The E-Newsletter of

Vol. 3, No. 7, July 2007
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Newsletter Home Page


Violence is the main obstacle to human development. There is an intrinsic link between violence and religion, patriarchal gender violence being the most pervasive expression of religious violence. Mitigating violence therefore requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset, especially in religious institutions. The mission of this independent newsletter is to provide a digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both religious and secular non-violence. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are used as a point of reference.

Theme of this Issue
Revisiting the U.N. MDGs, with focus on MDG7:
Ensure Environmental Sustainability


The theme of this issue is MDG7: ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY. An integral part of this theme is SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, a dynamic process which entails the reconciliation of sustainability and human, social, and economic development. The well-being of humanity requires the responsible stewardship of the human habitat.

The analysis of MDG7 follows the pattern of MDGs in previous issues:

  • Most poor women suffer both poverty and patriarchal abuse (MDG1)
  • The largest fraction of the poorly educated are girls and women (MDG2)
  • Fertility rates are higher in regions of virulent gender inequality (MDG3)
  • Child mortality rates are higher in regions of virulent sexual violence (MDG4)
  • Maternal health is poorest in regions of virulent gender violence (MDG5)
  • HIV/AIDS is rooted in the patriarchal abuse of human sexuality (MDG6)
  • Attaining sustainability requires human solidarity and, specifically, cross-gender solidarity (MDG7)
  • MDG 8 will be the theme of the next issue (August 2007)

In addition to the analysis of MDG7, this issue includes a review of the U.S Social Forum (USSF) website, a new version of the knowledge taxonomy and links database, annotated lists of new web resources and forthcoming SSNV-related events, and a prayer for the world, and an excellent invited paper.

The invited article this month is The Church in the World Today, by Therese Carroll, RSJ. This article is a reflection on how the Christian churches might have to be reformed so that they fully support integral human development in the years ahead.



1. Recent News & Emerging Issues
2. The Millennium Development Goals
3. Analysis of Environmental Sustainability
4. The Sustainable Development Process
5. Combined Analysis of MDGs 1 to 8
6. Review of the US Social Forum Website
7. Web Resources & Knowledge Taxonomy
8. Prayer, Study, and Action
9. Links to Archived Newsletters


A Prayer for the World
Memorable People of the 20th Century
Hillary Clinton: Next President of the USA
Announcements and CFPs


The Church in the World Today
by Therese Carroll, RSJ
Health Care Australia

1. Recent News & Emerging Issues

The following is a sampling of recent news related to solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence, some specifically in the context of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Many sources are sampled, such as articles from e-news services, e-journals, and e-newsletters. There are a number of e-news alerts: Google Alerts, Inter Press Service (IPS) alerts, and several other alert services. There are a number of excellent listservs relevant to global issues of solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence. There are also many RSS news sources; see those listed in the SSNV RSS Directory and the more comprehensive RSS Networks Directory. The UN News Centre and the MDGNet Newsletter are pivotal resources. Then there are e-journals such as GreenBiz, Grist, and e-newsletters such as Envirotech, Internet Resources Newsletter, and ResourceShelf. Search is always useful and sometimes indispensable (see the SSNV Search Tools Directory). Some of the citations have been edited for brevity. The marquee format is used to save space. Simply hover your mouse inside the box to stop the scrolling, and click on any title to navigate to the news source.

Climate myths:
CO2 isn't the most important greenhouse gas

David L Chandler, New Scientist, 16 May 07

Earth-Friendly Greens Camouflaging the Poor's Plight
Steven Milloy, Fox News, 31 May 07

A Dialogue for the Future:
Aveda and its Partners Discuss the Opportunities
and Challenges of Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Nicole Kaldes, Business Wire, NY, 31 May 07

Open letter to G8: gender at the top of the agenda
Patricia Daniel, openDemocracy, 31 May 07

Link economic growth with human development: study
Reuters, Gulf Times, Qatar, 31 May 07

The Orchid Keepers
Janet Marinelli, Audobon Magazine, May-June 07

ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and other ISO Standards:
complete offering for sustainable development

ISO Management Systems, May-June 2007

Business and Nature
Enterprise & Society Special Issue

Oxford Journals, Volume 8, Number 2, June 2007

Congo-Kinshasa: UN Human Rights Chief 'Appalled'
By Sexual Violence in DR Congo, Burundi

UN News Service, NY, 1 June 2007

Nobel Women's Initiative
Siobhan O'Connell, openDemocracy, 1 June 2007

The U.S. Social Forum:
Our Best Bet to Turn This Country Around

Tara Lohan, AlterNet, 1 June 2007

Rwanda: Gender Equilibrium Leads to Social Harmony
Alphonse Rutazigwa, New Times, Kigali, Rwanda, 1 June 2007

Sustainable Development &
Corporate Social Responsibility

Kenneth Khalkho, PRLog, 1 June 2007

Stocks up as sustainability becomes profitability
Vanesa Burrow, The Age, Australia, 2 June 2007

No dollars please, happiness is Bhutan's wealth
IANS,, Thiumphu, Bhutan, 2 June 2007

Cameroonian Couple Sentenced
on Human Trafficking Charges

PressZoom, Washington DC, 2 June 2007

Guru of sustainability to speak at Victoria summit
Carolyn Heiman, Times Colonist, Victoria, Canada, 2 June 2007

Gender equality lacking in houses of worship
There are different rules for men and women
in most mainstream faiths

Leslie Scrivener, The Toronto Star, Canada, 2 June 2007

Authorities charge 4 in NYC terror plot
Adam Goldman, AP, Houston Chronicle, 2 June 2007

Lured here by hope... then trapped in a life of misery
Richard Elias,, 3 June 2007

UWI professor's development model to be adopted by UN
Ross Sheil, Jamaica Gleaner, 3 June 2007

Money, Happiness, and the Gross Well-being Index (GWI)
Chadna Arora, The Times of India, 4 June 2007

Biodiversity sustainability is high on EU agenda
NET-BIOME ERA-NET, EU Research Headlines, 4 June 2007

Floor battles await as Senate gears up for energy votes
Ben German, E&E News, 4 June 2007

Melting Snow, Ice May Cause Water Shortages, Floods
Bunny Nooryani,, 4 June 2007

Filipino girls (some as young as 5) languish in brothels
Craig and Marc Kielburger, The Toronto Star, 4 June 2007

Maasais, Canaanites and the Inca connection
Philip Ochieng, The East African, 4 June 2007

World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower
International Hydropower Association (IHA), 4 June 2007

Christian Leaders Challenge G8 to Keep Promises to Poor
Maria Mackay, Christian Today, 4 June 2007

Freedom of Conscience and Islam
Christian Converts Put to the Test

John Flynn, ZENIT, Rome, 4 June 2007

UN warns more will join 4 million displaced Iraqis
UN Geneva, USA TODAY, 5 June 2007

Coca-Cola reforms to tap water sustainability calls
Neil Merrett, NUTRA, 5 June 2007

Breakthrough Health Information Exchange (HIE)
Research and Sustainability Tools

eHealth Initiative Foundation, PRNewswrire, 5 June 2007

The End of the Kyoto Protocol
Peter Zeihan & Bart Mongoven, Stratford Geopolitical Report, 5 June 2007

On the Future of Democracy: Part 1
On the Future of Democracy: Part 2
C. Dragnea & J. Gasse, European Citizen's Initiative, 6 June 2007

Relative Violence in Islam and Christianity
Nick Gier, New West, 6 June 2007

Food Prices Surging, Raising Hunger Concerns
Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute, 6 June 07

Benedict XVI Calls G-8 Leaders to Fight Poverty
Says Christian Organizations' Efforts Should be Valued

ZENIT, Vatican City, 6 June 2007

Storm seasons back to normal?
Quirin Schiermeier, Nature, 6 June 2007

In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil
Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2007

Book of history has a long history
Jill Gosche, The Advertiser Tribune, 6 June 2007

Civic and Voters Education for Women Multipliers
Chitwan, TGW Correspondent, Telegraph Nepal, 7 June 2007

SA hotbed of human trafficking
Rebecca Wynn, Mail & Guardian, 7 June 2007

Promote Sustainability by Rethinking the Income Tax?
Steve Puma, Triple Pundit, 7 June 2007

Violence Against Women is Rampant Around the Globe
City on a Hill Press, 7 June 2007

The truth about recycling
The Economist, 7 June 2007

Experts call for mass circumcision in South Africa to prevent HIV/AIDS
Fran Blandy, Yahoo! News, 7 June 2007

UN urged to set up office promoting religious tolerance
Call for a UN office to deal with religious abuse

Shireen Mazari & Chandra Muzaffar, NST, Malaysia, 8 June 2007

G8 reaches ambitious deal to fight climate change,
agrees on climate goal of halving emissions by 2050

ABC News Online, Australia, 8 June 2007

Sustainability of capitalism and the rise of 'Asian values'
Harold James' review of Masahiko Fujiwara's new book,
The Dignity of a State, The Nation, Japan, 8 June 2007

The Talibanization of Iraq
Bay Fang, Chicago Tribune and AINA, 8 June 2007

European countries complicit in secret prisons?
Reportedly, European officials knew of CIA's secret prisons

Elaine Ganley, Toronto Globe & Mail, 8 June 2007

G8 Summit Extends Environmental Work Beyond Climate
ENS, 8 June 2007

US Imperialism, Islamic Fundamentalism ...
and the Need for Another Way

Sunsara Taylor, Red Flags, Burning Man Blog, 9 June 2007

Salty Oceans Provide Early Warning For Climate Change
European Science Foundation, 10 June 2007

UN corruption case strengthens Ban's hand
Editorial, Washington Post, 11 June 2007

And Justice for All: Embracing Sexual and
Gender Diversity within the Faith Community

Rev. Debra W. Haffner, Center for American Progress, 11 June 2007

Environmental Sustainability Becoming Mandatory Component
of Business Model for Consumer Businesses

GMA/Deloitte Study,, PRNewswire, 11 June 2007

Al-Qaida declares holy war on India
Li Fang Qin, YUYU, 11 June 2007

Divisive polity hinders good governance
Monjurul Hasan, The New Nation, Bangladesh, 11 June 2007

Namibia: Conference On Gender Violence
Absalom Shigwedha, The Namibian (Windhoek), 11 June 2007

Economic growth and human development
Amitava Basu, Financial Express, India, 12 June 2007

Amnesty report criticizes Greece
over sex trafficking of women, children

The Associated Press, International Herald Tribune, 12 June 2007

World Environment Center Establishes
Washington Sustainability Forum
Global Leaders to Discus Major
Economic, Environmental and Societal Challenges

Corporate Social Responsibility Press Release, 12 June 2007

Infanticide, Abortion Responsible for 60 Million Girls Missing in Asia
Sherry Karabin, Fox News, Philadelphia, 13 June 2007

A Nation That Leaves Women Behind is Doomed
Don Mckinnon, New Vision, Kampala, Uganda, 13 June 2007

Happiness and the Inner Self
Clive Hamilton, Eureka Street, Australia, 14 June 2007

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Quarterly
Spotlights Gender Equality
Smart Economics
Mayra Buvinic and Elizabeth M. King, IMF, June 2007
Budgeting with Women in Mind
Janet Stotsky, IMF, June 2007
Getting All Girls into School
Maureen A. Lewis, IMF, June 2007

A two part series on globalization and sustainability:
Brundtland Report Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Since Coining Sustainable Development

Bill Baue, Social Funds, SRI World Group, 11 June 2007
SustainAbility Predicts How Sustainable Development
Will Play Out Over Next Two Decades

Bill Baue, Social Funds, SRI World Group, 15 June 2007
See also the report (free download):
Can Globalization and Sustainability Coexist?
Skoll Foundation and SustainAbility, GreenBiz, Berlin, 7 June 2007, 72 pages.

Web tool to boost sustainability knowledge
Antony Barton, Supply Management, 15 June 2007

Forecasting Global Warming's Monumental Impact
Science Magazine, 15 June 2007

Recycling Is Not Enough; We Need To Consume Less
ESRC, UK - Science Daily, 16 June 2007

Catch 'em young, seminar advises govt
Chularat Saengpassa, The Nation, Thailand, 17 June 2007

Betty Murungi: A life dedicated to a cause
Nicholas Asego, The Standard, Kenya, 17 June 2007

New Approach to Sustainable Development Urged
IIED, One World, 18 June 2007

Keys to future are economic stability, sustainability
Tony Chan, The Standard, Hong Kong, 18 June 2007

The Global Peace Index: Norway #1; USA #96
Nick Gier, New West, 19 June 2007

China overtakes U.S. as top polluter
Reuters, Globe & Mail, 20 June 2007

Sustainable Development and Social Well-Being
Alex Steffen, World Changing, 20 June 2007

The Amman Call
WCC International Peace Conference
"Churches together for Peace and Justice in the Middle East"

WCC, Amman, Jordan, 18-20 June 2007

The cost of species gone 'missing'
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, Christian Science Monitor, 21 June 2007

The psychology of violence against women
Humair Hashmi, Daily Times, Lahore, Pakistan, 20-21 June 2007

Erasing women from history
National Catholic Reporter, 22 June 2007

ERD receives leadership gift to support
women's empowerment programs

Episcopal News Service, 23 June 2007

Who’s Responsible For
The Palestinian Political Crisis?

Jamal Juma', Counter Currents, 23 June 2007

Sex slavery a crisis within India too
Anti-trafficking efforts focus on those taken abroad.
But the problem also persists at home.

Associated Press, New Delhi, 23 June 2007

From Peak Oil To Dark Age?
Oil output has stalled, and it's not clear
the capacity exists to raise production

Eugene Linden, EROI, 25 June 2007

UN force vows to pursue Lebanon task despite bomb
Karamallah Daher, Reuters, Lebanon, 25 June 2007

Energy, the environment and sustainability
What can I do?

Miguel Mostafa, Daily Utah Chronicle, 25 June 2007

Development dynamics
Book review of "Advancing Development"

S. L. Rao, The Hindu, 26 June 2007

Chinese president stresses shared wealth,
sustainable development

AP, Shanghai, China, 26 June 2007

Democrats making new inroads among Catholic voters
Catholic Democrats, 26 June 2007

Bush vetoes stem cell research while expanding the killing in Iraq
Catholic Democrats, 26 June 2007

New Era for Information Seekers:
The Ex Libris Primo Solution

Tamar Sadeh, Ex Libris, Catholic University of America, 27 June 2007

Slavery today: The toll of human trafficking
The Free Lance-Star, Frederickburg, VA, 26 June 2007

Hundreds gather with Presiding Bishop to reflect on MDGs
Kathy Copas & Katherine Duck, Episcopal Life Online, 27 June 2007

Planet of the slums:
UN warns urban populations set to double

Daniel Howden, The Independent, 27 June 2007

On novelty and oblivion:
What we can learn from dissidents
under Communism

Aleksa Djilas, TFF PeaceBrowser, Belgrade, 27 June 2007

Solutions to Religious Violence
Liam Martin, American Chronicle, 27 June 2007

Chances of Achieving MDGs "Slim" Without Civil Society
Christi van der Westhuizen, IPS, Geneva, 27 June 2007

The hour of truth has come
Pieternel Gruppen, RNW, 28 June 2007

Upscale swap meets: Sustainability is fun
Shelley Emling, Cox News, Star Tribune, 29 June 2007

Georgina Wood's Legal Playing Ground
Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, Modern Ghana, 29 June 2007

Archaeological Evidence of Women Priests and Bishops
in the Roman Catholic tradition

Bridget Mary Meehan & Dorothy Irvin
GodTalk TV Show, Google Videos, 29 June 2007

Religion, nature and environmentalism
Leslie E. Sponsel, Encyclopedia of Earth, 30 June 2007

Mary Gray-Reeves elected as third bishop of El Camino Real
Laura Ahrens to be ordained and consecrated as bishop suffragan
Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal Life Online, 30 June 2007

Master of creation?
John Cornwell, The Sunday Times, 1 July 2007

New Undersea Images Challenge Prevailing Ideas
About The Antarctic Ice Sheet

University of California - Santa Barbara, ScienceDaily, 1 July 2007

True environmentalism must oppose capitalism
David Jones, The Canadian, 2 July 2007

The Failed States Index 2007
The Fund for Peace, Foreign Policy Magazine, July-August 2007

Editor's Comment: The huge number of SSNV-related factors, and the mind-blogging complexity of their interactions, serve as warning that too much reliance on planning and management for the transition toward global sustainability would be foolish. And yet, due diligence requires planning and management, to the extent that this is possible with the tools at our disposal. Financial and technological fixes may be of little value. The spirit of solidarity that animates any planning and management activity will be more important than any tool. Non-violence will be more powerful than any weapon. But sustainabiliy is not unattainable. It is attainable if human solidarity and radical non-violence prevail and collaborate with the natural dynamics of the human habitat.

2. The Millennium Development Goals

At the moment, the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and their supporting projects, constitute the only truly global initiative, with participation of all UN Member nations, focused on human development and stewardship of the human habitat. There are eight MDGs (see chart below), with 2015 and 2025 targets. The previous six issues, starting January 2007, have explored MDGs 1 to 6. MDG3, "Promote Gender Equality," has thus far been the gateway to all the others, and there is an increasing consensus in the international community about the veracity of this hypothesis for all the MDGs. This issue is a test of the same hypothesis for MDG7, "Ensure Environmental Sustainability." The next issue (August 2007) will be a test of the same hypothesis for MDG8, "Create a Global Partnership for Development."

Gender inequality has both secular and religious ways to destroying the orderly unfolding of human affairs. Both are bad, but religious gender inequality (which often translates into religious gender violence) is by far the worst. As Jakubiak and Murphy pointed out years ago .... "Religion--capital R--effectively eliminated the feminine experience in its process of institutionalization as church; religion--small r--the whole human view, cannot be adequately reflected through such a myopic institution. The church is a powerful contributor to inherently unjust social, legal, and economic systems. Feminism challenges the status quo insofar as it calls for endorsement of full human equality." Feminism and Religion, Mary Jakubiak and Sheila Murphy, Counseling and Values, v31 n2 p157-64 Apr 1987 (the abstract is accessible via ERIC; search for ERIC # EJ355341).

U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Millennium Development Goals:

The numbered circles stand for
the MDGs, 1 to 8.
V stands for violence,
main obstacle to all the MDGs.
MDG7 is to ensure
environmental sustainability.

Links to SSNV analyses of the MDGs:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger - January 2007
2. Achieve universal primary education - February 2007
3. Promote gender equality - March 2007
4. Reduce child mortality - April 2007
5. Improve maternal health - May 2007
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases - June 2007
7. Ensure environmental sustainability (focus of this issue)
8. Build a global partnership for development

Recommended MDG resources:

U.N. MDGs Home Page
MDG Core Documents
MDG Basic Indicators
U.N. Millennium Project
MDG Targets & Indicators
MDG Atlas and Dashboard
MDG Slideshows
MDG 2006 Report
GEO 2007 Report
HDR 2006 Report
Children and the MDGs
Youth and the MDGs
Health and the MDGs
State of the World's Children 2007
State of the World's Girls 2007

Religion also has many positive effects on society but, when it comes to gender equality, the social influence of religious sexism is mostly negative. This is the case for both Western and Eastern religions, with the notable exception of the Baha'is, who believe in the full equality of men and women:

The Equality of Women and Men
Baha'i Association, University of Florida

The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is essential to human progress and the transformation of society. Inequality retards not only the advancement of women but the progress of civilization itself. The persistent denial of equality to one-half of the world's population is an affront to human dignity. It promotes destructive attitudes and habits in men and woman that pass from the family to the workplace, to political life, and, ultimately, to international relations.

On no grounds, moral, biological, or traditional, can inequality be justified. The moral and psychological climate necessary to enable our nation to establish social justice and to contribute to global peace will be created only when women attain full partnership with men in all fields of endeavor.

Over a century ago, for the first time in religious history, Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, in announcing God's purpose for the age, proclaimed the principle of the equality of women and men, saying: "Women and men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God." The establishment of equal rights and privileges for women and men, Bahá'u'lláh says, is a precondition for the attainment of a wider unity that will ensure the well-being and security of all peoples. The Baha'i Writings state emphatically that, "When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed.

This month we have an invited paper by Therese Carroll, RSJ, on The Church in the World Today. Using the Roman Catholic Church as a point of reference, she argues that religious institutions do not hinder human and social development initiatives such as the MDGs. But, according to many researchers, there is objective evidence that they do, and the root of the problem (correctly identified in the invited paper) is the absolute power of religious authorities. It is not a new problem, but the urgency in resolving it is new; for the MDGs will be attained more by removing obstacles made by human hands than by any other means.

3. Analysis of Environmental Sustainability

Sustainability is the science of ensuring the long term survival of humanity and the human habitat. It is a complex subject, and barely 30 years old. It is highly interdisciplinary; in fact, nothing is unrelated to it. It requires openness to difficult changes in mindset about practically any human endeavor. Sustainable development is sustainability engineering, or ensuring that there is more to sustainability than mere physical survival in subhuman conditions. This section provides an analysis of sustainability; the next section will provide an analysis of sustainable development.

Many definitions of sustainability have been proposed, but the definition coined by the Brundtlant Commission in 1987 has become normative: "Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." For other definitions of sustainability, see the September 2005 of this newsletter. The October 2005 issue provides an extended discussion of the many "dimensions" of sustainability.

A well defined concept should be amenable to symbolic representation. In the case of sustainability, many have been proposed, none has become universally used; but most of them portray a symbiosis of humanity and the human habitat. The following are some examples:

[sustsymb10] [sustsymb03] [sustsymb02] [sustsymb04] [sustsymb06]
[sustsymb05] [sustsymb08] [sustsymb01] [sustsymb09] [sustsymb07]
Symbolic Representations of Sustainability

It is noteworthy that some of the symbols could represent solidarity as well as sustainability. Actually, solidarity and sustainability should have the same symbol, since there is a prerequisite symbiosis between solidarity and sustainability. Now let us take a look at the meaning and measurement of MDG7, "Ensure Environmental Sustainability." According to the United Nations, MDG7 includes three elements or targets:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
Each one of these targets is monitored by one or more indicators, as follows:
  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest
    • Ratio of area protected to maintain biological diversity to surface area
    • Energy use (kg oil equivalent) per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Carbon dioxide emissions per capita and consumption of ozone-depleting CFCs (ODP tons)
    • Proportion of population using solid fuels
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
    • Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural
    • Proportion of population with access to improved sanitation, urban and rural
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of households with access to secure tenure

It is noteworthy that the targets and indicators to "ensure environmental sustainability" include both environmental and social factors. It is a matter of ensuring that humanity takes good care of the human habitat and vice versa. As Ghandi pointed out, "the earth has enough for everyone's need but not for anyone's greed." This is a reality that is impossible to avoid: sustainability is the study of how humanity takes care of the human habitat, not the other way around. Much current thinking about sustainability is based only on economic, political, and social strategies which attempt to "scapegoat" the human habitat as the cause of the problem. Humanity is the cause of the problem, not the human habitat. Wishful thinking also abounds, to the effect that one or more "technological breakthroughs" will enable humanity to mismanage the human habitat without any need for changes in human behavior relative to consumption and conservation of natural resources. Both the economists and the technologists are headed toward a rude awakening; for the root cause of environmental unsustainability is not economic or technological, but behavioral.

Specifically, the main obstacles to sustainability are the following:

  • Economically, extravagant consumption and wealth accumulation
  • Politically, power (if not absolute power) as normative in governance
  • Socially, honors and prestige based on wealth, power, and frivolities

This mindset (homo economicus) must be overcome if sustainability is to become a reality. The fact is that, at the moment, "sustainability" is more buzzword than science. Basic research on human behavior and decision patterns will be required, and from this effort will emerge a substantive "science of sustainability," i.e., the science of enabling homo economicus to become homo solidarius, so that human decisions seek:

  • Economically, a balance between individual consumption and the common good
  • Politically, informed democracy with subsidiarity of reponsibility and authority
  • Socially, honors based on human solidarity and radically non-violent service

The transition from unsustainability to sustainability, or from homo economicus to homo solidarius, may take a long time. If humanity procrastinates in moving forward, we are doomed. Perhaps the most realistic scenario is one in which global warming and other planetary dislocations will impact people's lives and gradually liberate them from the triple addiction to excessive consumption, unaccountable power, and prestige gained at the expense of scapegoats, human or ecological.

Another important issue to be researched by sustainability scientists is how to mitigate social dislocation and human suffering during the transition from unsustainability to sustainability. One possibility might be to adapt Charles Lindblom's "The Science of Muddling Through" (and its sequel, "Still Muddling, Not Yet Through") to ensure humanity stays together in the muddle and proceeds incrementally and recursively, one step at a time, no matter how long it takes and how hard it is. The complete citation for the classical "muddling" articles is:

Lindblom, Charles. "The Science of Muddling Through." Public Administration Review 19, no. 2 (1959): 79-88.
Lindblom, Charles. "Still Muddling, Not Yet Through." Public Administration Review 39 (1979): 517-529.
The complete articles can be accessed via JSTOR (free if your institution is a member, not so otherwise). There are some good synopses available online:
Muddling Through, Lewis Gilbert, Earth Systems Management Blog, 2003
The Science of "Muddling Through", James Henson, University of Texas, 2002
"Muddling Through"? And the Science & Engineering Thereof, Robert Huefner, University of Utah, 2005
On Muddling Through Contested Terrain, William H. Melody, ENCIP, 2005
Improvising and Muddling Through, Victor Vroom, SIOP, 2006
Health Care – Still Muddling Through, Ian McAuley, Brisbane Institute, AU, 2006
The Science of Muddling Through (Summary Chart), Chun Wei Choo, University of Toronto, CA, 1995, 2007
There are signs that the transition toward sustainability has already started:
  • Environmentally, global warming has captured the attention of business leaders, economists, even politicians at all levels - may God bless all who paved the way, from Rachel Carson to Al Gore!
  • Economically, globalization is equivalent to large scale diversification of suppliers and markets (i.e., "not putting all eggs in one basket") which makes sense when making decisions under uncertainty.
  • Financially, the budgeting and taxing systems of most countries are in disarray and benefit the rich at the expense of the poor; when are we going to start more taxing on wealth and consumption, and less taxing on income?
  • Demographically, massive migration is underway, in all directions, in search of jobs and opportunities; the selective "brain drain" is becoming a global hemorrhage.
  • Also demographically, migration patterns are facilitating (not without some muddling) the communications between cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, even religions - this may be for good in the long term!
  • Politically, "pax americana" has died an ignominious death in Iraq - this extends to any form of "pax" imposed by force at any level - but what's next?
  • Internationally, the United Nations is getting ready for "reform" - good example, but whether U.N. reforms will trickle down to national and local levels of governance remains to be seen.
  • Religiously, some institutions are adamant in resisting essential reforms, such as including women in roles of religious authority - why are they still being subsidized by public funds?
So we are already muddling, but many still resist muddling together. One sign of hope is that violence is utterly discredited as a way to make progress in human affairs. But, as Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out, "peace is not just the absence of conflict; it is the presence of justice." Without justice, there can be no muddling together. It could well be that the U.N. MDGs are the only glue that can make us muddle together and eventually lead us to embrace solidarity and sustainability as the "straight and narrow" path toward sustainable development.

4. The Sustainable Development Process

Sustainable development is sustainability engineering, or making sustainability economically, politically, and socially feasible. As in other engineering disciplines, sustainability engineering must be based on objective evidence (measurable if possible) as opposed to wishful thinking and/or buzzwords. We already have a deluge of literature telling us that everything has to be "sustainable." Another delusion is to think that some "quick technological fix" will take care of the sustainability issue. This is not possible, because sustainability is a human and social issue, not a physical or biophysical one. The human habitat (the biosphere and the ecosystems therein that give us life) is not amenable to "quick fixes."

As an engineering discipline, sustainable development is like systems engineering, albeit for exceedingly complex systems. A good representation of this complexity is provided by the web of interactions among the Sate of the Future: 15 Global Challenges Facing Humanity, as defined and analyzed by the AC/UNU Millennium Project (Jerome C. Glenn, Director), 1997-2006 (the 2007 edition is in preparation).

But the most fundamental challenge of sustainable development is to resolve what we might call the sustainable development paradox. Basically the paradox can be summarized as follows:

  • If human consumption growth continues, then the human habitat may be doomed.
  • If human consumption stabilizes or declines, then the human habitat may recover, but humanity may not survive the ensuing social, economic, and political dislocations.
Willard R. Fey and Ann C. W. Lam have researched this paradox exhaustively, and they have used the term "ecocosm paradox" in their definitive articles: In this analysis the term sustainable development paradox is used to avoid the somewhat unfamiliar "ecocosm" name and to focus on the process of sustainable development as opposed to the cosmic setting in which the process unfolds. Fey and Lam have captured the essence of the paradox in the following diagram:

[paradoxloops315x207] [paradoxtext191x206]
The Sustainable Development Paradox
Copyright (c) 1999-2007, Ecocosm Dynamics Ltd., used with permission.

Basically, the downward flow at the center is the consumption of natural resources. The loops on the right are the "engine" that reinforce population growth. The loops on the left are the "engine" that reinforce consumption per capita. The result of "population x consumption per capita" translates into depletion of limited natural resources (some of them non-renewable). On the right is the statement of the paradox. For more information on this research, navigate to Ecocosm Dynamics Ltd.

Given the immaturity of both sustainability science and sustainable development engineering, it is reasonable to expect a multiplicity of opinions on how to do research in sustainability and how to manage sustainable development. The following are good examples of current thinking on sustainable development:

Beyond the limits : global collapse or a sustainable future, Donella Meadows et al, Earhscan, 1992
Food for the Future: Conditions and Contradictions of Sustainability, Patricia Allen, Wiley, 1993
Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development, Herman E. Daly, Beacon, 1997
Human Development Reports (Global, Regional, National), UNDP, 1990-2007
State of the Future: 15 Global Challenges Facing Humanity, AC/UNU Millennium Project (Jerome C. Glenn, Director), 1997-2006 (the 2007 edition is in preparation)
UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UNDP, 2000-2007
UN ESA Division for Sustainable Development, UN, 2000-2007
EU Strategy for Sustainable Development, EU, 2001-2007
World Summit on Sustainable Development, WSSD, 2002
Background on World Summit for Sustainable Development, USDA, 2002
World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WBCSD, 2002
Biomimicry: Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor, Janine M. Benyus, Biomimicry Institute, 2002
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things , William Mcdonough, North Point, 2002
Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System, Robley E. George, Praeger, 2002
After the World Summit for Sustainable Development, Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Ecologic, 2003
Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, Donella Meadows et al, Chelsea, 2004
MDG Global Monitoring Report, World Bank, 2004-2007
What is Sustainable Development?, Robert W. Kates et al, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, April 2005
Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, And Peace, Vandana Shiva, Sound End Press, 2005
The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait Of A Paradigm Shift, Andres A. Edwards, New Society, 2005
Toward a Bioregional State: A Series of Letters About Political Theory and Formal Institutional Design in the Era of Sustainability, Mark D. Whitaker, iUniverse, 2005
Database of Best Practices for Sustainable Development, Sustainlane, 2006
Sustainable Human Development: Scientific and Moral Dimensions, UNESCO-EOLSS, 2006
Toward a Bioregional State, Mark D. Whitaker, International Sociological Association's World Congress of Sociology, Durban, South Africa, 2006
The Geneva Guide to Sustainable Living, Geneva State Service of Sustainable Development, 2007
Corporate Social Responsibility: An Implementation Guide for Business, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), 2007
Raising Our Game: Can We Sustain Globalization?, SustainAbility, 2007
Forthcoming: Global Environment Outlook 4 (GEO-4), UNEP, September 2007
Is there a commonly accepted synthesis for a global sustainable development strategy? Absolutely not. Is it feasible to formulate one? Absolutely not, except perhaps at a very high conceptual level complemented by some guiding principles. A good example is the European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development. In the United States of America, anything that might impact economic growth is taboo; another paradox, since the economic growth in the USA is responsible for some (most?) current levels of environmental degradation. But not even the USA can sustain further development for long in isolation of the global socio-economic system. Globalization and massive migration are making sure of that. It follows that, for any given country, there cannot possibly be strategies to ensure sustainable development at the regional, national, and local levels.

It is possible to list features that a sustainable development strategy should not have, such as:

  • Sustainable development strategies cannot be based on economic growth alone
  • Sustainable development strategies cannot be based on hierarchical governance alone
  • Sustainable development strategies cannot be based on hopes for technological breakthroughs
  • In brief, sustainable development cannot be based on with any single factor alone
It is not possible to produce a sustainable development strategy that anticipates and evaluates all the rippling effects of any given policy. The process is too complex and exceeds the capabilities of computer simulation models, let alone human brains. But it seems reasonable to think that the time of reckoning is coming for the following:
  • The triple addiction to extravagant consumption, absolute power, and prestige devoid of service
  • The lack of support for human development as a life long process
    • "There are no limits to growth in wisdom" (Donella Meadows)
  • The failure of people and institutions to ridicule violence and promote non-violence
  • The perpetuation of phallocentric religious practices detrimental to human development, such as
    • The anachronic, prejudice-based, theologically baseless exclusion of women from roles of religious authority
It also seems reasonable to anticipate new priorities that are responsive to the signs of the times:
  • The highest priority of sustainable development is human development
  • Human development entails going beyond outer/material well-being to inner/spiritual well-being
  • This means helping people outgrow homo economicus and become homo solidarius
    • homo economicus = human decisions based on self-interest alone
    • homo solidarius = human decisions based on both self-interest and the common good
  • Understanding that solidarity and sustainability are like two sides of a coin; either you have both, or you have none.
  • Understanding subsidiarity as the glue between solidarity and sustainability
    • Subsidiarity = a very dense and sticky web of checks and balances at all levels (global, national, local)
    • Until proven otherwise, democracy is the best way to govern this multi-level web
    • Democratic institutions may have to undergo some reformations, but they are not visible yet
  • Consensus that we are going to need some form of global governance -- sooner rather than later
    • The U.N. is not perfect, in fact needs radical reforms, but it is the best we have
  • The MDGs are the best way to channel resources for sustainable human development
    • MDG3, gender equality, is the gateway to all the other MDGs
What about the transition from unsustainable to sustainable development? If managing the steady-state dynamics of sustainable development is so complex as to require fundamental changes in human priorities and institutional structures, then managing the transition from unsustainable to sustainable development is beyond imagination.

There are symptoms (globalization, migration, terrorism .... ) that the transition may already be underway. Better late than never, globally managing this transition is indispensable, and the plan must be amenable to adaptation as the transition process unfolds. Lindblom's "science for muddling through" must be extended to "engineering for muddling through." The transition may take a long time, but it must be managed one day at a time. Given a set of well-defined, long term sustainability goals, sustainable development still must be managed one step at a time, with all nations "muddling through" together. Any attempt to expedite and "swim in clear water" will be an exercise in futility. The thickness of the mud that keeps people together is our best hope.

During the transition, a certain amount of confusion and human suffering is to be expected. This will the greatest challenge of sustainable development engineering and management: to mitigate, as much as possible, human suffering due to hunger, exposure to climate changes, violence, medical problems due to environmental degradation, etc. Some level of confusion and uncertainty may have to be tolerated, and may even be beneficial; if people think that they are swimming in clear water, with full visibility ahead, many will try to swim in many different ways. Muddling together might be "optimal," but sometimes what might be optimal is the enemy of what is good. It follows, that the willingness of all nations to "muddle through" together must be assured. This is where the ingredient of solidarity becomes indispensable in the journey toward sustainability and sustainable development.

There is a saying, "In God we trust, all others bring data." Monitoring progress toward the MDGs and their 2015 and 2025 targets would be a most sensible method to gain some visibility in the midst of the mud and the confusion. MDG Global Monitoring Reports at the global, regional, national levels are published annually by the UN and the WB. There are a number of sustanability indexes that are useful in detecting sustainability trends. For instance, the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), a joint project of Columbia University and Yale University, is a tool to benchmark the capability of countries to mitigate environmental damage in the next decade. The calculation of the ESI is based on 76 variables combined into 21 indicators which are further combined into 5 components: management of environmental systems, reduction of environmental stresses, reduction of human vulnerability, social and institutional capacity in environmental protection, and global stewardship activity (see the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index Report, tables 9 and 10 for the definitions of components, indicators, and variables).

Another useful monitoring tool is the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. This set of indexes tracks the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. For the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World), the calculations are based on 314 components. Companies are evaluated "based on a variety of criteria including climate change strategies, energy consumption, human resources development, knowledge management, stakeholder relations and corporate governance. While no industry is excluded in the selection process and in the composition of the DJSI World, subsets of the index provide investors with the possibility to apply filters against certain sectors." The data survey for the 2007 DJSI World includes 2511 companies in 39 countries (1012 in the USA, 205 in the UK).

Since solidarity and sustainability are tightly coupled, it would seem desirable to have solidarity indexes comparable to the sustainability indexes. But nothing seems to be available for solidarity that would be in the same league with sustainability indexes such as ESI and DJSI. Some work has been done to quantify family cohesion, social justice concerns, social inclusion, cross-gender solidarity, and discrimination issues, but the scope of existing solidarity indexes is limited to specific issues and locations. An index to monitor multi-dimensional, global human solidarity does not seem to be available.

Conceptually, if the solidarity index (SOLIX) is defined as the % of people who generally make decisions based on both self-interest and the common good, and the sustainability index (SUSTX) is defined as the % of natural resources that are managed to ensure availability for future generations, then it would seem reasonable to calculate a combined solidarity-sustainability index (SSX) as the product of SOLIX and SUSTX. The following graph is an example of how these indexes might behave over time:

Conceptual Solidarity-Sustainability Index
SOLIX = solidarity index (0-1, 1 = perfect solidarity)
SUSTX = sustainability index (0-1, 1 = perfect sustainability)
SSX = solidarity-sustainability index (0-1, 1 = perfect solidarity-sustainability)

Data for both SOLIX and SUSTX could be gathered by well designed statistical surveys at the local, national, and global levels. Something like SSX would be useful as an indicator of progress while "muddling through" together during the transition form unsustainable to sustainable development. SSX would be a very simple index for a very complex process. Simple models of complex realities are often more useful than more complex models. Needless to say, a reality check for SSX is still TBD. Regardless of which models or indexes are used, the wise thing to do is to keep "muddling through" one short step at a time, and always staying together.

5. Combined Analysis of MDGs 1 to 8

Either we have both solidarity and sustainability or we have neither. It follows that solidarity is indispensable for sustainability. Furthermore, since cross-gender solidarity is the fuel that energizes all other forms of solidarity, it follows that cross-gender solidarity is a crucial dependency for sustainability and sustainable development; and even more so for sustainable human development. Therefore MDG3 (Promotion of Gender Equality) is a key pre-requisite for MDG7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability). The following table captures the key drivers for MDGs 1 to 7, and provides links to supporting evidence:

In brief, MDGs 1 to 7 are crucially dependent on MDG3 (Gender Equality). MDG8 (Build Global Partnership for Development) will be the theme of the August 2007 issue. A combined analysis of MDGs 1 to 8 will be the theme of the September 2007 issue.

For a consolidated tabulation of the current target definitions and indicator trends for each MDG, see the The Millennium Development Goals Report 2006 - Statistical Annex, United Nations, New York, 2006. Other free-access MDG databases are the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21), the World Bank Portal on MDGs, and the Global Monitoring Report 2007. Familiarity with the MDG target definitions and indicators trends is highly recommended in preparation for a combined analysis of MDGs 1 to 8.

6. Review of the US Social Forum Website

This month we review the web site of the US Social Forum (USSF), which is having its first national meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, at the time that this newsletter is published (June 27 to July 1, 2007).

There is a well-known World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF is committed to "the anti-globalization or alter-globalization movement to coordinate world campaigns, share and refine organizing strategies, and inform each other about movements from around the world and their issues." It serves as focal point for debating global issues from the social perspective of the Third World, with many participants from the First World who care about global realities such as poverty, human rights, health care, gender equality, sustainability, etc. Over 75,000 participants gathered in Nairobi during the 7th edition of the World Social Forum under the clarion “People’s Struggle’s, People’s Alternatives” from 20 to 25 January 2007.

There is also a World Economic Forum (WEF), committed to "improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas." The last annual meeting was in Davos, Switzerland, 24-28 January 2007. The WEF is the "capitalist" counterpart to the "socialist" WSF. The WEF, according to critics, is really a meeting of big business and, as such, is more responsive to the priorities of the rich and powerful of the world. Wikipedia has good articles for both the WSF and the WEF.

There is as yet no Wikipedia page for the US Social Forum. This is paradoxical, since the United States is part (and possibly the major part, albeit not the only one) of the problems discussed at both the WSF and the WEF. So it is appropriate that the top banner of the home page declares the need for change worldwide and, specifically, in the USA:

This is followed by the USSF mission statement:

United States Social Forum (USSF)
The US Social Forum is more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression.

The USSF will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other's experiences, share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.

The USSF sends a message to other people’s movements around the world that there is an active movement in the US opposing US Policies at home and abroad.

We must declare what we want our world to look like and begin planning the path to get there. A global movement is rising. The USSF is our opportunity to demonstrate to the world Another World is Possible!

This is a good start for a "first edition" web site. It is an advocacy web site, and therefore uses colors and images to get attention and motivate the viewers to join the cause; but the site is neither extravagant nor inflammatory, and reflects a paucity of resources that is consistent with grassroots social activism. The horizontal navigation bar includes links to About, Donate!, Participate, Logistics, Organize, Newsroom, and Home. These links mainly provide information about the June 27-July 1 Atlanta meeting.

The left-hand navigation bar is the most important. It provides links to information about the social forum, the movement for social change that the forum supports, and the many options available to participate in the movement (as change agents) and the forum (as writers, translators, etc.). Incidentally, the web site is bilingual English-Spanish, thereby signaling that the USSF is not interested in kicking millions of Hispanic immigrants out of the country; and what a foolish action that would be, given that many of those immigrants do back breaking work nobody else wants to do.

The left-hand navigation bar would benefit from a better organization of the links by kinds of participation. The current list is just an indented list that correlates with the links in the horizontal navigation bar. More substance is needed in terms of kinds of volunteer work needed, as well as educational material on the reasons that make it imperative to change many of the domestic and international policies of the USA -- socially, politically, economically, and environmentally. For instance, how would the USSF evaluate some of the proposals for tax reform, as defined by Robley E. George's Center for the Study of Democratic Societies? Links to research of this kind would be a valuable addition to the website; activists need to do their homework and be able to identify alternatives to the systems they are trying to change.

The right-hand navigation bar is a list of recent blog postings about the USSF and/or the USSF mission. This is fine, but a search engine for a directory of USSF-relevant links would really add substance to the home page. Search engines for specialized directories are being deployed by many web sites with busy visitors with no time for goggling things up. A good example is the Worldwide Links Search in the Foreign Policy web site.

The USSF web site is good news. It creates awareness that this great country may not be a great country much longer unless we have a change of mind and heart about extravagant consumption, the use/abuse of power, and seeking honors by way of domination rather than service. Unless this mindset is overcome, humanity is doomed.

It is refreshing to see a web site that undertakes this kind of mission with a positive attitude and without advocating the use of violence, or even the use of force, to seek a world of peace and justice. Other sites with a similar mission use confrontational "power language," which is counterproductive. For instance, one of the links (as of 20 June 07) leads to the "PODER" (Spanish for "POWER") website. In the case of "PODER" (which is worth visiting), it is understood that the word is used in the sense of enabling people to participate in the struggle for human rights, both here and worldwide. But the Spanish word "PODER" literally means "POWER", and people may misinterpret this as trying to give power to those who are now powerless; which will simply lead to a new class of powerful people who will use/abuse power.

We all know Lord Acton's dictum: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." A different world is possible if, and only if, the desire for human solidarity replaces the desire for power at all levels: local, national, international. It is hoped that the forthcoming USSF meeting might provide some ideas on practical incentives to undertake the transition from power to solidarity, and from violence to non-violence.

Indeed, another world is possible, another U.S. is necessary. But the necessary and sufficient condition for these transitions is the radical renunciation of violence. Else, we can go from something that is bad to something that is even worst. Best wishes for a successful meeting in Atlanta!

7. Web Resources & Knowledge Taxonomy

This section is a digest of recently added/updated web resources, under three categories:

Information & Knowledge Content

GLOBAL TRENDS IN SUSTAINABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2007, UNEP/SEFI, 2007, 54 pages. The subtitle is: Analysis of Trends and Issues in the Financing of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in OECD and Developing Countries. From the foreword: "Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment includes data showing that investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries set a new record of more than $100 billion worth of transactions in 2006. In 2007, the upward trend continues, with capital investments occurring in sectors and regions previously considered too risky and too illiquid to merit the attention of the institutional investment community. The OECD still dominates, but there is now rapidly emerging activity from companies in China, India and Brazil. Indeed, Chinese companies were the second largest recipient of venture capital in 2006 after the United States. In the same year, India was the largest net buyer of companies abroad, mostly in the more established European markets. This is more than just interesting data, however. It is a powerful market signal to the arrival of an alternative future for today’s fossil-fuel dominated energy markets. Signals move markets, and the signal these investment numbers make is that markets are becoming more liquid, more globalised and more mainstream."

STATE OF THE WORLD POPULATION 2007, UNFPA, 27 June 2007. From the announcement: "This is the 30th State of World Population report and, this year, our topic is urbanization. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s people will be living in towns and cities. That’s half of all people on Earth. And by 2030, urban population is expected to swell to almost 5 billion–-60 per cent of world population. Globally, all future population growth will be in cities, and nearly all in today’s developing countries. Many of these cities already have pressing concerns, including poverty, crime, lack of clean water and sanitation, and sprawling slums. But these problems pale in comparison with those that could be raised by future growth.

"Today, a billion people live in slums, 90 per cent of whom are in developing countries. The battle to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and cut extreme poverty in half by 2015, will be waged in the world’s slums. To win it, policymakers need to be proactive and start working with the urban poor so they can lift themselves out of poverty. The State of World Population also dispels a common myth. Contrary to popular belief, most urban growth is the result of natural increase rather than migration. With a few exceptions, including in China and Viet Nam, most cities are growing from within. In response to this, policymakers should shift the emphasis from stemming migration to delivering social services and investing in women. Investments in education and health, including reproductive health and voluntary family planning, and the empowerment of women are the best way to address urban population growth."

THE GENEVA GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE LIVING, Geneva Guide to Sustainable Living, 2007, 50 pages (free download). From the announcement: "Changing patterns of consumption and production was defined as a primary objective and an absolute condition for sustainable development during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. To this end, and within the framework of its Agenda 21 initiative, the Canton of Geneva published in 2005 a guide, in French, entitled “Pour une consommation responsable" (Towards Sustainable Consumption).

"The Geneva State Service of Sustainable Development conceived the sheets as practical tools for readers, to help them make good choices in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Geneva Climate Action has joined with the Geneva State Service of Sustainable Development to translate into English these 25 leaflets on how to be a responsible consumer. "The Geneva Guide to Sustainable Living" was published in June 2007 for the benefit of the estimated 40,000 Anglophones in the Geneva region. Becoming a sustainable consumer is no easy task. Trying to think of all possible implications at once, every time you make a purchase, can be challenging. The information sheets in the Guide were designed to be read independently of each other, according to any special purchases you might be considering or general questions you might be asking.

"The complexity of the arguments that have to be weighed when making a purchase reflects the complexity of the global economy. The only realistic approach is one based on individual choice. However, this should be an informed, responsible choice, which respects the choices of others. “Sustainable” living means making respect central to our actions: respect for others, whether they belong to current or future generations, whether they live here or somewhere else; respect for difference and diversity; and respect for the environment and the resources of our planet."

WORLD HEALTH STATISTICS 2007, WHO, May 2007 (free download). From the website: "World health statistics 2007 presents the most recent health statistics for WHO’s 193 Member States. This third edition includes a section with 10 highlights of global health statistics for the past year as well as an expanded set of 50 health statistics. The core set of indicators was selected on the basis of their relevance to global health, the availability and quality of the data, and the accuracy and comparability of estimates."

IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ON HEALTH, WHO, 13 June 2007 (free download). From the anouncement: "The World Health Organization (WHO) is today releasing the first ever country-by-country analysis of the impact environmental factors have on health. The data show huge inequalities but also demonstrate that in every country, people's health could be improved by reducing environmental risks including pollution, hazards in the work environment, UV radiation, noise, agricultural risks, climate and ecosystem change. The new data show that 13 million deaths worldwide could be prevented every year by making environments healthier. In some countries, more than one third of the disease burden could be prevented through environmental improvements. Related links: Environmental health and Environmental Burden of Disease: Country Profiles

OECD EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK 2007, OECD, 2007, 281 pages. The document starts with a very instructive editorial entitled Addressing the globalisation paradox, by John P. Martin, Director, OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. The editorial serves as a frame of reference for the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1. Labour Markets in Brazil, China, India and Russia and Recent Labour Market Developments and Prospects in OECD countries
  • Chapter 2. More Jobs but Less Productive? The Impact of Labour Market Policies on Productivity
  • Chapter 3. OECD Workers in the Global Economy: Increasingly Vulnerable?
  • Chapter 4. Financing Social Protection: The Employment Effect
  • Chapter 5. Activating the Unemployed: What Countries Do

These are followed by a very comprehensive Statistical Annex. The core message of the book is that globalization could lead to better living standards worldwide and should not be summarily dismissed as a plot of big business to improve their bottom line at the expense of the poor nations: "The debate about the social impact of globalisation is characterized by a paradox. On the one hand, most economists highlight the lessons from economic history, namely that more open markets tend to be associated with greater prosperity. Indeed, freer trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) help realize the welfare gains associated with exploiting comparative advantage. They also intensify competitive pressures, thereby encouraging firms to innovate and adopt new technology – which, in turn, spurs economic growth and supports job creation. In sum, globalisation is a win-win process for OECD and non-OECD trading partners alike. On the other hand, however, there is concern in the public opinion in many OECD countries about the risks that globalisation may entail in terms of jobs and wages."

VIDEO ON GIFT ECONOMY ~ MALIAN GIFT ECONOMY, Bev Bell, Other Worlds, 2007 (free viewing). This is a video about "dama," the traditional gift economy in West Africa, as it is practiced in Mali, one of the poorest nations in the world. Africa comes alive in this video. African poverty, even more so. The "dama" practice of sharing gifts, received and passed on to others in greater need, reveals the greatness of the human spirit when liberated from the triple addiction to wealth, power, and prestige. Thanks to Mary Condren for posting this information in her "Institute for Feminism and Religion" listserv.

CORRELATES FOR PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, USIP, 17 May 2007, 52 pages (free download). From the abstract: "This report examines the correlates of individual-level support for terrorism in fourteen Muslim countries. I identify a variety of factors that are correlated with support for terrorism. These factors can be divided into a several categories: attitudes toward Islam, attitudes toward the United States, attitudes toward politics and economics in the home countries, and demographic factors. The analysis uses individual-level data collected by the Pew Research Center in their survey, What the World Thinks 2002: How Global Publics View Their Lives, Their Countries, The World, America. These data are augmented with national-level data on the economy, the size of the Muslim population, governance, and the level of terrorism. I find that support for terrorism is positively correlated with anti-Americanism, the belief that Islam should play a significant role in politics, the belief that the United States poses a threat to Islam, and, surprisingly, the perception of free expression. Moreover, education, perceived state of the economy, and support for democracy are not found to have any significant relationship to support for terrorism."

CAN GLOBALIZATION AND SUSTAINABILITY COEXIST?, Skoll Foundation and SustainAbility, GreenBiz, Berlin, 7 June 2007, 72 pages, free download. From the Executive Summary: "Interactions between the complexities of globalization and the evolving sustainability agenda will define markets and politics in the 21st century. This report reviews some of the key recent trends driving — and driven by — globalization. It looks at where these processes are likely to take us over the next two decades, and their implications for the corporate responsibility and sustainable development agendas. [...] The report concludes with seven recommendations to business and the wider sustainability movement: [1] Plan for the unexpected, [2] Find true South, [3] Don’t expect ‘nice’ companies to come first, [4] Co-evolve Earth’s immune system, [5] Think opportunity and innovation, [6] S-t-r-e-t-c-h, [7] Do the politics.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX (GPI), Global Peace Index (GPI), Australia, 2007, 44 pages (free download). From the Vision of Humanity website: "Peace and sustainability are the cornerstones of humanity’s survival in the 21st century. The major challenges facing humanity today are global – climate change, accessible fresh water, ever decreasing bio-diversity and over population. Problems that call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite, for, without peace, how can the major nations of the world co-operate to solve these issues?" From the Executive Summary: "The Global Peace Index is composed of 24 indicators, ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighboring countries and the level of respect for human rights. The index has been tested against a range of potential “drivers” or determinants of peace - including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing. The team has used the latest available figures (mainly 2004-06) from a wide range of respected sources, including the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the World Bank, and various UN offices and Peace Institutes. Steve Killelea and his team hope that this project will contribute significantly to the public debate on peace. For more information on the Global Peace Index, including more detail on the results, methodology and potential uses, please visit Vision of Humanity."

CLIMATE CHANGE: A GUIDE TO INFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION, Society of Environmental Journalists, April 2007. Climate Change: A Guide to the Information and Disinformation is a special reporters' online resource section devoted to climate. It is drawn from the Rolodexes, notebooks, and background files of some of the top reporters in the business. The guide is, and will remain, a work in progress. As of 14 June 07, the guide includes sections on

Simple Introductions
Basic Science
Federal Government Programs and Labs
International Agencies
Research and Academic Institutions
Environmental Groups
Deniers, Dissenters, and "Skeptics"
"Creation Care" and Evangelical Views
Sifting Disinformation from Information
Expert Rolodex: Who Ya Gonna Call?
Outstanding Coverage
Further Information

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2007: THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S HUMAN RIGHTS, AI, 2007. From the Summary: "The Amnesty International Report 2007 The Amnesty International Report 2007 documents human rights issues of concern to The Amnesty International Report 2007 documents human rights issues of concern to Amnesty International (AI) during 2006. AI's approach to tackling human rights abuses is informed by both the challenges and opportunities for change in a given country or region. The strategic goals that AI identifies in a country or region determine AI's work. As a result, AI addresses particular issues in specific countries. Its coverage of individual issues, as reflected in the content of this report, is focused rather than comprehensive. If an issue is not covered in a country entry, this should not be taken as a statement by AI that abuses within this category did not occur. Nor can the absence of an entry on a particular country or territory be taken to imply that no human rights abuses of concern to AI took place there during 2006. In particular, the length of individual entries cannot be used as the basis for a comparison of the extent and depth of AI's concerns. Regional maps have been included in this report to indicate the location of countries and territories, and each individual country entry begins with some basic information about the country. Neither the maps nor the country information may be interpreted as AI's view on questions such as the status of disputed territory."

THE IMPACT OF GLOBALIZATION ON THE WORLD'S POOR, Development Gateway, 11 June 2007, 361 pages. From the Overview: "Over recent decades, the world economy has experienced not only a quantitative leap in the volume and value of international trade and financial transactions, but also a qualitative transformation in the way different nation states interact with each other. National economies are increasingly linked through international markets for products and factor markets, leading to increased cross-border flows of goods, capital, labour and, through flows of information, technology and management know-how. The world economy is becoming increasingly integrated. This process of globalization is one of the most critical developments affecting the evolution of national economies. Globalization offers participating countries new opportunities to accelerate growth and development but, at the same time, it also poses challenges to, and imposes constraints on, policy-makers in the management of national, regional and global economic systems. While the opportunities offered by globalization can be great, a question is often raised as to whether the distribution of gains is fair and, in particular, whether the poor benefit proportionately less from globalization – and might under some circumstances in fact be damaged by it. The risks and costs brought about by globalization can be significant for fragile developing economies and the world’s poor."

IMPACTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ON HEALTH (COUNTRY BY COUNTRY), WHO, 13 June 2007. From the announcement: "The World Health Organization (WHO) is today releasing the first ever country-by-country analysis of the impact environmental factors have on health. The data show huge inequalities but also demonstrate that in every country, people's health could be improved by reducing environmental risks including pollution, hazards in the work environment, UV radiation, noise, agricultural risks, climate and ecosystem change. The new data show that 13 million deaths worldwide could be prevented every year by making environments healthier. In some countries, more than one third of the disease burden could be prevented through environmental improvements. The worst affected countries include Angola, Burkina Faso and Mali, as well as Afghanistan. In 23 countries worldwide, more than 10% of deaths are due to just two environmental risk factors: unsafe water, including poor sanitation and hygiene; and indoor air pollution due to solid fuel use for cooking. Around the world, children under five are the main victims and make up 74% of deaths due to diarrhea disease and lower respiratory infections."

MILLENNIUM VILLAGES: A NEW APPROACH TO FIGHTING POVERTY, UN Millennium Project and UNDP, 2006. From the website: "The first Millennium Village was started in Sauri, Kenya in August 2004 and saw remarkable results in just two years. For example, the villagers went from chronic hunger to a tripling of their crop production. Also, for the first time in years, they were able to sell their produce in nearby markets. The second Millennium Village was launched in Koraro, Ethiopia in February 2005 and also saw tremendous progress early on." FAQ: "Millennium Villages are designed to demonstrate how the eight Millennium Development Goals can be met in rural Africa within five years through community-led development. By working in 12 sites located in 10 African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda), the Millennium Village initiative works directly with the respective communities, non-governmental organizations and national governments to show how rural African communities can lift themselves out of poverty and achieve the Goals if they have access to proven and powerful technologies that can enhance their farm productivity, health, education, and access to markets – while operating within the budget constraints established by international agreements for official development assistance. Each of the 12 clusters of villages is located in a distinct agro-ecological zone—arid or humid, highland or lowland, grain producing or pastoral—to reflect the range of farming, water, and disease challenges facing the continent and to show how tailored strategies can overcome each one of them."

A DAY FULL OF LIGHT: ENDING COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOTATION, ILO, 10 May 2007. "The growth of human trafficking linked to sexual exploitation is of worldwide concern. Those who suffer sexism, racism, poverty, and homelessness, or who have been victims of domestic violence, rape, or incest, both domestically and globally, are terribly vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE)." See also THE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN: A Working Guide to the Empirical Literature, Richard Estes, University of Pennsylvania, 2001.

THE CHALLENGE OF INEQUALITY, IPC/UNDP, Brasilia, June 2007, 28 pages (free download). Summary: "Inequality is a major challenge for poverty reduction and a crucial obstacle for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. There are both intrinsic and instrumental reasons why inequality matters, such as social justice and morality, putting the poor first, growth and efficiency, political legitimacy, and public policy goals. This issue of IPC’s journal Poverty in Focus presents 12 articles summarising some of the most important recent research results on the extent of inequality in the distribution of wealth and incomes at both the global and national levels, on analytical aspects of causes and patterns, and on policy conclusions and recommendations." This is a high quality and very informative publication with excellent charts and graphics. See a list of other IPC publications.

EQUALITY AT WORK: TACKING THE CHALLENGE, ILO, 2007, 141 pages (Free download). From the Summary: "The global report, Equality at work: Tackling the challenge Provides a global picture of job-related discrimination, citing both progress and failures in the struggle to fight discrimination ranging from traditional forms such as sex, race or religion, to newer forms based on age, sexual orientation, HIV/AIDS status and disability. Also available in Arab, French, Spanish, German, Russian. Part I is on the definition and measurement of discrimination. Part II is on patterns of discrimination at work, and identifies currently emerging news forms of discrimination. Part III is the institutional dimension of job discrimination, the policies being formulated, and the actions being taken by national governments and other organizations. Part IV reviews the ILO’s assistance to member States for the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equal opportunities."

Web Sites and Other Resources

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DATABASE. This is a database of best practices for sustainable development in state and local government. It was open only to government officials until just recently, when it became open to the general public. Journalists, researchers, and citizen activist groups will find useful information in this repository. There are more than 105 best practice documents and a secure directory of participating government officials from over 400 cities, counties and states. Documents can be searched under the following categories:

Climate Change Policy
Economic Development
Energy/Energy Efficiency
Forestry/Street Greening
Green Building/Development
Land Use/Planning
Parks/Open Space/ Habitat
Sustainability Management
Waste Management

SCITALKS DATABASE: SMART PEOPLE ON COOL TOPICS. The SciTalks database contains 1000+ science lectures available online, both text and videos. Included are lectures on the following sciences:

Aeronautical Engineering
Cognitive Science
General Interest
Geology and Geophysics
History of Science
Information Technology
Material Science
Mechanical Engineering
Philosophy of Science
Public Health
Space Science

Similar "talks" databases are in preparation to collect lectures on the Humanities (HumTalks), Government (GovTalks), and Business (BusiTalks).

Note: Other video web libraries include ResearchChannel (online video library on Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, Computer Science and Engineering, Health and Medicine, K-12 and Education, Sciences, and Social Sciences) and Blinkx (12 million hours of video -- all subjects).

GENDER RESPONSIVE BUDGETING. Welcome message: "The Gender Responsive Budgeting website is a collaborative effort between the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Commonwealth Secretariat and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which was launched in 2001. The website strives to support efforts of governments, women’s organizations, members of parliaments and academics to ensure that planning and budgeting effectively respond to gender equality goals. The site also provides practitioners with a variety of resources, assessments and training materials on gender responsive budgeting. Finally, it aims to promote cross-regional information-sharing on country experiences and facilitates networking and collaboration amongst countries, civil society and international organizations."

REFWORLD WEBSITE FOR REFUGEE DECISION SUPPORT. This web site has been launched by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). From the website: "Refworld is the leading source of information necessary for taking quality decisions on refugee status. Refworld contains a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. The information has been carefully selected and compiled from UNHCR's global network of field offices, Governments, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and judicial bodies."

SCHOLARLY ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING BIBLIOGRAPHY. Version 68 is now available online. It contains 3000+ articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the internet. Links to over 270 related websites in the following categories:

Digital Libraries
Electronic Books and Texts
Electronic Serials
Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI
General Electronic Publishing
SGML and Related Standards

COMMODITY ECOLOGY and TOWARD A BIOREGIONAL STATE. These are sister blogs, both intended to support the book Toward a Bioregional State: A Series of Letters About Political Theory and Formal Institutional Design in the Era of Sustainability, by environmental sociologist Mark D. Whitaker (iUniverse, 2005, 384 pages). Whitaker proposes that "instead of sustainability being an issue of population scale, managerial economics, or technocratic planning, an overhaul of formal democratic institutions is required. This is because environmental degradation has more to do with the biased interactions of formal institutions and informal corruption. Because of corruption, we have environmental degradation. Current formal democratic institutions of states are forms of informal gate keeping, and as such, intentionally maintain democracy as ecologically “out of sync”. He argues that we are unable to reach sustainability without a host of additional ecological checks and balances. These ecological checks and balances would demote corrupt uses of formal institutions by removing capacities for gate keeping against democratic feedback. Sustainability is a politics that is already here—only waiting to be formally organized."

Specifically, the theory is that two institutions are required in every watershed: commodity ecology and civic democratic institutions. The COMMODITY ECOLOGY blog is for questions and answers, comments, and worldwide news "related to the issues of sustainability and unsustainability and how to institutionalize it in particular watersheds anywhere in the world, in a running muse on various issues of concern or inspiration." The TOWARD A BIOREGIONAL STATE blog has the same purpose, except that the focus is on the reform of democratic institutions that will be required to attain sustainability. A key concept is the ubiquity of checks and balances, both ecological and political. The principle of subsidiarity, while not explicitly mentioned, would be instrumental to the institutional reforms Whitaker is proposing.

UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD TODAY. This web site has recently been updated with a number of new documents on Global Social Change , including Basic Guide to the World: Economic Growth, 1970 to 2007, with plots of several global/regional economic variables from 1969 to 2007 and Links to open source journals of social, political, and economic change.

ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY RESEARCH GROUP (EGRG). This website has been completely overhauled and relaunched. The Economic Geography Research Group aims to foster research and its dissemination in economic geography by organising meetings, developing contact and cooperation among geographers and other social scientists, and promoting the publication of research. The website includes documentation of conferences and symposia, Working papers, book reviews, economic geography news, and links to key online resources.

CHILD TRAFFICKING DIGITAL LIBRARY. The library has been updated with a number of important documents, as follows:

Combating the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, ECPAT Europe Law Enforcement Group, 2006.
The Psychosocial Rehabilitation of Children who have been Commercially Sexually Exploited, ECPAT International, 2005.
The IOM Handbook on Direct Assistance for Victims of Trafficking, International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2007.
Manual For Social Workers Dealing With Child Victims Of Trafficking And Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Ministry of Women and Child Development India, 2005.
Southeast Asian Guidelines for the Protection of the Rights of Children Victims of Trafficking, Asia Against Child Trafficking (Asia ACTs), 2006.
Combating the Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes, ECPAT Europe Law Enforcement Group, 2006.
Tackling trafficking through workers’ rights, TUC, 2006.
Reference Guide on Protecting the Rights of Child Victims of Trafficking in Europe, UNICEF, 2006.
Enhanced Protection for Children Affected by AIDS, UNICEF, 2007.

IMITATION, MIMETIC THEORY, RELIGIOUS & CULTURAL EVOLUTION, April 2007. From the home page: "Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, the Metanexus Institute, and the Travis Research Institute of Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, this two year project brings together some of the world’s most prominent scientists, philosophers, and religious scholars in an attempt to explore current theories of human imitation and their converging implications for contemporary psychosocial, religious, and scientific thought." A mimetic analysis of the scapegoating mechanism used by a religious institution to neutralize a crisis has already been presented in this newsletter (March 2006 to August 2006). It is hoped that an improved mimetic analysis of the same process can be articulated as a result of new insights provided by mimetic theory.

GLOBAL LEARNING PORTAL (GLP), upgraded April 2007. Summary: "The Global Learning Portal is a public-private partnership between AED, Sun Microsystems, and USAID. It aims at expanding the educational resources available to primary and secondary school teachers in developing countries. The collaborative Web site allows visitors to become members and benefit from a wide range of services. GLP has recently launched an online course tool. The tool—called Moodle—can be used to create and conduct different courses for its members. Moodle can be used in a number of ways to engage learners in self-paced lessons. It can also be used to create files that can be printed, or used on computers with no internet connectivity. For more information, please visit the Global Learning Portal (Summary by Thomas Bekkers, Development Gateway Communities, 10 April 2007).

Knowledge Taxonomy & Links Directory

The SSNV knowledge organization taxonomies are being reworked to use the Encyclopedic Portal to Wikipedia as universal knowledge baseline (why reinventing the wheel?). A limited number of additional SSNV-specific links, such as links to U.N. MDG resources, will be retained as an annex to the Wikipedia portal. This annex is in preparation, and will take the form of a relational database with the following fields:

The relational table, which can be sorted by any of the fields, currently looks like this:

Content & Link
A number that uniquely identifies a link to knowledge content
A broad body of knowledge
A body of knowledge associated with specific disciplines
A knowledge subset of a discipline
A knowledge subset of an specialty
A live link describing the knowledge content
URLs Sorted by Mega-Discipline
Item Mega-
Discipline Specialty Sub-
Content & Link
1 Mega-Discipline 1 Discipline 1 Specialty 1 Sub-Specialty 1 Content & Link 1
2 Mega-Discipline 2 Discipline 2 Specialty 2 Sub-Specialty 2 Content & Link 2
3 Mega-Discipline 3 Discipline 3 Specialty 3 Sub-Specialty 3 Content & Link 3
4 Mega-Discipline 4 Discipline 4 Specialty 4 Sub-Specialty 4 Content & Link 4
5 Mega-Discipline 5 Discipline 5 Specialty 5 Sub-Specialty 5 Content & Link 5
6 Mega-Discipline 6 Discipline 6 Specialty 6 Sub-Specialty 6 Content & Link 6
7 Mega-Discipline 7 Discipline 7 Specialty 7 Sub-Specialty 7 Content & Link 7
8 Mega-Discipline 8 Discipline 8 Specialty 8 Sub-Specialty 8 Content & Link 8
9 Mega-Discipline 9 Discipline 9 Specialty 9 Sub-Specialty 9 Content & Link 9
10 Mega-Discipline 10 Discipline 10 Specialty 10 Sub-Specialty 10 Content & Link 10
Structure of the Knowledge Taxonomy and Database
Note: This is just a mock-up that shows the fields and a few rows with dummy entries
in the cells, go to the current relational directory to view the current table.

The current relational directory has 1600+ items and can be sorted by mega-discipline, discipline, specialty, and sub-specialty. The task ahead is both to reduce the number of items by removing those which are not the best of the best, and carefully work out the taxonomies so that the relational sortings are helpful in isolating useful knowledge subsets. This, together with the the Encyclopedic Portal to Wikipedia, should provide a good starting point to research answers to questions as they come up. In addition, the knowledge taxonomy page has been enhanced with a customization of the Google search engine specifically for global issues of solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence:

Google Search Customized for
Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence Research (SSNV)

Google Custom Search

If you want to collaborate in the customization of Google
for SSNV research, request an invitation.

8. Prayer, Study, and Action

Many of us are becoming workaholics. Work for money. Work for power. Work for honors. We are always on the move, often running around in pursuit of ill-defined goals. We who want to work for the glory of God and the good of humanity must pray daily, if not constantly. Else, no matter how much we work, and no matter how much time, treasure, and talent we invest, we accomplish nothing of lasting value.

"Ora et Labora"
"Pray and Work"
"Reza y Trabaja"
"Prier et Travailler"
"Pregare e Lavoro"
"Orar e trabalhar"
"Beten und Arbeiten"
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
How can we change the human mindset from patriarchy to solidarity and sustainability?
John 8:32, 10:10, 16:12-15
Matthew 25:31-46

During the Summer, find time to take a vacation. During vacation, find time to pray. While you pray, find time to read the Bible. While you read the Bible, pray again, seeking guidance for action: "Lord, what would you have me do?"

9. Links to Archived Newsletters

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
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability
V2 N2 February 2006: Sustainable Human Development
V2 N3 March 2006: Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
V2 N4 April 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions
V2 N5 May 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 2
V2 N6 June 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 3
V2 N7 July 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 4
V2 N8 August 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 5
V2 N9 September 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ September 2006
V2 N10 October 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ October 2006
V2 N11 November 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ November 2006
V2 N12 December 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ December 2006
V3 N01 January 2007: MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty
V3 N02 February 2007: MDG2: Universal Primary Education
V3 N03 March 2007: MDG3: Promotion of Gender Equality
V3 N04 April 2007: MDG4: Reduction of Child Mortality
V3 N05 May 2007: MDG5: Maternal Care Improvement
V3 N06 June 2007: MDG6: Contain the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
V3 N07 July 2007: MDG7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

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Link to the Invited Article:
The Church in the World Today
by Therese Carroll, RSJ

The Pelican Symbol


The pelican is a legendary symbol of commitment to the service of others, especially those who are weak and most vulnerable to physical and/or psychological violence. See The Physiologus, The Symbolism of the Pelican, Adoro te devote ..., and the sermon by Rev. Sylvia Roberts.

Pie Pelicani (Holy Pelican)

The myth is one of a mother pelican who, in order to feed her young, rips a hole in her breast and feeds them of her own flesh and blood. The ancients saw in it a marvelous feminine image of Christ as Mother. Her wings encompass all from Lazarus and Dives to the wedding feast and the bridal couple keyed in the arch as Christ's love shared in the Eucharistic meal embraces us all.

Source: Loyola Chapel
Concordia University, Canada.

[agshensymbol] Source: One With the Earth
Universal Symbol of Sustainability

Religious Traditions

Unity in Diversity
of Religious Traditions

World Religions

The following are links to information about some of the major religious traditions and approximate numbers of adherents:

Christianity (2.5 billion)
Islam (1.4 billion)
Hinduism (1 billion)
Budhism (375 million)
Sikhism (23 million)
Judaism (14 million)
Bahá'í (7 million)

For more information, see World Religions, which includes global maps showing geographic religious distributions.

Search the Bible
Include this form on your page



Call for Papers
This newsletter is now seeking scholars willing to write (pro-bono) short articles about the impacts of all forms of secular and religious violence on human solidarity and ecological sustainability, as well as critical reviews of this work from the perspective of various religious traditions, i.e., Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Bahá'í, etc.

Articles should be 1000 words minimum and 3000 words maximum, with no images. Please submit only material that has not been already published elsewhere. The author's CV should be submitted with the paper. The newsletter is published monthly, but there are no specific deadlines. Papers approved by the editor will be included as an "invited paper" when time and space allows.

Email your submission to the editor, Luis T. Gutierrez.


Millennium Development Goals:

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

Interested in more information and data? Click the map below:


For an atlas of the MDGs:


For the latest environmental facts and figures:


For the latest human development data:


For the latest MDG data and trends:


State of the World's Children 2007


State of the World's Girls 2007


Geneva Guide for Sustainable Living
25 factsheets
Excellent text and illustrations
Free download
Can request paper copies
Share with family and friends

The Earth Institute
Columbia University


Introduction to the MDGs

Slides for MDG 1

Slides for MDG 2

Slides for MDG 3

Slides for MDG 4

Slides for MDG 5

Slides for MDG 6

Slides for MDG 7

Slides for MDG 8

A Prayer
for the World

Lord we pray this day mindful of the sorry confusion of our world. Look with mercy upon this generation of your children so steeped in misery of their own contriving, so far strayed from your ways and so blinded by passions. We pray for the victims of tyranny, that they may resist oppression with courage. We pray for wicked and cruel men, whose arrogance reveals to us what the sin within our own hearts is like when it has conceived and brought forth its final fruit.

We pray for ourselves who live in peace and quietness, that we may not regard our good fortune as proof of our virtue, or rest content to have our ease at the price of other men’s sorrow and tribulation.

We pray for all who have some vision of your will, despite the confusions and betrayals of human sin, that they humbly and resolutely plan for and fashion the foundations of a just peace between men, even while they seek to preserve what is fair and just among us against the threat of malignant powers.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers

Memorable People
of the
20th Century

Nonviolence is Power
Martin Luther King, Jr.

For more information about
Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Martin Luther King, Jr.
The King Center
I have a dream, 1963
Nobel Peace Prize, 1964
MLK Research & Education Institute
MLK National Historic Site

Hillary in 2008

Wife, Mother, Lawyer
Senator from New York
Next President of the USA

Want to know why Hillary is
the best choice for president?
Click the banner:


Then visit the Hillary Hub:



Next year the 2nd World Congress in Social Simulation (WCSS'08) will take place on July 14-16, 2008, at George Mason University, hosted by the Center for Social Complexity, just outside Washington DC. Additional information will follow soon, including the official call for papers, website for early registration, scientific committees, lodging information, and preliminary program. The WCSS series is a joint collaboration of the regional international professional organizations: European Social Simulation Association ESSA; North American Association for Computational Social and Organizational Sciences NAACSOS; and Pacific Asia Association for Agent Based Social Systems Science PAAA. For more information contact Professor Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, Director of the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University.

Call for abstracts (deadline 15 July 2007). Fifth Annual International Health Conference Building Global Health For Today and Tomorrow, April 12-13, 2008, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Sponsored by Unite for Sight. The conference website includes information about the featured speakers as well as points of contact and a registration form.


The SustainUS Agents of Change program is now accepting applications to join the SustainUS youth delegation to the Thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP13 and COP/MOP3), which will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3-14, 2007. The SustainUS delegation, comprised of key leaders in the youth climate movement, will have the unique opportunity to represent American youth at the COP, which will determine the future of international policy on climate change. Delegates will work with each other and with international youth in advance of the conference to educate themselves, develop policy priorities, acquire skills in effective lobbying, and engage the broader youth population in a conversation about international climate policy. For more information contact Agents of Change.

Call for Papers - Gender & History, Special Issue No. 21: Homes and Homecomings. Gender and History is now established as the major international journal for research and writing on the history of femininity and masculinity and of gender relations. Spanning epochs and continents, Gender & History examines changing conceptions of gender, and maps the dialogue between femininities, masculinities and their historical contexts. The journal publishes rigorous and readable articles both on particular episodes in gender history and on broader methodological questions which have ramifications for the discipline as a whole. The Special Issue is due to be published in 2009 and to appear in 2010 as a book. All articles published in Gender & History undergo full anonymous peer review. Articles should be about 9,000 words and conform to the Gender & History style. Proposals of 300 words should be sent to Gender & History Journal by 31 July 2007. Those submitting successful proposals will be invited to present their articles at a conference to be held in Nottingham in early 2008. For more information: Homes and Homecomings.

Conference on "EVOLUTION OF GEOGRAPHICAL SYSTEMS AND RISK PROCESSES IN GLOBAL CONTEXT", 21-22 September, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. The title is meant to grasp challenges of most current research to the community of geographers, demographers and environmental scientists across a broad spectrum of research questions considering changing geographical systems and risk processes in the context of global changes. The point of contact for the organizing committee is: Josef Novotny.

NOVEMBER 19, 2007

Women's World Summit Foundation
Sponsored by WWSF

Sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). January 16-18, 2008. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, N.W., Washington, DC 20001. Focus on Climate Change: Science and Solutions Resources. Please direct questions on NCSE's next conference to NCSE 2008 Conference on Climate Change.

A symposium on "Gender and Well Being: The Role of Institutions from Past to Present." Madrid, Spain, 25th-27th June 2008. From the CFP: "There are fundamental questions about the origins and nature of individual and social well-being in Europe, as well as on its sustainability. The symposium's aim to develop a new concept of well-being, examining the socially gendered indicators, actors and processes affecting the production and access to well-being across the life-course. This reflection is meant to be conducted at a crossroads between history, social science and economy." Call for papers opened till 20th September 2007. Send abstracts to Paloma de Villota with copy to the Secretary by this Form. Selection of abstracts will be made by the end of October 2007 and will be communicated to authors before 15th November 2007. Papers must be sent by e-mail no later than 26th May, 2008.

The aim is a cross-cultural dialogue imagining a political and symbolic world based on life not death: mercy not sacrifice. "A multi-disciplinary event, we aim to bring diverse approaches to our deliberations under the following headings: Theory, Resistance, and Theology. Priority will be given to those taking a multi-disciplinary synchronic perspective, and imaginative approaches to presenting that maximize pre-event preparation (making papers available in advance) and interactive modes of engagement with participants. We also hope to balance incisive critique with concrete strategies for practical action." Venue: Trinity College, Dublin. Date: 2-4 November 2007. Sponsors: Institute for Feminism and Religion and Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College, Dublin. Please address questions to Mary Condren.

Call for Papers on Tactics of Resistance: Limitations & Possibilities for an interdisciplinary graduate conference to be hosted by the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, University of Western Ontario, Canada, October 12-13, 2007. "We are looking for papers addressing alternative conceptions and frameworks of resistance, and their potential for revolutionary change. We welcome students, professors, artists and activists to re-think resistance through an interdisciplinary alliance." For more information, email the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism.

International Conference on Peaceful Coexistence, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 23–24 November 2007. The need for peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims within and between nations has long been recognized. The much publicized failures in relations in recent years, which are both a cause and effect of the situation in many parts of the world – not just the Middle East – should spur all right-minded people to re-double their efforts to sustain the hope for peaceful co-existence. For further information please e-mail: Peaceful Coexistence or visit the Peaceful Coexistence Conference web site.

Religion has the capacity to form intentional groups and communities as well as to mobilize agents to work for certain goals. This formation of communities and mobilization of resources to achieve goals is actually consonant with the term "formation of publics" as used by C. Wright Mills. This conference will explore the new publics of the 21st century. Publics here may be individuals and/or groups who attempt to create knowledge and/or achieve certain actions using religious ideals, beliefs, and/or symbols. Venue: University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Date: 23-26 January 2008. Deadline for abstracts: 21 July 2007. Enquiries: Esmeralda Sanchez.

An international symposium organised in collaboration between the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) and Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. Dates: 28 & 29 June 2007. For more information see the symposium website. Point of contact: Alberto Corsín Jiménez.

Lancaster University, Friday 14th September 2007. This call for papers encourages the submission of diverse abstracts engaging with issues surrounding Law, Religion and Culture and aims to facilitate the following: a forum for setting an agenda within the broad field of Law, Religion and Culture; exploring the construction of the concept of religion and the religious subject; the implications of such constructions and concepts for the law; furthering emergent interdisciplinary dialogue. Please send abstracts of 250 words maximum from a wide range disciplines and a diversity of perspectives to: Dr. Sarah Beresford or Dr. Ian Bryan .

Lancaster University, Friday 14th September 2007. This call for papers encourages the submission of diverse abstracts engaging with issues surrounding Law, Religion and Culture and aims to facilitate the following: a forum for setting an agenda within the broad field of Law, Religion and Culture; exploring the construction of the concept of religion and the religious subject; the implications of such constructions and concepts for the law; furthering emergent interdisciplinary dialogue. Please send abstracts of 250 words maximum from a wide range disciplines and a diversity of perspectives to: Dr. Sarah Beresford or Dr. Ian Bryan .

Call for Papers: "The Biology of Religious Behavior: A Human Ethology Perspective on Religion." Care to spend time in Italy studying psychology and religion? Then consider submitting a paper to the International Society for Human Ethology meeting in Bologna, Italy, July 14-18, 2008. Better yet, there is a possibility for funds to support your travel to Bologna for the conference. Sponsored by the Society of Human Ethology. Bologna, Italy, 14 – 18 July, 2008. The deadline for abstract submission is 1 March 2008. For more information visit the ISHE2008 conference website. Points of contact are Marco Costa, University of Bologna, Italy and Luca Tommasi, University of Chieti, Italy. See also the PsyRel blog of Jay Feierman.


Women & Public Life: Empowerment & Participation in Social Studies & Research, July 2007. A round-table to be jointly organized by the Middle East Research Competition (MERC) program in Tunis and the Organization of Arab Women in Cairo. The seminar scheduled for July 2007 in Syria falls within a topic of interest to the two organizations, focusing on research in the area of empowerment of Arab women in the public sphere. For more information write to: Please write to, Organization of Arab Women, Cairo or MERC, Tunis.

An expert meeting on gender equality in the enlarged European Union is underway (between July 2006 and September 2007) as part of a current research project on gender equality in the enlarged EU. It is being carried out as a cooperation between Social Change and the Institute of East-European History. The aim is to examine the possibilities, chances and obstacles for the future gender equality policy on the EU level. The discussion in this interdisciplinary and transnational forum will focus on the implementation of the EU’s gender equality regulations, on independent national policies, on the history and role of the women’s (rights) movement and the current situation of women, especially in the new member countries Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria, but also in the "old" member states like Germany, France, and Austria. Points of contact: Petra Ziegler and Verena Kaselitz at the Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte der Universität Wien, Social Change Institut für Innovation in der Genderforschung und Gewaltprävention.

The 4th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights will take place 29th to 31st October 2007, Hyderabad, India. The conference will provide a platform for people with diverse perspectives, expertise and experience to exchange ideas, discuss and debate issues of concern, and learn from each other about sexual and reproductive health and rights, with specific reference to the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD, 1994). The theme of the Conference is "Exploring New Frontiers in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights". For more information, please visit our website, 4APCRSH.

At the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics & Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, 3 - 5 September 2007. Call For Papers: Abstracts are encouraged from activists, practitioners and policy-makers as well as from academics from relevant fields (including cultural studies, sociology, politics, philosophy, law, history, religious studies and history). Graduate submissions encouraged and integrated fully into the programme. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words and be emailed by 15 June 2007 to Nicki Smith or Heather Widdows. For more information visit the conference website and the website of the Global Studies Association (GSA).

Annual Symposium on Globalization, Global Value Chains and Global Production Networks, 6-7 June 2007 at the University of Sussex. This event is sponsored by the Economic Geography Research Group (EGRG) at the University of Sussex. EGRG research activities are related to the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the Sussex European Institute (SEI), and the Centre for Global Political Economy (CGPE). Anyone who wishes to attend on either or both days is welcome to do so, but should email Mick Dunford to be added to the list of participants.

From the announcement: "Pax Christi USA is pleased to announce this year's conference, The Pursuit of Peace in a Culture of Violence: A National Catholic Conference on Peacemaking, to be held August 10-12, 2007, at Seattle University in Seattle, WA. The conference is being co-sponsored by Seattle University's Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Mission and Ministry, and the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry." The announcement is posted in the conference website, with links to detailed conference information. There is also a very informative conference brochure.

CFP by the St. Antony's International Review (STAIR), a peer-reviewed academic journal of international affairs based here at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford. A forthcoming issue of STAIR will focus on the theme of human trafficking. Abstracts due August 30, 2007. Papers due December 30, 2007. A copy of the CFP and other information can be obtained via email to Ms. Heidi Stöckl, Associate Editor, St. Antony's International Review (STAIR).

This will be the 5th European Congress on Violence in Clinical Psychiatry. Congress theme: "Best Evidence Based Practices on Prevention, Treatment and Management of Violence at the Individual, Institutional and Governmental Level." 25 - 27 October 2007, 0, Amsterdam. From the invitation: "Violent and aggressive behaviour is a complex phenomenon of great importance in society as well in clinical psychiatry. Violence has become a global problem crossing borders, work settings and occupational groups. Within clinical psychiatry, violence is one of the major obstacles for effective treatment and rehabilitation, and with regard to health care workers, violence is the major occupational health hazard. Therefore a comprehensive institutional approach to this problem at all organizational levels is needed." See the conference website. Point of contact: Nico Oud.

Digital Earth is a visionary concept, popularized by former US Vice President Al Gore, for the virtual and 3-D representation of the Earth that is spatially referenced and interconnected with digital knowledge archives from around the planet with vast amounts of scientific, natural, and cultural information to describe and understand the Earth, its systems, and human activities. Join world-class representatives from industry, academia, government, and NGOs in an unparalleled exploration and exposition into the future of Digital Earth at the ISDE5 from June 5-9, 2007, on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Online registration: ISDE5. More info: Dr.DigitalEarth.

The Gender Research Network in the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester is pleased to invite you to our launch conference on the theme Engendering Policy and Politics: International and comparative themes and issues, to be held at the University of Manchester, 21st-22nd June 2007. Please see the conference website for details. The point of contact is Dr. Kirstein Rummery.

ECEM 2007
The 6th European Conference on Ecological Modelling, ECEM'07, "Challenges for ecological modelling in a changing world: Global Changes, Sustainability and Ecosystem Based Management" will be held in Trieste, Italy, on November 27-30, 2007. Particular attention will be devoted to themes related to Global Changes, Sustainability and Ecosystem Management. ECEM'07, however, will cover ALL topics in the area of ecological modelling and participants are invited from ALL areas of research, development and application of ecological models. The abstract submission process will close on May 31, 2007. Point of contact: ECEM'07 secretariat.

The 2007 International Symposium on Wikis. October 21-23, 2007, Montreal, Canada. The theme this year is "Wikis at Work in the World: Open, Organic, Participatory Media for the 21st Century." For more information see WIKIMANIAS. Questions should be directed respectively at (research papers and practitioner reports), (workshops and panels), or (posters and demos).

Announcing the First International Education for Peace Conference-2007: Strategies for Building a Civilization of Peace at Granville Island in Vancouver, B.C., Canada (14-17 November 2007). The primary goal of the conference is to contribute to the worldwide efforts to create a civilization of peace. Essential to this undertaking is life-long peace education at home, in schools, and in the community, with its focus on the integral role of all members of society-children, youth, and adults-and with the equal participation of women and men in the administration of human affairs. Point of contact: Stacey Makortoff.

Blaise Pascal Instituut, Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit July, 4-8, 2007. This is the annual meeting of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, a scholarly society focused on the exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard's Mimetic Theory. See the conference website for subthemes, deadlines for abstracts, etc. For more information, contact Thérèse Onderdenwijngaard.

11 Nov 2007 - 15 Nov 2007, Rome, Italy. The World Energy Congress is the most authoritative international energy meeting held by the World Energy Council (WEC) every three years. Papers and posters are accepted in either of the WEC official languages: English or French. Deadlines: Submission of papers and posters: from 1st June 2006 to 31st December 2006. Notification of acceptance: by 31st May 2007. Contact: Organising Secretariat

the 2007 conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) will take place at the University of Bremen, Germany, September 23-27. It will be a joint conference of the EASR and the DVRW (Deutsche Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft). The conference title is "Plurality and Representation. Religion in Education, Culture and Society". For the conference concept and call for papers please take a look at the conference website. Proposals for panel sessions and individual papers may be submitted directly through the conference website.


Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 3-6 July 2007. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for review and possible publication in the journal, and provide access to the online edition of the journal. For more information visit the conference website.

April 11 - 14, 2007 in Toronto ON Canada. Call for proposals due October 6. Convened by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH). For information about being a conference cosponsor, exhibitor, advertiser or supporter, contact Shelly Tolo, CCPH Conference Manager by phone: (206) 962-0012 or e-mail:

NWSA 2007
The National Women’s Studies Association, 28th Annual Conference, Pheasant Run, St. Charles, Illinois. June 28-July 1, 2007. Theme: PAST DEBATES, PRESENT POSSIBILITIES, FUTURE FEMINISMS. Featured Conference Speaker: SANDRA CISNEROS. For more info:

Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, Charleston, South Carolina, July 8-11, 2007. The 2007 conference will be focused on the ways that technology shapes and is shaped by the multidimensional phenomenon of globalization. Proposals should be made electronically to Joseph Pitt, Program Committee Chair.


University of Granada, Spain, 10-13 July 2007. The conference will examine the nature of disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices across the social sciences, as well as the relation of the social to the natural sciences, applied sciences and the professions. The focus of papers will range from the finely grained and empirical (research practices and results exemplifying one or more disciplines), to wide-ranging multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, to perspectives on knowledge and method. The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 22 October 2006. See the conference website for other details.


The XV International Meeting of the Society for Human Ecology, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 4-7, 2007. Some preliminary proposals for sessions include themes such as: Biodiversity, Coastal Management, Cultural Diversity, Education, Philosophy, and Traditional Populations, among others. This is an invitation to submit proposals for sessions, symposia, and roundtables that we can incorporate into the early stages of meeting planning even before we issue the formal call for papers. If you have ideas, please contact Alpina Begossi, President, Society for Human Ecology, or


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