IPCR Critical Challenges Assessment 2011-2012: Summary Report
This post introduces a 444 page document titled “IPCR Critical Challenges Assessment 2011-2012: Summary Report”. The compiler and writer for this “Summary Report” is Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator for The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative. This “Summary Report” document is accessible for free from the homepage of The IPCR Initiative, at www.ipcri.net (and is attached to this post).
About the “IPCR Critical Challenges Assessment 2011-2012” project
“The IPCR Critical Challenges Assessment 2011-2012” was a research project of IPCR Founder and Outreach Coordinator (Stefan Pasti) from July, 2011—January, 2012. The IPCR webpage for this “Critical Challenges Assessment” project is at http://www.ipcri.net/Critical-Challenges-Assessment.html . Drafts of 4 different sections are accessible there (in pdf format). Due to accumulating evidence and unfolding events, a final report version was made accessible in January, 2012 (titled "Calling 'the better angels of our nature: A Multi-Angle View of the Debt Crises" (398 pages).
Why This “Second Edition”/Update Was Created
This “Summary Report” document was created (as a “second edition”/update to the above mentioned “Multi-Angle” document) because even though evidence continues to accumulate that there are “many dangers signs flashing”, most public discourse indicates a tragic lack of awareness about such danger signs, and/or a tragic lack of urgency regarding the need for accelerating solution-oriented activity. Thus, one of the additions to the original "Multi-Angle" document is an added Appendix, which includes excerpts from 19 articles, mostly from June and July, 2012. These excerpts provide additional evidence in support of the need for more awareness, and urgency, regarding many critical challenges--not just one or two. One of the more tragic ironies of our times is that with so much capacity to communicate, and so many opportunities to learn from people with special knowledge on critical issues, much of our attention is diverted from what might be most helpful to us. Thus, instead of providing us with a foundation for collaboration and collective problem solving, much of what we are giving our attention to divides us into a multitude of factions with few common points of reference, and few common goals. What can we be gaining that is so valuable that it is worth more to us than our ability to understand and respond to unprecedented critical challenges?
Another change from the original “Multi-Angle” document is that for this “second edition” version, the document has been given a different title. This writer has been concerned that some of the value of the “summary report” was obscured by the original title leading readers to believe that the emphasis was solely on the debt crises. [For a quick glance at all ten of the critical challenges identified and researched during this “Critical Challenges Assessment” project, see the last page of the new “Summary Report” document.]
There are also four other additions to the original “Multi-Angle” document. Three different introductions (all bookmarked from the title page) have now been added to the document—and there is one more new Appendix, which is a 9 page article introducing Community Visioning Initiatives as a alternative to General Elections (“Community Visioning Initiatives or General Elections?”).
The detailed “Table of Contents” (which can provide a quick overview of this summary report) can be found on p. 2, (after the three introductions, which are identified by “roman numeral” page signifiers). There is a bookmark link from the title page to the “Table of Contents”. [The 5 page "Table of Contents" has also been attached to this post.]
Brief Description and Commentary
The evidence that is brought forward in this “Summary Report” is in the form of excerpts from books, websites, executive summaries of key publications, articles from “news aggregator” websites, etc.—and the sources include many people who are highly regarded in their fields of activity.
This “Summary Report” provides sufficient evidence that there are “many danger signs flashing” now, specifically in relation to the following critical challenges:
a) global warming and reducing carbon emissions
b) the end of the era of “cheap oil”, and the need to reduce dependence on petroleum based products
c) global inequities and the tragic cycles of malnutrition, disease, and death
d) an increasing world population requiring more resources when many resources are becoming more
scarce (with a special emphasis on the increasing number of people who are consuming resources and
ecological services indiscriminately)
e) 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
f) a marginalization of the wisdom associated with religious, spiritual, and moral traditions
[Note: "The IPCR List of Ten Critical Challenges" is attached to this post.]
Below are two excerpts—one from a three page introduction to this “Summary Report”, and one from an eight page introduction (both introductions are included in the “Summary Report” document)—which highlight the unprecedented nature of the challenges ahead:
1) “…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—and which are much of the reason why cultures of violence, greed, and corruption have become so common that most people believe they are inevitable. (See Section IV ‘Cultures of Violence, Greed, Corruption, and Overindulgence’)….”
2) “People who believe that because they have no conscience there are no after-effects and consequences associated with their actions are disconnected from the reality of what gets passed on to future generations as ‘cultural norms’. People in the generations now alive on this planet have received (as our inheritance from previous generations) ideas about ‘cultural norms’—a ‘package’ which includes many ideas which in reality have counter-productive, harmful, or even crippling effects on efforts to support and maintain the ‘greater good of the whole’. We are finding that out ‘big time’ in our current circumstances. There are many danger signs flashing now. More and more people are coming to the realization that overcoming the challenges of our times will require problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before—and that there is an urgent need to restructure our economic systems and our education systems to respond to these challenges.”
This “Summary Report” also includes much evidence in support of the IPCR “constellation of initiatives” approach to maximizing citizen participation in solution-oriented activity. What might constitute a “constellation of initiatives” approach is explored in more detail in Section VIII “Solutions” (108 pages), and in the most of the 84 pages of Appendices. There are many ideas which represent solution-oriented activity—and many ways solution-oriented activity could be accelerated—but these ideas and approaches are simply not “coming through the mist as much as they should be”. The need to achieve “clear vision”, the need for affordable education systems appropriate to the tasks ahead, and the need to inspire the involvement and participation of as many citizens as possible, has urged The IPCR Initiative to advocate for a combination Community Visioning Initiatives, "Community Teaching and Learning Centers" with ongoing workshops, and "sister community" relationships as a way of generating an exponential increase in our collective capacity to overcome the challenges of our times.
There are difficult challenges ahead. We will need the best efforts we can make at working together if we are going to manage a transition from dysfunctional systems which are very complex to functioning systems which are much less complex. Readers who explore the concept of Community Visioning Initiatives in detail (Ex: “About Community Visioning Initiatives” p.230-238, “A 15 Step Outline for the kind of Community Visioning Initiatives advocated by The IPCR Initiative” p.361-379, and “Community Visioning Initiatives or General Elections?”) will see that there are many ways communities of people could be working together that have not yet been fully explored… much potential which has not yet been fulfilled.
If many people could see and feel the practical value of carrying out similar forms of Community Visioning Initiatives, such collaborative, solution-oriented activity could become a common experience… a common cultural tradition… a cultural tradition which can link many diverse communities of people together, in a fellowship of people working towards the greater good of the whole… and a cultural tradition which can help pass on to future generations the best ideas humans have accumulated in more than 5,000 years of human history.
For a Peaceful and Sustainable Future,
Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator
The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative