The E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence

            Vol. 4, No. 11, November 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. Each section includes links to relevant "best of the web" content. 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

Community Dimension of Sustainable Development


The focus of this month's issue moves from the individual to the community. Sustainable development requires communities in which people consciously and continuously attempt to balance individual self-interest with the common good. Surely, this is not the kind of ethos that induced the current financial crisis that, starting in New York, has already spread to all regions of the world. It is a financial pandemic, fueled by a greed virus that makes governments willing to sink trillions of dollars into failed financial institutions at the expense of millions of human beings that lack the resources to meet the most basic human needs.

Section 1 is a reflection of community as "unity in diversity." Unity is not equivalent to uniformity. Diversity is not equivalent to disorder. The Christian notion of a trinitarian God is proposed as an example of authentic unity in diversity: three divine persons, totally different from each other, yet sharing a perfect unity of "hearts" and "minds." Since humans are not divine, section 2 makes "unity in diversity" a feasible for human communities when human behavior is guided by commonly accepted ethical principles. A concrete example of such ethical system is given by quoting the five, eight, and ten Buddhist precepts. Section 3 then attempts to show that there can be no such thing as sustainable development as long as ethical behavior is destroyed by the idols of wealth, power, and honors. Sections 2 and 3 include an adaptation of Charles Bellinger's 3-dimensional charts of human experience, where the vertical axis is the self dimension (from the egocentric self to the trinitarian self), the horizontal axis is the social dimension (from selfish self-interest to unselfish solidarity), and the third axis is the time dimension (from consumerist past to future sustainability).

Sections 4 to 7 discuss communitarian behavior at successively higher levels of community: families, local communities, national/regional communities, and the global community. Acceptable human behavior is the same at all levels. Unacceptable human behavior is the same at all levels. The principle of subsidiarity is discussed as the best guide to ensure healthy relations between communities at different levels. The principle of subsidiarity is basically about "checks and balances" within levels and between levels. Too much or too little centralization (or "regulation") is bad. Too much or too little decentralization (or "deregulation") is equally bad. As long as humans do not become divinized by love, we need balance of responsibility and authority within levels and between levels. The European Union (EU) is using the principle of subsidiarity to ensure both regional cohesion (unity) and national self-determination (diversity).

Section 8 is a consideration of democracy and how democratic institutions may have to evolve as all communities on the planet become more and more interconnected. Absolute monarchies and theocracies are no longer responsive to human and social needs. Political democracies have shown a lack of political will in telling "inconvenient truths" to people. The "quick fix" is the easy way out. But the era of quick fixes is coming to an end in a crowded and ecologically degraded planet. Therefore, democratic institutions must be reformed to ensure both participation of all in making decisions and due consideration of long-term repercussions of such decisions. Robley George's "socioeconomic democracy" is briefly considered as a possible reform strategy.

Section 9, as usual, is on "prayer, study, and action." It is to be hoped that, after multiple alarm signals such as global warming and the global financial crisis, people will become willing to face the "inconvenient truth" that money and the accumulation of wealth may lead to more power and more honors in the short-term, but in the long-term lead only to more misery, more violence, further degradation of human solidarity, and exasperating stagnation of sustainable development. Nobody knows how long it will take for human civilization and the human habitat to crumble if we continue along this path; but there can be no doubt that the time is limited. We better start praying, thinking, and acting like human beings created in the image of God.

INVITED PAPER: The invited paper this month is The Financial Meltdown: Roots of the economic crisis in overaccumulation, financialisation and ‘global apartheid’, by Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


  1. Community: Unity in Diversity
  2. Community & Ethical Behavior
  3. Community & Sustainable Development
  4. The Nuptial & Youth Communities
  5. The Local Communities
  6. The National/Regional Communities
  7. The Global Community
  8. Democracy & Sustainable Development
  9. Prayer, Study, and Action
The Financial Meltdown: Roots of the economic crisis in overaccumulation, financialisation and ‘global apartheid’, by Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Pelican Symbolism
Human Nature
Nuptial Covenant
Religious Traditions
Global News/Issues
New Resources
Global Citizen
Signs of the Times
MDG Pubs & Data
SSNV Links
Two Great Books
Useful Tools
Christian Poems
Link to LPR 2008
Knowledge Base
Free Downloads
SSNV Archive

1. Community: Unity in Diversity

It is well known that human beings are "social animals." We cannot live in complete isolation from other people. We need community. It is in communities where cultures flourish or perish. It is in community where human development happens, and it is in community that sustainable development happens. The phrase "unity in diversity" encapsulates the essential meaning of community. So does the equivalent phrase, "diversity in unity." But unity is not synonymous with uniformity. On the contrary, unity means that men and women that belong to a community seek to balance self-interest and the common good of the community. There must be unity in seeking this balance, and diversity in the means to achieve it, for no one has all the answers. Therefore, "let us enrich ourselves with our mutual differences" (Paul Valéry, 1871-1945).

The financial crisis that is currently unfolding worldwide serves as a good example of the need for balancing self-interest and the common good. This is what living in community is all about. This balance may never be perfect, but it must be sought at all levels of community: married couples, families, neighborhoods, schools, small towns, large cities, nations, regions, and the entire world. The "population explosion," the "limits to growth," and "global warming" are among the many significant problems facing humanity, but exacerbating such trends with endless advertising to reinforce consumerist behavior is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Engaging in dubious financial manipulations that enrich a few and add no value social value is beyond part of the problem; it may not be illegal, but it is certainly unethical. "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed" (Mohandas Gandhi, 1869-1948).

The only way to avoid this kind of misbehavior is to make sustainable development (and any other human activity) to be rooted in spirituality. It may be secular spirituality. It may be religious or non-religious spirituality. It may be Christian spirituality, or spirituality derived from any other religious tradition. But paying attention to the inner life is indispensable to recognize that the solution to all human issues is to be found within the human person, not out there in technological fixes or social systems that care only about material things and couldn't care less about the human soul.

In the history of religious art, the best visualization of this "hidden treasure" may be the Trinity Icon of Andrei Rublev. This is admittedly a piece of Christian art. Other religious traditions may have their own "mantras." This one is especial because it portrays unity in diversity, gender balance, inner life that overflows in service to others. The following quotation is not intended to preclude consideration of other human attempts to offer a glimpse of the divinity that abides in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16) within each human being. It is, however, an excellent summary:

"The viewer who comes upon the Trinity of Rublev unexpectedly, catching sight of it from a short distance away in a room in a gallery, lit only by daylight from a side window, will have the unforgettable memory of an encounter striking for its beauty and its utter realism. The three life-sized figures seem to draw near, catching and submerging the viewer in a sea of beatitude. The dominant impression is brightness. The yellows, greens, and lilacs are very light and transparent. In the center, there is the resonant area of red-violet and of that incredible blue mantle of the central angel which reappears in the dress of the angel on the right. Is this not perhaps the very color of sapphire -- of heaven -- which is the "place" of God?

"The movement that animates the entire composition proceeds from the angel on the right, in conveyed further by the inclination of the center angel, and, gathered in by the third angel, flows anew towards the right to conclude and perpetuate its ceaseless circular motion. Because they do not meet, the gazes of the three angels leave the interior space open to signify that the perpetual exchange and the communication of love between the Three Persons is a mystery of total interiority.

"But something unforeseen happens precisely in the returning motion of the angel on the left: already pushed forward by the angel's erect position, the arch of the circle formed by the three heads is further expanded by the lines of the seats and the footrests which converge towards a point outside the icon, where the viewer is standing. And the closed sphere of the Three is disclosed, and the mystery of the superabundant Life is manifested to the one who contemplates as infinite Love the large chalice formed by the side angels, and as love bestowed, the cup which rests on the table." Maria Giovanna Muzj, 1987

It is critical to notice that trinitarian "unity in diversity" means three things: a perfect unity between the three divine persons (can you see the inner chalice?), a perfect willingness of the three divine persons to relate to humanity in a diversity of missions (can you see the outer chalice?), and a perfect willingness to do so by sharing, in a rich diversity of ways, the love that makes them one and that they freely want to share with humanity (the chalice on the table). Readers who might be aware of similar "mantras" in other religious traditions are cordially invited to send them to the editor. In order for humanity to move toward sustainability, we need to enrich the human community with both unity and diversity.

Selected references for section 1:

  1. Definitions of "community"
  2. References on "the tragedy of the commons"
  3. References on community and sustainable development

2. Community & Ethical Behavior

Ethical behavior is indispensable for harmonious community life. It is therefore indispensable for sustainable development. Human beings are capable of behaving ethically without the support of religion or spirituality. However, such support is invaluable in that it provides a solid foundation for making ethical decisions and creates an ethos that becomes the backbone of human relations within a community. For example, the Christian concept of the Trinity helps us to understand God as a community of Persons. Since we are imago Dei, and the divine community abides within us, it seems reasonable to think that the human community should reflect a "trinity," albeit within the limitations of the human condition. In other words, the 6+ billion people currently alive should exhibit, at least to some extent, unity in diversity. But how can we articulate what this means in our three-dimensional world?

Two recent books by Charles K. Bellinger may be useful to operationalize the trinitarian model in three-dimensional space. The first book, The Genealogy of Violence, published in 2001, is an analysis of human violence mainly based on the work of Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). The second book, The Trinitarian Self, published in 2008, attempts to isolate the root cause for human violence by a juxtaposition of the works of Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) and René Girard (b. 1923). It is in the second book that Bellinger provides some very insightful three-dimensional diagrams as a synthesis that integrates the works of Kierkegaard, Voegelin, and Girard. In what follows, similar diagrams are used to visualize the spiritual, social, and temporal dimensions of sustainable development. It must be clearly understood that Bellinger is totally innocent of any misuse or misinterpretation of his diagrams.

Basically, the vertical dimension is the human relationship with God, which can go from a highly negative value of egocentrism, and attachment to a materialistic mindset, to a very high positive value of fellowship with God in prayer, obedience to the divine will, and mystical unity (where the "trinitarian self" help us become what we are). The horizontal axis is the social dimension, which on the negative side reaches the extreme individualism in which only self-interest matters and on the positive side reaches a balance between self-interest and the common good, and may even reach a heroic degree of solidarity that is both generous and nonviolent. Finally, the time axis, or temporal dimension, captures the unfolding of human history, which moves in the positive direction toward sustainable human development (a prevalence of freedom of conscience, peace with justice, human rights, gender equality) by overcoming the negative events and habits of the past (such as slavery and all kinds of violence). Each human being, and human civilization, may oscillate between the positive and negative segments of each axis. Movement in the positive direction of any axis is, at best, a two steps forward, one step backward process. Consider Figure 1.

Figure 1 - Conceptual Model of Spirituality, Solidarity, and Sustainability
NB: The chart is adapted from Bellinger, 2008, pp. 3, 5, 6, 11, 53, 55, 57, 93, 107.
Bellinger is innocent of any misuse or misinterpretation of his diagrams.

The conceptual model has three dimensions. The horizontal axis, X, is the people's propensity to solidarity when it is positive, or the propensity to ignore the common good when it is negative. The vertical axis, Y, is the people's propensity to grow in spirituality when it is positive, or the propensity to ignore the inner life when it is negative. The temporal axis, Z, is the progress toward sustainability when positive, the regression to consumerism when negative. The individualist tendency to ignore the common good, poor stewardship of the human habitat, and a widespread lack of spirituality is the scenario that generally leads to violent behavior (including wars), environmental dislocations, and all manner of social and ecological crises.

The thesis being hereby proposed is that to attempt progress in sustainable development, while ignoring the inner spiritual life of human beings, is an exercise in futility. Growth in the spiritual dimension is the engine that makes progress possible in solidarity and sustainability. Most of the rhetoric about "economic growth" (which usually refers to the rich and seldom to the poor) is an escape to avoid embarking on the "inner journey" that (once we have disposed of the "demons" found along the way) makes us free to renounce the tricks of scapegoating and become available to participate in projects such as the Millennium Development Goals and other similar undertakings for the benefit of humanity and the human habitat. In the Buddhist tradition, this path of "spiritual growth" is summarized as follows:

The Five Precepts are for those who seek self-discipline:

"1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
"2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
"3. I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct.
"4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
"5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from drinks and drugs that cause heedlessness."

The Eight Precepts are for those who seek meaning in life:

"1. I undertake to abstain from taking life (both human and nonhuman).
"2. I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given (stealing).
"3. I undertake to abstain from all sexual activity.
"4. I undertake to abstain from telling lies.
"5. I undertake to abstain from using intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
"6. I undertake to abstain from eating at the wrong time (the right time is eating once, after sunrise, before noon).
"7. I undertake to abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories).
"8. I undertake to abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping."

The Ten Precepts are for those who seek inner freedom to serve others:

"1. Refrain from killing living things.
"2. Refrain from stealing.
"3. Refrain from un-chastity (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
"4. Refrain from lying.
"5. Refrain from taking intoxicants.
"6. Refrain from taking food at inappropriate times (after noon).
"7. Refrain from singing, dancing, playing music or attending entertainment programs (performances).
"8. Refrain from wearing perfume, cosmetics and garland (decorative accessories).
"9. Refrain from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious, soft beds.
"10. Refrain from accepting money."

It is hard to imagine a transition from the current crisis (financial and otherwise) to a world of solidarity and sustainability without the support of ethics and spirituality. The currently unfolding financial meltdown is an opportunity to learn this lesson. Else, humanity will continue to suffer from recurring cycles of mimetic rivalry, scapegoating, and violence. The invited paper this month, another welcomed contribution by Patrick Bond, mentions the possibility of this crisis leading to the exercise of social power from below, against the worst depredations of oppression, which are often experienced through the financial circuit of capital. Indeed, as Ramzy Baroud has pointed out, "it is egregious that while a billion people worldwide are starving, governments are throwing thousands of billions in aid to failed financial institutions."

Selected references for section 2:

  1. René Girard's Theory of Mimetic Desire and Scapegoating
  2. Charles Bellinger's Theological Anthropology of Violence
  3. Analyses and other references on the 2008 Financial Crisis

3. Community and Sustainable Development

Sustainable development requires the support of all human communities, from families to worldwide partnerships. This global "community of communities" is like a large mosaic in which all dimensions of sustainable development (human, religious, spiritual, ethical, social, ethnic, cultural, political, economic, geographic, demographic, etc.) coexist and enrich each other. However, at this point in human history, it seems fair to say the idolatry of money cancels the benefits of this magnificent diversity by destroying its unity. Rather than seeking a balance of self-interest and the common good, the idolatry of money induces most people and most communities to become enslaved by greed. This greed leads to mimetic rivalry, violence, and endless scapegoating. The global financial meltdown is the bad fruit of greed and violence, the kind of financial violence that squeezes money from the general population to fill the pockets of the financial wizards.

Sustainable development requires a radical renunciation of greed and all manner of violence, including financial violence. In terms of the conceptual model of Figure 1, the current "state of the world" in three dimensional (spirituality, solidarity, sustainability) space might be perceived as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Conceptual Model of Scenario Leading to the 2008 Financial Crisis
NB: The chart is adapted from Bellinger, 2008, pp. 3, 5, 6, 11, 53, 55, 57, 93, 107.
Bellinger is innocent of any misuse or misinterpretation of his diagrams.

The conceptual model has three dimensions, as in Figure 1. The color segments in the axes are indicative of the current ethos regarding solidarity, sustainability, and spirituality. The current financial crisis is induced by the strong tendency to ignore the common good (the rich getting richer via dubious financial manipulations), the abuse of the human habitat (by financial decisions that do not take into account possible environmental impacts), and the low level of spirituality (money is the one and only idol that is worshipped in the consumerist society). A similar model would serve to visualize the root causes of widespread hunger and extreme poverty, a shameful humanitarian calamity; or global warming, a very serious ecological crisis. But the financial crisis is getting more media and political attention because it is hitting wealthy people and wealthy institutions where it hurts: in their pocketbooks and bank accounts.

In these three-dimensional diagrams, some form of violence is the driver that pushes people toward the negative extreme of each axis. According to Bellinger, "the deepest root of violence is the self's refusal to grow spiritually." He unpacks this key assertion as follows:

"The profound question regarding why human beings are violent can be answered along the following lines. Truth is accumulative; our consciousness will be shaped by truth to the extent that we allow ourselves to be educated by the wisdom that comes from God and has been mediated to us through our philosophical and religious traditions. The Good is the fruit of maturation; human beings become ethical as they allow themselves to be drawn upward so that they participate in God’s love for humanity. The ability to perceive the Beauty of the world and to live a beautiful life is a gift from God. Violence rejects this journey of growth into the fullness of what it means to be a human being; it prefers a stunted life that produces falsehood, evil, and ugliness. We can specify precisely the deepest root of pathological violence as the resistance of the human being to the growth, expansion, and increasing complexity that are the marks of living into the image of God in which we are created.

"Why do we resist growth? We human beings are distinct from the lower animals in our ability to experience angst, which is an emotion arising from our ambivalence about our existence in time. Angst, or anxiety, results from desiring and fearing the same thing at the same time, which is the possibility of our spiritual development..... We have been created, but we are still coming into existence; the event of creation is still happening within us, which fills us with anxiety. We invent strategies that seek to manage this anxiety and keep it in check. To the extent that we are narcissistic we seek comfort and avoid pain. To be open to growth toward maturity involves a willingness to endure the pain of dying to oneself and being reborn. If we are unwilling to go through this pain, the result will be our attempts to make others feel pain in the false belief that by doing so we will avoid it.

"Fundamentalism, individualistic aestheticism, and utopianism are all examples of human inventiveness when it comes to evading the call of creation. They are forms of immature selfhood that seek to fend off the possibility of mature selfhood. If we dimly perceive the possibility that our self could die and be replaced by another self, we must prevent this by construing the more mature self as an other, an alien, rather than as the true self that we are called to be. This is the root of the rejection of otherness that our modern culture notices but can only respond to with calls for "tolerance." We attack the Other because we do not want to become an other to ourselves through the event of spiritual death and rebirth. We become violent when we try to maintain the current shape of our immature, unbalanced, and contracted consciousness (against the possibility that it could become mature, balanced, and expansive) by attacking the alien Other that has been generated out of our fear of growth. In other words, violence against others begins with the invisible spiritual act of doing violence to the potential development of one’s own selfhood. This is the foundational, shared spiritual condition of the fundamentalists, the individualists, and the revolutionaries. We usually do not notice this underlying commonality because we are bedazzled by the surface disparities between them." (Bellinger, The Trinitarian Self, 2008, pages 81-82)

Long quote, but worth reading and rereading several times. This goes to the core of theological anthropology as it applies to sustainable development. In addition, is this "theological psychology" or "psychological theology"? Jung's animus/anima can be discerned lurking in between lines, and so can Stafford's invisible partners. In fact, isn't fundamentalism a symptom of phallagocentrism? Exorcising phallagocentrism from the human psyche might do more to mitigate fundamentalism, and foster sustainable behavior, than all technological fixes and econometric models combined.

Selected references for section 3:

  1. CERES Principles for Corporate Environmental Conduct, CERES, 1989.
  2. What is "Humane Sustainable Culture"?, Robert and Diane Gilman, IN CONTEXT: A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture, September 1996.
  3. The Spiritual Heart of Sustainable Communities, Tom Bender, IN CONTEXT: A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture, September 1996.
  4. The Dance of Male & Female in Intentional Community, Danaan Parry, IN CONTEXT: A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture, June 2000.
  5. Family and sustainable development, Khalid Malik, UNDP China, 2004.
  6. Strategies for Sustainable Development: Case Studies of Community-Based Population, Health, and Environment Projects, PRB, 2006.
  7. A Communitarian Alternative to the Corporate Model, Jeff Mitchell, Academe Online, November-December 2007.
  8. Fostering Sustainable Behavior, Doug McKenzie-Mohr, CBSM, 2008.
  9. Social and Sustainable Development, BIC, 2008.
  10. European Partners for the Environment, EPE, 2008.
  11. World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WBCSD, 1997-2008.
  12. Alliance for Global Sustainability, AGS, 2008.
  13. Sustainable Communities Network, SCN, 2008.
  14. My Community, Our Earth: Geographic Learning for Sustainable Development, AAG, 2008.
  15. World Student Community for Sustainable Development, WSCSD, 2008.
  16. Community Sustainable Development: Eight Steps to Take Towards Promoting Economic Renewal, Alan Sorum, Suite 101, 4 October 2008.
  17. Sustainable Community Development Group, SCDG, 2008.

4. The Nuptial and Youth Communities

The nuptial dimension of sustainable development was the main theme of four consecutive issues starting with the May 2008 issue. This section is an addendum to consider how the financial crisis affects nuptial and family relations. The recent trend toward setting up a prenuptial agreement, before a wedding is a case in point. What is a prenuptial agreement? It is a contract, not a covenant. The marriage is no longer an unconditional commitment to share the gift of love and the gift of life. The marriage becomes like a business contract, as Peter Karl has pointed out:

"Irrespective of the type of entity in which the operations will be conducted, one of the most important legal considerations before commencing a business with others (even if related parties) is a buy-sell agreement that includes restrictions on the transfer or pledge of any ownership interest. This is essentially a “prenuptial arrangement” for a business marriage, which negotiations in the marital context usually require separate advisors. This may be a relevant consideration with respect to the representation of the various parties involved in the buy-sell agreement. This document should address issues such as the valuation and funding for any subsequent buyout, which could be structured as an entity redemption, a cross-purchase by the owners, or a hybrid of the two." (Peter A. Karl, 2008)

Consider how the institution of marriage is degraded by the so-called "prenuptial agreements":

"Prenuptial agreements are an evil that destroys the institution of marriage and their legality and morality must be addressed if we are to reestablish the notion of a family.... As the name implies, a prenuptial agreement is a decision that the two parties agree to prior to marriage..... prenuptials are a response to – and, in many ways, an indicator of – a potential divorce..... Priorities also become distorted through the enactment of prenuptial agreements. Ownership of materials ranks higher than the family in such circumstances..... A true couple would be willing to share their resources and possessions for the benefit of both; prenuptial agreements, on the contrary, demonstrate that the individual is second to the object because retaining ownership of a worldly good is more important than staying together with a life partner." (Jim Price, 2006)

Another important consideration is how such "prenuptial agreements" affect the moral and psychological growth of children and young people. Bernice Hill, a Jungian psychologist, has identified "four wounds of wealth." According to Hill, these wounds affect human relations, and even the personal inner life of people, at successively deeper levels of intimacy:

"The Four Wounds of Wealth"
(Bernice H. Hill, 2004)

"1. Burdens of Expectation
"Those few who are considered wealthy are often the targets of the fears, needs, and expectations of the many who lack money. Societal expectations permeate many aspects of life, including supporting charities and generally 'doing the right thing,' which often translates into writing check after check. The affluent are left to ask themselves, 'When asked to attend an affair or participate in an event, social or otherwise, am I or my checkbook being invited?'

"2. Isolation
"Similarly, the wealthy must question if their personal relationships are based on money or status rather than genuine caring and true feelings of friendship. As a consequence, those of means tend to socialize only with others with similar financial and social backgrounds, and ultimately come to experience a deep sense of 'isolation.' The painful question lingers, 'How many of my friends would still be my friends if I didn’t have any money, and how might I find out?' Love, popularity, and camaraderie can be as paper-thin as money itself. This lack of trust is reflected in the security measures that are taken, the higher walls built around their homes, possessions, and lives, literally and psychologically. In the end, the affluent tend to seek refuge in 'golden ghettos.'

"3. Unhealthy family dynamics
"Wealth can lead to unhealthy family dynamics. How often do we hear of rich family feuds–the nagging fears and general angst regarding inheritances, wills, and pressures brought to bear on siblings regarding proper behavior? Even the most intimate relationships–choosing the 'right' mate in marriage–are subject to the all-important pre-nuptial agreements, becoming yet another business contract.

"4. Crisis of Identity
'Most importantly perhaps, particularly for those who have inherited wealth, are the questions of identity and self-worth. 'Who am I' can be a painful question when the main public identity is that you have money. Philosopher Jacob Needleman observes that 'the only thing that money will not buy is meaning.' Often, wealthy people suffer from guilt, anxiety, and the sense of meaninglessness."

There can be no doubt that children and young people will suffer each of these "wounds." Wound #1 makes the child anxious as to his/her fate if the parents divorce and the nuptial agreement is exercise. Wound #2 makes the child wonder why is it that financial considerations are more important than their own wellbeing. Why is it that prenuptial agreements are only about money, and not about ensuring that the children will not become isolated from the care and warmth of the family? Wound #3 is self-explanatory. Wound #4 completes the picture of desolation: even if the children eventually receive a large inheritance, are they reassured about what meaning they had in the life of their parents?

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that teenage suicides are on the rise, that must teenagers engage in pre-marital sex, and that so many teenagers succumb to the temptation of drugs that allow them to escape from "burdens of expectation, isolation, unhealthy family dynamics, and crisis of identity." Then comes a financial crisis or some other catastrophic event, and all the carefully crafted provisions of the prenuptial agreement vanish into thin air. And then .... what?

Selected references for section 4:

  1. Living Together — a Cart Before a Horse, Suzanne Fields, BNET, March 1999.
  2. Rich couples write babies out of the marriage lines, Sarah Baxter, Times Online, October 2002.
  3. Money and the Spiritual Warrior, Bernice H. Hill, Five Centuries Foundation, Boulder, CO, USA, 2004.
  4. Do Prenuptial Agreements Degrade the Institution of Marriage?, Jim Price, The Fordham Ram Online, November 2006.
  5. Prenuptials and Judaism: A Precedent for Protection, Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka, SASSON, 2006.
  6. The Prenuptial Agreement -- Don’t Fear the Prenup, Michael Eunheiser, Understand State Planning, 2008.
  7. Twenty Questions Answered in the Acquisition or Disposition of a Business: Strategies for Structuring Transactions and Business Entities, Peter A. Karl III, The CPA Journal, March 2008.
  8. Profound Ecology: Towards an understanding and a healthy living in all our networks – emotional, technological, epistemological, economic, ..., Jake Keenan, Epistemology Express, September 2008
  9. Citations related to Economics & Material Culture, Jake Keenan, Epistemology Express, September 2008
  10. How Prenuptial Agreements Work, Margaret Franson, HowStuffWorks, 2008.
  11. Young Consumers Guide to Eco-Friendly Living, UNEP & UNESCO, Paris/Nairobi, October 2008.
  12. "Fair Marriages:" An Impossibility, Bettina-Elisabeth Klaus, Harvard Business School, October 2008.

5. The Local Communities

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere." — Eleanor Roosevelt

Human needs change often and are culturally and geographically conditioned. Not so the core concept of sustainable development. It remains the same for all communities -- family, locality, nation, region, and the entire world. At this point, it is opportune to clarify what sustainable development is about:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
  • The concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."
  • Our Common Future, WEDO, Chapter 2, 1987.

    There are of course many types of communities, and therefore many variations of human needs. Some human needs, such as food and shelter, are universal. Others are limited to some specific communities. The focus of sustainable development is always to meet human needs, and to meet them in such a way that both present and future human needs are taken into account. It is worth mentioning that the "essential needs of the world's poor" should include the especial needs of indigenous communities, especially those who were invaded and "colonized" for political and/or religious motives. Such "colonization" often resulted in the indigenous people being practically exterminated and their way of life destroyed, with long-term repercussions that inhibit their integration into modern societies without a net reduction in cultural diversity.

    Needless to say, the financial manipulations that led to the current Wall Street and worldwide meltdown utterly lacked any "concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor," whether now or in the future. The propensity of society to indulge in excessive consumption was reinforced by misusing ICT technologies to create the illusion that paying with "plastic" was fine and the future would take care of itself. This can happen in families (previous section), and can happen in communities. At the local community level (neighborhood, town, city) it is manifested by the obsession to grow -- bigger buildings, bigger roads, bigger churches, bigger everything except providing adequate compensation for the teachers of the children who are the future, let alone providing assistance to the local poor. But it is rare to see such local consumerist behavior unless it is consistent with wider communities in which the local community is embedded, such as the state and the region. With globalization, the consumerist mindset became global, and the process of the consumerist mindset becoming global has been a fast one -- due to cheap ICT devices that even the poorest people can afford. In terms of social psychology:

    "We're slowly moving from an individual consciousness and into a collective one. Carl Jung described this transition this way, "In the history of the collective as in the history of the individual, everything depends on the development of consciousness." Man has experienced three major collective paradigm shifts and we're on the cusp of the fourth. We've gone from collective hunters 40,000 years ago, to collective farmers 10,000 years ago, to collective builders 300 years ago." (Ernie Fitzpatrick, 2007)

    The transition from collective builders to collective consumerist started as recently as 30 years ago. The next transition, from consumerism to sustainability, may or may not happen smoothly in every local community. This is the reason that Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 specifically calls for each community to formulate its own Local Agenda 21:

    "Each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations, and private enterprises and adopt 'a local Agenda 21.' Through consultation and consensus-building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organizations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies." (Agenda 21, Chapter 28)

    Sounds reasonable, but it is still hard to find local communities in which everyone is aware of the need for sustainable development, let alone participate in formulating a local sustainable development strategy. The structures of governance, education, and industry at all levels -- local, national, regional, global -- need a radical reformation to shift gears from promoting "consumption for growth" to promoting "sustainable development" as defined by Our Common Future. While this transition unfolds, sustainable development at the local level is where the action is. This includes, for example, small groups from developed nations working directly with small groups in developing nations (bypassing national governments if possible) to create the local infrastructure required for sustainable development: schools, water for drinking and irrigation, local energy sources such as electricity generated from waterfalls, etc. Sustainable development may never "trickle down" until it "trickles up" independently of government bureaucracies.

    Selected references for section 5:

    1. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, United Nations, 1987.
    2. Local Agenda 21: The U.N. Plan for Your Community , Berit Kjos, Local Agenda 21 Planning Plan, 1998.
    3. Agenda 21, United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August to 4 September 2002.
    4. Agenda 21 (Complete Text), United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August to 4 September 2002.
    5. Community Based Natural Resources Management in Mozambique: A Theoretical or Practical Strategy for Local Sustainable Development, Isilda Nhantumbo et al, Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern Africa, 2003.
    6. Engendering Local Governance for Sustainable Development, WEDO, 2001.
    7. Local sustainable development effects of forest carbon projects in Brazil and Bolivia, Peter H May et al., FAO, 2004.
    8. Good Community Development Practice: An instrument for Building Community and Developing Society, Love Chile, Auckland University of Technology, NZ, September 2004.
    9. Local sustainable development planning - Manual for a local sustainable development strategy formulation, Dafina Gercheva, UNDP, 2005.
    10. Agenda 21, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya, 2007.
    11. Agenda 21, Wikipedia, 2008.
    12. Local sustainable development and well-being/quality of life, Alba Distaso, Universita' di Foggia, Italy, 2008.
    13. Bolivia: Lake Titicaca Local Sustainable Development, World Bank, 2008.
    14. Communities, Wikipedia, 2008.
    15. Types of Communities, Wikipedia, 2008.
    16. Indigenous Peoples, Wikipedia, 2008.
    17. List Indigenous Peoples, Wikipedia, 2008.
    18. Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, The Bauu Institute, 2008.
    19. Global Sustainable Development Foundation, GSDF (Local, Regional, Global), 2008
    20. Development of Strategies for Sustainable Development, SERI (Local, Regional, Global), 2008.

    6. The National/Regional Communities

    Sustainable development policies are most often crafted at the national level. Many countries are now producing annual sustainable development reports focused on the UN MDGs. Some sub-national MDG reports. A number of cross-national MDG reports have been published to compare national strategies for a given resource, geography, or MDG perspective. See, for example, A Review of Energy in National MDG Reports, UNDP, 2007, the Arab Human Development & MDG Reports, Regional MDG Progress Reports, and the Gender Review of National MDG Reports, UNDP, 2005. There are directories of all the national MDG reports and all the national sustainable development reports produced by the United Nations.

    A legitimate concern is how the global financial crisis will impact MDG and other sustainable development activities on a nation by nation basis. At a High-level Event, UN Headquarters, New York, 25 September 2008, representatives of national governments and international development institutions reiterated their commitment to the MDGs. But, given that the long-term repercussions of the financial crisis are barely beginning to emerge, there is reason for concern:

    "The current global financial crisis is among the greatest challenges to the world economy since the end of World War II. Unlike past financial crises, which were confined to particular regions, the current financial contagion is quickly spreading across continents. Unless action is taken in the next few months to shore up faltering countries and restore confidence in the global economy, the world will face a deep and prolonged recession." (Maurice Greenberg, October 2008)

    As usual, the world's poor will be the ones who suffer the most:

    "UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned his top lieutenants on Friday that the global financial crisis jeopardized everything the UN has done to help the world’s poor. 'It threatens to undermine all our achievements and all our progress,' Ban told a meeting of UN agency chiefs devoted to the crisis. 'Our progress in eradicating poverty and disease. Our efforts to fight climate change and promote development. To ensure that people have enough to eat.'

    "At a meeting also attended by the heads of the World Bank and IMF, Ban said the credit crunch that has stunned markets worldwide compounded the food crisis, the energy crisis and Africa’s development crisis. 'It could be the final blow that many of the poorest of the world’s poor simply cannot survive,' he said, in one of his bleakest assessments of the impact of the financial turmoil." (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, October 2008)

    There can be no doubt that the poor nations are going to become poorer. This time around, however, the rich nations may become poorer too. So now we may get to the point of having a lot of hungry people in the poor nations, and a lot of angry people in the rich nations. It remains to be seen how this will play out in the international dynamics of solidarity, sustainability, and violence/nonviolence. Let us pray that violence can be prevented, both within nations and between nations.

    Selected references for section 6:

    1. Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development, PSSD, 2004.
    2. Small Island Developing States Network, UN-DESA SIDS, 2007.
    3. National Centre for Sustainable Development, NCSD, Bucharest, Romania, 2007.
    4. National Centre for Sustainability, NCS, Australia, 2008.
    5. National Sustainable Development Strategies, United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, 2008.
    6. Linking Sustainable Development to Regional Development: Learning Lessons from Scotland's European Structural Funds Experience, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), 2008
    7. Governance Structures for National Sustainable Development Strategies, IISD, 2008
    8. Education for Global Sustainable Development, CDVEC, Curriculum Development Unit (CDU), Dublin, Ireland and International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE), Bonn, Germany, E-Book, 2008.
    9. Global Sustainable Development Foundation, GSDF (Local, Regional, Global), 2008
    10. Development of Strategies for Sustainable Development, SERI (Local, Regional, Global), 2008.
    11. National Strategies for Sustainable Development, NSSD, 2008.
    12. Links Directory of National Sustainable Development Reports, UN DESA CSD, June 2008.

    7. The Global Community

    Indeed, the world has become a "global village." Consider the speed of propagation of the financial crisis that started in Wall Street, New York, less than a moth ago. The American financial crisis became the global financial crisis in a matter of days. And this crisis, like the environmental crisis, requires responsive decision-making at the global level. Global environmental governance has been a subject of research and discussion for years. Global financial governance may have to be discussed in the not so distant future. But who has the authority to assume such responsibility?

    One of the key objectives of the United Nations is to keep the peace. But how can the UN fulfill such responsibility without having the authority to do so? The same question applies to other global issues, such as managing the environmental and financial global systems. The United Nations is neither perfect nor infallible. Like any other human organization, it is vulnerable to corruption. There can be no doubt that the UN needs reform, for the same reason that human institutions (both secular and religious) need reform from time to time.

    The balance between responsibility and authority is an unavoidable issue. It will take a long time to, but there can be no effective global governance until the issue is settled. To begin with, the Security Council is a legacy of World War II and the Cold War, and must be replaced by a democratic system in which each nation has one vote (or perhaps a number of votes in proportion to its population?) and decisions are approved and take effect if, and only if, the majority of nations are in favor. The majority may be a simple majority, or it might require 2/3 of the votes; it is not practical to discuss such procedural details here. However, going back to the fundamental issue of balancing responsibility and authority, the following table attempts to provide a "strawman" on how to achieve such balancing in three areas: keeping the peace worldwide, global environmental protection, and global financial stability.

  • Arbitrate conflicts
  • Prevent genocide
  • Enforce cease fires
  • General assembly vote is binding
  • Blue helmets/logistics on call
  • Blue helmets/logistics on call
  • Toxic water pollution targets
  • CO2 and other emission targets
  • Resource depletion/recycling limits
  • ISO-9000 periodic audits
  • ISO-14000 periodic audits
  • ISO-26000 periodic audits
  • Approved financial instruments
  • Approved credit practices
  • Approved market operations
  • Cost-of-violation fines/suspensions
  • Cost-of-violation fines/suspensions
  • Cost-of-violation fines/suspensions
  • Table 1 - Balancing Authority and Responsibility in Global Governance.
    ISO-9001 is the Quality Management System (QMS) Standard.
    ISO-14001 is the Environmental Management System (EMS) Standard.
    ISO-26000 is the forthcoming (2010) Social Responsibility Guideline.
    These standards, like all entries in Table 1, are provided simply as examples.

    Global governance should have authority commensurate with its responsibility. The responsibilities should be the minimum required due to the global nature of the responsibilities. Likewise, the authority of global governance should be the minimum required to fulfill the global responsibilities. In other words, both responsibility and authority must be such that no nation, acting unilaterally, can resolve the related issues in a way that takes into account the common good of humanity, including the integrity of the human habitat. The authority and responsibility of global governance is to be democratically determined by delegates of all the member nations acting together as a general assembly. Checks and balances must be instituted in order to ensure that neither the global government nor the national governments exceed the limits of their authority. It is not possible to go into further details here. The next section proposes that basic principles for democratic global governance.

    Selected references for section 7:

    1. World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development , Bahá'í­ International Community, June 1993.
    2. Global Sustainable Development in the Twenty-first Century, Keekok Lee et al., Edinburgh University Press, 2000, 232 pages.
    3. Policy Implications of Age-Structural Changes, Sri Moertiningsih Adioetomo et al., CICRED, Paris 2005.
    4. Forces of change: The fundamental context within which global development will unfold, START, Auckland, NZ, August 2006.
    5. Global Learning, Global Learning, Inc., 1997-2007
    6. The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, Tom Wessels, Published by UPNE, 2006.
    7. ECOLOGIA: Bridging the Global-Local Gap, ECOLOGIA (ECOlogists Linked for Organizing Grassroots Initiatives and Action), 2007.
    8. Globalization and Sustainable Development, Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE), Tufts University, 2008.
    9. New 'Global Classroom' on Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University, January 2008.
    10. Global Reporting Initiative, GRI, 2008.
    11. Global Sustainable Development Foundation, GSDF (Local, Regional, Global), 2008
    12. NEC - NEw Concept of local sustainable development in pilot communities, NEC, Europe, 2005-2008.
    13. Development of Strategies for Sustainable Development, SERI (Local, Regional, Global), 2008.
    14. Varieties of Governance: Effective Public Service Delivery, Global Development Network (GDNet), 2008.
    15. Global System for Sustainable Development, GSSD, MIT, 2008.
    16. "Global Green New Deal" - Environmentally-Focused Investment Historic Opportunity for 21st Century Prosperity and Job Generation, UNEP, 22 October 2008.

    8. Democracy & Sustainable Development

    "A democracy would do well to apply a plan of compulsory attendance for the deliberative assembly. The results are better when all deliberate together; when the populace is mixed with the notables and they, in turn, with the populace." (Aristotle, 350 BCE). Surely, Aristotle was no champion of democracy, but he understood the fundamental need of participation by everyone, including both those who govern and those who are governed.

    Such participation, however, cannot occur in a vacuum. Fully participative deliberations also need well defined boundaries, so that there is a common understanding of what is a legitimate issue for deliberation and resolution at a given level of government. There is also a need for clear principles which are accepted by all the participants and constitute the "collective conscience." Let us consider principles first. The most basic is the principle of justice, and there are many theories of justice. According to John Rawls , justice includes both liberty and equality, and equality includes both difference and fairness. In summary:

    (A THEORY OF JUSTICE, John Rawls, 1971, pages 60 and 303)

    "Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others." (the liberty principle)

    Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that
    (a)"They are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society." (the difference principle).
    (b)"Offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity." (the fairness principle).

    It is noteworthy that the definition of sustainable development provided in Our Common Future (see Section 5) is fully consistent with Rawls' definition of justice, in particular regarding the difference principle. Our Common Future also extends the time horizon of justice by including both the present and the future, something that is difficult to swallow for those who remain attached to "the future is now" mentality.

    Given that we are standing on a solid theoretical foundation, many practical questions remain. For instance, how robust and resilient can a democratic system be under the pressures and counter-pressures created by the attempted or actual misuse of the principles of liberty, difference, and fairness?

    "It is often assumed that democracies can make good use of the epistemic benefits of diversity among their citizenry, but difficult to show why this is the case. In a deliberative democracy, epistemically relevant diversity has three aspects: the diversity of opinions, values, and perspectives. Deliberative democrats generally argue for an epistemic form of Rawls’ difference principle: that good deliberative practice ought to maximize deliberative inputs, whatever they are, so as to benefit all deliberators, including the least effective. The proper maximandum of such a principle is not the pool of reasons, but rather the availability of perspectives. This sort of diversity makes robustness across different perspectives the proper epistemic aim of deliberative processes. Robustness also offers a measure of success for those democratic practices of inquiry based on the deliberation of all citizens." (James Bohman, 2006, page 175)

    Other questions come to mind. At the global level, are all the "independent" nations really "independent"? Is "independence" equivalent to "self-determination"? In terms of solidarity and sustainability, how can we ensure that "independence" is never used to make unilateral decisions pursuant to national (Darfur), regional (Iraq), or global (USA) domination? The specter of the Roman empire (and "pax romana") still lingers around.

    "Understood as non-domination, then the self-determination of peoples has the following elements. First, self-determination means a presumption of non-interference. A people have the prima-facie right to set its own governance procedures and make its own decisions about its activities within its jurisdiction, without interference from others. In so far as these activities may adversely affect others, however, or generate conflict for other reasons, self-determination entails the right of those others to make claims on the group, negotiate the terms of their relations, and mutually adjust their effects. Thus self-determining peoples require recognized and settled institutions and procedures through which they negotiate, adjudicate conflicts, and enforce agreements. Self-determination does not imply independence, but rather that peoples dwell together within political institutions which minimize domination among them. Finally, self-determination of peoples requires that the peoples have the right to participate in designing and implementing intergovernmental institutions aimed at minimizing domination. In these ways a non-domination interpretation of the principle of self-determination enacts ideals of differentiated solidarity, in principle on a global scale." (Iris Marion Young, 2002, page 265)

    How is responsibility and authority allocated to each level of government -- local, national, global? An answer to this one was stated (at the global level) in the last paragraph of the previous section. The same answer flows down to lower levels of government. At each level, governments should have authority commensurate with its responsibility. At each level, governmental authority should be the minimum required to fulfill the governance responsibilities at that level. The authority and responsibility of governance at each level is to be democratically determined by delegates of all the lower level communities. Checks and balances must be instituted within and between levels in order to ensure that no government at any level exceeds the limits of its authority. Formally, this is known as the "principle of subsidiarity". This principle was originally defined by Heinrich Pesch (1854-1926), A German political economist and Jesuit priest who also helped to develop the Catholic doctrine of social doctrine.

    Is it necessary to repeat that the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, and sustainability are tightly coupled?

    Definition of Solidarity (AG-ESRC)
    "Solidarity refers to the feeling of unity based on common goals, interests, and sympathies. It is a term which is promoted by many social movements to help create social relationships based on justice and equality."

    Definition of Subsidiarity (Carroza, AJIL)
    "Subsidiarity is the principle that each social and political group should help smaller or more local ones accomplish their respective ends without, however, arrogating those tasks to itself."

    Definition of Sustainability (Our Common Future)
    "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

    In that "subsidiarity" might be the most unfamiliar term for most readers, consider the adaptation of the principle to a concrete situation, the European Union:

    Subsidiarity in the European Union
    The principle of subsidiarity is defined in Article 5 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. It is intended to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to the citizen and that constant checks are made as to whether action at Community level is justified in the light of the possibilities available at national, regional or local level. Specifically, it is the principle whereby the Union does not take action (except in the areas which fall within its exclusive competence) unless it is more effective than action taken at national, regional or local level. It is closely bound up with the principles of proportionality and necessity, which require that any action by the Union should not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty.

    Finally, our understanding of "democracy" may also require an evolution pursuant to energize the process of sustainable development by fostering sustainable behavior. A purely political democracy is no longer adequate, as shown by the spread of the current financial crisis and the lack of political will to think in terms of long-term as opposed to short-term solutions to complex issues such as the emergence of global warming and the pursue of the UN MDGs. It is saddening that the few billions required for the MDGs have not materialized; and yet, in a matter of days, national governments somehow are digging up trillions to "rescue" financial institutions that have failed miserably. Some people are hard at work trying to redesign democratic institutions so that they exercise due diligence (politically, socially, economically, ecologically) in addressing real human "needs." A notable example is the Socioeconomic Democracy of Robley E. George:

    In essence, "Socioeconomic Democracy is a model economic system, or more precisely, socioeconomic subsystem, in which there is some form of Universal Guaranteed Personal Income (UGPI) as well as some form of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAPW), with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all society." (Robley E. George, 2002)

    Question: How can the UGPI and MAPW be democratically set at each level -- local, national, global?

    Selected references for section 8:

    1. Politics, Aristotle, Book 4, Part 14, 350 BCE.
    2. On Liberty, John Stuart Mill, UK, 1859.
    3. Lehrbuch der Nationalökonomie (Teaching Guide to Economics), Heinrich Pesch, 10 volumes (known as the Summa Economica published between 1905 and 1926.
    4. A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, Belknap Press, 1971, 1975, 1999, 2005 - 684 pages.
    5. Inclusion and Democracy, Iris Marion Young, Oxford University Press, 2002, 322 pages.
    6. John Rawls on Justice, Jan Garrett, WKU, 2002
    7. Definition of Subsidiarity, Paolo G. Carozza, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 97:38, pages 38-79, 2003.
    8. , Reviewed by John Williamson, ad2000, 2003.
    9. A Giant Among Catholic Economists, Thomas Storck, New Oxford Review, February 2005.
    10. The principle of solidarity in the teachings of Father Henry Pesch, S.J., Franz Mueller, Review of Social Economy, September 2005.
    11. Solidarist economics: the legacy of Heinrich Pesch, Jim Wishloff, Review of Business, 22 March 2006
    12. Deliberative Democracy and the Epistemic Benefits of Diversity, James Bohman, Episteme, Volume 3, Page 175-191, October 2006.
    13. A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, Wikipedia, 2008.
    14. John Stuart Mill, Wikipedia, 2008.
    15. The Concept of Solidarity in National and European Law: The Welfare State and the European Social Model, Juliane Ottmann, ICL Journal, Vol. 1, January 2008, pp. 36-48.
    16. The ChesterBelloc Mandate: G.K. Chesterton and Heinrich Pesch, Thomas Storck, Capitalist-Socialist-Distributist Debate, Distributist Blog, March 2008
    17. Definition of Solidarity, Autonomous Geographies, University of Leeds and the University of Leicester, sponsored by the ESRC, 2008.
    18. Subsidiarity in the European Union, Gateway to the European Union, 2008.
    19. Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System., Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, 2002-2008
    20. A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform in search of a Democratic Political Party, Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, 2008

    9. Prayer, Study, and Action

    Long as it is, this article cannot end without a brief reminder about the spiritual dimension of sustainable development. We can have the most advanced technologies and the deepest theoretical knowledge of solidarity, subsidiarity, sustainability, socioeconomic democracy etc., etc., etc. If the "inner needs" of people are ignored, any system will collapse, just as our powerful, resourceful, high tech financial systems have collapsed.

    Remember Psalm 127:1:

    Unless the LORD builds the house,
    its builders labor in vain.
    Unless the LORD watches over the city,
    the watchmen stand guard in vain.

    Figure 3A - Divine Plan
    Figure 3B - Human Plan

    Figure 3 - Conceptual Model of Human Behavior in the 2008 Financial Crisis
    Figure 3 displays two Venn diagrams. Figure 3A is the "divine plan." Spirituality connects humanity and divinity, and thereby supports both human solidarity and ecological sustainability. Figure 3B is the "human plan." Lack of spirituality leads to love of money, power, and honors; this in turn leads to greed, and greed destroys the integrity of the global financial system and induces a degradation of both human solidarity and ecological sustainability.

    "The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." (Teilhard de Chardin, 1936)

    Selected references for section 9:

    1. Our Living Earth in Crisis - a Joint Call for a Spiritual Awakening, Oddbjørn Leirvik, Emmaus, Oslo, Norway, 1994.
    2. Save the earth at all costs, Let Us Reason, 1997-2008.
    3. Valuing Spirituality in Development, Bahá'í International Community, London, England, 18-19 February 1998
    4. A Spirituality for Sustainability: Partnership with Nature and God, Brother David Andrews, CSC, Executive Director, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, December 2001.
    5. Sustainable development of the world: Dialogue among Eastern and Western civilizations, Vyacheslav V. Mantatov and Larissa V. Mantatova, Institute of Sustainable Development, East-Siberian State University of Technology, Russian Federation, 2003.
    6. A New Vision of Development, Roar Bjonnes, Prout Journal, Volume 10, No. 2, 2003
    7. Teilhard Studies, American Teilhard Association, 2005.
    8. Role and Significance of Religion and Spirituality in Development Cooperation, Anne-Marie Holenstein, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Bern, March 2005.
    9. Sustainability at heart of Teilhard commemoration, Frederica Saylor, Integrative Spirituality, 2005.
    10. Spirituality is the Basis of Sustainable Development, Yogi B.K. Khem Jokhoo, September 2006.
    11. The Earth Charter's Spiritual Agenda, Jennifer Rast, Contender Ministries, 2006.
    12. Indigenous Spirituality and Sustainable Development, Frans Wijsen & Jorge Castillo Guerra, CSMR Conference, 28 September 2007
    13. Religious Dimension of Sustainable Development, E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 2008
    14. Spiritual Dimension of Sustainable Development, E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence, Vol. 4, No. 2, February 2008
    15. Human Dimension of Sustainable Development, E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence, Vol. 4, No. 3, March 2008
    16. Ethical Dimension of Sustainable Development, E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence, Vol. 4, No. 9, September 2008

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    The Pelican Web
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    This Qazi is a woman

    Philippine women’s groups urge lawmakers to pass Reproductive Health Bill

    The Muslim World - A 'Neutral' View

    Gender equality wider concept than sexual equality

    PAKISTAN: Call for promoting gender equality in media

    Emphasis on exploitation is a slow death

    Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure Needs

    Financial crisis hits global poverty battle

    World Bank reassures poor countries on aid

    The importance of sustainability

    European Leaders Agree to Inject Cash Into Banks

    'Capitalism Has Degenerated into a Casino'

    Capitalism in Crisis: The Broken Pact with the People - Part 1

    Capitalism in Crisis: The Broken Pact with the People - Part 2

    Mbeki seeks to save Zimbabwe deal

    Carnage of Christians

    Cast a ballot for green-energy economy

    U.S. pulls the trigger - Government to pump billions into banks, expand deposit and loan guarantees.

    UN Chief Urges Donors To Honor Aid Pledges Despite Financial Crisis

    Columbia University Unveils Master's Degree in Sustainable Development

    Biodiversity Ecosystem Services and the Financial Sector

    International Day of Non-Violence 2008

    The U.S. financial crisis is a human rights issue

    Mahatma Gandhi, A Sustainable Development Pioneer

    Economic growth is more than cash flow

    A Dialogue of Identities

    Meetings That Changed The World

    FINANCE: Meltdown Could Derail U.N. Development Agenda

    Sustainability is Key for Biodiesel Industry

    Globalizing the Crisis Response

    Religious extremism "one of the greatest threats"

    ISEE Newsletter October 2008

    Heroes of the Environment 2008

    ZIMBABWE: Food Crisis Worsens

    DEVELOPMENT: A Billion Hungry People Need Rescue Plan Too

    "Greed at the heart of capitalism"

    Brown calls for global ‘early warning system’

    G-8 plans summit on financial reforms

    Playing the sustainability game

    Hunger Poll Indicates Widespread Global Support for Millennium Development Goals

    Global Faith-Based Organization Forum to be held in Turkey

    Towards an Ethical Future

    Chinese premier expounds on "Scientific Outlook on Development"

    Reflections on the non-violent soul

    New Energy Economy Emerging in the United States

    Time to re-think our 'development' paradigm?

    'Sustainable development's an oxymoron'

    Woman minister to celebrate 50th year

    The Great Iceland Meltdown

    Religion for Mankind

    Thirsty world: Desperate quest for water

    Thirsty world: Desperate quest for water

    Rape again rampant in Congo

    Durable reform must tackle climate change and world poverty as well as market regulation

    World needs better system to manage global economy

    Environmental Failure: A Case for a New Green Politics

    Arthur D. Little Predicts Consolidation and Globalization for Maturing Subsea Oil and Gas Sector

    Scholars turn to Gandhian principles to check terrorism

    Environmental Failure: A Ruined Planet Is Closer to Reality

    Wall Street Bail-Out continues Oversight of Human Development

    Poverty and global water crisis

    Too Many Leaders Promoting Gender Inequality

    Religious leaders gather at UNFPA forum in Istanbul

    Amnesty International Promotes Gender Equality In Schools

    Education key to gender equality

    'The City in 2050' Explores Global Sustainability Practices

    Inmates Conduct Ecological Research on Slow-growing Mosses

    Vinyl 2010 Essay Competition

    Bail Out the Poor

    Globalization without global financial governance structure can lead to turmoil

    World's poorest take centre stage at Rome film festival

    DEVELOPMENT: Is The Media Doing Enough?

    Islamic protests over female preacher

    Nobel Economics Prize and Globalization - Biru Paksha Paul studies the connection between an award and the future of the globe

    Common Sense about Deficits and Spending

    The facts about overconsumption

    How our economy is killing the Earth

    Why politicians dare not limit economic growth

    The Department of Peace & Non-Violence

    Rebuild communities devastated by India's religious violence

    Religious Groups Take Major Role in Human Rights Efforts

    The Human Costs of Economic Meltdown and Its Alternative

    ASEM Addresses Millenium Goals, Financial Crisis

    UNEP: "Global Green New Deal" - Environmentally-Focused Investment Historic Opportunity for 21st Century Prosperity and Job Generation

    Special Economic Zones (SEZ): Engines of Growth and Social Development for India

    Women Run the Show In a Recovering Rwanda

    Sixth global forum on sustainable development opens in Brazzaville

    Education for Sustainable Development

    Urgent policies for clean, sustainable development

    Managing in the Downturn: 10 Principles

    The doctrine of nonviolence is eternal

    Conserving coral reefs to attain sustainable development

    Darfur Crisis Update: Beyond What You Can Comprehend?

    Sachs Urges Support of Millennium Villages Project

    Research Spots Trend toward Globally Managed Sustainability Programs

    Could climate change and economic collapse consign us to the same fate as the Mayans?

    Fueling sustainable development, the energy productivity solution from McKinsey

    St. Louis Claims First Pregnant Catholic Priest

    UN’s Choice: Millennium Development Goals vs. Financial Crisis!

    Social market needed for sustainability

    Dangerous derivatives at the heart of the financial crisis

    The edge of an empire

    The Globalization of Language

    Financial crisis belies myth of U.S. independence

    We are at a Watershed: Vandana Shiva

    Demand on nature reaching critical proportions

    UNEP plans green version of the New Deal

    "We Must Rethink the International Economic System"

    'Each young person has the power to change the world'

    Putting people before GNP

    Towards a feminist view of Islam

    Calling for a Green Revolution (Video)

    Calling for a Green Revolution (Transcript)

    Editor's Note: For more news sources, visit the SSNV News Sources and RSS Feeds Page.

    New Resources

    Recently launched publications, websites, and knowledge content on
    Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence

    Global Ethics Libarry

    TDR Research on Diseases of Poverty

    The Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009

    UNAIDS Launches Shared Database To Bolster HIV/AIDS Technical Support Coordination

    Latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance

    US Financial Meltdown - What Really Happened

    Designing the Future

    The Zeitgeist Movement

    Top links on the financial crisis

    Family Financial Management

    Stand Up & Take Action

    Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization

    Eco-Economy Indicators - Trends to Track for a Sustainable Economy

    The Green Web

    Green College Network

    Web Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Web

    UNDP - Annual Report 2008

    The Myth of The Islamic State

    The State of Food and Agriculture 2008: Biofuels: prospects, risks and opportunities

    World University Rankings

    Survey of S&P 100 Identifies Best Practices for Sustainability Communications

    CIA - The World Factbook 2008

    WHO Report 2008 - Global tuberculosis control - surveillance, planning, financing

    Human Rights Watch World Report 2008

    Trafficking in Persons Report 2008

    Amnesty International Report 2008

    Because I am a Girl: The State of the World's Girls 2008

    UNEP Year Book 2008 - An Overview of our Changing Environment

    UNEP Year Book 2008 - An Overview of our Changing Environment

    World Disasters Report 2008

    Book Review: How the Rich Are Destroying the Earth

    A Simple Primer on Climate Change Policies and Solutions

    Global Environmental Change

    Agricultural Ecosystems: Facts and Trends

    Guidelines for Identifying Business Risks and Opportunities Arising from Ecosystem Change

    Adaptation: An Issue Brief for Business

    Database of Best Practices for Improving the Living Environment

    Fostering Sustainable Behavior

    Global Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Consumer Citizens

    Abrahamic Alternatives to War: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Just Peacemaking

    Human vulnerability to global environmental change

    Planning for Recession: Turning an Economic Slump to advantage

    The Commodities Market Bubble: Money Manager Capitalism and the Financialization of Commodities

    Agriculture as a Source of Fuel Prospects and Impacts, 2007 to 2017

    The absence of society

    Worldwide Threats to Shipping Reports

    Pathways to Public Health

    Collaboration Tools

    'Doing What Works' Website Adds New Guidance on Effective Teaching

    Wind Power

    Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University

    Young Consumers Guide to Eco-Friendly Living

    Respect and Empathy in the Social Science Writings of Michael Polanyi

    Human Health and Forests

    UNEP: Green Jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world

    New Guide to Participatory Impact Assessment

    OECD Factbook 2008: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics

    Pollution Report 2008

    The World's Worst Pollution Problems 2008

    Living Planet Report 2008

    Globalization and Poverty

    Financial Bricolage, Derivatives and Power

    Editor's Note: For more on data and knowledge resources, visit the SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy & Links Database.

    Cost of the War in Iraq
    (JavaScript Error)

    Google Search Customized for
    SSNV Research

    Google Custom Search

    Global Citizen

    Icon of the Holy Trinity
    Andrei Rublev, ca. 1410 CE
    Source: Wikipedia

    God is both Heavenly Citizen #1 and Global Citizen #1. It is good to know that Global Citizen #1 is divine and loves humanity unconditionally. The icon shown above, painted by Andrei Rublev (a monk of the Russian Orthodox Church) in the early 1400s, is of course inspired by the Christian understanding of God as a trinity of divine Persons. It is a perfect visualization of unity in diversity and diversity in unity. The reader is encouraged to google an explanation of this icon, in which there is no detail without theological and social meaning. Other religious traditions have different ways of representing God or referring to God. But there is one common thread: that God loves humanity unconditionally, abhors violence, and still has confidence in humanity. Indeed, taking good care of the human habitat is a mission entrusted to humanity; and each baby that is born is a proof that God trusts humanity without the slightest reservation.

    |Back to Section 1|

    MDGs + 1


    8mdggoals PLUS SUGGESTED GOAL 9:
    Universal Religious Freedom

    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
    Youth and the MDGs
    Health and the MDGs
    National MDG Resources
    Local MDG Resources
    MDG-Net and DGP-Net
    MDG GMR 2008
    MDG Progress Report 2008

    Related Resources:
    Earth Charter
    UNEP Year Book 2008
    HDR Report 2007-2008
    Gender Equity Index 2008
    UNESCO Yearbook 2008
    UNESCO GMR 2008
    World Energy Outlook 2008
    World Development Report 2008
    World Disasters Report 2008
    World Health Statistics 2008
    World Resources 2008
    Human Rights Watch 2008
    State of the World Children 2008
    State of the World Girls 2008



    |Back to Section 2|

    Signs of the Times

    revnancycharton Reverend Nancy Charton
    Anglican Priest, South Africa

    Rev. Nancy Charton, 88, was one of the first ordained Anglican women priests in South Africa (1992) and is still active at the Parish of St James the Great in Graaff-Reinet’s central business district and St Phillips in the township.
    Source: Daily Dispatch Online
    Photo: Andrew Stone

    revmargarethowland Reverend Margaret Howland
    Presbyterian Minister, New York

    The Rev. Margaret E. Howland of Yonkers, standing in the Presbyterian Church of White Plains, celebrates her 50th year as a minister today. Howland was only the 12th female Presbyterian minister when she was ordained in 1958.
    Source: The Journal News
    Photo: Carucha Meuse

    revjessicarowley Reverend Jessica Rowley
    Catholic Priest, St. Louis

    The Rev. Jessica Rowley is a priest of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC). Ordained in September 2007, she is associate pastor of the Saints Clare and Francis Community and is expecting her first child, due in a few weeks.
    Source: Newsweek
    Photo: Vivian Lodderhose

    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


    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

    US Population, Energy,
    and Climate Change
    Edited by Victoria D. Markman,
    Center for Environment & Population, Winter 2008

    Children Call for Action:
    Paint for the UNEP
    Planet Exhibition & Auction
    October 2008

    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

    |Back to Section 2|

    Useful Tools

    Stock Consultant
    Enter Symbol

    Science & Tech Search


    SciNet is a search engine for science and technology. Returns to a given set of keywords are on target. Users can add links. It presently has 15,000 listings in the following categories:

    Earth Science
    Environmental Science
    Medical Science
    Social Science

    HDR Search


    The UNDP web site has a search box to find information contained in the Human Development Reports (HDRs). Options are provided to search by year or for all years (1990-2008), by area (global, regional, national), by theme (10 themes, 33 subthemes), and by keywords, and the results are sorted by year or by country/region. The results are links to reports (HDRs and other more specific UN reports). Clicking on a link leads to a report summary and additional links to view the report outlines and download the reports. Given the massive amount of data and information contained in the annual HDRs, and the large number of other reports published by the UN over the years, researchers may find this tool to be a significant time saver.

    VADLO Search


    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.

    Christian Poems

    "There is grace enough for thousands
    Of new worlds as great as this;
    There is room for fresh creations
    In that upper home of bliss.
    For the love of God is broader
    Than the measure of our mind;
    And the heart of the Eternal
    Is most wonderfully kind.
    But we make His love too narrow
    By false limits of our own;
    And we magnify His strictness
    With a zeal He will not own.
    Was there ever kinder shepherd
    Half so gentle, half so sweet,
    As the Savior who would have us
    Come and gather at His feet?"

    Frederick William Faber (1814 - 1863)
    Oratorian poet and hymn-writer
    Global South Anglican, 2005


    "Our Mother who is within us
    we celebrate your many names.
    Your wisdom come.
    Your will be done,
    unfolding from the depths within us.
    Each day you give us all that we need.
    You remind us of our limits
    and we let go.
    You support us in our power
    and we act with courage.
    For you are the dwelling place within us
    the empowerment around us
    and the celebration among us
    now and for ever. Amen"

    Miriam Therese Winter (b. 1938)
    Medical Mission Sister, Professor
    of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality
    Hartford Seminary, 2006


    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 commitee: 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).

    British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference, 30th March - 1st April, 2009 St Chad's College, Durham University. Details and booking form available at the Sociology of Religion website. Please direct all enquiries to the organiser, Dr. Matthew Guest

    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 conference on Environmental Accounting and Sustainable Development Indicators (EMAN 2009) will be held on April 23-24, 2009, in Prague, the Czech Republic. This year's conference will be focused indicators both at micro and macro levels. For more information please visit the EMAN 2009 website. Please direct your questions and suggestions to EMAN 2009.


    The 7th Open Meeting on the Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change (IHDP), 26-30 April 2009, Bonn, Germany. The theme of the meeting is "Social Challenges of 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.

    2009 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS '09). Theme: Social Implications of Sustainable Development. May 18-20, 2009, Tempe, Arizona, USA. ISTAS'09 will be held concurrently with the IEEE International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST). Visit the SSIT website for submission guidelines and more information. Program Committee Chair: Clinton Andrews, Rutgers University.

    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 International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) is pleased to announce its 15th annual conference to be held in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 5-8 July 2009. See the conference flyer and the conference website. Email contact: FBU Conference Office.

    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.

    The next major international human ecology conference will take place at the Manchester University, UK, June 29th - July 3rd, 2009. For conference information please visit the Additional information is also available on the web-site Society for Human Ecology (SHE) web site. If you are interested in participating, helping to organize sessions, or would like further information please contact: Ian Douglas

    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.

    International Society for the Sociology of Religion, 30th Conference in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 27-31 July 2009. Theme: "The Challenges Of Religious Pluralism." See the conference website for more information. The point of contact for the conference is Hilde Van Meerbeeck-Cravillon. For the panel on religion and consumerism: François Gauthier and Tuomas Martikainen.

    The 2009 Congress of the International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR 2009) will be held in Vienna, Austria, 23 to 27 August 2009. Local organizing committee: Susanne Heine and Herman Westerink, Department for Practical Theology and Psychology of Religion, Protestant Theological Faculty, University of Vienna.

    The Association for Feminist Ethics And Social Theory (FEAST) invites submissions for the Fall 2009 conference, 24-27 September 2009, Clearwater Beach, Florida. FEAST 2009 will also include two invited panels: "Environmental Feminism," with Chris Cuomo, Trish Glazebrook, and Chaone Mallory, and "Evolutionary Psychology," with Carla Fehr, Letitia Meynell, and Anya Plutynski. Questions may be directed to Lisa Schwartzman.

    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

    Link to the
    WWF LPR 2008

    The Living Planet 2008 Report is a FREE download from the WWF web site. Just click HERE to navigate to the WWF web site and download the report.



    Source: Global Footprint Network

    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

    SSNV Archive

    Links to archived newsletters
    May 2005 - November 2008:

    V04 N11 November 2008
    V04 N10 October 2008
    V04 N09 September 2008
    V04 N08 August 2008
    V04 N07 July 2008
    V04 N06 June 2008
    V04 N05 May 2008
    V04 N04 April 2008
    V04 N03 March 2008
    V04 N02 February 2008
    V04 N01 January 2008
    V03 N12 December 2007
    V03 N11 November 2007
    V03 N10 October 2007
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    V03 N08 August 2007
    V03 N07 July 2007
    V03 N06 June 2007
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    V03 N04 April 2007
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    V03 N02 February 2007
    V03 N01 January 2007
    V02 N12 December 2006
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    V02 N10 October 2006
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    V01 N08 December 2005
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    V01 N06 October 2005
    V01 N05 September 2005
    V01 N04 August 2005
    V01 N03 July 2005
    V01 N02 June 2005
    V01 N01 May 2005

    "Forget injuries, never forget kindness."

    Confucius (China, 571-479 BCE)


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