On Hope and Action: We can make a difference
Naturally, any serious consideration of the range of dire effects that our overpopulation has on our life sustaining biosphere evokes either the desire to deny this stark reality or to do something about it. To paraphrase myself from the Change Our Minds page, knowing what is at risk engages a moral imperative, so the suicidal failure to act on our knowledge is sure to depress us, just as surely as taking life affirming action will uplift and revitalize us. This can leave us caught in the paradox that hope is born of action but it’s hard to take action without hope.
So, here are some more reasons for hope. It’s not ‘Hey, it looks like the storm is going to miss us.’ hope. This is ‘If we put in a decent effort and all pull together, we can save the ship.’ hope. Real, practical hope.
When I look at human history, I see in an arc of development, not meaningless happenstance. Among other things, it takes us from hunter gatherers, aware of and responsible for our small piece of the world, to a planetary species, equally aware of and responsible for the well-being of the whole planet. As our population has been ramping up during the past 10,000 years, this transformation has been unfolding at an ever increasing pace.
The most dramatic changes have occurred in just the last 100 years. As we’ve careened through this accelerated period of change, overwhelming the planet with people and technology, we’ve also managed to make a lot of good moves and passed some major perceptual milestones. Taken as a whole, they make it clear that we can indeed change on the scale that we must to navigate this transitionary era.
The World Wars taught us that people can make sacrifices and change personal habits to support an urgent global cause. They demonstrated that, when the situation demands it, our governments and industries can very rapidly invest in the research and retooling necessary to meet massive challenges. The nuclear arms race showed us that we have the power to destroy the world, and the will to step back from the brink and work over the longterm to decrease such risks. The moon missions revealed our Earth, our island in space, in all its beauty and vulnerability, and brought home our shared identity as Earthlings in a way that we had never before felt so clearly. The damage to the ozone layer made real the fact that we now have the power to seriously harm our world with our smallest actions, like putting on deodorant, because they are multiplied by billions. Likewise, this shows us how our smallest positive actions, multiplied by billions, can help save our world.
Of course, the knowledge of how we can change is meaningless without the awareness that we must change. What gives me the most hope is the fact that awareness of our situation is far greater than when I was first on about it in the early 70's. People and topics that were dismissed as extreme back then are now mainstream; something to talk about with strangers in the checkout line at the grocery store. Sure, the underlying problem of the explosive growth of our species is still too little recognized, but most people are now reasonably aware of some of its many effects on our ecosystem. And aware that something must be done. This is a huge and very promising change.
We have enough information to come to terms with this crisis, to assess it and take action. I believe that we will.
That said, let me highlight some of the things that we can all do to make a real difference.
First and foremost, we need to continue to increase our knowledge. Unlike other cyclic or transitory concerns, this will remain the most critical issue facing humanity for generations to come. While the World Wars in many ways offer a good template for how to deal with a long term global problem, this effort will take decades or centuries rather than years. Our population, already a terrible strain on our planet at 7 billion, will top out within our lifetime at 8 to 10 billion. The future of the natural world, that which sustains us and everything we do, will depend on our success at minimizing the damage we cause while our numbers are returning to more reasonable levels. A process that will take many decades, if not centuries.
Our awareness, our knowledge of why and how we must change, is key to the ongoing personal and institutional changes that will keep our world livable. But how much do we really need to know? As much as we do about anything else that truly matters to us, whether it’s politics, economics, the arts, sports or whatever. At the very least, we have to learn enough to recognize what sources of information to trust or whose lead to follow.
Wherever we are on the learning curve, there are folks ahead of us to help and others behind who will benefit from our efforts. There are a lot of good books available, the media is much better than in years past and the internet puts a wealth of information at our fingertips. We do, however, have to be mindful that the fruits of good science and clear thought share space with nasty confections of misinformation from those who see their ideologies and vested interested being threatened by the necessary changes.
Some religious leaders, who know it’s easier to breed more of their kind than to convert them, fight contraception. Some fundamentalists, awaiting deliverance in the end times, see promise in our mounting ecological crises and block efforts to address them. Some industrialists, bent on protecting what they have rather than investing in what we need, hire media experts and fund groups and individuals to support our denial by obscuring the truth and creating doubt.
Old energy companies are using the same tactics and in some cases hire the same corrupt Phd’s that the tobacco industry used to fight the science proving the harmful effects of smoking. When you peel back the layers to find who’s funding seemingly independent and grass roots groups with spiffy websites and nice names that make them sound ‘reasonable’ or ‘ecological’ you’ll often see coal, oil and pipeline companies. They misuse the concept of balanced reporting by pushing forward their paid ‘experts’ to speak in opposition of findings agreed to by the vast majority of the real experts. They counter good, peer reviewed science with plain flaky, science.* They also like to say that it’s all a lot of fuss over nothing, like Y2K was. This, of course, ignores the investigations that make it clear that Y2K was in fact a disaster narrowly avoided. Avoided precisely because it was foreseen and billions were spent to prevent it.
Once we’re confident of our knowledge we can better support right action, and better challenge the ignorance and denial that allow inaction. It may be pushing for new technologies, cleaner industrial practices and government action that will improve our situation. It may be correcting something said by the person next to you or writing to the media, corporate leaders and politicians. (As I write this, our Prime Minister has muzzled our climate experts, cut their funding and increased the influence of advisors backed by the energy companies.)
As to concrete steps that can be taken immediately, the simplest most effective steps have to do with what we consume. (How did our houses get so bloody big?) We can all use less energy. We need to look at our heating, appliances and transportation and reduce energy use wherever we can. We can also make a big difference by making fairly small changes in our buying habits. Every person who buys less or buys smarter adds to the forces that change markets and, thereby, the demands on our finite resources. Organic and green(er) products have gained enough traction that the major multinationals are buying in. Although, regularly paying the premium they often charge for these products is a pain, whatever support we can give them will spur their development, and bring those prices down.
More detailed guides about steps that can be taken to make a difference are readily available online. Here are a couple:
Know for certain that anything we do is better than nothing, and the more we do the better.
April 11, 2010
* eg: Refuting the impact of climate change by saying that the climate has always gotten colder and hotter and life just carries on so it’s no big deal. They leave out the speed of the change. The climate has never changed anywhere near this fast. It’s like dismissing the warning that your car’s racing toward a rock wall because your car stops all the time without any problem.
Resources for change...
The WorksMore or Less
You can't get far into the world's woes or the ways to deal with them without finding that everything is interconnected. Most groups, whatever their central focus, have overlaps with other areas.
More categorical listings follow.
Overpopulation and overconsumption. If any other species had such explosive growth rates we'd be on the case in a heartbeat.
Ecosystem, environment, biosphere. By any other name, Earth, our home, is in big trouble and only we can do something about it.
The other end of consumerism. We've created concentrations of waste and types of toxins Mother Nature never dreamed of. Oops.
We routinely implement technologies only to find out later that they cause more problems than they solve. Saftey first, kids.
Food and Water
Water is running short, we're eating our way down the food chain and the best land, already in use, is in decline. It needn't be so.
Fascism? Corporate Imperialism? 51 of the world's 100 richest entities are corporations, all but unanswerable to the public or the common good.
Never has the gap between rich and poor been so great. Never have so many died needlessly30-40,000 every day. Greed kills.
It's little surprise that people who would destroy a world for power and profit would mistreat their fellow humans. We can push back.
What we don't know, or won't invest to teach others really does hurt us, and them. We can't afford not to banish ignorance.
Open hearts resonate with all creation, but some religious teaching obscures our place in nature and fosters hate rather than love.
Millions of people all around the world are doing research, networking and rising up, calling for the changes that must happen.
When 1600 of our top scientists, including over half the living Noble winners, declared that we are in peril it was found unnewsworthy.
Just the Facts, Please
Looking for something in a hurry. Try starting here.
This set of links continues to grow. If you have site suggestions or feedback, or find an inactive link, please get in touch. You'll find contact info at the Contact Us button.
From Naked Ape To Superspecies:
A Personal Perspective
on Humanity and the Global Eco-Crisis
David Suzuki and Holly Dressel
The Ingenuity Gap:
Can We Solve the Problems of the Future?
Vintage Canada, 2001
The Fight For Canada:
Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism
Taking Aim At The Brand Bullies
Vintage Canada, 2000
(Has a great reading list.)
Thinking Like a Mountain
Take It Personally:
How to Make Conscious Choices to Change the World
Conari Press, 2001
The Population Explosion:
From Global Warming to Rain Forest Destruction, Famine, and Air and Water PollutionWhy Overpopulation is Our #1 Environmental Problem
Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich
Simon and Schuster, 1990
When Corporations Rule The World
David C. Korten
Kumarian Press and Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995
The Americas Through Indian Eyes Since 1492
Houghton Mifflin, 1992
Random Threats from an Unarmed American
Crown Publishers, 1996
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The WorksMore or Less
The Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives
"Social and economic issues have to do with what is right and wrong in this world; they are not something to be left to the marketplace or for the governments acting alone to decide. Among those policies supported by the Centre are full employment, defined as the right to a full-time job at a full wage for all seeking paid work, and including equal pay for work of equal value and promotion of the right to associate in order to protect and advance conditions of employment; environmental protection and renewal; and a sovereign Canada playing an independent role for common security in the world. The perspective of the CCPA leads it to call on governments to demonstrate active concern for the poor and marginalized in all their activities."
The Ingenuity Gap
"Can we solve the problems of the future? Thomas Homer-Dixon tackles this question in a groundbreaking study of a world becoming too complex and too fast-paced to manage. ... vThe challenges we face converge, intertwine, and often remain largely beyond our understanding. Most of us suspect that the "experts" don't really know what's going on and that as a species we've released forces that are neither managed nor manageable. This is the ingenuity gap, the critical gap between our need for ideas to solve complex problems and our actual supply of those ideas."
"An independently funded organization that works to protect the environment. We challenge government and industry to halt harmful practices by negotiating solutions, conducting scientific research, introducing clean alternatives, carrying out peaceful acts of civil disobedience and educating and engaging the public."
Connect to chapters around the world through the international site.
UN: Economic and Social Development
"With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
a. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and
educational cooperation; and
c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without
distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."
"A human rights organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political, and social justice around the world. Since our founding in 1988, we have been striving to increase global awareness among the US public while building international partnerships around the world."
International Society for Ecology and Culture
An international organization "concerned with the protection of both biological and cultural diversity. Our emphasis is on education for action: moving beyond single issues to look at the more fundamental influences that shape our lives."
Women's Environmental Network
"WEN is a unique, vital and innovative campaigning organisation, which represents women and campaigns on issues which link women, environment and health."
"A worldwide fellowship of committed scholar-activists. It was one of the first research institutes established to be transnational in name, composition, orientation and focus.
In the spirit of public scholarship, and aligned to no political party, TNI seeks to create and promote international co-operation in analyzing and finding possible solutions to such global problems as militarism and conflict, poverty and marginalisation, social injustice and environmental degradation."
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Offering "a vision of sustainable, self-reliant cities that extract the maximum value from their local human, capital and natural resources. That vision cut(s) across traditional environmental, economic development and community development lines."
Third World Network
"An independent non-profit international network of organizations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, the Third World and North-South issues.
Its objectives are to conduct research on economic, social and environmental issues pertaining to the South; to publish books and magazines; to organize and participate in seminars; and to provide a platform representing broadly Southern interests and perspectives at international fora such as the UN conferences and processes."
People & the Planet
"A global review and internet gateway into the issues of population, poverty, health, consumption and the environment."
Facing The Future
"Strives to educate people about critical global issues, including population growth, poverty, over-consumption, and environmental destruction. We believe there are just and sustainable solutions to all these issues, and that these problems are, in reality, opportunities to invoke positive change. We undertake not only to provide information, but also to build knowledge, create understanding, and ultimately, motivate and empower people to take personal action to build a positive future. Most important, we seek to participate in and facilitate the creation of new models and new ways of thinking about our culture, our community, our economic and social systems, and our place on Earth."
World Watch Institute
"A non profit public policy research organization dedicated to informing policymakers and the public about emerging global problems and trends and the complex links between the world economy and its environmental support systems."
The Earth Council
"An international non-governmental organization (NGO) that was created in September 1992 to promote and advance the implementation of the Earth Summit agreements. It is led by a body of 18 Members, drawn from the world's political, business, scientific and non-governmental communities. Sixteen eminent world leaders serve as Honorary Members, and an 18 member Earth Council Institute functions as an advisory board. Three fundamental objectives have guided the work of the Earth Council since its inception:
* to promote awareness for the needed transition to more sustainable and equitable patterns of development
* to encourage public participation in decision-making processes at all levels of government
* to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between important actors of civil society and governments worldwide"
action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration
"ETC group is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable advancement of cultural and ecological diversity and human rights. To this end, ETC group supports socially responsible developments of technologies useful to the poor and marginalized and it addresses international governance issues and corporate power."
"An environmental organization that's been creating awareness since 1988. For almost 5 years we have concentrated on disseminating truthful information, empowering solutions and direct actions on environmental and humanitarian concerns via the Internet. Our intent is to form a unity of one percent to stop our extinction through our growing network of 1000+ EcoHumanePolitical websites."
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Historical Estimates of World Population
Just what it says.
How many of us, where.
US Census Bureau
World population projections for the near future.
Negative Population Growth
Information and activism about this issue for 30 years.
United Nations Population Fund
UNFPA has been helping developing countries find solutions to their population problems since 1969. It's the largest international source of population assistance, channelling about a quarter of the assistance from donor nations. The Fund has three main programme areas: Reproductive Health including Family Planning and Sexual Health, Population and Development Strategies and Advocacy.
Population Reference Bureau
"Population shapes almost every aspect of our lives. Population defines the need for resource allocations where to build roads, schools, or hospitals. Population shapes political systems and helps determine economic vitality. Because population has such a profound effect on how we plan for and realize our dreams, the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is working hard to provide you with all the facts you need to better understand our changing world."
Populi: The UNFPA Magazine
News on population issues.
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Canadian Environmental Network
They are here "To support, facilitate and advance the work of its member groups to protect the Earth and promote ecologically sound ways of life."
They have links to national organizations and, if you click on 'Networks', there are links to the various provincial environmental networks who in turn are connected to thousands of provincial and regional organizations. If you want to know more about an issue in your area, or get more involved, you can probably find what you need here.
The David Suzuki Foundation
The Foundation "explores human impacts on the environment, with an emphasis on finding solutions" and communicating "ways in which we can achieve a balance between social, economic, and ecological needs".
Sierra Club of Canada
Working "To develop a diverse, well-trained grassroots network working to protect the integrity of our global ecosystems. ...focus(sing) on five overriding threats:
*loss of animal and plant species
*deterioration of the planet's oceans and atmosphere
*the ever-growing presence of toxic chemicals in all living things
*destruction of our remaining wilderness
*spiraling population growth and over consumption"
"We believe environmental conservation must include people, jobs, and communities, or it will ultimately fail. We envision an entire ecosystem where natural resources are appropriately valued and carefully harvested, where communities have the tools and knowledge to balance economy and environment for the long term. In the conservation economy we will extract less, produce more, and add value all along the production chain. There will be fewer one-industry towns, with a greater diversity of enterprises and institutions adding wealth and stability to communities. First Nations will be brought into the economic mainstream after being kept on the sidelines for the past 100 years. The ruination of the environment causes economic despair. A new economy a conservation economy must be created to achieve lasting environmental protection."
Western Canada Wilderness Committee
"Canada's largest membership-based citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through scientific research and grassroots education."
Quebec Biodiversity Website
A look at the impacts of overpopulation, overconsumption and technology on The Great Lakes region. It's typical of these impacts around the world.
Conservation and Biodiversity
An online book by Peter J Bryant, of the School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine. About "The origin, nature and value of biological diversity, the threats to its continued existence, and approaches to preserving what is left."
World Wildlife Fund
Five million people in 100 countries support their efforts to "stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:
* conserving the world's biological diversity
* ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
* promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption."
Living Planet Report 2000
The WWF'sno, not the World Wrestling Federationannual report on the state of the ecosystem.
World Resources Institute
"An environmental think tank that goes beyond research to find practical ways to protect the earth and improve people's lives. ...to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. ... Because people are inspired by ideas, empowered by knowledge, and moved to change by greater understanding, WRI provides -- and helps other institutions provide -- objective information and practical proposals for policy and institutional change that will foster environmentally sound, socially equitable development.
The Mountain Forum
"The Mountain Forum promotes global action toward equitable and ecologically sustainable mountain development. This is achieved through information sharing, mutual support and advocacy. In order to achieve these objectives the Mountain Forum uses modern and traditional communications, supports networking and capacity building and encourages members to be proactive in advocating sustainable development of mountain areas."
Global Forest Watch
They are "convinced that forest degradation would be significantly slowed around the world if governments and industry were to actually implement commitments they have made -- nationally and internationally -- to manage and protect their forests. ...(Their) overall objective is to infuse transparency and accountability into the decision making processes that determine how forests are managed and for whom.
"We're dedicated to becoming the Web's premier site for sharing facts about North America's abundant, growing forests. ...combin(ing) the research of Canadian, U.S. and United Nations forestry resources in an effort to educate people on the value forests provide, as well as efforts across North America to sustainably manage these forests for future generations."
Note: This is an industry sponsored site. Their figures, like the map on their home page, are a bit warped. They call monoculture tree farms 'forests'. Such tree farms are no more forests than fields of wheat are grasslands. It's good to know what you're up against.
Rainforest Action Network
"RAN works with environmental and human rights groups in 60 countries, sharing information and coordinating the U.S. sector's role in worldwide campaigns to protect the rainforests and their inhabitants. Through financial contributions and networking services, RAN supports the efforts of indigenous and environmental groups in tropical countries to achieve ecologically sustainable solutions within their own regions."
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Center for Health, Environment and Justice
"CHEJ believes in environmental justice, the principle that people have the right to a clean and healthy environment regardless of their race or economic standing. The Center believes the most effective way to win environmental justice is from the bottom up through community organizing and empowerment. CHEJ seeks to help local citizens and organizations come together and take an organized, unified stand in order to hold industry and government accountable and work toward a healthy, environmentally sustainable future."
"Pollution Probe is a Canadian environmental organization that
* Defines environmental problems through research;
* Promotes understanding through education; and,
* Presses for practical solutions through advocacy."
Pesticide Action Network
"PANNA works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens' action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to insure the transition to a just and viable society."
"A vehicle for the environmental, human rights and indigenous rights movements to carry out focused campaigns against abusive extractive resource activity. We 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."
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The Edmonds Institute
"A non-profit, public interest organization committed to the health and sustainability of ecosystems and their inhabitants. It seeks to engage in projects that foster respect for and protection of the rights and health of all communities. The Institute focuses its efforts on understanding and sharing information about environmental, human rights and human health, and economic impacts of technology and intellectual property policies. The current emphasis of its programs is on: (a) biosafety and the legally-binding international regulation of modern biotechnologies, b) intellectual property rights and just policies for the maintenance and protection of biodiversity, including policies that foster recognition and sustenance of agricultural biodiversity, and (c) exploration of the ethical implications of new technologies."
Foundation on Economic Trends
"An organization whose mission is to examine emerging trends in science and technology and their impacts on the environment, the economy, culture and society."
International Center For Technology Assessment
"CTA is devoted to fully exploring the economic, ethical, social, environmental and political impacts that can result from the applications of technology or technological systems. Using this holistic form of analysis, CTA provides the public with independent, timely and comprehensive information about the potential impacts of technology."
Seed Savers Exchange
"A nonprofit tax-exempt organization that is saving "heirloom" (handed-down) garden seeds from extinction. SSE's 8,000 members grow and distribute heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits, grains, SSE's main focus is on heirloom varieties that gardeners and farmers brought to North America when their families immigrated, and traditional varieties grown by Native Americans, Mennonites and Amish. Since SSE was founded in 1975, our members have distributed an estimated 750,000 samples of endangered seeds not available through catalogs and often on the verge of extinction. SSE has always been the leader of the heirloom seed movement, and the diligent efforts of our members are making rare heirloom varieties available to gardeners everywhere."
Soil Foodweb Inc
"There are several million organisms, which typically require a microscope to see, that live in soil and around the roots of plants. The way these organisms interact with each other and with plants is called the Soil Foodweb. There is a best balance of all the different kinds of microorganisms for each kind of plant to get best plant health and quite often improve yield." These folks will help you find that balance.
"Tells the exciting story of the growing competition between carmakers both foreign and domestic to get hybrid and fuel cell cars to market."
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Food and Water
Projected Water Scarcity in 2025
Data and analysis from the International Water Management Institute.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
"The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy promotes resilient family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research and education, science and technology, and advocacy."
"We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods.
To be worthy of the name, Homo Sapiens should rid himself of speed before it reduces him to a species in danger of extinction.
A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life.
May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency."
a member-supported, nonprofit 'peoples' think tank and education-for-action center. Our work highlights root causes and value-based solutions to hunger and poverty around the world, with a commitment to establishing food as a fundamental human right.
Bread For The World
"We do not provide direct relief or development assistance. Rather, we focus on using the power we have as citizens in a democracy to support policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty."
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
"A specific priority of the Organization is encouraging sustainable agriculture and rural development, a long-term strategy for increasing food production and food security while conserving and managing natural resources. The aim is to meet the needs of both present and future generations by promoting development that does not degrade the environment and is technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable."
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Council of Canadians
"The Council of Canadians is Canada's pre-eminent citizens' watchdog organization, comprised of over 100,000 members and more than 60 Chapters across the country. Strictly non-partisan, the Council lobbies Members of Parliament, conducts research, and runs national campaigns aimed at putting some of the country's most important issues into the spotlight: safeguarding our social programs, promoting economic justice, renewing our democracy, asserting Canadian sovereignty, advancing alternatives to corporate-style free trade, and preserving our environment."
The Aurora Institute
"At the Aurora Institute, our mandate is to promote an understanding of how the very structure of modern institutions directly influences many of the social, economic and environmental problems we face in modern society."
"CorpWatch counters corporate-led globalization through education and activism. We work to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization--a diverse movement for human rights, labor rights and environmental justice"
Corporate Watch, UK
"A radical research and publishing group...set up in late 1996...expanded to support grassroots and direct activism against large corporations, particularly multinationals. Our approach is to investigate, corporate structures and the system that supports them more broadly, rather than solely criticizing the individual companies for bad behaviour. We are committed to ending the ecological and social destruction wrought by the corporate profit motive."
They publish the bimonthly newsletter Corporate Watch.(pdf)
Fair Trade Watch
"This site has been developed by the United Steelworkers of America to provide information on trade and the global economy from a worker prospective."
Info on NAFTA, MAI, WTO etc.
Fifty Years Is Enough
"A coalition of over 200 U.S. grassroots, women's, solidarity, faith-based, policy, social - and economic- justice, youth, labor and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Network works in solidarity with over 185 international partner organizations in more than 65 countries. Through education and action, the Network is committed to transforming the international financial institutions' policies and practices, to ending the outside imposition of neo-liberal economic programs, and to making the development process democratic and accountable...We focus on action-oriented economic literacy training, public mobilization, and policy advocacy."
International Forum on Globalization
"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.
...over 60 organizations in 25 countries...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."
Global Policy Forum
"A group of citizens from several countries founded Global Policy Forum in December 1993 to monitor global policy making at the United Nations. At a time of rapid globalization, when nation states are weakening, the founders of GPF wanted to promote a more open, accountable and democratic policy process at the global level. Seeing the UN as the most open and universal institution, they sought to make it more responsive to citizen concerns, and so to foster democracy, social justice, human rights and mutual solidarity."
The Body Shop
''The Body Shop has a strong history as a merchant of vision; making profits with principles. Together we have achieved a lot in the UK and other countries. We are proud of the commitment shown by our staff and The Body Shop at Home consultants to 'get active' in their local communities and to support the 5 campaign 'values' pillars of our company''
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Public Education Network
"A clearinghouse of information on domestic and global inequities, including those in education, ecology, health, employment, criminal justice, and national defense. PEN is a collective project joined by people who gather and distribute little-known information to their communities. The Network is led by the conviction that famine, disease, violence, and pollution continue, not for lack of food, medicine, peaceful interests, or scientific knowledge, but for lack of public understanding and political will. We believe information, presented nakedly, is the surest way to help citizens vote, buy, and live conscientiously."
"A coalition of labor, community, civil rights, immigrant rights, women's, religious & student organizations, and individuals committed to eliminating sweatshop conditions in the global garment industry. We believe that workers should be earning a living wage in a safe and decent working environment, and that those who benefit the most from the exploitation of sweatshop workers must be held accountable."
United For a Fair Economy
"Our vision is of a global society where prosperity is better shared, where there is genuine equality of opportunity, where the power of concentrated money and corporations neither dominates the economy nor dictates the content of mass culture. We envision communities and nations that do not have dramatic disparities of income, wages, wealth, health, safety, respect, and opportunities for recreation and personal growth."
"A network of journalists, writers and researchers trying to look beyond conventional economics and its notions of prosperity and progress. ... We don't advocate any particular policy or set of policies. Our aim is to circulate information and ideas that are not widely covered in the media."
"A confederation of twelve non-governmental organizations working together in more than 80 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice. The Oxfams are strategic funders of development projects; provide emergency relief in times of crisis; and campaign for social and economic justice."
The United Nations University
World Institute for Development Economics Research
"Through its research, WIDER seeks to raise frontier issues and provide new and original insights and policy advice aimed at boosting the economic and social development of the poorest nations."
UN Human Development Report Office
"First launched in 1990 with the single goal of putting people back at the center of the development process in terms of economic debate, policy and advocacy. The goal was both massive and simple, with far-ranging implications going beyond income to assess the level of peoples long-term well-being. Bringing about development of the people, by the people, and for the people, and emphasizing that the goals of development are choices and freedoms."
Report: Finding solutions to the debt problems of developing countries
"On the eve of the new millennium, a refreshing urgency is inspiring the search for lasting solutions to the debt problems of developing countries, especially the poorest of them. The United Nations, as a universal organisation, includes in its membership debtor and creditor countries alike. As stated in Article 1 of the Charter, among the four main purposes of the United Nations is the achievement of international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. An orderly, dynamic and balanced development of the world economy is therefore a prime concern and responsibility of the United Nations system, including all its component departments, agencies, programmes and funds."
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"A worldwide campaigning movement that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards. In particular, Amnesty International campaigns to free all prisoners of conscience; ensure fair and prompt trials for political prisoners; abolish the death penalty, torture and other cruel treatment of prisoners; end political killings and "disappearances"; and oppose human rights abuses by opposition groups."
Human Rights Watch
"We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all."
Center For Global Women's Leadership
"(Global Center) develops and facilitates women's leadership for women's human rights and social justice worldwide."
Women's Human Rights Resources
"The purpose...is to provide reliable and diverse information on international women's human rights via the Internet."
Women's Human Rights Net
"A collaborative...project developed by an international coalition of women's organizations. whrNET aims to strengthen advocacy for women's human rights through the effective utilization of information and communication technologies. The sponsoring organizations are part of a global movement for women's human rights that has grown steadily since the World Conference of Human Rights (Vienna, 1993) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995)."
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Oxfam's Campaign For Education Now
"Imagine what would happen if every school-aged child in North America and Europe was prevented from getting an education. Trouble, no doubt. Riots? Possibly. Hey, what's the fuss? The equivalent number of children are unable to go to school in poor countries of the South and nobody is lifting a finger."
UNESCO: Education Sector
"UNESCO's action in education is shaped around three strategic objectives:
* Promoting education as a fundamental human right;
* Improving the quality of education;
* Promoting experimentation, innovation and the diffusion and sharing of information and best practices as well as policy dialogue in education."
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Religion and Environment
"There is much literature on the influence of religious beliefs and traditions on a person's attitude toward the natural environment. What follows is a sampling of discussions of viewpoints of various religions, as well as statements by some religious groups on environmental issues."
"For the student of religion and ecology, there are some excellent sites which offer lists of links to various pages and organizations. Here, in a general order of breadth and general usefulness, are some good places to begin."
A good set of links.
Religion and War: Inseparable
"From her study of the Stone Age to the Rock Age, this historian defends the claim that no belligerent ever wins a war; rather, one side loses less than the other. And Yahweh-God-Allah is often the first casualty."
Its Not About Religion
"It so happens, of course, that religious enthusiasm probably does cause wars. And it probably also prevents them."
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Osama's SUV Hideaway
If you would like to help drive home the fact that our choices as consumers and voters have more to do with our chances of survival than any terrorist ever will, then pass this spoof ad along. It's available for email or as a printable page for bulletin boards, waiting rooms, and for slipping under windshield wipers.
"A forum for discussion and debate, and for sharing information, strategies of subversion and creative alternatives. It is also intended to keep you abreast of news about the politics of brand hegemony and corporate power, and of acts of organized and disorganized resistance from all over the world."
Essential Information: Encouraging Activism
"Founded in 1982 by Ralph Nader, ... We are involved in a variety of projects to encourage citizens to become active and engaged in their communities. We provide provocative information to the public on important topics neglected by the mass media and policy makers. ...(EI) publishes a monthly magazine, books and reports, sponsors investigative journalism conferences, provides writers with grants to pursue investigations and operate clearing houses which disseminate information to grassroots organizations in the United States and the Third World."
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
"An organization (NGO) involved with the investigation and documentation of violations of international laws, regulations and treaties protecting marine wildlife species. The Society is also involved with the enforcement of international laws, regulations and treaties when there is no enforcement by national governments or international regulatory organizations due to absence of jurisdiction or lack of political will."
"A site to help progressive activists by providing a central place where the times and locations of protests and meetings can be posted."
Mobilization for Global Justice
"The Ruckus Society provides training in the skills of non-violent civil disobedience to help environmental and human rights organizations achieve their goals."
"Every year global economic chieftains from huge multinational corporations, heads of governments, speculators and other wealthy elites meet at the World Economic Forum to discuss, plot and plan the contours of the policies implemented by the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the IMF and other international financial institutions. This "ruling junta" for the global economy is accountable to nobody. Learn more about the opposition events planned."
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"PEN stands for the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and community to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible. PEN declares for a free press and opposes arbitrary censorship in time of peace. It believes that the necessary advance of the world towards a more highly organized political and economic order renders a free criticism of governments, administrations and institutions imperative. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint, members pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood and distortion of facts for political and personal ends."
Adbusters/The Media Foundation
Culture jamming, spoof ads, activsm networking. Ultimately, "an ecological magazine, dedicated to examining the relationship between human beings and their physical and mental environment. We want a world in which the economy and ecology resonate in balance. We try to coax people from spectator to participant in this quest. We want folks to get mad about corporate disinformation, injustices in the global economy, and any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons."
Third World Traveller
"Magazine articles and book excerpts that offer an alternative view to the corporate media about the state of democracy in America, and about the impact of the policies of the United States' government, transnational corporations, international trade and financial institutions, and the corporate press, on democracy, human rights and social and economic justice, in the Third World, and in the United States."
Plus, a treasure trove of inspiring quotes.
"For better or worse, the global economy has engulfed us all. Yet, while it has a direct impact on everyone's lives, it remains largely ill-explained. To promote a better understanding of the issues at hand, we focus on covering the human dimension of globalization. ... Our goal is to share the results of our daily exploration of the global landscape with our readers. In that endeavor, we believe that less can be more. That is why we publish one well-researched feature each day of the year."
Index of Native American Media Resources on the Internet
Just what it says. Scroll through everything from newspapers to magazines to radio, TV and more.
"The world's longest running environmental magazine... The magazine is read in over 150 countries by people with an interest in environmental, social and economic issues.
(It) covers a range of topical and general subjects and opens new areas of debate on everything from science and technology to the impacts of globalization on jobs, health and the environment."
Independent Media Center
"A collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth."
The Utne Reader
"(It) reprints the best articles from over 2,000 alternative media sources bringing you the latest ideas and trends emerging in our culture... Provocative writing from diverse perspectives... Insightful analysis of art and media... Down-to-earth news and resources you can use... In-depth coverage of compelling people and issues that affect your life... The best of the alternative media.
Environmental News Network
Hey, news as though the health of the planet mattered. I'm trying this out as my home page.
The American Prospect
"The aim of The American Prospect is to contribute to a renewal of America's democratic traditions by presenting a practical and convincing vision of liberal philosophy, politics, and public life. We publish articles for the general reader that attempt to break through conventional understanding and creatively reframe public questions. Ours is not a magazine of complaint, of angry gestures, or of private irritations. It is a magazine of public ideas, firmly committed -- however unfashionably -- to a belief in public improvement. America can do much good, and it can do much better."
A multi-award winning "independent, nonprofit magazine whose roots lie in a commitment to social justice implemented through...fearless and thought-provoking journalism, trail-blazing investigative reporting, and penetrating commentary from the most insightful social, cultural, and political observers in print."
"A communications co-operative based in Oxford with editorial and sales offices in Toronto, Canada; Adelaide, Australia; Christchurch, Aotearoa /New Zealand; and Lewiston, USA. It exists to report on issues of world poverty and inequality; to focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and the powerless in both rich and poor nations; to debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary if the basic material and spiritual needs of all are to be met."
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Just the Facts, Please
Searchable databases, maps, etc. by category. Thanks to the World Resources Institute and their supporters.
Public Education Network: Get The Facts
Searchable databases and reports by category. Or just browse for a while. It's quite mind-bending.
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I have some more things in mind that we can do to raise the general level of awareness around recycling, energy consumption and carbon emmissions, much as we have done with drinking and driving over the past couple of decades. These too, I will get up here as soon as possible. Do check back.