The Local Sustainability Bill is a piece of legislation aimed at promoting the environmental, economic, political and social future of our communities. It is written for local authorities or Regional Development Agencies and asks them to put sustainability issues at the heart of their planning agenda. By sustainability we mean policies that work towards the long-term well-being of any given area. That means promoting local economic needs – so money stays in (particularly deprived) areas as well as flows out; that the impact on the environment of any planning or economic plans is central to the decision-making process and that the political and social participation and importance of every member of the community is promoted.
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"Creating a Sustainable Society" series of events

"Creating a Sustainable Society" was a series of monthly events that took place between March 2002 and May 2003. The aim was to create a synergy among people and organizations working towards a better society but in different fields. Each event had a different theme, such as "Empires of the 21st Century", "Rebuilding Local Economies - From Theory to Practice" and "Monetary Reform, Economic Justice and Political Democracy" and they where presented by a host of distinguished speakers including, Helena Norbert-Hodge, Teresa Hale, Ann Pettifor, James Robertson and Ian Mason. A report has been written on each of the events.
Read the Reports
  • Indictrans Team
    A voluntary organization based in Mumbai, India that support NGOs, government institutions, educational institutions in use of ICT with free software including that in local content and with local language enabled software. They bring out live CD, (general purpose as well as customized) called gnubhaaratii with Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English interfaces. They also maintain the present website (sustainable society.co.uk directory). They have their website www.indictrans.org Convenor: Prof. Jitendra Shah. (jitendras{at}vsnl{dot}com)

Article

Global Capitalism in Crisis Globalisation and Business for the Common Good: Theology and Economics working together by Kamran Mofid

"... through the teachings of the neo-liberal ideology, we have created a globalised world in which we have all been dehumanised and turned into producers and consumers devoid of any true human values; where the main cultural activities are: shop 'til you drop; obsession with oneself and with celebrity; watching 24 hour junk television; eating junk food and the promotion of hopelessness and helplessness in that there is no alternative to the current junk way of life."
"... today, in the new dispensation, [economic life] has been declared a moral-free zone. In shaking ourselves free from many forms of tyrannies, we have achieved one kind of emancipation, but in the process we have delivered ourselves into the hands of a philosophy which has destroyed the basis for any common social purpose by emancipating economic activity from the realm of moral regulation. In the world today, the main problems are not economic or technological. What is really wrong with modern society, is the fact that it is morally sick.
Today, similar to what R. H. Tawney had described as 'acquisitive' societies, the whole tendency, interest and preoccupation is to promote the acquisition of wealth. Rights are divorced from the performance of functions and the unrestricted pursuit of economic self-interest is the ruling ethos. A society of this kind which has taken the moral brakes off, assures that the individuals see no ends other than their own ends, no law other than their own law and desires and no limit other than that which they think advisable. Thus, it makes the individual the centre of his/her own universe, and dissolves moral principles into a choice of expediencies. "
"If we succeed in aligning the most powerful force in capitalism, namely profit, with social, moral, ethical and spiritual objectives, by bringing economics and theology together and make them jointly work for the common good, then, the world will be a much better and safer place and globalisation will become a force for good. If we interlink theology, economics and business, we can make these subjects far more effective than if they were continued to be studied, as they are now, in isolation and separately from each other. Therefore, in this sense, we should not seek to reject economics, politics, business, profit, trade, etc per. se. We should only seek the globalisation for the common good, where everybody becomes a stakeholder and where everybody benefits."
"The universal values inherent in all the great religious systems of the world need to be clearly articulated in terms of contemporary consciousness and the compulsions of the global society. For this, it is necessary to highlight the golden thread of mysticism and gnosis that runs through all the great religions of the world. Whether it is the glowing vision of the great Upanishadic seers or the Jam Tirthankars, the luminous sayings of the Buddha or the passionate outpourings of the Muslim Sufis, the noble utterances of the great Rabbis, or of the Sikh Gurus, the inspired utterances of the Christian saints or the insights of the Chinese sages, these and other traditions of ecstatic union with the Divine represent an important dimension of religion. It is, in fact, this spiritual dimension that ultimately links all human beings into one, great extended family - Vasudaiva Kutumbakam - as the Vedas have it. Fanning the glowing spark of potential divinity within each person irrespective of race or religion, sex or nationality, into the blazing fire of spiritual realisation is, indeed, the true role of the great religions of humankind."
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Article

WHO IS IN CHARGE? A Tiny, Unelected Group, Supported by Powerful, Unrepresentative Minorities by Edward Said

The Bush administration's relentless unilateral march towards war is profoundly disturbing for many reasons, but so far as American citizens are concerned the whole grotesque show is a tremendous failure in democracy. An immensely wealthy and powerful republic has been hijacked by a small cabal of individuals, all of them unelected and therefore unresponsive to public pressure, and simply turned on its head. It is no exaggeration to say that this war is the most unpopular in modern history.
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A poem

Why are we here? [ London Feb 15th 2003 ]

Because we want world security
not war; we anticipate afoot an
uprising of the soul of sanity,
not a conflictual political protest.

We march our global cri de coeur
for justice in all structures;
a yearning to end poverty,
not a provocation to war.

We see sanity receding
as imbecilic mechanistic logic rules;
a cause for people world-wide gathering
for peace, the majority now interceding.

We want one world secure
in honoured rich diversity,
sane in its mutual trading,
sensible to inclusiveness.

We march peaceably
unable to sit idly by or
rush like lemmings to despair -
we ask to be heard response-ably.

We echo Seattle, Genoa, Port Alegro
and a world-wide crescendo of assemblies,
compelled 'by the insistence of spirit'
called by 'the authority of nature'.

We believe in the genuine
power of powerlessness,
not the power of exploitation;
thus we march in longing.

Unarmed we share responsibility
for the world entire
and in our magnanimity want
none excluded from the abundance
of this awesome planet earth.

In a world in deep disarray,
terrorism is despair triumphant,
justice the only committed hope...
for there is no way to peace
peace is the way.

Peter Challen.
Feb 15th 2003

From A SHORT ANTHOLOGY ON ASSEMBLIES FOR PEACE WORLD-WIDE
more poems


The Earth Charter Community Summit

"We are privileged to live at the most existing moment in the whole of human history. For this is the moment when we are being called by the deep forces of creation to awaken to a new consciousness of our new possibilities and to embrace the responsibilities that go with our collective presence of the living jewel of life called Earth. We have the need and the means to create a true Earth community. The choice is ours. The time is now. We're the ones we've been waiting for."
David Korten's finishing keynote address to the Earth Charter Community Summit.


Florence builds a bridge to a brave new social paradise

by John Vidal - The Guardian
In 1425, the powerful wool merchants' guild of Florence commissioned the artist Lorenzo Ghiberti to construct a door for the baptistry of St John in the city. He was to "do whatsoever he desired and designed so that it should be the most perfect and most beautiful imaginable". Ghiberti took 27 years and did not disappoint. His doors were described by Michelangelo as worthy of being called the "gates of paradise".
Last week in Florence, a similar kind of open-ended brief, to imagine and construct a European social edifice worthy of being one day called a 21st-century paradise, was entrusted to the institutions, politicians and people of Europe. It came from 40,000 intellectuals, students, ecological and social activists, people representing the poorest and most marginalised, radical economists, concerned individuals, humanitarians, artists,culturalists, churches, scientists and land workers from a bewildering array of non-government groups and grassroots social movements.
With the title, Another Europe is Possible, and under the banner of the European Social Forum, the many social movements and groups that have demonstrated in Seattle, Genoa, Prague, London and a dozen other cities over the past three years - against world leaders and organisations such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Trade Organisation - set out to show that they could actually propose change and not simply oppose what is happening around the world.
Read the full article


EARTH EMERGENCY - A CALL TO ACTION

Following the inconclusive outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the failure of governments and global institutions to address social and environmental problems is glaringly obvious. We can no longer afford a global system that aims to represent us only in our narrow capacity as consumers.
The Earth Emergency - A Call to Action initiative together with the World Future Council will seek to link up civil society initiatives around the world to promote the creation of an Earth Democracy forum for people around the world.
A political and corporate 'bypass' is intended, due to the tendency of self-interested parties to prevent appropriate reforms, which address social and environmental problems, from being implemented. The Earth Emergency link up will enable grassroots initiatives based upon sustainable lifestyles to be directly in touch with an overall global council, the World Future Council, whose role will be to provide moral guidance at the highest level. This will ensure both a bottom up and top down approach to reforms so that our political leaders are pressurised to take appropriate action by both the people and a moral leadership. More at Earth Emergency - A Call to Action


Books

'Global Forces. A guide for enlightened leaders - what companies and individuals can do' by Bruce Nixon

Everyone has heard of globalisation, but what does it really mean? How does it actually affect businesses and their prospects for future development, and how should leaders be adapting to take advantage of the new opportunities, while contributing to a fairer and more sustainable world?
more
Books

'eGaia, Growing a peaceful, sustainable Earth through communications' by Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has written a challenging new book setting out a Utopian yet practical agenda for change that harnesses the exciting potential of electronic communication. It offers a path to a future based upon principles of collaboration and sustainability using information systems to link communities and co-operatives, a future with a co-operative free-market economy driven directly by the health of the environment and the well being of all of humanity rather than money flows.
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Books


The Corporate Responsability Coalition

Amnesty International (UK), CAFOD, Friends of the Earth, New Economics Foundation and Traidcraft have come together to form the CORE Coalition. The coalition’s aim is to develop popular consensus around the themes of corporate accountability and transparency, and to have legislation passed to ensure corporate accountability and performance.
Visit the CORE Coalition website

Agriculture and Globalisation

Throughout the world, agriculture is in crisis. Farmers are going bankrupt in record numbers, and the rural communities of which they are an integral part are being drained of life. Meanwhile, international trade in food is booming. Every year, the distance between producers and consumers rises, to the point where the average American meal has now travelled more than 1,500 miles before it arrives on the dinner table. These two trends are directly linked. The globalisation of the food economy, while enriching a small number of giant 'agribusinesses', is undermining the welfare of everyone else. What's more, it is a major contributor to increasing CO2 emissions, and therefore to climate change.
Read about ISEC Local Food Programme.


Restructuring of global politics and economics

The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) is an alliance of sixty leading activists, scholars, economists, researchers and writers formed to stimulate new thinking, joint activity, and public education in response to economic globalization. Representing over 60 organizations in 25 countries, IFG associates come together out of a shared concern that the world's corporate and political leadership is undertaking a restructuring of global politics and economics that may prove as historically significant as any event since the Industrial Revolution. This restructuring is happening at tremendous speed, with little public disclosure of the profound consequences affecting democracy, human welfare, local economies, and the natural world.
Read more about The International Forum on Globalization.


Air pollution and traffic

One solution is to switch from traditional cars to alternative fuel cars such as Hypercars (fuel-cell powered vehicles).
Find out more about Hypercars.

GM Technology

Consumers and environmentalists across Europe have taken up the campaign against GMOs. This has received much attention in the British media and we are winning change. Yet these changes will not solve the problem for some of the world's most poor and vulnerable. The World Development Movement (WDM) is concerned that GM crops are being pushed on developing countries, threatening the lives of some of the world's poorest farmers.
Find out more from the World Development Movement (WDM)

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