gender, Class, and Race Relations, Mary R. Jackman, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
-- The Theology of the Body: Human Love in the Divine Plan, Pope John Paul II, Pauline Books & Media, 1997, 603 pp.
-- The Quest for Maleness, Theun Mares, Lionheart Publishing, 1999, 232 pages.
-- Unveil the Mysteries of the Female, Theun Mares, Lionheart Publishing, 1999, 200 pages.
-- Are Women Really the "Fairer" Sex? Corruption and Women in Government, David Dollar, Raymond Fisman, and Roberta Gatti, Development Research Group, The World Bank, October 1999. Abstract: "Numerous behavioral studies have found women to be more trust-worthy and public-spirited than men. These results suggest that women should be particularly effective in promoting honest government. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find that the greater the representation of women in parliament, the lower the level of corruption. We find this association in a large cros-ssection of countries; the result is robust to a wide range of specifications."
-- Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace: Excerpts, Judith Hand, Questpath Publishing, 2001, 187 pages. Excerpt: "If you are one of our wise ones, especially a woman, run for office--the school board, city council, maybe one of the county commissions. Maybe think big and long-term--head for even higher office. Add a female voice, your voice, to civic affairs. Encourage young women to go into politics. Encourage and embrace those changes in laws and customs that empower women--legally, educationally, and religiously. Never accept less. Never settle for less." (page 161)
-- Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes, and the Course of History, Robert S. McElvaine, McGraw-Hill, NY, 2001, 453 pp.
-- Let's have a Truce in the Gender War, Aidan Rankin, Third Way: Voice of the Radical Centre, London, 2001.
-- Balancing Masculine & Feminine, Ayal Hurst, Tools for Transformation: Resources for personal development and transformation of body, mind and spirit.
-- Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men, A Statement of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, 2002.
-- Unravelling Institutionalized Gender Inequality, Aruna Rao and David Kelleher, AWID, October 2002.
-- Balancing Male & Female Energies within Us, Lyssa Royal, Royal Priest Research, 2003.
God's gender, The Pink Nun, July 2003.
-- The Ongoing Tragedy of International Slavery and Human Trafficking: An Overview, Janice G. Raymond, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), 29 October 2003.
-- Breaking Down the Gender Jigsaw, The Educational Institute of Scotland, October 2004.
-- Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax, Doubleday, 2005, 312 pages.
-- Sex Trafficking is Not "Sex Work", Janice G. Raymond, Conscience, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, Spring 2005.
-- Declaration on Gender Equity, Kemi Ogunsanya, Southern African Development Community (SADC), 3 October 2005.
-- The Catholic Church and women, Greg Burk, LA Weekly, November 4-10, 2005.
-- Directory of UN Resources on Gender and Women's Issues, United Nations, 2005.

[19] Religion and Cooperation between Civilizations: Islamic and Christian Cultures in a Global Horizon, by George F. McLean, CRVP, 2003.

[20] France's most famous priest says he broke vow of celibacy, Susan Bell, The Scotsman, 28 October 2005. On the issue of gender equity in the church: "Abbe Pierre also questions papal opposition to the ordination of women. 'I have never understood why Jean-Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger stated that the Church would never ordain women,' he writes. 'It is hard to see why, when ideas have evolved so profoundly on the question [of women's equality with men], the Church must remain faithful to this prejudice.' "

[21] See, for example, The Catholic Church and women, Greg Burk, LA Weekly, November 4-10, 2005, A Gender Jihad For Islam's Future, Asra Q. Nomani, Washington Post, November 6, 2005, page B2, and Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men, A Statement of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, 2002.

[22] United Nations data sources include the following:

-- UN Common Database (UNCDB), 30 September 2005.
-- Human Development Report 2005, UNDP, 2005.
-- Human Development Data 2005, UNDP, 2005.
-- UN World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, UNPP, 2004.
-- Demographic and Social Statistics, United Nations, 24 August 2005.
-- Millennium Indicators Database, United Nations, 12 September 2005.
These online databases provide free downloads and include definitions, assumptions, and data. Additional data selection and manipulation options are provided for a nominal fee.

[23] Give Us Your Best and Brightest: The Global Hunt for Talent and Its Impact on the Developing World, by Devesh Kapur and John McHale, Center for Global Development, October 2005.

[24] In Faint Praise of the World Bank's Gender Development Policy, Robert J. Brym et al, Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, March-April 2005. Excerpt:

"Gender inequality is signified by the restriction of women to the domestic or private sphere of life, where they do unpaid work raising children, taking care of the elderly, and doing domestic chores. It is also marked by women exercising little or no control over their own reproductive and sexual functions. In contrast, growing gender equality is signified by the increasing entry of women into public educational, government, and economic institutions and their increasing control over their own reproductive and sexual functions."

[25] Human Development Report 2005, UNDP, 2005. Specifically, see Table 14 - Economic Performance (in terms of GDP and GDPPC), Table 22 - Energy and Environment (ecological impacts in terms of GDP per unit of energy used and metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per capita), Table 25 - GDI, and Table 26 - GEM. Tables 27-30 provide other measures of gender equity.

[26] Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax, Doubleday, 2005, 312 pages. "Human nature is gendered to the core." (page 237)

[27] The Wellbeing of Nations: A Country-by-Country Index of Quality of Life and the Environment, Robert Prescott-Allen, Island Press, 2001, 342 pp. Human Wellbeing Index (HWI), Ecosystem Wellbeing Index (EWI), and combined human-ecosystem Wellbeing Index (WI) for 180 countries. A feature of Prescott-Allen's system is that both the HWI and the EWI are measured on the same scale, so they can be plotted together in two dimensions. For a given ecosystem, the point where the HWI and EWI intersect is the WI. This point is the "barometer of sustainability," and can be in one of five bands: red (bad), pink (poor), yellow (medium), blue (fair), and green (good). Excerpt: "The most informative navigational aid [in sustainability space] is a wellbeing assessment that societies-from communities to communities-could undertake regularly. To enable each society to set a baseline, keep track of progress, and learn from its actions, the assessment would ask three questions:

How well are people
How well is the ecosystem
How are people and the ecosystem affecting each other?
"By exploring and measuring the three questions together, societies can learn what combinations of human and ecosystem wellbeing are sustainable, and make their own decisions about how to achieve them. Until they do, the good life will recede into the unattainable distance. At present, no country is sustainable or even close. Nations with a high standard of living impose excessive pressure on the global environment. Nations with low demands on the ecosystem are desperately poor. No country knows how to be green without going into the red." (pages 1-2)

[28] Chapter Lunch November 14, U.S. National Capital Region Chapter, World Future Society, Email Alert, 2 November 2005.

[29] The following are a few examples of recent research initiatives. Run a Google search on "sustainability," and see what you get.

-- Theoretical Perspectives on Gender and Development, Edited by Jane L. Parpart, M. Patricia Connelly, and V. Eudine Barriteau, IDRC, 2000, 232 pp.
-- Shaping Globalisation in the Spirit of Sustainability, Solidarity, and Democracy, International Friends of Nature, Austria, 14 September 2002.
-- Human Rights, Solidarity and Subsidiarity: Essays toward a Social Ontology, Juan Carlos Maldonado, CRVP, 2003.
-- Rethinking the Good Life, State of the World 2004, Worldwatch Institute, 15 September 2004.
-- Sustainability of Human Progress, John McCarthy, Stanford University, last updated 25 October 2005.
-- Sustainability Concepts and Research, Sustainability Now, British Columbia, Canada, 2005.
-- Human and Environmental Health, Steven Salmony, website created 23 August 2005.


Rublev's Trinity Icon, circa 1410
(Eastern Orthodox Tradition)
To see a larger image, click here

The image to the left is Andrei Rublev's Trinity icon, circa 1410, one of the masterpieces in the history of religious art. The Russian Orthodox Church declared this icon to be "proto-revealed."

The icon is rich in theological meaning. But is this an image of a patriarchal God? No, it is an image of a God who is both male and female, and transcends gender as well. Otherwise, women could not possibly be imago Dei.

Are we to say we have no need of the "divine feminine"? Secular patriarchies are certainly made by human hands. Are religious patriarchies made by divine hands ... or by human hands?

"We can't solve problems by using
the same level of thinking we used
when we created them."

Albert Einstein


Luis T. Gutierrez







Copyright © 2005 by Luis T. Gutierrez

From Patriarchy to Solidarity and Sustainability

"Bright Wings"
Artist: Mary Southard, CSJ
Courtesy of
Sisters of St. Joseph of LaGrange, IL

And for all this,
nature is never spent.
There lives the dearest freshness
deep down things.
Because the Holy Ghost
over the bent world broods
with warm breast
and with ah! bright wings.

- G. M. Hopkins


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

Subscribers also can submit announcements (to be posted free of charge) consistent with the goal of this project. Announcements must be brief and provide a point of contact, including the person's name and email address.

Please send your inputs by email to: Editor

Recent Feedback

Germain Dufour, President of the Global Community Earth Government, wrote to establish contact and to note that there are several points of convergence between the "Solidarity and Sustainability" research project and their efforts to define the requirements for a global government and draft a global constitution that eventually could be acceptable to all nations. The following are links to the relevant documents: Global Dialogue 2006, Global Community Earth Government, The Global Constitution (Draft).

Response: Delighted to hear from you. Thank you for your kind and encouraging remarks about my work. I certainly want to participate in the Global Dialogue starting January 2006. At the moment, I barely have time to do research and write the newsletters. As we get into the dialogue, issues will come up that deserve an analysis paper. I will do my best to write something for your publications.

The basic concepts you propose for global governance, and the current draft of the global constitutions, are a very good start. The task of achieving global consensus is daunting, and I don't expect our children or grandchildren to see it. But we must forge ahead, because some form of global governance will be indispensable to keep the peace and ensure the integrity of the human habitat.

To keep the peace, the global government needs to have authority, and committed resources, to place 100,000 blue helmets between any two national armies in a confrontation, and/or to liberate countries from terrorists. To ensure the integrity of the human habitat, it needs to be able to provide incentives for countries to behave in an internationally responsible way, and apply penalties to countries that produce "pollution without borders" or abet international crimes such as drug trafficking and human trafficking.


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

Links to Archive

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

V1 N5 September 2005

  • From Solidarity to Sustainability

V1 N6 October 2005

  • Dimensions of Sustainability


The United Nations

The United Nations Organization has 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 CyberSchoolBus
UN Development Program
UN Environmental Program
UN Millennium Goals
UN Millennium Campaign
UN Millennium Project
UN Statistical Division
UN University
UN University for Peace
UN WomenWatch
Reform the UN



African Union
Club of Amsterdam
Club of Rome
Earth Global Community
European Union
Global Community Foundation
Global Scenario Group
Global Trade Watch
Int'l Data Base
Int'l Monetary Fund
Int'l Standards Org
SE Asian Nations
Stockholm Environment Institute
Union of Int Assoc
World Bank
World Development
World Energy Council
World Environment Center
Zero Emissions Research
ZNet Communications


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
Redefining Progress
U.S. Government
Women's Bureau



Amnesty International
Christian Solidarity
CSRwire Directory
Europe Solidarity Forum
Global Exchange
International Solidarity
Facing the Future
Gender & Development
Gender Equity Links
Gender Issues
Global Issues
Global Security
Mind & Life Institute
New Economics Foundation
Nonviolence International
Religious Freedom Center
Social Capital
South Asian Network
Trade & Gender
Women/Gender Resources



Basic Concepts
Climate Change Network
Earth Policy Institute
EcoEarth Info Gateway
Ecocosm Dynamics
Ecoliteracy Center
Ecology and Society
Ecological Economics
Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems
Encyclopedia of Sust Dev
Energy Storm
Env Risk Analysis
Env Sustainability
Env Sustainability Index
Friends of the Earth
Gender & Energy
Gender & Sustainability
Global Sustainability
Intl Inst for Sust Dev
New Energy Movement
Novartis Foundation for Sust Dev
Population Coalition
Population & Sustainability
Sustainable Measures
Sustainability e-Journal
Sustainability Institute
Sustainability Now
Sustainability Internetwork
Sustainability Web Ring
Society Human Ecology
The AtKisson Report
The Kyoto Protocol
World Bus Council for Sust Dev


Patriarchy and Gender

Domestic Violence
Eastern Orthodox
Gender & Society
Gender Resources
Lutheran Federation
Patriarchy Website
Roman Catholic
Salvation Army
The Patriarchal Family
Women & Sustainability
World Council of Churches
World Congress of Faiths
World Religious Texts


Web Research Tools

Deep Web Research
Library of Congress
Life Sciences
Online Books Directory
Physical Sciences
Population Index on the Web
Research Discovery Network
Search Engines Directory
Snips, Store & Share
Social Sciences
Social Psychology Network
Vatican Library
Wikipedia Encyclopedia
Worldwide Governments
Worldwide Religions
Worldwide Stock Markets
Worldwide Universities

New Resources

Recently published:

Mapping the Global Future, Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project, NIC 2004-13, December 2004. The complete text is now available online. It includes global demographic, economic, energy, and other global trends to 2010 and 2015. Contents:

Executive Summary
The Contradictions of Globalization
Rising Powers: The Changing Geopolitical Landscape
New Challenges to Governance
Pervasive Insecurity
Policy Implications

Human Development Report, UNDP, 2005, and Human Development Data, UNDP, 2005. See also, Human Development Report in the News, UNDP, 2005. Free download of the entire report (3.9 MB) or individual chapters:

Chapter 1: The state of human development
Chapter 2: Inequality and human development
Chapter 3: Aid for the 21st century
Chapter 4: International trade
Chapter 5: Violent conflict
Human Development Indicators


It's All Connected: A Comprehensive Guide to Global Issues and Sustainable Solutions, by Benjamin Wheeler et al, Facing the Future, 2005. This book has several companion booklets (free downloads) with activities and exercises to support the learning and teaching of basic sustainability concepts. The table of contents is as follows:

Unit 1: Getting Started with Global Issues
Unit 2: Understanding Population and Carrying Capacity
Unit 3: Meeting Essential Human Needs
Unit 4: Environment - Keeping our House in Order
Unit 5: Quality of Life
Unit 6: Building Sustainability
Unit 7: Possible Futures and Sustainable Solutions


Give Us Your Best and Brightest: The Global Hunt for Talent and Its Impact on the Developing World, by Devesh Kapur and John McHale, Center for Global Development, October 2005. A well documented analysis of the "brain drain" from poor to rich nations. This is a prime example of Vandana Shiva's dictum, "resources flow from the poor to the rich, pollution flows form the rich to the poor."


The Economic Emergence of Women, by Barbara R. Bergmann, Second Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, September 2005, 272 pp. From the publisher's announcement:

"This new edition of a classic feminist book explains how one of the great historical revolutions--the ongoing movement toward equality between the sexes--has come about. Its origins are to found, not in changing ideas, but in the economic developments that have made women's labor too valuable to be spent exclusively in domestic pursuits. The revolution is unfinished; new arrangements are needed to fight still-prevalent discrimination in the workplace, to achieve a more just sharing of housework and child care between women and men, and, with the weakening of marriage, to re-erect a firm economic basis for the raising of children. In this new edition, Bergmann provides an update on women's economic situation today and ultimately proves her argument is as relevant and essential today as it was when this book was first published this book in 1986."


Speed, Society, People, and Environment, Edited by Tim Aldrich, Forum for the Future, UK, Greenleaf, September 2005, 160pp. From the publisher's announcement:

"Despite the burgeoning army of machines designed to save us time - from cars and airplanes to dishwashers and microwaves - we don't seem to have any more of it on our hands. We simply fill the space we clear with more things to do - consuming more, spending more - and then look around for new ways of saving time. And so we spiral onwards, upwards, ever faster. Being busy has become a habit, and a habit that gives us high status - busy people are important people. The business of business is busy-ness. We are moving from a world in which the big eats the small, to a world where the fast eats the slow.

"But the fallout from a society hooked on speed is everywhere. It's affecting our health: 60 per cent of the adult population in the UK report that they suffer from stress, and more than half of these say that this has worsened over the last 12 months. It's affecting our family life, with a quarter of British families sharing a meal together only once a month. And it affects our environment too: air travel is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions, accelerating climate change as we speed around the world. And the faster we live, the faster we consume, the faster we waste energy and the faster we pollute the planet. The faster we seem to be running out of time. Is there something fundamentally wrong with the structure and values of this high-speed society? What are we running from and what are we running towards?

"Sustainable development is all about time. It's about trying to safeguard the health of the planet, and the people it supports, indefinitely, unconstrained by time. The idea of time offers a novel perspective on what sustainable development is all about. Looking at issues affecting society and the environment through the prism of time conveys the urgency of the challenge and leads us to solutions we might not have thought of before."


Is Religion Killing Us? Violence in the Bible and the Quran, by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Continuum, September 2005, 192 pp. From the publisher's announcement:

"In this courageous and controversial book, Nelson-Pallmeyer explores the relationship between human violence and the sacred texts of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Challenging the understanding of power that lies at the heart of each religion's sacred texts, he argues that a viable future for human beings and the planet depends on confronting the ways in which sacred texts reinforce abusive visions of power."


Corruption Perceptions Index 2005, Transparency International, London / Berlin, 18 October 2005.

"Corruption still rampant in 70 countries, says Corruption Perceptions Index 2005." For the complete CPI 2005 table and sources, see Survey sources for the TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2005. For a comparison to the Global Corruption Barometer, see Corruption Surveys and Indices. It is noteworthy that the TI researchers found no correlation between wealth (or poverty) and corruption.


Global Challenges: Furthering the Multilateral Process for Sustainable Development, Edited by Angela Churie Kallhauge, Gunnar Sjostedt and Elisabeth Corell, Greenleaf, November 2005, 320 pp. Chapter 1 online: The multilateral process for sustainable development, Angela Churie Kallhauge, Elisabeth Corell and Gunnar Sjostedt.

Recent Headlines

For current news about solidarity, sustainability, and other issues of
global stewardship,
go to
collected webfeeds.

Fundamental Reminders

United Nations
Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs)

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

Universal Declaration
of Human Rights
(UN, 1948)

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.




Global Dialogue 2006 begins January 1st, 2006, on the Internet, and end August 31st. Roundtable Discussions begin on the Internet today, now. Participate now. No need to wait until August 2006 to dialogue. You can organize your own Discussion Roundtable.

Latest newsletter: Global Dialogue 2006: Politics and Justice without borders, Global Community Earth Government Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 8, November 2005. Theme: "Direct democracy" is a community right on the Scale of Human and Earth Rights.

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Symposium on Educating Global Citizens, Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 31 March 2006. Proposals are due 18 November 2005. Authors of accepted papers will be notified by 6 January 2006. Please send proposals to: Diana Bartels,, or Kristi Siegel, For more information, visit Mount Mary's 2006 Symposium.


2006 International Symposium on Technology and Society. Theme: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery. June 8-10, 2006. Queens College, City University of New York New York City, NY. Sponsored by IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology. Abstracts are due December 1, 2005. For further information visit IEEESSIT. Point of contact: Adam Henne, University of Georgia,


The Research Committee on Society and Environment of the International Sociological Association (ISA) is organizing 15 sessions at the ISA 16th World Congress of Sociology, to be held in Durban, South Africa, July 23-29, 2006. To present a paper in one of the sessions, please submit an abstract before October 31, 2005. For more information visit the ISA World Congress.


ICOHTEC 2006. The International Committee for the History of Technology's 33rd Symposium in Leicester, U.K., 15 - 20 August 2006. Theme: Transforming Economies and Civilizations: The Role of Technology. The ICOHTEC welcomes proposals for individual papers and sessions. Deadline for proposals is 1 February 2006. Please send all proposals to James Williams, Program Committee Chair at For more details, visit the ICOHTECH.


The online journal Invisible Culture is seeking papers for an upcoming issue on the theme of The Symptom. The deadline for receipt of submissions of 2,500 to 6,000 words in length is February 1, 2006. Please email inquiries to Michael Williams, or Linda Edwards,

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