Editorial Essay: Change is the Name of the Game
Trading Off Global Fuel Supply, CO2 Emissions, and Sustainable Development, by Liam Wagner, Ian Ross, John Foster, and Ben Hankamer
The Growthocene, by Ekaterina Chertkovskaya and Alexander Paulsson
Toward the Restoration of Economics to Theology, by Carmine Gorga
Going Beyond the "Ecological Turn" in the Humanities, by
The Other Side of the Global Crisis: Entropy and the Collapse of Civilizations, by Jacopo Simonetta
Regional Climate Change and National Responsibilities, by
James Hansen and Makiko Sato
Science and Politics Clash as Humanity Nears Climate Change Tipping Point, by Greg Schwartz
Nature–Culture Relations: Early Globalization, Climate Changes, and System Crisis, by Sing Chew and Daniel Sarabia
Five Steps Towards Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, by Róisín Hinds
Don't Blame Refugees for the World's Patriarchal Order, by Mat Nashed
New Report Says Science Can Estimate Influence of Climate Change on Some Types of Extreme Events, National Academy of Sciences, USA
CSW60: UN Commission on the Status of Women urges gender-responsive implementation of Agenda 2030, United Nations
Advances in Sustainable Development
Directory of Sustainable Development Resources
Strategies for Solidarity and Sustainability
Best Practices for Solidarity and Sustainability
Fostering Gender Balance in Society
Fostering Gender Balance in Religion
Meditations on Man and Woman, Humanity and Nature
Change is the Name of the Game
Happy Easter! In the Christian tradition, this is the time to celebrate that "Christ is Risen!" But all men and women of good will, believers and nonbelievers alike, are invited to participate in the great panorama of human history: problems lead to solutions, calamities lead to new beginnings, sufferings lead to glory. The current predicament of humankind is a global community threatened by violence, overconsumption, overpopulation, social injustice, and ecological deterioration. It seems that human civilization is having a global meltdown, and a meeting of minds is becoming increasingly difficult as traditionalists and progressives, liberals and conservatives push mutually exclusive agendas while most people remain silent, locked in a daily rat race for survival.
The Meeting of Minds by David Hayward
"All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution" (Pope Francis, Laudato Si' #114). Change is the name of the game. Looking ahead cannot ignore the accumulated wisdom gained by millennia of human experience. Preserving lessons learned in the past cannot preclude seeking new horizons for human development. Here and now, humanity is faced with a radically new situation, never experienced before. Initiatives pursuant to exploring new horizons must not ignore the lessons of history but should not be suffocated by attempts to preserve cultural traditions that are now practically dead. The baby should not be thrown out with the bath water, but the bath water must be thrown out.
The principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, and sustainability are pivotal for moving forward and breaking traditions in continuity with the past. Solidarity is the mindset that balances individual self-interest and the common good in making decisions at all levels. Subsidiarity is the rule that authority and responsibility should be delegated down to the lowest level capable to make decisions. Sustainability is the concept whereby the common good of future generations is given as much weight as possible when making "here and now" decisions. There is no mystery that makes these basic principles hard to understand, and there is no physical or metaphysical impossibility about applying them in a responsible manner. The only obstacle is human greed, plain and simple. As Mahatma Gandhi one said, "the world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed."
The recent assassinations of Berta Cáceres and Nelson García in Honduras exemplify what happens when solidarity, subsidiarity, and sustainability are usurped by hegemony, oligarchy, and expediency. The greed for easy money becomes the rule of human behavior. Human suffering, present and future, is utterly disregarded as collateral damage in a political economy exclusively driven by materialist priorities. The ends justify the means, including all manner of violence, and all social and political institutions are corrupted when "the art of the possible" is practiced in submission to the practicalities of big business and big money. Lest we think that such nefarious "business deals" are common only in third world countries, it is noted that, in the presidential campaign currently unfolding in the USA,
everybody is talking about what they think is good for the USA, but nobody is mentioning that what is good for the USA is tightly coupled to what is good for all nations of the world, and that major decisions of political economy, and political ecology, must take this into account. Going back to Laudato Si':
"It needs to be said that, generally speaking, there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded. Yet they are the majority of the planet’s population, billions of people. These days, they are mentioned in international political and economic discussions, but one often has the impression that their problems are brought up as an afterthought, a question which gets added almost out of duty or in a tangential way, if not treated merely as collateral damage. Indeed, when all is said and done, they frequently remain at the bottom of the pile. This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. They live and reason from the comfortable position of a high level of development and a quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. This lack of physical contact and encounter, encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities, can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." (Pope Francis, Laudato Si' #49).
May God deliver us from "green rhetoric" (such as "clean coal" and "green growth") that numbs the conscience, fosters the human propensity to evade unpleasant realities, and tempts us to ignore the cries of the poor and the cries of the earth. In this Easter season, when new hope triumphs over despair, let us at least recognize that, when it comes to social and ecological justice, a new meeting of minds cannot happen without a new meeting of hearts; and, even if it takes hoping against all hope, change is the name of the game, and a meeting of hearts is possible!