Global Economics, Politics
& the Environment

"Economics and politics are the governing powers
of life today, and that's why everything is screwy."
-Joseph Campbell

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"As the new century unfolds, there are two developments which will have a defining impact on the future of humanity.
Both have to do with networks an both involve radically
new technologies. One is the rise of global capitalism,
which is concerned with electronic networks of financial
& informational flows; the other the creation of sustainable
communities based on ecological literacy and the practice
of ecodesign, concerned with ecological networks of energy
& material flows. The goal of the global economy is to
maximize the wealth and power of its elites; whilst the goal
of ecodesign is to maximize the sustainability of the web of life." - Fritjof Capra, 2002, The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living


One can not underestimate the powerful relationship between environmental issues and the global economic/political system. Solutions to our environmental crisis must stem from systematic changes to this system.

Our economic system is largely predicated on serving individual or nationalistic needs, not community or global needs. See: Common Assets

Companies and their leaders primarily cater to individual and national greed and bottom line profitability, often devaluing life itself. See: "The Heat Is on: The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription" & THE CORPORATION: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. While the materially prosperous segments of the populace may accept the illusion of social economic justice and respect for individual dignity as truth- the rest know better- becoming instead, society's victims. See: "The Body Hunters." 

Economic systems can be restructured such that to successfully compete an economic unit must subordinate its selfish interests to the collective good. And what can more contribute to the general good than preservation of a healthy and diverse global ecosystem?

Quoting from a 7/4/02 article in the Economist, "Insuring a Brighter Future: "Governments must think seriously about the future implications of today's policies. Their best bet is to encourage the three powerful forces for sustainability outlined in this survey: the empowerment of local people to manage local resources and adapt to environmental change; the encouragement of science and technology, especially innovations that reduce the ecological footprint of consumption; and the greening of markets to get prices right."  See also: The World Development Movement, and organization that attempts to tackles the underlying causes of poverty and hold multinational companies accountable for abuses of power.

One of the principal United Nations Millennium Development goals- that all member states have agreed to meet by 2015- is to develop a global partnership for development. This encompasses:

-Developing further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory. Including a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction—nationally and internationally.
-Addressing the least developed countries’ special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhancing debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; canceling of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction.
-Addressing the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States.
-Dealing comprehensively with developing countries’ debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term.
-In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth.
-In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
-In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies—especially information and communications technologies.
 

Links

American Solar Energy Society- The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is a national organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar energy for the benefit of U.S. citizens and the global environment. ASES promotes the widespread near-term and long-term use of solar energy.

American Wind Energy Association- AWEA is a national trade association that represents wind power plant developers, wind turbine manufacturers, utilities, consultants, insurers, financiers, researchers, and others involved in the wind industry -- one of the world's fastest growing energy industries. In addition, AWEA represents hundreds of wind energy advocates from around the world.

Apollo Alliance is building a broad coalition within the labor, environmental, business, urban, and faith communities in support of good jobs and energy independence. The Alliance is developing public education campaigns and communications strategies to link allies and build a national constituency for a bold, broad based, and immediate program of public policy.

Cool Companies.org, is a project of the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions The Center promote cleans and efficient energy technologies as a money-saving tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. It helps businesses, government, and environmental organizations develop technological, strategic, financial, and regulatory tools to foster the adoption of clean solutions.

The Center for Ecoliteracy was founded in 1995 by Fritjof Capra, Peter Buckley and Zenobia Barlow. The Center for Ecoliteracy is a public foundation that supports a grant making program for educational organizations and school communities in the Bay Area, convenes networks of its grantees, sponsors projects consistent with its mission, administers donor advised funds, and manages a publishing imprint.

Center for a New American Dream, Works with individuals, institutions, communities and businesses to conserve natural resources, counter the commercialization of our culture and promote positive changes in the way goods are produced and consumed.

Chesapeake Bay Program is a unique regional partnership that has led and directed the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. The Chesapeake Bay Program partners include the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia; the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative body; the Environmental Protection Agency, representing the federal government; and participating citizen advisory groups. For more, visit our Overview of the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Citizens Network for Sustainable Development, links and engages concerned citizens and civil society organizations to better understand and promote ecological health, social and economic justice, and public participation.

Cob Cottage Company "What we do: 1) We conduct hands-on research on natural building methods and materials, testing our own buildings by living in them. 2) Through practical trainings in natural construction, we help empower ordinary people to build their own houses at moderate cost. 3) We supply information, support & inspiration for people to make healthy choices about buildings. Our inspiration comes from direct observation of Nature, and from the wisdom of traditional cultures. We are committed to deconsumerizing, to reducing the flow of cash, resources and waste, & helping others to do the same. We work with a wide range of natural materials."

Cobworks is committed to building beautiful, affordable structures with natural and local material in a spirit of cooperation and social responsibility.

Community Food Security Coalition is dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times.

Co-op America, provides economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to address today's social and environmental problems. Educates and empowers people and businesses to make significant improvements through the economic system.

Corporate Watch Counters corporate-led globalization through education & activism. Works to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization--a diverse movement for human rights, labor rights &  environmental justice.

Ecolonomics- a movement away from behavior that is ecologically and economically destructive towards activities that protect our environment and nurture our economy.

Ecostructure Financial- Goal is to accomplish: Mass ecological leadership development; Universal global ecological education &
Roll-out of ecological businesses and projects at an unprecedented rate and scale. Provides business coaching and financial development services to ecological entrepreneurs at no cost.


The Foundation for Ethics & Meaning, seeks through activities and research to challenge the present economic and cultural dominance of market driven hyper-consumption, and the worship of material wealth, power and celebrity, the political, spiritual and ethical apathy, and the ecological and human damage this worldview produces. Instead it works to encourage a holistic and community spirit of caring that promotes tolerance, justice, and reconciliation.

Global Network Energy Institute- The GENI Initiative focuses on linking renewable energy resources around the world. Three decades ago, visionary engineer Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller developed the World Game simulation, posing the question:

"How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?"

The premier global strategy is the interconnection of electric power networks between regions and continents, with an emphasis on tapping abundant renewable energy resources.

The benefits are proven:

Decreased pollution from fossil and nuclear fuels
Reduced hunger and poverty in developing nations
Increased trade, cooperation and peace.
Stabilized population growth

Green Mountain Energy, Largest U.S. retail provider of electricity from less-polluting sources such as wind, water, solar, biomass, geothermal, and natural gas.

Institute of Ecosystem Studies combines research and education in fulfillment of its scientific mission. Central to the Institute's mission is the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge about ecological systems. A society with a basic understanding of ecological systems and an appreciation of their role in the quality of human life is essential if natural areas are to be sustained.

International Energy Agency is an autonomous agency linked with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The IEA is the energy forum for 26 Member countries. IEA Member governments are committed to taking joint measures to meet oil supply emergencies. They have also agreed to share energy information, to co-ordinate their energy policies and to co-operate in the development of rational energy programmes.

Objectives:
To maintain and improve systems for coping with oil supply disruptions.

To promote rational energy policies in a global context through co-operative relations with non-Member countries, industry and international organizations.

To operate a permanent information system on the international oil market.

To improve the world's energy supply and demand structure by developing alternative energy sources and increasing the efficiency of energy use.

To assist in the integration of environmental and energy policies.

International Solar Energy Society- The aim of ISES is to: To encourage the use and acceptance of Renewable Energy technologies.
 
To realize a global community of industry, individuals and institutions in support of Renewable Energy.

To create international structures to facilitate cooperation and exchange.

To create and distribute publications for various target groups to support the dissemination of renewable energy technologies.

To bring together industry, science and politics in workshops, conferences and summits on Renewable Energy.

To advise governments and organizations in policy, implementation and sustainability of Renewable Energy activities world-wide.

Journey To Forever Online Fuels Library, Information on biofuels, such as biodiesel. See also: Gobiodiesel.com.

The Land Institute
The Land Institute works in the area of Natural Systems Agriculture. It seeks to develop an agriculture that will save soil from being lost or poisoned while promoting a community life at once prosperous and enduring.


Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
The Leopold Center, located at Iowa State University, has three primary objectives: to identify and reduce negative impacts of agriculture on natural resources and rural communities, to develop profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources, and to work with ISU Extension and other groups to inform the public of new research findings.

Make Poverty History- Brings together a wide cross section of
over 200 charities, campaigns, trade unions, faith groups and celebrities who are united by a common belief that 2005 offers a unprecedented opportunity for global change.

The Natural Step- The Natural Step (TNS) is an international organization that uses a science-based, systems framework to help organizations, individuals and communities take steps towards sustainability. The mission of TNS is to catalyze systemic change and make fundamental principles of sustainability easier to understand and meaningful sustainability initiatives easier to implement. See also: Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, by Paul Hawken.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service & World Information Service on Energy: NIRS/WISE is the information and networking center for citizens and environmental organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.

Project Underground exists as a vehicle for the environmental, human rights and indigenous rights movements to carry out focused campaigns against abusive extractive resource activity. They seek to systematically deal with the problems created by the mining and oil industries by exposing environmental and human rights abuses by the corporations involved in these sectors and by building capacity amongst communities facing mineral and energy development to achieve economic and environmental justice.

Schumacher College, is an international centre for ecological studies based in the beautiful Devonshire countryside of south-west England. The College welcomes participants aged 20 to 80 from all over the world.

Social Venture Network (SVN) is a nonprofit network committed to building a just and sustainable world through business. SVN promotes new models and leadership for socially and environmentally sustainable business in the 21st century through initiatives, information services and forums that strengthen community and empower its' members to work together on behalf of their shared vision.

Sustainable Business, a web site containing News, Business Opportunities, Job Listings and a resource library focused on stimulating the Green Economy.

Sustainable Northwest, is dedicated to creating healthy ecosystems and vibrant economies through building local community capacity in the Pacific Northwest, creating access to resources and training and telling the stories of those already making a difference

Redefining Progress is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization that seeks to ensure a more sustainable and socially equitable world for our children and our children's children. Working both within and beyond the traditional economic framework, RP generates and refines innovative policies and ideas that balance economic well-being, the environment, and social equity so that those living today and those who will come in the future can have a better quality of life.

Renewable Energy Policy Project- REPP-CREST's goal is to accelerate the use of renewable energy by providing credible information, insightful analysis, and innovative strategies amid changing energy markets and mounting environmental needs. The combined REPP-CREST organization boasts a strong platform for research, publication, and dissemination of timely information regarding sustainable energy. REPP-CREST's software and Internet services provide access to a broad range of topics: innovative public policy reports generated by REPP-CREST, interactive media, renewable energy success stories, and informative on-line discussion groups.

The Research Foundation for Science,Technology & Ecology was Founded in Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh (INDIA) in 1982 by Dr. Vandana Shiva. It works on biodiversity conservation & protecting people's rights from threats to their livelihoods & environment by centralized systems of monoculture in forestry, agriculture & fisheries.

Rocky Mountain Institute- RMI shows businesses, communities, individuals, and governments how to create more wealth and employment, protect and enhance natural and human capital, increase profit and competitive advantage, and enjoy many other benefits—largely by doing what they do far more efficiently.

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)- SEI is an independent, international research institute specializing in sustainable development and environment issues. It works at local, national, regional and global policy levels. The SEI research programmes aim to clarify the requirements, strategies and policies for a transition to sustainability. These goals are linked to the principles advocated in Agenda 21 and the Conventions such as Climate Change, Ozone Layer Protection and Biological Diversity. SEI along with its predecessor, the Beijer Institute, has been engaged in major environment and development issues for a quarter of a century. It seeks to be a leader in the creation of a new field of sustainability science aimed at understanding the fundamental character of interaction between nature and society, and to contribute to the capacities of different societies to build transitions to more sustainable futures.

Whidbey Institute, Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, its Chinook Center provide a place where the ecological, social, and spiritual challenges of our time can be engaged on behalf of a more sustainable and just world. Offers leadership retreats, environmental programs, leading-edge conferences, events at the Community Room, the Iona Pilgrimages, special concerts and celebrations, and other opportunities that welcome participation and support commitment to a positive future for all.

We invite you to explore our web site and discover our leadership retreats, environmental programs, leading-edge conferences, events at the Community Room, the Iona Pilgrimages, special concerts and celebrations, and other opportunities that welcome your participation and support your commitment to a positive future for all.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development- is a coalition of 160 international companies united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. Its objectives and strategic directions, based on this dedication, include:

Business leadership
To be the leading business advocate on issues connected with sustainable development.

Policy development
To participate in policy development in order to create a framework that allows business to contribute effectively to sustainable development.

Best practice
To demonstrate business progress in environmental and resource management and corporate social responsibility and to share leading-edge practices among our members.

Global outreach
To contribute to a sustainable future for developing nations and nations in transition.

See also: U.S. Government Agencies; "Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution," by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins;

 

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