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Three Issues Related to the Spiritual/Moral Dimensions of the Climate Change Challenge

(and why current response levels on these issues suggest a need for problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before)

[comments in response to questions regarding the proposal “Tipping Point Action: Citizen Participation in Times of Unprecedented Challenges”—in the contest “Shifting Behavior in a Changing Climate”, at the MIT Climate CoLab Contest Platform (see Comment #9 in “Comments” section at http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300210/planId... )]

[Note: While the “preamble” (which is part of my response to the questioners mentioned above) may seem unnecessary to include here, it does help to appreciate how Community Visioning Initiatives can help create “problem solving on a scale most of us have never known before, and thus (I believe) helps tie together all the comments in this post.]

[The three issues I focus on (after the “preamble”) 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.]

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 at http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300210/planId... ) (or use this link http://static.squarespace.com/static/520028bce4b0929e453ba8be/t/5290eff4... )]:

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-sovere... )]

“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_Introducti... ) (confirmed October 17, 2013) (full report accessible at http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/GreenEconomyReport/tabid/29846/Default.... )
“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.

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