Skip navigation
13comments
Share conversation: Share via:

Doron Bracha

Apr 30, 2014
03:32

Member


1 |
Share via:
Wonderful thoughts that show maturity, awareness, understanding and compassion. Not all people in the world are ready for that, but it's certainly worth trying. I would reiterate the importance of incorporating environmental literacy and sustainability into the curriculum and practice of all educational facilities, from kindergarten thru university. A cultural change is needed, and educating the next generation is essential. Cheers !..

Stefan Pasti

May 3, 2014
03:07

Member


2 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Thank you, doronbracha. I appreciate your kind thoughts and encouragement--and your reinforcing the need for further curriculum development at all levels to assist with environmental literacy and applied sustainability. I also appreciate that you affirm the need for culture change. Once the needed changes are integrated into various cultures and communities around the world, it will be clear how much of a change was needed from "business as usual". Community Visioning Initiatives can provide a “trellis” by which a careful transformation could “grow”, over a long period of time, and be carefully monitored and evaluated as it proceeded.

Paulo Borges De Brito

May 27, 2014
06:24

Member


3 |
Share via:
Good project. Well-defined. I really like what you said about the reversal of the urbanization trend, and a demographic shift from megacities to more ecologically sustainable villages, towns, and small cities. But, this project does required a lot of organization to manage all those stakeholders you're talking about. How are you going to put all the pieces together? Paulo

Stefan Pasti

May 30, 2014
03:03

Member


4 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Hi Paulo, Thanks for your kind comments, and thanks for the question. Discovering many answers to your question is critical to resolving the challenge of global warming—since a) “Avoiding the unprecedented threats posed by dangerous climate change will require an unparalleled collective exercise in international cooperation” (UN Human Development Report 2007/2008) b) “The principal threats to our future are no longer armed aggression but instead climate change, population growth, water shortages, spreading hunger, and failing states. What we now need is a mobilization to reverse these trends on the scale and urgency of the U.S. mobilization for World War II.’” (“World on the Edge”—Lester R. Brown; January, 2011) c) “…the energy industry’s ability to boost production of oil, coal, and natural gas in North America is feeding a global surge in demand for these commodities, ensuring ever higher levels of carbon emissions. “ (article “World Energy Report 2012: The Good, The Bad, and The Really, Truly, Ugly” by Michael T. Klare; November 27, 2012) (p.293) d) “Some might assume that bond markets are shielded from the effects of climate change, ecosystem degradation, and water scarcity. With more than $40 trillion of sovereign debt in global markets at any given time, that is a very high-risk game.” [article titled “Sovereign Environmental Risk” by Achim Steiner (under-Sectetary General, United Nations and Executive Director of United Nations Environmental Programme) and Susan Burns (Founder of the Global Footprint Network); October 27, 2012] (p. 295) e) “(U.N.'s climate chief Christiana Figueres) urged an "urgent transformation" to greener production after top scientists warned on Monday that climate change would damage food supplies, slow economic growth and aggravate the underlying causes of armed conflicts. Limiting global warming to an agreed U.N. ceiling ‘means that three quarters of the fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground, and the fossil fuels we do use must be utilized sparingly and responsibly,’ she said.” (article “UN Climate Chief Figueres Urges 'Urgent Transformation' Of Oil And Gas Industry” by Alister Doyle in Huffington Post; April 3, 2014) And the Tipping Point Action Campaign has been created to help people discover many answers to your question. So I’ll try to provide a clear and concise 5 point “recap” of what the Tipping Point Action Campaign has to offer in response to your question “this project does require a lot of organization to manage all those stakeholders you're talking about. How are you going to put all the pieces together?” 1) Why would we not try to do 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives, until we learned how to do it? First, if you are in agreement with the urgency suggested by the above quoted passages, and in agreement that resolutions to the global warming challenge will require “a demographic shift from megacities to more ecologically sustainable villages, towns, and small cities”, we are already talking about the need for “a lot of organization”. And many pieces are being put together (as the resources described in Point #2 illustrate)by countless numbers of organizations and practitioners. What Community Visioning Initiatives, supported by many Neighborhood Learning Centers, can provide is an organized way of accelerating local affordable learning networks (workshops, and what is passed on in informal learning among neighbors)—AND accelerating local efforts at collaborative problem solving. Since every community will have different learning curves—and different ones for each of many critical challenges related to global warming (i.e. indiscriminate consumption spurred by $300+ billion in advertising dollars worldwide per year)—the main idea is to help citizens become familiar with a collaborative problem solving approach which focuses on identifying challenges, and identifying solution-oriented activity. Some nations are framing the discussion of resolving the global warming challenge by suggesting that a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is sufficient. I believe that if there were 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives, around the world, focusing on identifying challenges and solution-oriented activity, there would be many, many more people who believe that greater reductions can take place in a shorter amount of time. Part of my response to your question then, would be: regardless of the organizational challenges, why would we not try to carry out 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives, until we learned how to do it? Even further: another key advantage of advocating for and supporting the implementation of many Community Visioning Initiatives is that some of the 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives will discover building blocks and processes which work better than others. Thus, the value of a Community Visioning Initiatives Clearinghouse. 2) The descriptions and biographical sketches of 29 organizations and 272 practitioners [in the key CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors”(589 pages)] are provided to help readers see how it would be possible to “assist with creating 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives”. What I’m proposing has many elements in it which have been done before (Community Visioning, Neighborhood Learning Centers, conference and training related workshops, etc). Even the scaling up of training to build up the number of practitioners to implement this proposal can draw on the example of the beginnings of the Peace Corps. Further, in the most comprehensive summation of resources associated with this proposal—the document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” [for the Community Peacebuilding and Cultural Sustainability (CPCS) Initiative](589 pages)—there are over 180 pages dedicated to identifying, and providing descriptions and biographical sketches for, 29 organizations and 272 practitioners who could be associated with this kind of project (especially if this project was judged to have much potential by the judges of this contest). These descriptions and biographical sketches are provided to help readers see how it would be possible to “assist with creating 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives”. The descriptions and biographical sketches illustrate how much potential there is for problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before. Here are some examples of the value of those descriptions and biographical sketches: a) The “Stakeholder Engagement” section (of the “Invitation Package…” document) provides biographical sketches of 20 practitioners associated with 13 different organizations—including Dialogue by Design; Stakeholder Forum; University of California Extension’s Center for Cooperative Solutions; and D3 Associates. As one example, Philip Thomas of D3 Associates has “designed and facilitated hundreds of training programs across five continents and is recognized globally for his work in democratic dialogue and multi-stakeholder engagement processes”. b) Regarding Preliminary Surveys which would lead up to Community Visioning Initiatives, the “Surveys/Questionnaires” section (of the “Invitation Package…” document) provides biographical sketches of 16 practitioners associated with the Pew Research Center and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (University of Maryland--University of Michigan—Westat). c) Regarding “Neighborhood Learning Centers”, there are five organizations (described in the “Invitation Package…” document) which could provide working models and teacher/facilitator training: British Columbia’s “Neighborhood Learning Centres” program; The Hunger Project’s “Community Centers for Meeting Basic Human Needs”; Teachers Without Borders; the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; and Rotary International. d) As I have said in my proposal here at the MIT Climate CoLab “Shifting Behavior..” contest, educational institutions, and other organizations, could increase their existing efforts, or take up the call, to develop educational curriculum and training in response to the increasing need for survey specialists, resource coordinators for Neighborhood Learning Centers, and organizers/facilitators for Community Visioning Initiatives (and other stakeholder engagement/collaborative problem solving approaches)—and provide such training in modules similar to the kind used when the Peace Corps was scaled up. e) And there are numerous international organizations which could be involved in the delivery of teams and educational materials to assist and support communities of people who are interested in carrying out a Community Visioning Initiative in their community or region—including Gaia Education; Global Ecovillage Network; ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability; Oxfam International; UN Habitat (UN Human Settlements Program)—and many of the organizations, educational institutions, etc referred to above. Thus, one of the most important goals of the campaign “Tipping Point Action: Citizen Participation in Times of Unprecedented Challenges” is to help people become aware that we have the experience, educational materials, and financial resources to carry out problem solving on this kind of unprecedented scale… to help people visualize that it is possible. 3) We are all responsible for the multitude of critical challenges which has led to the critical challenge of global warming Another one of the most important goals of the campaign “Tipping Point Action: Citizen Participation in Times of Unprecedented Challenges” is to emphasize (which I will continue to do, over and over again), that while we need more enlightened leaders (there is a need for leaders in strategic positions to do much more than they are doing now), it is not just a matter of “them” doing more, or the corporations and countries most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions to become more responsible….we are all responsible for the multitude of critical challenges which has led to the critical challenge of global warming, and we all need to be more aware of, and more responsible about, the consequences of our actions. Thus (again): “Through workshops at Neighborhood Learning Centers, and other associated local learning networks, citizens can gain greater awareness of how the investments of time, energy, and money (the ‘votes’) each of us make in our everyday circumstances become the larger economy. Wisely directed, such ‘votes’ can result in countless ways of earning a living which contribute to the peacebuilding, community revitalization, and ecological sustainability efforts necessary to drastically reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and minimize other related challenges. Citizens from every variety of circumstances can learn how to wisely cast such ‘votes’.” Again: Citizens from every variety of circumstances can learn how to wisely cast such ‘votes’.” And thus: It is not so much a question of “managing stakeholders” at this point, but inviting people to “become stakeholders”. People who are not sufficiently informed about critical issues are everywhere, and they are investing their time, energy, and money—voting—all the time. These are people who are unaware that there are critical problems which are getting worse, and which will almost certainly affect their ability to be disengaged from understanding what their responsibilities are as citizens—and stakeholders in a peaceful and sustainable future. While there are times when a confrontation approach is appropriate and will be constructive, what we need more of now is to greatly accelerate our capacity for collaboration. And achieving the level of collaboration needed to overcome global warming will, I believe, require a kind of faith and flexibility of agenda (a flexibility which certainly seems possible when there are so many challenges to overcome!). Herein is the value of Community Visioning Initiatives: to help people “become stakeholders”, with the faith that as they do so, and become involved in the education at the level of Neighborhood Learning Centers (and “voting” on priority challenges and priority solutions), they will discover for themselves (instead of being preached at or scolded like children gone astray) just how much we all need to learn to make this transition, and how much we need each and every one of us to contribute their skills and resources towards solutions. 4) The constellation of initiatives approach to collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding—this combination of preliminary surveys, Neighborhood Learning Centers, Community Visioning Initiatives, “sister community” relationships, etc—is a way in which “narratives” can be grown… and by participating in such collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding processes, citizens become stakeholders in “that which is being grown”. The “constellations of initiatives” approach this writer advocates for is not a narrative or agenda hidden as a problem solving approach—it is a way in which “narratives” can be grown… with no preconceived idea of “which ideas will attract consensus, and which will not”, and in contrast to a competitive match, with winners and losers. This kind of “organic growth process” is what the combination of preliminary surveys, Neighborhood Learning Centers, Community Visioning Initiatives, “sister community” relationships, etc can offer, and it is appropriate to call such activity collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding. Both the challenges to be addressed, and the solutions preferred, are grown from within the community—and by participating in such collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding processes, citizens become stakeholders in “that which is being grown”. 5) We have the experience, educational materials, and financial resources to build these kind of collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding processes in our communities. Why would not want to discover what realizing this potential would be like? My interest in Community Visioning Initiatives was inspired instantly when, in 1994, I watched a video documentary titled “Chattanooga: A Community With A Vision” (13 minutes)(see http://vimeo.com/9653090 ). The video includes many interviews and how-to details, and documents two very successful Community Visioning Initiatives organized by the non-profit organization Chattanooga Venture (Chattanooga, Tennessee USA)—one in 1984, and a follow-up in 1993. The 1984 Chattanooga Community Visioning Project (“Vision 2000”) attracted more than 1,700 participants, and produced 40 community goals—which resulted in the implementation of 223 projects and programs, the creation of 1,300 permanent jobs, and a total financial investment of 793 million dollars. What I saw in the documentary was a way of revitalizing the sense of working together with our neighbors for the greater good, so that there would be an electrifying feeling about what going to happen next—a collective revitalization of the belief that many good things would be happening in the community, and that many people who lived in the same community would have a part in it. We can have that kind of feeling in our communities, and with our fellow citizens. Even if there wasn’t a multitude of critical challenges converging at this time, we have the experience, educational materials, and financial resources to build these kind of collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding processes in our communities. Why would not want to discover what realizing this potential would be like?

Robert Dedomenico

Jun 11, 2014
11:10

Member


5 |
Share via:
Hi Stefan, Do any of the proposals put forth in here qualify as perhaps being a candidate for one of those "1000 Community Visioning Initiatives"? Do you think that this MIT Climate Colab is, in a way, an onine incarnation of your proposal already in service? (Not that an in-person, and local version of the same could not be significantly complimentary!) I ask these things because it might be demonstrative of what you are espousing, if you thought you saw another proposal or two in the Colab, that you might comment on, and/or vote support for. I must stop beating around the bush... of course I am hoping that you might notice my proposal, and or even vote for it! Thanks! Robert

Vishal Bhavsar

Jun 12, 2014
10:21

Catalyst


6 |
Share via:
Hi Stefan, The idea here is really amazing to start influencing people at grass root and generate tremendous transformation to have impact on climate change. I thought of pushing these agenda would be why not involve the key decision maker, bureacrats who attend climate negotiation meeting like COP and the participant to these events. They are already people who have been sold the idea that action is required to manage the challenge of climate change to humanity. Why not make them change agent in every domain & geography they represent and insist them to drive the community visioning initiative. Of course I agree with Robert here that CoLabs itself is biggest platform to kick start actions. I would also suggest if in timeline and costing if you could at the moment focus more on how to engage and make people initiate these discussion and the next phase of actual community initiatives and its impact capture. Wishing you all the best for the contest!

Manohar Lal Baharani

Jun 18, 2014
07:18

Catalyst


7 |
Share via:
The top down approach of protecting "environmental integrity" through Kyoto Protocol initiated in 1997, came in force in 2005, continued through 2012 is struggling for its survival in second phase due for debate and conclusion in 2015. You idea is excellent for bottom up process, voluntary in nature and worth pursuing further. Good Luck.

Khalid Md Bahauddin

Jun 20, 2014
03:39

Catalyst


8 |
Share via:
Liked the project and am going to support it. Best wishes Khalid

Stefan Pasti

Jun 20, 2014
11:52

Member


9 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Hi Robert and vishalbhavsar, I very much appreciate your questions and comments, as they refer to critical pieces of the Tipping Point Action Proposal, and pieces which will probably need to be re-emphasized a few times, to point out important differences from other approaches. Since this Tipping Point Action proposal has a) a “wide umbrella” local community approach to both challenges and solutions b) hopes to serve as a proactive peacebuilding process at the same time—and c) does not have any exact models to point to—my responses to questions may often seem like long answers. And you might prefer a short answer. However, I believe if I keep trying to describe and explain this Tipping Point Action Campaign, there will eventually be people who understand the key elements, and who can explain it better than I can. That is one of the reasons why this question, comment, and response process here at the MIT Climate CoLab Platform is so valuable, as it helps proposals become more concise, and more focused on where they fit into the “big picture”. So… my response may not seem direct, but in the following commentary I will respond to the points each of you brought up (listed below). I apologize for the delay in responding: I have many other concerns at the moment which are requiring my attention. Even so, anyone who comments here can be assured that I will, eventually, post some kind of response. [Questions and Comments which will be responded to in the commentary below: From Robert: 1) “Do any of the proposals put forth in here qualify as perhaps being a candidate for one of those '1000 Community Visioning Initiatives'?”… 2) “Do you think that this MIT Climate Colab is, in a way, an online incarnation of your proposal already in service? (Not that an in-person, and local version of the same could not be significantly complimentary!)” From vishalbhavsar: 1) “I thought of pushing these agenda would be why not involve the key decision maker, bureacrats who attend climate negotiation meeting like COP and the participant to these events. They are already people who have been sold the idea that action is required to manage the challenge of climate change to humanity. Why not make them change agent in every domain & geography they represent and insist them to drive the community visioning initiative. Of course I agree with Robert here that CoLabs itself is biggest platform to kick start actions.” 2) “I would also suggest if in timeline and costing if you could at the moment focus more on how to engage and make people initiate these discussion and the next phase of actual community initiatives and its impact capture.”] My Commentary: As the MIT Climate CoLab “About” webpage states: “The goal of the Climate CoLab is to harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people from all around the world to address global climate change…(and)…the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence has developed this crowdsourcing platform where citizens work with experts and each other to create, analyze, and select detailed proposals for what to do about climate change.” Thus: while the proposals which gain the most positive support here are likely to be relevant to communities around the world, the MIT Platform is aggregating ideas with no specific community or region as its response target—and all the categories it has identified are chosen to create solutions to the challenge of climate change. In contrast, the Tipping Point Action Campaign—assisting with creating 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives to maximize citizen participation and accelerate solution-oriented activity— a) identifies many intertwined critical challenges, and thus does not predetermine that communities focus on any one particular challenge --different communities will “grow” their response-to-identified-challenges narratives in different ways, according to the leanings of the local residents, and the influences of environment, culture, and local economies --and there is such a need to focus on so many challenges that we cannot afford to get bogged down by trying to figure out how to engage people on the climate change issue (or on other issues and challenges) when they are not anywhere near ready to be engaged on that issue or those challenges.]. b) is hoping to assist with creating regional and local specific Community Visioning Initiatives—which will encourage the development of many new affordable local learning networks (both formal and informal) --Creating many Neighborhood Learning Centers (a key supportive piece of Community Visioning Initiatives) can provide places in local neighborhood for discussion, information sharing, mutual support and encouragement, fellowship and friendship—so that the exchanging of information and resources will also include the building of a “close-knit” community of people (who now have many new opportunities to help and support each other towards common goals). Further: While it is true that most collaborative problem solving/stakeholder engagement processes make much use of online collecting of input, and sharing of input, to help with identifying common ground, and shared goals among diverse stakeholders-- --the Tipping Point Action Campaign has a primary focus of working towards maximizing actual people-to-people contact, fellowship, and formal and informal learning networks—in specific local communities. (Note: I do see the online/digital piece and the person-to-person piece as complimentary, since there are many websites and platforms who are focused on sharing relevant research, and already established solution pathways—and since a Community Visioning Initiatives Clearinghouse website and a Neighborhood Learning Centers Clearinghouse website could do much to share best practice models and case studies.) Additionally, the Community Visioning Initiatives advocated for by the Tipping Point Action Campaign would initiate the discussion, at the local community level, with carefully thought out preliminary surveys sent to at least 150 key leaders (from a wide variety of fields of activity) to-- --help identify priority challenges and solutions for that particular community (a starting point for THEIR collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding process, which would also inform choices for workshops at Neighborhood Learning Centers) --and help residents of that local community appreciate the need for a Community Visioning Initiative, and many Neighborhood Learning Centers—and understand why they might want to become involved, and how they could become involved And—while I have reduced references to the spiritual/moral dimensions of the climate change challenge (and other related challenges) in the Tipping Point Action Main Proposal Description Area—the Tipping Point Action Campaign, as discussed at its “parent” website [the Community Peacebuilding and Cultural Sustainability (CPCS) Initiative] retains an emphasis on the spiritual/moral dimensions—relating to all of the critical challenges ahead. There is no doubt in my mind that if the spiritual/moral dimensions of the critical challenges of our times is not sufficiently incorporated into solutions, we will lose significant traction, and risk losing critical momentum on issues which require urgent solution (i.e. the risk of runaway global warming). I have reduced references to those dimensions at the Tipping Point Action Main Proposal Description Area (of this MIT Climate CoLab Platform) so as not to distract attention from the collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding potential of Community Visioning Initiatives and Neighborhood Learning Centers—which by themselves have much to offer. However, here in this comment section, I will give some more emphasis to the spiritual/moral dimensions (of global warming, and other related challenges), as I believe it will help readers understand --why the Tipping Point Action Campaign focuses on many critical challenges at the same time, instead of being a “microcosm” (a regional and local specific piece) of what the MIT Climate CoLab is doing at the “big picture” level --more about why these pieces of the spiritual/moral dimensions of global warming need more attention. B. 3 Issues Related to the Spiritual/Moral Dimensions of the Climate Change Challenge The issues I will focus on are: 1) The “reduce” part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” triplet 2) Different ideas about morality sometimes lead to negative stereotypes, and polarizing perceptions, which, in turn, are magnified and reinforced by the media 3) “Entreprenuers” who prey on people’s fears, manipulate people’s trust, and/or encourage people to abandon hope in higher aspirations, and indulge in unhealthy, or immoral behavior. 1) The “reduce” part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” triplet Consider the following quotations [source references in the key CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (589 pages) (see link in “References” section of Tipping Point Action Proposal)]: a) “The satisfaction of one's physical needs must come at a certain point to a dead stop before it degenerates into physical decadence.” (Mahatma Gandhi)] b) “The energy invested in a particular thing, during its life from cradle to grave, is called the ‘embodied energy’ of that object. The amount of embodied energy that an item contains depends on the technology used to create it (the origin of materials inputs, how they were created and transported, etc.), the nature of the production system, and the distance the item travels from inception to purchase.” c) “… every article in the bazaar has moral and spiritual values attached to it… hence it behooves us to enquire into the antecedents of every article we buy…. (Yet this) is an arduous task, and it becomes almost impossible for ordinary persons to undertake it when the article comes from far off countries.” d) “If we feel it is beyond us to guarantee the concomitant results of all our transactions, it necessarily follows that we must limit our transactions to a circle well within our control. This is the bed rock of swadeshi. The smaller the circumference, the more accurately can we guage the results of our actions, and (the) more conscientiously shall we be able to fulfill our obligations as trustees.” e) “By supporting items and processes that have lower embodied energy, as well as the companies that produce them, consumers can significantly reduce society’s energy use.” These quotations refer to the “reduce” part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” triplet, a part which—itself—seems to have been reduced to a very small role in the “big picture” response to global warming. And yet… if we are to identify, support, and sustain habitats which --can minimize resource requirements, maintain ecological sustainability, maintain a high level of compassion for fellow human beings— and which represent what a significant majority of community residents surveyed would describe as a high quality of life-- we—collectively—will need to do much better at integrating the “reduce” piece into the dominant values, social norms, and attitudes of our societies. A Question for Further Thought: How can such an integration be accomplished without somehow coming to terms with the fundamental inconsistencies between cultures which encourage indiscriminant consumption and the treasured wisdom of most religious, spiritual, and moral traditions, which emphasize i) sacrificing personal desires for the greater good of the whole ii) finding contentment and quality of life while consuming less material goods and ecological services iii) using resources carefully, so that there is surplus available for emergency assistance? 2) Different ideas about morality sometimes lead to negative stereotypes, and polarizing perceptions, which, in turn, are magnified and reinforced by the media Consider the following passages from Maiese, Michelle. "Moral or Value Conflicts." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: July 2003 (confirmed June 20, 2013) “Because systems of meaning and ways of thinking differ from one culture to another, people from different cultures typically develop different ideas about morality and the best way to live. They often have different conceptions of moral authority, truth, and the nature of community….” (Section “What is Moral Conflict?”, paragraph 7) Some of the problems: a) “Each party may believe that its ways of doing things and thinking about things is the best way and come to regard other ways of thinking and acting as inferior, strange, or morally wrong.” (Section “What is Moral Conflict?”, paragraph 4) b) “They may form negative stereotypes and attribute moral depravity or other negative characteristics to those who violate their cultural expectations, while they ignore their own vices and foibles, perceiving their own group to be entirely virtuous.” (Section “Negative Stereotyping”, paragraph 1) c) “Participants in moral conflict often behave immorally, even according to their own standards of behavior, because they believe the actions of their enemies force them to do so….The demonization or dehumanization of one's opponent that often occurs in moral conflict paves the way for hateful action and violence.” (Section “Effects of Moral Conflict”, paragraph 1) d) “They may view any compromise about their most cherished values as a threat to their very identity and a grave evil.” (Section “Why Moral Conflict is Intractable?”, paragraph 5) e) “In some cases, one group may come to view the beliefs and actions of another group as fundamentally evil and morally intolerable. This often results in hostility and violence and severely damages the relationship between the two groups. For this reason, moral conflicts tend to be quite harmful and intractable.” (Section “What is Moral Conflict?”, paragraph 8) f) Worldwide Military Expenditures—“Total world military expenditure in 2012 was $1.75 trillion. This is equivalent to 2.5 per cent of global GDP.” g) Global Drugs and Global Arms Trade--“The global drugs trade and the global arms trade are integral to violence in both developing and industrialized countries. Even modest progress on either front will contribute to reducing the amount and degree of violence suffered by millions of people. To date,however—and despite their high profile in the world arena—no solutions seem to be in sight for these problems.” One of the 10 challenges identified in “A List of Ten Critical Challenges”(1 page) (another key CPCS document, including some supporting evidence, which summarizes the challenge assessment evidence in longer CPCS documents) is: “Cultures” of violence, greed, corruption, and overindulgence—which have become so common that many of us accept such as inevitable; which are a significant part of the current crises of confidence in financial markets; and which are in many ways slowing the restructuring of investment priorities needed to respond to an increasing number of other critical challenges. How many readers of this commentary believe that all the needed changes in dominant values, social norms, and attitudes of our society, all the needed changes in technology, economies, and business models—and all the needed changes in individual investments in time, energy, and money—are going to happen without significant turmoil in cultural and social “fabrics” around the world (and thus within a context of peaceful coexistence among countries and societies with profound differences in access to resources, and economic circumstances… and profound differences in definitions of what is morality, and what is the best way to live)? Given that such significant turmoil is already occurring, how can we minimize such turmoil in the future, when cultural and social pieces in many communities around the world may become much more unstable—and thus maximize the likelihood of positive and constructive collaborative problem solving during an unprecedented transition which may take decades? The Tipping Point Action Campaign acknowledges and affirms that there is a profound level of risk that “cultures” of violence (and/or “cultures” of greed, corruption, and overindulgence) may undermine the application of even the most basic agreed upon resolutions relating to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions—especially if large segments of society perceive (rightfully or not) that leaders are incapable of providing sufficient evidence that we can overcome the challenges ahead. Thus, while there are times when a confrontation approach is appropriate and will be constructive, what we need more of now is to greatly accelerate our capacity for collaboration. And achieving the level of collaboration needed to overcome global warming will, I believe, require a kind of faith and flexibility of agenda (a flexibility which certainly seems possible when there are so many challenges to overcome!). Herein is one of the keys to appreciating the value of Community Visioning Initiatives: to help people “become stakeholders”, with the faith that as they do so, and become involved in the education at the level of Neighborhood Learning Centers (and “voting” on priority challenges and priority solutions), they will discover just how much we all need to learn to make this transition, and how much we need each and every one of us to contribute our skills and resources towards solutions. 3) “Entreprenuers” who prey on people’s fears, manipulate people’s trust, and/or encourage people to abandon hope in higher aspirations, and indulge in unhealthy, or immoral behavior. Consider the following quotation (which is identified by myself as one of the key “problems which might arise” during a Community Visioning Initiative) “There may be many people in our communities who use irresponsible and disrespectful language in ways which do not suggest that their motive is to respectfully provide good service to their fellow human beings, and contribute to the greater good of the whole. And there may be people in our communities who—regardless of the difficulties and urgencies associated with resolving multiple crises—choose to focus their attention of trying to make money by preying on people’s fears, manipulating people’s trust, and/or encouraging people to abandon hope in higher aspirations, and indulge in unhealthy, or immoral behavior. Such behavior is clearly counterproductive to the building of caring communities; it can be very dangerous for community morale; and it can become a crippling obstacle in times of crises.” To be specific, consider the following statistics and commentary [source references in the key CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (589 pages) )(see link in “References” section of Tipping Point Action Proposal)]: a) Media, Entertainment, and Advertising Industries Global media and entertainment industry revenues for 2012: nearly $1,629 trillion Worldwide Advertising Spending (2012)--$557 billion United States Advertising Spending (2012)--$139.5 billion b) Popular Programming on Television and the Internet All excerpts below are from “International Communications: A Media Literacy Approach” by Art Silverblatt and Nikolai Zlobin M.E. Sharpe July, 2004 (most content accessible at Google Books) (confirmed October 21, 2013) “Popular programming reflects a level of acceptance and shared values among large numbers of people. People tend to watch programs that meet their approval. If they are truly offended by violent programs, they would not watch them. In that sense, media programming can be regarded as a text that reflects the attitudes, values, behaviors, preoccupations, and myths that define a culture.” (p. 66) “At the same time, media programming reinforces cultural attitudes, values, behaviors, preoccupations,and myths. Media messages are communicated through the countless hours of media programming that repeat, directly or indirectly, the cultural script.” (p. 68) “Finally, the media do not merely reflect or reinforce culture, but in fact shape attitudes, values, behavior, preoccupations, and myths.” (p. 68) c) Addictive Behavior [source references in the key CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (589 pages) )(see link in “References” section of Tipping Point Action Proposal)]: “…in 1997 the World Health Organization (WHO) formally recognized obesity as a global epidemic.” Tobacco Use--“Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death, according to the World Health Organization.” (p. 246) “Alcohol is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease burden…” (p.251) Gambling—“…gambling activities generated US$ 419 billion in revenues across the world in 2011.” d) Debt Levels in the United States [source references in the key CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (589 pages)(see link in “References” section of Tipping Point Action Proposal)]: --Total Public Debt (United States) ($16.747 trillion) --Congressional Budget Office has projected U.S. Debt of $25 trillion by 2023 --U.S. Government Debt, Liabilities, and Unfunded Obligations—$67.7 trillion --American Consumer Debt—11.1 Trillion, including: $849.8 billion in credit card debt $7.81 trillion in mortgages $996.7 billion in student loans e) Sovereign Debt in Global Markets (From article “Sovereign Environmental Risk” by Achim Steiner and Susan Burns (10/27/12) at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/natural-resources-and-sovereign-credit-ratings-by-achim-steiner-and-susan-burns )] “Some might assume that bond markets are shielded from the effects of climate change, ecosystem degradation, and water scarcity. With more than $40 trillion of sovereign debt in global markets at any given time, that is a very high-risk game.” f) The “social and environmental externalities” piece in the current “economic growth” model --From this writer: “Again and again, in references to the debt crises, there is mention of the need for ‘economic growth’.... Unfortunately, the kind of ‘economic growth’ which is most often being referred to includes a vast array of ‘enterprises’ which require the continued exploitation of flaws and weaknesses in human nature, fragile ecosystems, and already significantly depleted natural resources...” --From “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” United Nations Environment Programme 2011(press release dated November 16, 2011) ) (from the Introduction, p. 14-15 (at http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/Portals/88/documents/ger/1.0_Introduction.pdf ) (confirmed October 17, 2013) (full report accessible at http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/GreenEconomyReport/tabid/29846/Default.aspx ) “Most economic development and growth strategies encouraged rapid accumulation of physical, financial and human capital, but at the expense of excessive depletion and degradation of natural capital, which includes the endowment of natural resources and ecosystems. By depleting the world’s stock of natural wealth – often irreversibly – this pattern of development and growth has had detrimental impacts on the wellbeing of current generations and presents tremendous risks and challenges for the future. The recent multiple crises are symptomatic of this pattern. “Existing policies and market incentives have contributed to this problem of capital misallocation because they allow businesses to run up significant, largely unaccounted for, and unchecked social and environmental externalities.” --From the key CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (see “References” section of Tipping Point Action Proposal) i) Ocean Degradation—“An international panel of marine scientists is demanding urgent remedies to halt ocean degradation based on findings that the rate, speed and impacts of change in the global ocean are greater, faster and more imminent than previously thought. “ ii) Our unsustainable relationships with forests and wood—“A growing world population, expanding industrialization, and rising incomes is driving materials extraction to an increasingly unsustainable rate.” iii) “The world is incurring a vast water deficit—one that is largely invisible, historically recent, and growing fast. Half the world’s people live in countries where water tables are falling as aquifers are being depleted. And since 70 percent of world water use is for irrigation, water shortages can quickly translate into food shortages.” iv) Unsustainable Fishing—“53% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, and 32% are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion” From “Revisiting Carrying Capacity: Area Based Indicators of Sustainability”, by William E. Rees, 1996 (see each paragraph for source details) (at www.dieoff.org/page110.htm ) (confirmed October 17, 2013) “Ecological Deficit—The level of resource consumption and waste discharge by a defined economy or population in excess of locally/regionally sustainable natural production and assimilative capacity.” [see section “Appropriating Carrying Capacity and Ecological Footprints” (Box 3: “A Family of Area-Based Sustainability Indicators”)] “….However, our analysis of physical flows shows that these and most other so-called ‘advanced’ economies are running massive, unaccounted, ecological deficits with the rest of the planet (Table 1)… These data emphasize that all the countries listed, except for Canada, are overpopulated in ecological terms—they could not sustain themselves at current material standards if forced by changing circumstances to live on their remaining endowments of domestic natural capital. This is hardly a good model for the rest of the world to follow.” And all this is in the context of a world population which is continuing to increase exponentially: a) World Population: 1927 = 2 billion 1960 = 3 billion (33 years) 1974 = 4 billion (14 years) 1987 = 5 billion (13 years) 1999 = 6 billion (12 years) 2013 = 7 billion (14 years) est. June 5, 2014 = 7,170,709,000 C. Two Summary Questions 1) How can the “reduce” piece be incorporated into the dominant values, social norms, and attitudes of communities around the world without somehow coming to terms with the fundamental inconsistencies between cultures which encourage indiscriminant consumption and the treasured wisdom of most religious, spiritual, and moral traditions, which emphasize a) sacrificing personal desires for the greater good of the whole b) finding contentment and quality of life while consuming less material goods and ecological services c) using resources carefully, so that there is surplus available for emergency assistance 2) How many readers of this commentary believe that all the needed changes in dominant values, social norms, and attitudes of our society, all the needed changes in technology, economies, and business models—and all the needed changes in individual investments in time, energy, and money—are going to happen without significant turmoil in cultural and social “fabrics” around the world (and thus within a context of peaceful coexistence among countries and societies with profound differences in access to resources, and economic circumstances… and profound differences in definitions of what is morality, and what is the best way to live)? Given that such significant turmoil is already occurring, how can we minimize such turmoil in the future, when cultural and social pieces in many communities around the world may become much more unstable—and thus maximize the likelihood of positive and constructive collaborative problem solving during an unprecedented transition which may take decades? D. Is a 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives approach really needed? From my critical assessment research, and from research to find organizations to follow at Twitter, I have learned of at least 100 climate change organizations, which include: --Climate Action Network International (“The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 NGOs in more than 100 countries, working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels”) --TckTckTck (“GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, represents an unprecedented network of more than 450 nonprofit organizations. Our shared goal is to harness the respective strengths of faith, development, science, environment, youth, labor, and other civil society organizations to achieve a world safe from runaway climate change”) --350.org (“350.org is building a global climate movement. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are coordinated by a global network active in over 188 countries”) --The Investor Network on Climate Risk (“INCR is a network of 100 institutional investors representing more than $11 trillion in assets committed to addressing the risks and seizing the opportunities resulting from climate change and other sustainability challenges.”) In the key Tipping Point Action reference document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (589 pages)(see “References” section of the Tipping Point Action proposal--and Section III. “Descriptions of People Being Formally Invited to Join CPCS Initiative Board of Advisors”), I have provided biographical notes on 272 people in the following 13 categories, who (I believe) are doing exemplary work in areas relevant to resolving the challenges of our times. a) Research/Risk Assessment/Analysis/Indicators (10) b) Stakeholder Engagement (20) c) Surveys/Questionnaires (16) d) Educational Systems/Lifelong Learning/Neighborhood Learning Centers (21) e) Sustainable Communities/Permaculture/Community Economics (49) f) Local Finance/Microcredit/Local Currencies/Social Media Financing (18) g) Peacebuilding (21) h) Women Leadership/Women Funding Organizations (19) i) Interfaith/Socially Engaged Spirituality (37) j) Socially Responsible Media (6) k) Foundations (28) l) International Communications (3) m) Emergency Humanitarian Assistance (24) [Note: These fields of activity are fields I am most familiar with, and represent only a fraction of the fields of activity which I believe will be needed to resolve the challenges of our times.} Even from this brief picture of positive and constructive efforts and initiatives, we can see: there are a lot of individuals and organizations out there, doing a lot of work. Is there a need for a campaign to assist with creating 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives to maximize citizen participation in identifying challenges and identifying solution-oriented activity—at the local and regional level—and thus accelerate solution-oriented activity? If the three issue areas I have highlighted in this extended comment-- 1) The “reduce” part of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” triplet 2) Different ideas about morality sometimes lead to negative stereotypes, and polarizing perceptions, which, in turn, are magnified and reinforced by the media 3) “Entreprenuers” who prey on people’s fears, manipulate people’s trust, and/or encourage people to abandon hope in higher aspirations, and indulge in unhealthy, or immoral behavior. --were somewhere near being addressed by current initiatives, I would be much less likely to feel there is a need for 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives (of the nature described at the “parent” website for the Tipping Point Action Campaign www.cpcsc.info) , I would feel much more confident that even the profound challenges we are now facing will be overcome by existing initiatives—and I would be contributing my efforts to assisting selected existing initiatives. However… I would say that the three issue areas I have highlighted above are not even close to being sufficiently addressed by current initiatives. Even further, there are many people who are far from even being ready to discuss those issues, on any level which would create effective responses. Thus, in answer to vishalbhavsar’s comments—“I thought of pushing these agenda would be why not involve the key decision maker, bureacrats who attend climate negotiation meeting like COP and the participant to these events. They are already people who have been sold the idea that action is required to manage the challenge of climate change to humanity. Why not make them change agent in every domain & geography they represent and insist them to drive the community visioning initiative?” and “I would also suggest if in timeline and costing if you could at the moment focus more on how to engage and make people initiate these discussion and the next phase of actual community initiatives and its impact capture”—I would say that there is such a need to focus on so many challenges that we cannot afford to get bogged down by trying to figure out how to engage people on the climate change issue (or on other issues and challenges) when they are not anywhere near ready to be engaged on that issue or those challenges. (Thus, the preliminary surveys to 150 key local leaders, to see what issues and challenges residents of a specific community ARE ready to engage on…) Some of us (or many of us) may sympathize with those who are “not ready”—as there are intertwined issues involved (of which the above three issues are a part) which have, in some form or other, been a part of human history since the beginning of time. These are not issues which can be resolved in one decade. And yet… I believe we will need to make significant progress on resolving them in one decade, in order to achieve the “breakthrough” solution-oriented momentum which will be needed to halt runaway global warming. So I see one of my roles as bringing these issues more into the forefront, and advocating for culture change initiatives which can represent problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before --so that it is visible and accessible for those segments of communities which are ready for that kind of problem solving --so that it can be an example to others (who are not ready) of efforts to build towards communities with a healthy appreciation for each other’s strengths, communities with a well-developed capacity to resolve even the most difficult challenges—and communities which demonstrate a high level of compassion for their fellow human beings --to increase the likelihood that in the near future there will be examples of efforts comprehensive enough to keep momentum on the side of “We can do it” --with the faith that helping such communities learn a collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding process (which, in itself, many people are not ready for) will help in the long run, when avoidance of many of these issues is no longer possible. E. Concluding Comments The Tipping Point Action Campaign advocates for a combination of preliminary surveys, Community Visioning Initiatives, Neighborhood Learning Centers, “sister community” relationships, job fairs, local currencies, and related community service from local newspapers as a starting point for accelerating solution-oriented activity, and creating more “close-knit” communities…communities with a healthy appreciation for each others strengths, communities with a well-developed capacity to resolve even the most difficult challenges—and communities which demonstrate a high level of compassion for their fellow human beings. Regarding the Community Visioning piece of the above overview, the Tipping Point Action Campaign advocates for 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives in communities (or segments of rural areas, towns, or cities—with populations of 50,000 or less) around the world which are time-intensive, lasting even as much as 1½ years (18 months), so as to give as much importance to developing a close-knit community as it does to 1) accumulating and integrating the knowledge and skill sets necessary for the highest percentage of people to act wisely in response to challenges identified as priority challenges 2) helping people to deliberately channel their time, energy, and money into the creation of “ways of earning a living” which are directly related to resolving high priority challenges 3) assisting with outreach, partnership formation, and development of service capacity for a significant number of already existing (or forming) organizations, businesses, institutions, and government agencies 4) helping to build a high level of consensus for specific action plans, which will help inspire additional support from people, businesses, organizations, institutions, and government agencies with significant resources Community Visioning Initiatives and Neighborhood Learning Centers are only two of the ten steps for long term culture change highlighted in the Tipping Point Action Campaign document “Ten Steps for Long Term Culture Change”. If the goal is to resolve the unprecedented challenges ahead, then it would seem necessary to exponentially increase the number of actively engaged citizens—citizens who (thus) have a much more comprehensive sense of civic duty. It's not like mobilizing for war, where there will be drill sergeants and basic training, but people should begin to realize: problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before means there is a lot of work to do. The Tipping Point Action Campaign proposes a way of actualizing problem solving on such a scale by creating collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding processes --which will prioritize challenges identified and solutions identified in accordance with the leanings of the local residents, and the influences of environment, culture, and local economies --and which is comprehensive enough to keep momentum on the side of “We can do it” There is an element of faith involved, in advocating for an approach to collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding which does not have a predetermined agenda . One of the keys to appreciating the value of this proposal: Community Visioning Initiatives can help people “become stakeholders”, with the faith that as they do so, and become involved in the education at the level of Neighborhood Learning Centers (and “voting” on priority challenges and priority solutions), they will discover for themselves just how much we all need to be learning to make this transition, and how much we need each and every one of us to contribute our skills and resources towards solutions. There is much that can be done to resolve the challenges of our times which have not been done; but much of what has not been done may be because we do not yet know how to do it. Since there is some urgency involved regarding resolving many of the critical challenges of our times, we may have to learn much of what we need to know as we go along. The Tipping Point Action Campaign advocates for “trellises” by which careful transformations can “organically grow”, over a long period of time, and be carefully monitored and evaluated as they proceed.

Stefan Pasti

Jul 5, 2014
03:05

Member


10 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Some Final Thoughts [Note: Most of the following was included in a comment I made in the “Comments” section of the “Consumption Conundrum” proposal—in the contest “Consumption of Products and Services”. I include these comments here (with some comments added for emphasis) as they briefly summarize why I believe we need to work on many intertwined challenges at the same time, and why we (thus) need problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before.] …I believe this “reduce” piece can be described as a spiritual/moral issue related to climate change, and I have commented on this “reduce” piece, and another piece—“Entreprenuers” who prey on people’s fears, manipulate people’s trust, and/or encourage people to abandon hope in higher aspirations, and indulge in unhealthy, or immoral behavior—in a long commentary in the “Comments” section of my proposal “Tipping Point Action: Citizen Participation in Times of Unprecedented Challenges” (see Comment #9 above). One of the key questions I bring up, in the above mentioned long commentary is: How can the “reduce” piece be incorporated into the dominant values, social norms, and attitudes of communities around the world without somehow coming to terms with the fundamental inconsistencies between cultures which encourage indiscriminant consumption and the treasured wisdom of most religious, spiritual, and moral traditions, which emphasize a) sacrificing personal desires for the greater good of the whole b) finding contentment and quality of life while consuming less material goods and ecological services c) using resources carefully, so that there is surplus available for emergency assistance Continuing to take into account dominant values, social norms, and attitudes, consider the following challenges (3 of the 10 listed in the key Tipping Point Action document “A List of Ten Critical Challenges”—see link in “References” section of Tipping Point Action proposal): 2. “Cultures” of violence, greed, corruption, and overindulgence—which have become so common that many of us accept such as inevitable; which are a significant part of the current crises of confidence in financial markets; and which are in many ways slowing the restructuring of investment priorities needed to respond to an increasing number of other critical challenges 4. The increasing world population and its implications relating to widespread resource depletion—a) with special focus on the increasing number of people who are consuming material goods and ecological resources indiscriminately b) “More than half the world’s people live in countries where water tables are falling as aquifers are being depleted….“ 7. A marginalization of the treasured wisdom associated with religious, spiritual, and moral traditions—treasured wisdom which includes many teachings relating to sacrificing personal desires for the greater good of the whole, and finding contentment and quality of life while consuming less material goods and ecological services If we take into account the above challenges—and all the other intertwined challenges that are necessary to resolve the climate change challenge—we are talking about a degree of culture change which would seem unlikely to accomplish in a hundred years (i.e. some of these issues have been a part of human history since the beginning of time), but which we need to achieve significant progress on in about ten years. I advocate for culture change initiatives which can represent problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before --so that it is visible and accessible for those segments of communities which are ready for that kind of problem solving --so that it can be an example to others (who are not ready) of efforts to build towards communities with a healthy appreciation for each other’s strengths, communities with a well-developed capacity to resolve even the most difficult challenges—and communities which demonstrate a high level of compassion for their fellow human beings --to increase the likelihood that in the near future there will be examples of efforts comprehensive enough to keep momentum on the side of “We can do it” --with the faith that helping such communities learn a collaborative problem solving and citizen peacebuilding process (which, in itself, many people are not ready for) will help in the long run, when avoidance of many of these issues is no longer possible. I also advocate for collaborative problem solving processes which maximize citizen participation in identifying critical challenges, and identifying solutions—but have no predetermined agenda, so the process does not get bogged down on issues residents not ready for… and yet (again) does help citizens gain problem solving skill sets as preparation for when critical challenges which have not been adequately addressed must be addressed. I encourage readers of these comments to explore the “Tipping Point Action: Citizen Participation in Tiimes of Unprecedented Challenges” proposal (in the contest “Shifting Behavior in a Changing Climate”), and the comments I have made in Comment #9 (in the “Comments” section of the Tipping Point Action Proposal) on “Three Spiritual/Moral Issues Related to Climate Change”. Closing Comments If the “reduce” piece and the indiscriminant consumption piece are fully appreciated, and incorporated into many initiatives, it can provide a multiplier effect in the sense that there will be exponentially less issues to resolve—including (and especially) those related to climate change. If many people can learn to find contentment and quality of life while consuming much less, this limiting of desires at the ‘root’ will save much trouble trying to respond to the symptoms as they materialize worldwide. This is part of the ‘spiritual teachings’ element which often gets overlooked. If many “spiritual teachings” elements become incorporated (thru workshops in Neighborhood Learning Centers, as part of recurring Community Visioning Initiatives) into local community responses to the multiple challenges we face, the positive multiplier effects on all other solution-oriented initiatives would exponentially accelerate our capacity to resolve the challenges of our times. If the goal is to resolve the unprecedented challenges ahead, then it would seem necessary to exponentially increase the number of actively engaged citizens—citizens who (thus) have a much more comprehensive sense of civic duty. It's not like mobilizing for war, where there will be drill sergeants and basic training, but people should begin to realize: problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before means there is a lot of work to do. One of the keys to appreciating the value of this Tipping Point Action proposal: Community Visioning Initiatives can help people “become stakeholders”, with the faith that as they do so, and become involved in the education at the level of Neighborhood Learning Centers (and “voting” on priority challenges and priority solutions), they will discover for themselves just how much we all need to be learning to make this transition, and how much we need each and every one of us to contribute our skills and resources towards solutions.

Stefan Pasti

Jul 10, 2014
08:55

Member


11 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
The Interim 2014 Report from the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project Since I am on the mailing list for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (A Development Initiative of the United Nations) (see http://unsdsn.org/ ), I received an email alerting me to the release report from the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project. Below are two paragraphs from that email: “On July 8, 2014, the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project presented its interim 2014 report to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. “The report we are launching today shows how we can achieve deep decarbonization. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on, and it’s time to lead,” said the Secretary General (full statement available here). “The report has been produced cooperatively by leading research institutes in 15 countries to outline national pathways for staying within 2°C. You can download the full report here and the executive summary here. We welcome your comments on this interim report, which can be submitted to info@unsdsn.org. 1) Here are some highlights I chose from The Executive Summary of the DDPP report (at: http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/DDPP_interim_2014_executive_summary.pdf): (from p. ix) “Very few countries have looked seriously at the operational implications of staying within the 2°C limit. All large emitting countries now have quantified targets to reduce their GHG emissions by the year 2020. But these targets—which sometimes are yet to be backed by detailed policy actions and implementation plans—are collectively insufficient to put countries on a trajectory consistent with the long-term global objective of deep decarbonization. In fact most 2020 emissions reductions targets were framed as a deviation from Business-As-Usual (BAU) trends, reductions in the carbon intensity of GDP, or relatively modest decrease in absolute GHG emissions compared to a base year. By and large national targets are not derived from an assessment of what will be needed to stay within the 2°C limit. “Only an internationally coordinated, goal-oriented approach to operationalizing the 2°C limit will allow humanity to avoid dangerous climate change. As this interim DDPP report and many other analyses make clear, staying within 2°C will require deep transformations of energy and production systems, industry, agriculture, land use, and other dimensions of human development. It will require profound changes in the prevailing socio-economic development frameworks. Many of the technologies that will need to underpin these transformations are available, but many others are not." (from p. x) “The DDPP follows a two-stage approach to problem solving. The first, which is the focus of this report, is to identify technically feasible DDPs for achieving the objective of limiting the rise in global temperatures below 2°C. At this stage, we have not looked in detail at the issue of costs and benefits, not considered the question of who should pay for them. In a second—later—stage we will refine the analysis of the technical potential, exploring the options for even deeper decarbonization pathways, and better taking into account infrastructure stocks. We will also take a broader perspective, beyond technical feasibility, by quantifying costs and benefits, estimating national and international finance requirements, mapping out domestic and global policy frameworks, and considering in more detail how the twin objectives of development and deep decarbonization can be met. These issues will be described in the 2015 DDPP report. But technically feasible DDPs are a vital first step towards achieving the 2°C limit…” (from p. xi) “DDPs are indispensable for promoting a national dialogue on decarbonization and launching a process of intense and complex problem solving. Transparent DDPs can enable a public discussion in every country on how best to achieve emission reduction objectives, understand possible trade-offs, and identify synergies or “win-wins.” Such technical analysis and national dialogue on deep decarbonization will involve business, civil society, and various expert communities (e.g. engineers, geologists, climatologists, economists, social scientists) to debate the best options for decarbonization, identify bottlenecks, and propose new approaches. DDPs can become a framework for organizing a dynamic process of discussion and problem solving in every country. “DDPs equally are indispensable for building trust across countries, shaping their expectations, and identifying where international cooperation and assistance is required. DDPs show how each country aims to achieve deep decarbonization and demonstrate the seriousness of national commitments to reduce GHG emissions. Transparent DDPs can enhance trust among countries, which is critical for a concerted international response to climate change. They will also help highlight areas that require international assistance and increased international cooperation, particularly on RDD&D of low-carbon technologies.” (from p. xiii) “The preliminary DDPs also reveal the sectors in which deep emissions reductions are most challenging, particularly freight and industry. Relative to the state of knowledge about low-carbon strategies in other areas such as power generation, buildings, and passenger transport, decarbonization strategies for freight and industry are less well developed and understood. These two sectors constitute a key focus area for future analysis by the DDPP and a future challenge for global RDD&D efforts.” (from p. xiv) “The Country Teams underscore that successful implementation of national DDPs depends on ‘directed technological change’-- that is technological change that is propelled through an organized, sustained, and funded effort engaging government, academia, and business with targeted technological outcomes in mind. No Country Research Team was comfortable assuming that their country alone could develop the requisite low-carbon technologies. Likewise, market forces alone will not be sufficient to promote the required RDD&D at the right scale, timing, and coordination across economies and sectors--even when these market forces are guided by potential large profits from the generation of new intellectual property. Technological success will therefore require a globally coordinated effort in technology development, built on technology roadmaps for each of the key, precommercial low-carbon technologies. “Directed technological change should not be conceived as picking winners, but as making sure the market has enough winners to pick from to achieve cost-effective low-carbon outcomes.” 2) And here are some highlights from a New York Times article on this DDPP interim report. The New York Times article is title “Blueprints for Taming the Climate Crisis”, and is located at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/business/blueprints-for-taming-the-climate-crisis.html?_r=0 (paragraphs 1-9) “Here’s what your future will look like if we are to have a shot at preventing devastating climate change. “Within about 15 years every new car sold in the United States will be electric. In fact, by midcentury more than half of the American economy will run on electricity. Up to 60 percent of power might come from nuclear sources. And coal’s footprint will shrink drastically, perhaps even disappear from the power supply. “This course, created by a team of energy experts, was unveiled on Tuesday in a report for the United Nations that explores the technological paths available for the world’s 15 main economies to both maintain reasonable rates of growth and cut their carbon emissions enough by 2050 to prevent climatic havoc. It offers a sobering conclusion. We might be able to pull it off. But it will take an overhaul of the way we use energy, and a huge investment in the development and deployment of new energy technologies. Significantly, it calls for an entirely different approach to international diplomacy on the issue of how to combat climate change. “This will require a heroic cooperative effort,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, the Columbia University economist who directs the Sustainable Development Solutions Network at the United Nations, which convened the multinational teams. “The teams, one in each of the 15 countries, looked at what would be necessary to keep the atmosphere from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above the preindustrial average of the late 19th century, a target that most of the world committed to at the climate summit meeting in Copenhagen five years ago. To do so, CO2 emissions from industry and energy use would have to fall to at most 1.6 tons a year for every person on the planet by midcentury. “That is less than a tenth of annual American emissions per person today and less than a third of the world average. And we haven’t quite figured out how to get from here to there. “The American team built several paths that would hit the target, using different mixes of nuclear power, renewable energy and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage technology. So did the Russian team, aided by the expected shrinking of the Russian population. “But the Chinese team was stymied by the country’s vast heavy industry — its steel makers and cement plants, which use enormous amounts of energy. The best it could do was chart a path that took CO2 emissions to some 3.4 tons per person by midcentury. “We have shipped a lot of industry to China,” Mr. Sachs said. “Industry is hard to decarbonize.” (paragraphs 18-23) “The new assessment also underscores the pointlessness of small, incremental emissions cuts. Under the path, the United States decarbonizes its energy supply at an average pace of almost 4 percent a year over the next four decades. That is more than 10 times faster than the Energy Information Administration’s forecast last year. China takes CO2 out of its energy about six times as fast as the E.I.A.’s forecast. “This is not achievable by going after low-hanging fruit, such as replacing coal with natural gas in power plants. Doing so could even be counterproductive, locking the country’s energy infrastructure into a high-carbon path. “Most important, perhaps, the new assessment suggests that deep decarbonization can be done without breaking any economy. Chinese incomes, for instance, are assumed to grow about 4.6 percent a year until midcentury. “The decarbonization paths rely on aggressive assumptions about our ability to deploy new technologies on a commercial scale economically. For instance, carbon capture and storage is supposed to be available starting in about 10 years. Second-generation biofuels are assumed to come into play by 2020. Hydrogen fuel cells and power storage technology are deployed starting around 2030. “But these technologies all exist today and seem reasonably scalable. The teams did not rely on more speculative technologies, like cold fusion, to make their numbers. “The new approach — which the United Nations hopes will inform the debate up to the next climate summit in Paris in fall 2015 — could offer a path out of the stalemate that international climate negotiations have become.” My Comments 1) I have seen many statistics and observations describing the unprecedented nature of the culture change needed by culture change sufficient to resolve the climate change challenge—for examples, see the 28 point timeline of warnings on global warming in the CPCS document “Invitation Package for Possible Board of Advisors” (589 pages) (see https://worldpulse.com/files/upload/1111/invitation_package_for_possible_board_of_advisors_.pdf ) (pages 273—301)—however, this is the first time I have seen (from above New York Times article): “The teams, one in each of the 15 countries, looked at what would be necessary to keep the atmosphere from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above the preindustrial average of the late 19th century, a target that most of the world committed to at the climate summit meeting in Copenhagen five years ago. To do so, CO2 emissions from industry and energy use would have to fall to at most 1.6 tons a year for every person on the planet by midcentury. “That is less than a tenth of annual American emissions per person today and less than a third of the world average. And we haven’t quite figured out how to get from here to there.” 2) Consider the passages below (from the above New York Times article): “Most important, perhaps, the new assessment suggests that deep decarbonization can be done without breaking any economy. Chinese incomes, for instance, are assumed to grow about 4.6 percent a year until midcentury. “The decarbonization paths rely on aggressive assumptions about our ability to deploy new technologies on a commercial scale economically. For instance, carbon capture and storage is supposed to be available starting in about 10 years. Second-generation biofuels are assumed to come into play by 2020. Hydrogen fuel cells and power storage technology are deployed starting around 2030.” My “List of Ten Critical Challenges” (see https://worldpulse.com/files/upload/1111/a_list_of_ten_critical_challenges_2014.pdf ) factors in many “social and environmental externalities” which it is hard to imagine are factored in to projections like “Chinese incomes, for instance, are assumed to grow about 4.6 percent a year until midcentury.” It does seem that I am in a very small minority which sees many trajectories moving in a dangerous direction, and thus believes that “decarbonization paths (relying) on aggressive assumptions about our ability to deploy new technologies on a commercial scale”—however unprecedented and successful the efforts—can hardly be successful if world population trends and indiscriminant consumption trends continue, and can hardly be successful if cultures of violence, greed, corruption, and overindulgence remain critical challenges, and the marginalization of the treasured wisdom of religious, spiritual, and moral traditions also remains a critical challenge. However, each of us has to decide, based on the information we have and the experiences we have, what kind of good life we want for ourselves, and future generations, and what we are willing to do—or risk—to get it.

Stefan Pasti

Jul 24, 2014
12:52

Member


12 |
Share via:
Proposal
contributor
Additional Closing Comments Re-emphasizing Two Key Questions There are three key questions I’d like to re-emphasize as part of these closing comments summarizing the benefits of my proposal “Tipping Point Action: Citizen Participation in Times of Unprecedented Challenges”. The first question has to do with what many commentators refer to as a most difficult subject, in relation to mitigating global warming/climate change: the moral and spiritual questions. The kind of questions most people do not seem to be ready for… yet. One of my questions in this category is: 1) “How can the ‘reduce’ piece be incorporated into the dominant values, social norms, and attitudes of communities around the world without somehow coming to terms with the fundamental inconsistencies between cultures which encourage indiscriminant consumption and the treasured wisdom of most religious, spiritual, and moral traditions, which emphasize a) sacrificing personal desires for the greater good of the whole b) finding contentment and quality of life while consuming less material goods and ecological services c) using resources carefully, so that there is surplus available for emergency assistance?” The two other key questions I’d like to re-emphasize focus on the potential, in universities and colleges, to explore areas of curriculum change which would be needed during a time of unprecedented culture change: 2) “What would an educational curriculum look like—for preparing survey specialists, resource coordinators for Neighborhood Learning Centers, and organizers/facilitators for Community Visioning Initiatives (and other stakeholder engagement/collaborative problem solving approaches)—if it was to be delivered in training modules similar to the kind used when the Peace Corps was scaled up?” 3) “What if there needed to be a reversal of the urbanization trend, and a demographic shift from megacities to more ecologically sustainable and villages, towns, and small cities (with much more potential to achieve carbon neutral economies)? What kind of curriculum (in colleges, other learning institutions, and in Neighborhood Learning Centers) would be most appropriate to create the knowledge base and skill sets necessary to make such a transition?” I am re-emphasizing the above three questions because they show how wide a range of challenges can be addressed by very comprehensive and well-thought Community Visioning Initiatives (preceded by preliminary surveys, and supported by many Neighborhood Learning Centers). And it should not be surprising to see proposals which advocate for problem solving and culture change on a scale most of us have never known before. After all, it took a lot of being confused about the cardinal directions on our “moral compasses” to get where we are (global warming can be understood as the cumulative result of many other unresolved issues which have, in themselves become critical challenges)—and many of the unresolved issues contributing to global warming have been around since the dawn of civilization (Ex: cultures of violence, greed, corruption, and overindulgence). So the Tipping Point Action Proposal (“Assisting with creating 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives to maximize citizen participation and accelerate solution-oriented activity”) is offered as way to help as many people as possible to “become stakeholders”—and at the same time increase their capacity to think clearly about challenges, solutions, and what they can do in their everyday behavior to accelerate solution-oriented activity (across a broad range of critical challenges). This kind of collaborative problem solving is comprehensive enough to take on difficult questions like “Where does the ‘reduce’ piece fit in?”; can be scaled up in the same way the Peace Corps was scaled up (through training modules designed and implemented by colleges and universities); and can mobilize and accelerate citizen participation and solution-oriented activity on a scale which would be sufficient to facilitate even a profound demographic shift from megacities to more ecologically sustainable and villages, towns, and small cities (with much more potential to achieve carbon neutral economies). Pilot projects—and keys to appreciating the Tipping Point Action Proposal Thus, to add to the sense of what a timeline for this proposal might look like, it seems very achievable to imagine a few colleges and universities as start up locations, and nearby communities (communities which express enough interest by way of results from preliminary surveys) to be sites for pilot projects. Most important, in these pilot projects, would be establishing a lead-in to the Community Visioning Initiatives which is a balance between citing references (in the introductions to preliminary surveys) regarding the urgency of critical challenges ahead, and allowing for the nature and character of each particular community to shape their own emphasis on challenges identified and solutions preferred. The main point always: this is collaborative problem solving for the long haul. Yes, it may be that the need for such a degree of problem solving has not yet become a well known fact… but is there anyone reading these closing comments who believes we will never need such a degree of problem solving to avoid 3 degrees C and above global warming? One of the keys to appreciating the value of this Tipping Point Action proposal: through workshops at many Neighborhood Learning Centers (support pieces for a local Community Visioning Initiative), citizens can gain greater awareness of how the investments of time, energy, and money—the “votes” each of us make in our everyday circumstances—become the larger economy. Wisely directed, such “votes” can result in countless ways of earning a living which contribute to the peacebuilding, community revitalization, and ecological sustainability efforts necessary to drastically reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and minimize other related challenges. Another key: Community Visioning Initiatives can help people “become stakeholders”, with the faith that as they do so, and become involved in the education at the level of Neighborhood Learning Centers (and “voting” on priority challenges and priority solutions), they will discover for themselves just how much we all need to be learning to make this transition, and how much we need each and every one of us to contribute our skills and resources towards solutions. Even if there is a “trial and error” phase during the first few years of scaling this proposal up, once the “aha” moment comes (for both organizers and community residents), there could easily be an acceleration of successes, and thus an acceleration in support for all manner of solution-oriented activity—which would assist with resolving many critical challenges at the same time. 1000 time-intensive Community Visioning Initiatives, in communities around the world, would create an exponential increase in solution-oriented investment, an exponential increase in solution-oriented employment, and an exponential increase in our collective capacity to overcome the challenges of our times. In addition, the nature of what is being proposed is such that the more collaborations and partnerships which carry out Community Visioning Initiatives as a response to the challenges of our times, the more best practices can accumulate at clearinghouse/hub websites. Part of the cultural treasures which communities pass along from generation to generation To believe that we could do this—that we have more than enough people who could implement this idea, that we have more than enough financial resources to do it, and that it could provide such a comprehensive form of collaborative problem solving—at a time when we are at the most critical point in the evolution of life on Planet Earth…should give readers a glimpse into what kind of positive and constructive solution-oriented activity could be taking place at this critical time. To get more than a glimpse, communities of people need to take the time to learn how to carry out these kind of Community Visioning Initiatives. This is a collective experience which could become part of the cultural treasures which communities pass along from generation to generation. If we should bypass learning how to do these kind of Community Visioning Initiatives in favor of learning how to do some other kind of collective experience—which will do a better job of maximizing citizen participation and accelerating solution-oriented activity at this critical time—I would like to know what that other kind of collective experience is. Here is your invitation Sometime, within the next five to ten years, each of us will need to decide, based on the information we have--and the life experiences we have had--what kind of good life we want for ourselves, and future generations, and what we are willing to do—or risk—to get it. Here is your invitation--to help create, contribute to, and participate in one or more of the thousands of Community Visioning Initiatives (or some similar stakeholder engagement/collaborative problem solving process designed to maximize citizen participation) needed to overcome the challenges of our times.

Climate Colab

Aug 5, 2014
08:45

Member


13 |
Share via:
The proposal outlines pursuing 1000 community visioning sessions around the country (world?) to get stakeholders working together on collaborative climate solutions.The strength of the proposal is in its getting people to co-create their future together, and the money to do this kind of work is recognized. However, it's not clear how the resources would be raised or coordinated. Perhaps a scaling plan would make sense.