Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence

            Vol. 4, No. 9, September 2008
            Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Newsletter Home Page


Violence is the main obstacle to human development. Since there is an intrinsic link between patriarchy and violence, mitigating violence requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset in both secular and religious institutions. The mission of this electronic newsletter is to provide a commented digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both secular and religious non-violence. The basic philosophy of the newsletter is Christian, but no source of wisdom is excluded. The U.N. "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) are used as a point of reference.

Theme of the Month

Ethical Dimension of Sustainable Development


This issue provides a survey of recent research, emerging issues, and recent news about the ethical dimension of sustainable development. It is increasingly recognized that the current environmental crisis is the (mostly unintended) result of economic activity. Specifically, population growth and economic growth combine to dump an excessive amount of toxic junk, to the point that air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat become health hazards. This is, indeed, an ethical issue.

The foundations of ethics are briefly reviewed. Then the ethics of economic growth and environmental stewardship are discussed. These competing ethics lead to the so-called "sustainability paradox," which must be resolved in developing policies and strategies for sustainable development. The concepts of "weak sustainability" (economic growth moderated by environmental constraints) and "strong sustainability" (economic growth limited by environmental constraints) are introduced. It is clear that political will to choose "strong sustainability" is lacking. But political will is increasing in support of various forms of "weak sustainability," and this is our best short-term hope at the moment.

In the long-term, the survival of humanity may require "strong sustainability" policies. Switching from consumerism to sustainable development will require new modes of thinking and behaving. It may require, according to most scholars, embracing a "new consciousness" pursuant to growing by being more rather than having more. Religious institutions could provide a decisive contribution for this transformational transition; but, in order to do so, they must radically overcome the mentality of seeking the accumulation of wealth, power, and honors that they (with some exceptions) share with the secular population. In the case of Christianity, it will mean going back to the normal behavior of Christian communities before the Constantinian Edict (313 CE), before Christians started persecuting each other and practicing the Golden Rule (of which there is an equivalent in all religious traditions) was replaced by issuing dogmas and fulminating anathemas left and right.

At the moment, the SSNV knowledge taxonomy and links database provides links to 2000+ web sites that contain evidentiary data and knowledge content that is relevant to global issues of human solidarity and nonviolence, environmental sustainability, and sustainable human development. The links database is sorted by mega-disciplines, disciplines, and specialties. The sub-specialties field is temporarily being used for knowledge source (often using institutional or facility acronyms). Many resources are applicable to two or more of the MDGs. This is work in progress, and both the taxonomies and the links will continue to evolve, but the reader may find something useful by clicking HERE. The best knowledge map in the web is the Knowledge 2008 website by Chaim Zins. It is important to keep this in mind, as managing sustainable development is a multi-dimensional, inter-disciplinary process that requires the support of the full spectrum of human knowledge and wisdom.

INVITED PAPER: The invited paper this month is Why Not? Scripture, History & Women’s Ordination, by Robert J. Egan, Commonweal, Volume CXXXV, Number 7, 11 April 2008.


  1. Ethical Norms of Human Behavior
  2. Ethics of Economic Growth
  3. Environmental Ethics
  4. Ethics of Sustainable Development
  5. Weak and Strong Sustainability
  6. The Influence of Culture
  7. The Influence of Religion
  8. Outlook for the MDGs
  9. Prayer, Study, and Action
Why Not? Scripture, History & Women’s Ordination, by Robert J. Egan, Commonweal, Volume CXXXV, Number 7, 11 April 2008.
Pelican Symbolism
Human Nature
Nuptial Covenant
Religious Traditions
Global News/Issues
Global Citizen
Signs of the Times
MDG Pubs & Data
SSNV Links
Two Great Books
Useful Tools
Knowledge Base
Free Downloads
The Green Party
SSNV Archive

1. Ethical Norms of Human Behavior

Sustainable development does not happen in a vacuum. Like all events in human history, it happens as a result of human initiative. This human initiative cannot be merely abstract or imaginary. It must come to life in terms of concrete human actions, observable as human behavior. Furthermore, acts pursuant to sustainable development must be ethical, i.e., they entail distinguishing right from wrong regarding both means and ends. The goal of sustainable development is certainly a good goal: the common good of humanity and the "nuptial covenant" between humanity and the human habitat.

Merriam-Webster defined "ethics" as "the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation", and a "code of ethics" defines "the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group." The history of ethics goes back to the Greek philosophers (Aristotle) in particular, and has many ramifications for all conceivable situations (e.g., professional ethics, financial ethics, government ethics, etc.). Wikipedia provides a good summary: "Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong. A central aspect of ethics is "the good life", the life worth living or life that is simply not satisfying, which is held by many philosophers to be more important than moral conduct."

The basic principle of ethics is that the end does not justify the means. It is not ethical to use harmful means to achieve a personal or social benefit. There are of course many gray areas such as situations that require choosing the lesser of two evils. Other situations are more clear cut: it is not ethical to maximize profits at the expense of the workers and/or the environment, it is not ethical to kill or harm another person for the sake of resolving a social issue (otherwise known as "scapegoating") and, in general, it is not ethical to break the law even if the intention is to attain something of great social value. However, things that are legal may be unethical.

The following are selected references on ethical norms for human behavior:

2. Ethics of Economic Growth

Consider the following statement by Professor Piet Naudé, who is widely recognized for his expertise in business ethics and teaches at the School of Business, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa: "The idea that economic growth taken by itself is ethically desirable, is open to moral enquiry in a country with our specific history and socio-economic structure."

Next, consider the following excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Clive Hamilton's book, Growth Fetish:

"The thesis of the book is that the policies of unfettered capitalism pursued by the west for the last 50 years has largely failed, since the underlying purpose of the creation of wealth is happiness, and Hamilton contends that people in general are no happier now than 50 years ago, despite the huge increase in personal wealth. In fact, he suggests that the reverse is true. He states that the pursuit of growth has become a fetish, in that it is seen as a universal magic cure for all of society's ills. Hamilton also proposes that the pursuit of growth has been at a tremendous cost in terms of the environment, erosion of democracy, and the values of society as a whole, as well as not delivering the hoped for increases in personal happiness. One result is that we, as a society, have become obsessed with materialism and consumerism. Hamilton's catchphrase "People buy things they don't want, with money they don't have, to impress people they don't like" neatly sums up his philosophy on consumerism."

Going back to Professor Naudé's article on the ethics of economic growth, he proposes the following three ethical guidelines for economic growth in his country:

"1. Economic growth is desirable when it not only increases GDP but leads to a lowering of unemployment. There are many sectors of our economy that can grow without adding a single job to the system .... there is clearly a responsibility to ensure growth enables more people to enter the economic system. Government has the responsibility to create flexible labor laws.

"2. Economic growth is desirable if the distributive effect increases the welfare of the poorest section in society in the medium term and creates a more egalitarian society in the longer term. If economic growth only increases the welfare of the middle and upper classes and leaves the poorest people worse off, the social cost in the long run is too high ... following the social contract tradition and notions of prioritarian justice -- strong ethical arguments can be made in favour of growth that is measured not in general terms, but by whether the position of the worse-off has improved.

"3. Economic growth is desirable when it is sustainable in the holistic sense of the word. If economic growth is only conceptualised as empirical data and not also in terms of its social and ecological effects, we will fail the moral demands of inter-generational justice. In governance discourse one could say that economic growth should be embedded in triple bottom-line thinking. The business of business is unfortunately not business alone."

It would seem that these guidelines are generally applicable worldwide. The exponential economic growth that started after the Second World War has actually increased the rich-poor gap at the local, national, and global levels. It may be legal to maximize profits at the expense of workers; but this means that labor laws are biased in favor of management, which is unethical. It may be legal for the rich to get richer and the poor to become poorer; but this means that distributive justice is not a priority, which is unethical. Finally, it may be legal to maximize production and consumption at the expense of environmental degradation and the quality of life of our children and grandchildren, but this is unethical.

It is by now increasingly recognized that creating jobs in a fair workplace, achieving distributive justice, and ensuring environmental justice, are indispensable for sustainable development. And it is in family life, sharing the gift of love and the gift of life, that children learn these ethical priorities (see the May 2008 to August 2008 issues).

The following are selected references on ethical norms for economic growth:


Rachel Carson may have been the first to suggest that there is such thing as "environmental ethics" when she published her famous book, Silent Spring, in 1962. Forty years later, we are still resisting to see environmental degradation as an ethical issue, but Carson was uncompromising: "The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world - the very nature of its life."

The reason is that we don't hear what we don't want to hear. We are all addicted to the "growth fetish", and we don't want to let go of the addiction, even when it makes us miserable. Philip Cafaro, in his Rachel Carson's Environmental Ethics, mentions that all manner of arguments were used to neutralize her message, including the suggestion that she valued animals more than human, as shown in the following "poem" by the National Pest Control Association (now renamed the National Pest Management Association).

"Hunger, hunger, are you listening,
To the words from Rachel's pen?
Words which taken at face value,
Place lives of birds 'bove those of men."

If the human habitat is well managed and preserved, it is still an ethical requirement to eradicate the extreme poverty that is the shame of human civilization. If environmental degradation continues, those who are now poor will suffer the most. But if the entire human habitat is eventually destroyed, then we are all going to be poor and our addiction to the "growth fetish" will have to be cured quickly and without medication. Humans cannot stand in splendid isolation from the "web of life." And if the "web of life" is destroyed, how can the "web of love" survive?

An excellent tutorial on Environmental Ethics, has been published by Andrew Brennan and Yeuk-Sze Lo in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The following is a summary of their entry:

"Environmental ethics is the discipline that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents. This entry covers: (1) the challenge of environmental ethics to the anthropocentrism (i.e., human-centeredness) embedded in traditional western ethical thinking; (2) the early development of the discipline in the 1960s and 1970s; (3) the connection of deep ecology, feminist environmental ethics, and social ecology to politics; (4) the attempt to apply traditional ethical theories, including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, to support contemporary environmental concerns; and (5) the focus of environmental literature on wilderness, and possible future developments of the discipline. "

The following are selected online resources on environmental ethics:

4. Ethics of Sustainable Development

Section 2 discussed the ethics of economic growth, and how economic growth became like a religion during the second half of the 20th century. Section 3 discussed environmental ethics, based on the recognition that environmental degradation is caused by economic activity, and in turn "boomerangs" against humanity. Humanity and the human habitat must be in harmony with one another, but this leads to the so-called "ecocosm paradox" (see Fey and Lam, 1999), which is summarized as follows:

"If human consumption growth continues, the planetary life support system will be disabled and humanity will itself become endangered."

"If consumption growth is stopped, the viability of the world's economic and financial systems will be threatened, and the stability of governments and society will deteriorate."

The ecocosm paradox diagram by Fey and Lam may be the best visualization of the current crisis. Immanuel Wallerstein, describes the ethical dilemma between economic growth and ecological integrity in similar words: "The political economy of the current situation is that historical capitalism is in fact in crisis precisely because it cannot find reasonable solutions to its current dilemmas, of which the inability to contain ecological destruction is a major one, if not the only one"

In their insightful paper, The Environmental Ethics of Sustainable Development, ShuYing Sun and Yan Xiao of Henan University, China, again express the same concern (the translation from Chinese is not perfect, but the message is clear):

"From human’s naissance, man is filled with fear and admiration to the nature. After industrial civilization, science, productivity and the number of population have been enhanced, and the ranges of man’s activity domains and using natural resources have become wider than before. Human begins to act on the nature on a large scale. Views, which are that ‘man must defeat nature’ and ‘man is the master of nature’, become sonorous slogans. But industrial civilization has two sides. While it prospers our society, it also leads to serious environmental crisis such as the diversity of creature sharply reducing etc, which intensifies the contradiction between human and environment, and is caused by man ignoring the nature and ecological rules. From 1980’s, human begins to think deeply of the dilemma, and strengthens studies of related theories to try to get rid of anthropocentrism’s restraints and probe environmental ethics of sustainable development, which can resolve the world environmental crisis."

Sun and Xiao propose the following as ethical guidelines for sustainable development:

"The first is justice and equity. It means there are equal rights intrageneration and intergeneration using resources, consuming and living. Every individual or collectivity shouldn’t endanger others benefits for his own benefits. Men should utilize scientifically nature, and shouldn’t be at a cost of others or offspring’s interests when they satisfy their own consumptions and enjoy welfares brought by nature. And developing countries and developed countries have the same duties and obligations to father environmental pollutions and destructions.

"The second principle is to respect nature. Human has the rights to dominate the nature, and nature also has the survival and developing rights according to ecological rules. Man must respect all livings of the earth and the harmony of nature, be obedient to natural development and protect natural environment. Man’s right to nature can’t lead to existence crisis of other critters.

"The third is to pay attention to qualities of living. Development includes developing on quantities and qualities. Healthy and sustainable society needs a healthy and sustainable natural environment. High molar living of society is inseparable with high molar environment. Man’s living qualities involve culture, economy, politics and environment etc. Environmental ethics of sustainable development must pay attention to environment if it wants to deal well with the relations between physical and psychic enjoyment."

Generally speaking, paradoxes are not resolved by taking either side and ignoring the other, but by merging both sides together into a new synthesis. All human institutions, including global corporations, must become environment-friendly. Green activists must learn to work with capitalists in a collaborative rather than confrontational manner. How this new synthesis will be accomplished remains to be seen, but solidarity and collaboration will be the crucial factors in achieving sustainability. It is again reiterated that the family (see Nuptial Dimension of Sustainable Development, May 2008 to August 2008 issues) is the place where these attitudes are learned.

The following are selected references on the ethics of sustainable development:

5. Weak and Strong Sustainability

Perhaps we already have a signal of gradual convergence between economic growth and sustainable development in the concepts of "weak sustainability" and "strong sustainability." In the OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms, these terms are defined as follows:

  • Weak Sustainability: "All forms of capital are more or less substitutes for one another; no regard has to be given to the composition of the stock of capital. Weak sustainability allows for the depletion or degradation of natural resources, so long as such depletion is offset by increases in the stocks of other forms of capital (for example, by investing royalties from depleting mineral reserves in factories)."
  • Strong Sustainability: "All forms of capital must be maintained intact independent of one another. The implicit assumption is that different forms of capital are mainly complementary; that is, all forms are generally necessary for any form to be of value. Produced capital used in harvesting and processing timber, for example, is of no value in the absence of stocks of timber to harvest. Only by maintaining both natural and produced capital stocks intact can non-declining income be assured."

In other words, "strong sustainability" requires that ecological capital be sustained. On the other hand, "weak sustainability" allows reductions in ecological capital if such capital is replaced by an equivalent increase in human-made capital. It follows, that "weak sustainability" policies will support sustainable economic growth, while "strong sustainability" policies will not.

In a recent article, Oil: To drill or not to drill, Kurt Zenz House provides a balanced ethical analysis of the kind that will be required if we want to minimize human pain during the transition from economic growth to sustainable development:

Of course, there are some decent reasons not to expand domestic oil exploration and extraction. Ten years ago, when oil was cheap, I felt strongly that we should buy all the foreign oil we could and save our own oil reserves for the future. Adherents to this argument sarcastically refer to expanded domestic drilling as "Draining America First." But today--with oil prices in the stratosphere--it makes more sense to expand our own production. That's to say, buying low and selling high is generally smart.

The other obvious reason not to drill is the potential environmental impacts. But I believe that argument is also oversold by zealous environmentalists. Two serious disasters--the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill--seriously marred the environmental record of oil-exploration efforts. These incidents were positively awful, but they were dealt with, and the long-term impact was mitigated. Current drilling technologies are vastly superior to those used 40 years ago. Similarly, all new oil tankers have double hulls.


So what should we do? I think that we should "Drill here, drill now." But not because doing so will lower gasoline prices or have a meaningful effect on geopolitics. These arguments are so absurd that they deserve the moniker, "Faith-Based Energy Policy."

Rather, I think we should expand domestic oil exploration and extraction for two reasons: First, some good will come from modestly decreasing our oil-import tab; second, it will conclusively demonstrate that the claims made by drilling acolytes are profoundly oversold.

This is a delicate balancing of the need for energy and the need for protecting the environment. It is this kind of balancing (and continuous re-balancing) that will be required if humanity is to survive the transition to sustainability. In the ultimate analysis, what matters is the common good of humanity, as Clive Hamilton has pointed out (Growth Fetish, page 209):

"A post-growth society will consciously promote the social structures and activities that actually improve individual and community wellbeing. It will aim to provide a social environment in which people can pursue true individuality, rather than the pseudo-individuality that is now obtained through spending on brand names and manufactured styles"

As they say in the World Social Forum, "a better world is possible." It will be a world in which human development is the top priority, and it is so in a sustainable way, both economically and ecologically.

Several important works have been published recently about this new synthesis of economic growth and ecological sustainability. Some selected examples are:

6. The Influence of Politics

Politics has been defined as "the art of the possible." But decisions as to what is "possible" and what is "impossible" invariably include an ethical dimension.

Most currently active politicians still think in terms of promoting economic growth and letting nature take care of global warming and other ecological disruptions. A few understand the need for taking good care of the human habitat, but still struggle between political expediency (short-term view) and the needs of future generations. They need voters to vote for them today, not 100 years from now. But some are beginning to see the wisdom of embracing "weak sustainability," or at least paying lip service to it. With the exception of Al Gore (former VP of the USA, a politician turned environmental activist), it is hard to find any politician who is ready to commit political suicide by advocating "strong sustainability."

It is good to see that many universities already have programs in environmental studies, and most have at least courses on environmental protection and management. The proliferation of "green programs" in primary and secondary education, while unevenly distributed worldwide, is another sign of progress.

In democratic societies, elected officials who are insensitive to the sustainability issue should be voted out of office, and sooner rather than later; for the time available to face environmental realities is not unlimited. The emergence of "political will" to tackle the difficult balancing between business growth and environmental stewardship will take time, and may require a reformation of democratic institutions as we know them. In this regard, readers are reminded to take a look at Robley George's proposal for a Socioeconomic Democracy and a Socioeconomic Democracy Platform.

There are "green political parties" in the USA, Europe, and practically everywhere in the world. These green parties remain small and cannot compete with the established political parties. The "growth political parties" still have the upper hand, and this with the support of the media, mostly owned by large corporations that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo.

There are two topics that many people will not discuss: "religion" and "politics." Politics is always a complex subject. Some additional resources:

7. The Influence of Religion

Religion is a major factor in shaping the culture and ethos of society. The sustainable development process is, therefore, deeply influenced by the various religious traditions and cultural traits of each nation.

The religious dimension of sustainable development was the theme of the January 2008 issue. It was followed, in the February 2008 issue, by a reflection on the spiritual dimension of sustainable development. The spiritual axis is the one that differentiates humans from animals, and so it is in reference to this fundamental axis that the human dimension of sustainable development can be properly understood. Please reconsider this statement in the January 2008 issue:

"At the moment, financial gain is the supreme incentive for people to change their mind, let alone change their behavior in practically all dimensions of human affairs. Religion has been in the distant past, and could again become, an important if not the most important incentive. Religion is a double-edge sword, for serving God and serving humanity can easily become an excuse for religious domination and violence. But then, financial gain is also a double-edge sword, as is becoming increasingly clear with emerging global issues such as global warming."

Indeed, religious institutions have been guilty of many atrocities. This is so because, as human institutions, they often show a propensity to seek money, power, and honors. When this happens, there is not much difference between secular politics and ecclesiastical politics. The ecological footprint of religious institutions is comparable to that of secular institutions. And yet, religious institutions conserve and transmit ancient traditions on how God loves and guides humanity; and how humans should reciprocate for the glory of God and their own good. It follows, that the influence of religion and spirituality can be very positive in creating an ethos of solidarity and sustainability.

Religion is a sensitive subject, but it is unavoidable. Some additional resources:

8. Outlook for the MDGs

Remember the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? There are eight goals, defined as follows:

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, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

Each of the MDGs is conducive to sustainable development in the long-term. In the short-term, each one is an ethical imperative (Pinstrup-Andersen and Sandøe, page 56):

"The ethical imperatives facing the global community around poverty, specifically including hunger, have taken a highly visible and new form through the MDGs and the surrounding campaign, and in this forum poverty and hunger are explicitly and tightly linked. One of the central features of the Millennium Declaration and the MDG apparatus is its unambiguous assumption that ending poverty (including hunger) is a responsibility, an indeed an imperative, for the global community.”

The MDGs were analyzed during 2007, both individually and as a group, starting with the January 2007 issue.

For basic references about the MDGs, click here. Below are listed some MDG ethics information and recent news:

9. Prayer, Study, and Action

Suggestions for this month:

    • Pray for a new consciousness of solidarity, sustainability, and nonviolence.
      • "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will..... Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.", Romans 12:2, 12

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SSNV Archive

Links to archived newsletters:

V1 N1 May 2005
V1 N2 June 2005
V1 N3 July 2005
V1 N4 August 2005
V1 N5 September 2005
V1 N6 October 2005
V1 N7 November 2005
V1 N8 December 2005
V2 N1 January 2006
V2 N2 February 2006
V2 N3 March 2006
V2 N4 April 2006
V2 N5 May 2006
V2 N6 June 2006
V2 N7 July 2006
V2 N8 August 2006
V2 N9 September 2006
V2 N10 October 2006
V2 N11 November 2006
V2 N12 December 2006
V3 N01 January 2007
V3 N02 February 2007
V3 N03 March 2007
V3 N04 April 2007
V3 N05 May 2007
V3 N06 June 2007
V3 N07 July 2007
V3 N08 August 2007
V3 N09 September 2007
V3 N10 October 2007
V3 N11 November 2007
V3 N12 December 2007
V4 N01 January 2008
V4 N02 February 2008
V4 N03 March 2008
V4 N04 April 2008
V4 N05 May 2008
V4 N06 June 2008
V4 N07 July 2008
V4 N08 August 2008
V4 N09 September 2008
Cross-Gender Solidarity
The Phallocentric Syndrome
From Patriarchy to Solidarity
Patriarchy and Solidarity
From Solidarity to Sustainability
Dimensions of Sustainability
Analysis of Objective Evidence
Solidarity and Subsidiarity
Solidarity and Sustainability
Sustainable Human Development
Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
Violence in Patriarchal Religions
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-2
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-3
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-4
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-5
Sabbatical Activity~September-06
Sabbatical Activity~October-06
Sabbatical Activity~November-06
Sabbatical Activity~December-06
MDG1-Reduce Extreme Poverty
MDG2-Ensure Universal Education
MDG3-Promote Gender Equality
MDG4-Reduce Child Mortality
MDG5-Improve Maternal Care
MDG6-Mitigate HIV/AIDS Epidemic
MDG7-Environmental Sustainability
MDG8-Develop Global Partnership
Integrated Analysis of the MDGs
Analysis of the 2015 MDG Targets
If Not the MDGs, Then What?
2007 State of the Future Review
Religious Dimension of Sustainability
Spiritual Dimension of Sustainability
Human Dimension of Sustainability
Gender Dimension of Sustainability
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 1
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 2
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 3
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 4
Ethical Dimension of Sustainability

The Pelican Web
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. More about pelican symbolism ....

Human Nature

Human Beings ~ Man and Woman
(Plaque in the Pioneer Spacecraft)
Sources: Wikipedia and NASA

Nuptial Covenant

Nuptial Covenant between Humanity and the Human Habitat
Art by Farid de la Ossa, Colombia
Source: Australian Catholic University

World Religions

Symbols of the major religions. For more information, see World Religions.

Global News/Issues

Recent news, emerging issues,
significant events, new resources on
Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence

Percentage of Population Living under $2 A Day in 2004

Poverty by country, share of population living under USD 2 per day, 2004 - Maps and Graphics

Focus on the basics for sustainability strategy

EKU Launches Globalization & International Affairs Program

Musharraf Set to Resign in Days

Obstacles in the way of sustained growth

The Sham of Women's Rights Under the Shari'a

'Inequality a barrier for women's growth'

Globalization is indeed leading to a New World Order

Nepal - Focus on Environmental Management

Climate change, a global challenge still needing agreement

Abortion Didn't Solve Anything

Pakistan - Musharraf Announces His Resignation

Globalization of Growth and Globalization of Inflation

Philippines - Responding to climate change

World Water Crisis Underlies World Food Crisis

Beauty at Any Cost

The Costs of Father Absence

Driving the human ecological footprint

For Terrorists, a War on Aid Groups

Bahamas - The developer and the environment

The WCC's 60th anniversary

The Coming Oil Supply Crunch

Creating a stink about the world's wastewater

Christianity & Feminism

The Delusion Revolution: We're on The Road To Extinction And In Denial

Global Agenda Increasingly Disease-Driven

Wastewater Crops Feeding Millions

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Towards gender equality: A biased fight against bias

The human development index – going beyond income

Ending Poverty

EarthTrends: Climate and Atmosphere

How Modernity Changed Judaism

2008 World Population Data Sheet

U.S., Iraq Are Said to Have Set Withdrawal Timetable

The dark (k)night of a postmodern world

Now is time to stop building freeways

Nigeria: Need for Human Development

Education for sustainability

A window into another world

Food, Fuel and Water Crises Converging

Half of All Food Produced Worldwide is Wasted

On the road to a better future

Third World Network wants government to decline EPA pact

Liberty or Sustainable Development? - Part 1

Liberty or Sustainable Development? - Part 2

Liberty or Sustainable Development? - Part 3

Liberty or Sustainable Development? - Part 4

Liberty or Sustainable Development? - Part 5

Liberty or Sustainable Development? - Part 6

Globalization, technology, and the business sector

Globalization has shrunk arts universe, leading to greater integration and interdependence, but also complications

Rebuild with eye toward sustainability

The ROI of Sustainability

Lack of social justice, bane of Nigeria’s fortunes

Feminine Mystique revisited

Climate change and the purpose of growth

Emphasis on human resources development

New science shows big picture

Deforestation a key part of UN global treaty talks

Forest environmental income and the rural poor

Olympic hangover – Self criticism would be seemly for the press

New vision needed for achieving agricultural sustainability

Over 80 million Nigerians live below poverty line

Nationalism at crossroads

Globalization and How to Help the Poor

High population growth undermines Uganda's development

U.N. troops offer lessons in peace in Lebanon

A fighting chance

Hungry Zimbabweans Forage to Survive

New data reveal increasing poverty in developing countries

New global poverty estimates confirm China’s leading role in meeting MDGs

Four Powerpoint Presentations on Integrated Development Concepts

Future transport: The hike in the price of oil means that new ways of fuelling transport are no longer fantasy

Suu Kyi 'on hunger strike'

The cost of food

Scholars find ways distance learning can quicken development

Kenya sets up a climate change centre

Sustainability: 'A wake-up call to us all'

Integrating sustainability into business decisions

Translating feminism into Islam

2008 SEED Awards Announced

Beijing Olympics legacy more profound than visible success

Marking "Creation Day," Ecumenical Patriarch stresses need for environmental ethic

Getting on Board with Corporate Social Responsibility

Social injustice is 'killing on a grand scale'

Sustainability Across the Curriculum Leadership Workshops


Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2007-2008

Faith leaders demand end to global poverty

Energy, Environment Will Be Central to McCain-Palin Campaign

Defined the list of 10 action objectives for WSF 2009 participants

UN study says polygamy main AIDS driver in Swaziland

DEVELOPMENT: Towards an 'Aid-Free' World?

Agenda 21 – The UN Blueprint for the 21st Century

Fighting poverty, a global challenge

Free Trade: Is Globalization Hurting the U.S?

This Isn’t the Return of History

Trading human beings for cows

Paternity and maternity: A sacred duality

UN Calls for Urgent Action on Climate Change

Preliminary review of adaptation options for climate-sensitive ecosystems and resources

Global Environmental Governance: A Reform Agenda

Environmental Sustainability: An Evaluation of World Bank Group Support

World Resources 2008 (WRI)

Schooling Ourselves on Sustainability

The Future of Work: Where the Labor Movement Is Heading

There Is an Alternative to Corporate Rule

Globalization and Uncivil Society

Global forum to underscore protection, welfare of migrant workers

Economic growth and Human Resource Development

Let Muslim women speak

Selection and Use of the ISO 9000 Family of Standards

One Killed in Thai Protests; Emergency Is Declared

Economic development is a human right

Gambia: The Geo-politics of hunger

'Development As A Tool Of International Institutions For Marginalisation'

Angola Holds First Vote in 16 Years as Oil Boom Bypasses Poor

Islam, democracy and violence

UN calls for 50-billion-dollar increase in development aid

“The Koran Cannot Be Usurped”

Green Purchasing Power

Why Environmental Education?

UN Leader Invites Cardinal to Meeting on Poverty

The 100 Most Powerful Women

Sustainability starts with action at the local levels

America and the World Into a New Era

MDGs: A review and strategy

Engineers urged to lead drive for sustainable development

Play offers insight into our prejudices

Status quo framing increases support for torture

A Youth Approach to the Millenium Development Goals

Will rising fuel costs reverse globalization?

Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction, CSR to the fore

G8 Religious Leaders Summit

Poverty declining, hunger rising: UN report

What $300-a-Barrel Oil Will Mean for You

US Population Energy and Climate Change

Understanding Poverty's Impact on Children

It's Good to Go Global

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Editor's Note: For more news sources, visit the SSNV News Sources and RSS Feeds Page. See also the SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy & Links Database and the SSNV Tools Directory.

Global Citizen

Evelin Lindner, M.D., Ph.D.
Sample quote:
"We must humanize globalization.
Every person deserves equal rights
and dignity, but it must first be built
from the ramshackle global village
in which we now live."

Human DHS, Website
Making Enemies, Book
Evelin Lindner, Biography
Evelin Lindner, Bibliography
Towards Human Dignity, Interview
Understanding Humiliation, Article
Humiliation, War, and Gender, Article
Humiliation in Armed Conflicts, Article
Mature Response to Terrorism, Article

MDGs + 1


8mdggoals PLUS GOAL 9:
Universal Religious Freedom

Global MDG resources:
U.N. MDGs Home Page
MDG Core Documents
MDG Basic Indicators
U.N. Millennium Project
MDG Targets & Indicators
Human Rights and the MDGs
Governance and the MDGs
MDG Atlas
MDG Dashboard
MDG Monitor
MDG Slideshow
MDG GMR 2008
GEO Report 2007
HDR Report 2007-2008
Earth Charter
Youth and the MDGs
Health and the MDGs
State of the World Children 2008
State of the World Girls 2007
Gender Equity Index 2008
UNESCO Yearbook 2008
World Energy Outlook 2008
World Disasters Report 2007
World Health Statistics 2008
MDG-Net and DGP-Net
World Resources 2008
National MDG Resources
Local MDG Resources
High Level UN MDG Blog

Signs of the Times

"She was not raised from the dead,
God forsaken.
A woman, still crucified."
Source: BASIC, Ireland

Mujeres Sacerdotes
Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, left, and Latin America's first woman bishop, Obispa Sufraganea Nerva Cot Aguilera, right.
Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba
Source: Episcopal Life Online

SSNV Links

Resources worth visiting:

Earth Charter

Platform for Sharing Information
on Gender Equity

Humiliation Studies of Evelin Lindner

Mimetic Theory of René Girard

Socioeconomic Democracy
Robley E. George, Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Societies

Map and Portal of Knowledge
By Chaim Zins,
Knowledge Mapping Research
Jerusalem, Israel




The Damietta Peace Initiative

Green Index of Sustainable Consumption
Greendex Map of the World
Greendex Calculator
Greendex Report 2008 Full Report (50MG)

State of the World 2009:
Into a Warming World
Forthcoming January 2009
Worldwatch Institute

Green Books for Green Living

Global Footprint Network

Read this FREE online!
Full Book | Podcast
K-8 Science Education

Southern Poverty Law Center

State of the Future 2009 (SOF2009),
Jerome C. Glenn, Director
The Millennium Project, WFUNA

Atlas of Population & Environment,
Edited by Victoria D. Markman, AAAS
Free Registration, Customization,
and Download



By Victoria D. Markham
Center for Environment and Population
Columbia University

Click here to download report

Two Great Books

Two great books on the roots of violence:

The Genealogy of Violence:
Reflections on Creation, Freedom, and Evil
Charles K. Bellinger,
Oxford University Press, 2001

The Trinitarian Self:
The Key to the Puzzle of Violence
Charles K. Bellinger,
Princeton Theological Monographs, 2008

Useful Tools



VADLO is a search engine for biologists. Currently a free beta service. Queries can be submitted for searching by keyword(s), protocols (methods, techniques, essays, procedures, reagent recipes, plasmid maps, etc.), tools (calculators, servers, prediction tools, sequence alignment and manipulation tools, primer design etc.), seminars (powerpoint presentations, lectures, and talks), databases (data repositories, taxonomies, compilations, lists etc.), and software (codes, scripts, algorithms, executables, downloadable programs). Search results include daily "life in research" cartoons. Biologists and other life scientists can submit their links for consideration (only http:// links at the moment).



The developer of this freeware is Glenn Scheper. The following abbreviated description is adapted from his web site:

Words Extended (WordsEx) is a powerful Internet text information discovery, retrieval, extraction, and display tool. It includes ranking heuristics that speed you to the choicest information. Minimal motion right hand operation, smooth scrolling and big fonts make it easy. This version is the first release on CNET

Windows 2000, XP, or Vista users can try WordsEx immediately by clicking HERE. It comes with a concise but clearly written user's guide as well as some additional software documentation. The tool can be used to find, retrieve, and rank online information on any subject matter, but several sample analyses supported by WordsEx are provided in Glenn's page.


Given a paragraph or list of keywords, WORDLE generates a collage like the one shown below. The collage conveys a sense of relationships between the keywords. For instance, the input for the example below was a list of dimensions for sustainable development. The tool provides several options relative to layout, font, and color scheme, and a link that can be embedded in any web page. Click on the image to see a larger version.


The WSF 2009 will happen in Brazil, in the city of Belem, state of Para, from January 27th until February 1st, 2009. Please visit the WSF 2009 website. The point of contact is Escritório Belém-Pará-Brasil.

Scheduled for 15-19 February 2009, New York City. Theme: "Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future." See the conference website. The conference co-chairs are Sabine Carey and Gerald Schneider.

The 2009 ASEH conference theme is: "Paradise Lost, Found, and Constructed: Conceptualizing and Transforming Landscapes through History." The conference takes place in Tallahassee, Florida, February 25 - March 1, 2009. For more information: Michael Lewis, Chair, Salisbury University.

Sponsored by the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). March 5-7, 2009, York University, Toronto. Sub-theme: "Regulation, Dispossession, and Emerging Claims." Organizing committee: CERLAC.

Global conference 13-16 March 2009, Salzburg, Austria. Sponsored by the Forgiveness: Probing the Boundaries project. Points of contact: David White, and Rob Fisher. For more information visit the conference website.

Annual conference of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). Las Vegas, Nevada, 22-27 March 2009. Call for papers: "Gendered Geographies of Transition in Southeast Asia." There is more information on the AAG website, and you can contact Annual Meeting AAG2009. The organizer of this session is Katherine Brickell: Katherine Brickell RHUL and Katherine Brickell LSE (please send to both as she is currently between posts).

The inaugural meeting of the Society for Environmental Law and Economics will be held on March 27 and 28, 2009, at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law in Vancouver, Canada. Points of contact: Shi-Ling Hsu and Brian Czech.

Managing the Social Impacts of Change from a Risk Perspective, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 15-17 April 2009. See the SCARR web site. For details contact Jens Zinn or Peter Taylor-Gooby.

Unite For Sight 6th Annual Global Health Conference. Theme: "Achieving Global Goals Through Innovation." Saturday, April 18 - Sunday, April 19, 2009, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Complete information is available in the conference website. Contact: Unite for Sight.

Villanova University is hosting an international interdisciplinary conference on Sustainability, April 23-25, 2009. The conference aims to bring together scholars, activists, and government and corporate professionals from across the United States and around the world to learn from each other in exploring the multiple dimensions of Sustainability. Points of contact are Chaone Mallory and Paul Rosier.

International Conference on Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC), Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 26-28 April 2009. See the OKLC conference website. The points of contact are Marleen Huysman (conference chair) or Marlous Agterberg (conference organizer).


The 7th Open Meeting on the Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change (IHDP), 26-30 April 2009, Bonn, Germany. The theme of this meeting, "Social Challenges of Global Change," responds to important changes in the perspective of the scientific community on the challenges that we are currently facing and outlines the new research agenda for IHDP’s second decade. Four major social challenges have been identified which are both paramount for future living conditions of human beings and good entry points to demonstrate IHDP’s preparedness to contribute to the new research perspectives: 1. How do we deal with demographic challenges? 2. How do we deal with limitations of resources and ecosystem services? 3. How do we establish social cohesion while increasing equity at various levels? 4. How do we adapt institutions to address global change? Points of contact: Ruben Sondervan, Jens Marson, and Prof. Oran R. Young (Chair, IHDP Scientific Committee).


International conference on ecology and professional helping, with interdisciplinary dialogues on person, planet, and professional helping. University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 7-9 May 2009. Abstracts (in English or French) due 12 September 2008); submit via email to John Coates. For more information visit the conference web site. Additional points of contact: Fred Besthorn or Mishka Lysack.

International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC). May 20-24, 2009, Washington DC, USA. ISSR Conference, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 27-31 July 2009. Theme: Making Marine Science Matter. For more information see the conference website or contact Ellen Hines, Chair, IMCC 2009.

The 23rd annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, "Conservation: Harmony for Nature and Society," will be held from 11-16 July 2009 in Beijing, China. Complete instructions for submitting proposals are available at the meeting website or by contacting SCB 2009.

An inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference on "Decent Work and Unemployment" will be hosted by the Center for Ethics and Poverty Research (University of Salzburg), Salzburg, May 26-29 2009. It seeks to examine and explore the connections of "decent work" and unemployment. Please send your paper together with a short CV to CEPR.

Gendered Cultures at the Crossroads of Imagination, Knowledge and Politics, 4-7 June 2009 Utrecht, The Netherlands. Visit the conference web site. For more information: 7thfeminist.

This conference is to be held in Aix-en-Provence, France, 12-13 June 2009. Sponsored by LERMA, Université d'Aix-Marseille, in collaboration with Queen Mary University, London. The conference languages will be English and French. Points of contact: Dr Laurence Lux-Sterritt and Dr Claire Sorin. For more additional conference information see the women history website.

EKSIG 2009: Experiential Knowledge, Method and Methodology International Conference. Theme: "Experiential Knowledge, Method and Methodology." Friday, 19 June 2009. Hosted by London Metropolitan University. For more information see the conference website. Contact: EKSIG 2009.

Third International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture (ISSRNC). University of Amsterdam, 23–26 July 2009. The conference director is Kocku von Stuckrad. For more information: ISSRNC 2009.

The first World Resources Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland, 16 September 2009. Theme: From the Natural Sciences to Economics. See the WRF Planning Poster. Contact: Dr. Lorenz M. Hilty.

The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) announces the XXVI International Population Conference, 27 September - 2 October 2009, Marrakech, Morocco. For the CFP and paper submissions visit the marrakech2009.

The Second International Seminar on Islamic Thought (ISoIT2) will be held at the National University of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. The date for the event is 6-7 October 2009. For points of contact and other information, please visit the conference website conference website.

International Conference AfricaGIS2009, 26– 29 October 2009, Kampala, Uganda. Conference theme: "Geo-Spatial Information and Sustainable Development in Africa: Facing Challenges of Global Change." For further information please visit the AFRICAGIS2009 conference website. For general inquiries please contact AfricaGIS 2009.

Sponsored by the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). The theme for the Congress has been chosen to encourage discussion of religions and religious phenomena across traditional geographical and temporal boundaries. August 15-21, 2010, Toronto, Canada. See the conference website for further information. The conference director is Professor Donald Wiebe.

The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) is still accepting preliminary proposals from individuals and organizations interested in HOSTING our 13th Biennial Conference, scheduled for the summer or autumn, 2010. For more information contact Jim Robson and visit the

Knowledge Base

The SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy has been updated. As of 20 May 2008, it provides links to 2131 web sites that contain evidentiary data and knowledge content that is relevant to global issues of human solidarity and nonviolence, environmental sustainability, and sustainable human development.

Each link is classified by the following categories:

  • Mega-Disciplines
  • Disciplines
  • Specialties
  • Sub-Specialties
  • UN MDGs

Currently, the database is sorted by mega-disciplines, disciplines, and specialties. The sub-specialties field is temporarily being used for knowledge source (often using institutional or facility acronyms). Many resources are applicable to two or more of the MDGs. This is work in progress, and both the taxonomies and the links will continue to evolve, but the reader may find something useful by clicking HERE. For a more comprehensive map of knowledge, see Knowledge 2008, by Chaim Zins.


Knowledge Taxonomy
Links Directory

The SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database can be downloaded as either an HTML web page or an EXCEL spreadsheet with embedded table-building HTML code that can be modified to fit the user needs.

Download the
HTML Web Page

Download the
EXCEL File with URLs and HTML Code

Find out about the ....

Green Party

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente
Green Party Nominees for President
and Vice-President of the USA
Green Party of the United States
Ten Key Values of the Green Party
Green Parties Around the World

"Men are deceived if they think themselves free,
an opinion which consists only in this,
that they are conscious of their actions
and ignorant of the causes
by which they are determined."

Benedict De Spinoza (1632-1677)


Write to the Editor
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Copyright © 2008 by Luis T. Gutierrez


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