Optimism, Hope, and Confidence
Many people -- especially young people -- look at our situation and prospects and ask, can we be optimistic? We have acted too slowly to help tens of millions of people, and if hundreds of millions, even billions, are to be spared the same fate, massive changes are needed over just the next few years. Can we be hopeful?
There is a difference between being optimistic and being hopeful. An optimistic person has a habitual disposition to expect the best possible outcome as the most likely. A hopeful person has a reasoned commitment to and faith in a good outcome, even though it may be unlikely in the light of past experience.
There is reason for us all to be hopeful but not optimistic. We can be hopeful because Earth is such a fertile, supporting place. We can be hopeful because Earth is showing remarkable resilience in the face of tremendous abuse. We can be hopeful because we now have a much greater understanding of Earth and its limits. We can be hopeful because we humans are recognizing that, as a species, we cannot indefinitely increase our numbers and our demands on Earth. We can be hopeful because we humans are beginning to recover from our erroneous notion that we are separate, above, and independent of all other life.
But perhaps something more than hope is justified. At least one person, Father Thomas Berry, thinks so:
[W]e need to realize that the ultimate custody of the earth belongs to the earth. The issues we are considering are fundamentally earth issues that need to be dealt with in some direct manner by the earth itself. As humans we need to recognize the limitations in our capacity to deal with these comprehensive issues of the earth’s functioning. So long as we are under the illusion that we know best what is good for the earth and for ourselves, then we will continue our present course, with its devastating consequences on the entire earth community.
Our best procedure might be to consider that we need not a human answer to an earth problem, but an earth answer to an earth problem. The earth will solve its problems, and possibly our own, if we will let the earth function in its own ways. We need only listen to what the earth is telling us.
Here we might observe that the basic mood of the future might well be one of confidence in the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the earth. If the dynamics of the universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process . . . . . 
Let us all listen to and allow ourselves to be guided by the creative energy that shaped and lighted the universe from the beginning. Let us all awaken to a new understanding of ourselves and the continuing revelation that takes place in and through Earth. Let us take back our lives from cynicism, optimism, addictions, and despair. Let us act with conviction and confidence.
"Proposal for a Meeting of Heads of State and Spiritual Leaders in Iceland in 2000"
In 1991, the MILLENNIUM INSTITUTE submitted a proposal to the government of Iceland for a meeting of heads of state and spiritual leaders to be held in 2000 at Thingvellir, Iceland, the natural amphitheater that was the original meeting place of the Icelandic Parliament. (below images)
Thingvellir, natural amphitheater
Thingvellir is now a beautiful national park where the Parliament of Iceland still meets on the most important occasions. Use of Thingvellir is controlled by the Thingvallanefnd (the Thingvellir committee of the Icelandic Parliament) and virtually no meetings are permitted there except meetings of the Icelandic Parliament.
There have been several meetings and discussions of the proposal with the senior leaders of Iceland, including Prime Minister David Odson; Former Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermannsson; Mr. Bjorn Bjarnason, Vice-President of the Parliament; Mr. Jon Sigardsson, Minister of Industry and Commerce; The Most Reverend Bishop of Iceland Olafur Skulasou; The Most Reverend Catholic Bishop of Iceland Alfred Jolson; Pastor Hanna Maria Petursdottir, Director of the National Park and Thingvellir.
The Icelandic leaders are interested, but cautious. They wonder if heads of state and spiritual leaders would be willing to come to what many who have never visited this beautiful country regard as "the very edge of the inhabitable world."
It would encourage Icelanders greatly if spiritual leaders individually or collectively wrote letters asking that Iceland host this much-needed meeting. Letters from others would also be helpful. Letters should be addressed to: His Excellency Bjorn Bjarnason, Vice-President of the Icelandic Parliament and Chair of the Thingvallanefnd, Althingi, 150 Reyjavik, Iceland and should refer to the following proposal.
A Proposal to the Thingvallanefnd for a Meeting of Heads of State and Spiritual Leaders at Thingvellir in 2000 [*]
I am writing at the direction of the Board of Trustees of the MILLENNIUM INSTITUTE. We would like to begin exploration of the possibility that a major meeting of the world’s heads of state and spiritual leaders could be held at Thingvellir in the summer of 2000.
The following paragraphs are our first attempt to put our ideas on paper. After you have reflected on them, we would appreciate you raising them with the members of the Thingvallanefnd. If there is openness to some discussion, we would like to join with an appropriate group of Icelanders in the development of a plan for the meeting and the preparation of a feasibility study.
For almost a decade now, we at the INSTITUTE have been encouraging nation after nation to prepare what we call a 21st Century Study, i.e., a long-term exploration of how a nation will manage its affairs in the 21st century. Over the years we have developed training materials and a Tool Kit to facilitate these studies.
A fifth of the nations of the world now have study projects that meet or approximate our definition of a 21st Century Study. As you know Iceland is one of these countries. Before 2000 we hope to persuade every nation to prepare a 21st Century Study.
In the course of working with many nations, it has become clear to us that we humans face an uncertain 21st century. While there will certainly be many opportunities, there will also be enormous challenges: growing nationalism; conflicts of ethnicity and religion; limitations of petroleum and fresh water resources; disruption of Earth’s atmosphere and climate; destruction of habitat and the extinction of huge numbers of species; continued rapid growth of human numbers; risks of AIDS and other diseases; drug trafficking; the poverty, neglect, and abuse of women and minorities; the destructiveness of modern weapons; and the fragility of our global economic systems. To meet these challenges and take advantage of our opportunities, we humans must find ways to work much more closely together in the future than ever before.
It is the conviction of the Trustees and staff of the INSTITUTE that rational analysis of the opportunities and challenges can help guide human steps into the future. However, if we humans are to achieve the cooperation and understanding essential to a successful 21st century, something inspirational is also needed. Because of this conviction, we are trying to combine the rational analysis of the 21st Century Studies with the spiritual inspiration of the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Our fondest hope is that the national 21st Century Studies, the religions of the world, and the unique and special traditions of Thingvellir can be combined into an enormously powerful, planetary event at the entry into the 21st century.
Deep in the human psyche is a compulsion to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, and the entry into the 21st century will be no exception. If anything, this particular anniversary will be a psychological experience more profound than the usual transition to a new century because it is also (on the most widely used calendar) the transition to a new millennium. Already hotel ballrooms are being booked up for December 31, 1999. The entry into the 21st century will be a birthday and anniversary of planetary proportions, and if the energies it will generate can be channeled in a constructive direction, the future of Earth could be radically better than might otherwise be the case.
We are convinced that if the anniversary compulsion is to be channeled in a constructive direction, that direction must be determined with care through systematic analysis. We also believe that the vision for the future must arise from multiple perspectives, not from a single source. That is why we are now devoting so much time and effort to the encouragement of integrated, multi-sectoral national 21st Century Studies.
In virtually every country in which a 21st Century Study has been successfully completed, the study has had a major impact on the thinking of the people and leaders of the country. Part of the impact comes from the fact that there are so few well-developed analyses of the future possibilities for a country; when one comes along, it quite naturally attracts attention. Another reason is that the reports help nations to overcome the denial of some of the issues that everyone senses but for which there exists no suitable forum for discussion. In one country, it was the dumping of massive amounts of toxic wastes in rivers and on the land. In another it was unsustainably high rates of population growth. In another it was excessive dependence on imports of petroleum and other resources. Thus the 21st Century Studies are a tremendous help to nations in overcoming denial and addressing critical national issues affecting their future development.
But the studies by themselves are inadequate to allow nations to overcome one very important denial, namely that they are part of a single planet. As a result, we find virtually every nation assuming that its balance of payments problems in the early years of the 21st century will be solved by exporting more that it imports. (In reality, of course, it is impossible for all nations to export more than they import.) Virtually every nation is assuming that it will be able to import more oil from the Middle East, import more food from the world’s bread baskets, and release more carbon dioxide and chloroflurocarbon into the atmosphere. While such assumptions seem to make sense in the context of a single nation looking in isolation at its own future, in total they imply disastrous consequences for the planet as a whole.
To help nations see themselves within a planetary context, we are beginning to synthesize all of the studies into a picture of Earth in the 21st century. The first version of this synthesis is our book, Studies for the 21st Century, which summarizes about forty 21st Century Studies. This book, which has been prepared with funding from UNESCO, will be ready for publication before the end of the year. The next version of our synthesis is being prepared for the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions.
The religions of the world will have a powerful influence on the human future. Currently there are about forty wars in progress around the world, and the hostilities inspired by religions are major factors in virtually every one of these wars. Religious beliefs also stand in the way of attention to a number of critical issues. The best known of many examples is the attitude of various faiths to family planning, but equally important are teachings concerning "progress" and the difference between needs and wants. For these reasons, it is critically important that the leaders of the world’s religions be engaged in a dialog on the critical issues of the future. This is what will happen at the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, August 28 to September 4, 1993, in Chicago.
The first Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in Chicago in 1893. It was an enormously successful and influential event that focused on increasing inter-religious understanding and tolerance. Now a centennial of the original Parliament is being organized. The 1993 Parliament will be a major global event at which influential representatives of the world’s religions will be asked to address the critical issues of the 21st century.
The MILLENNIUM INSTITUTE is a partner with the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in organizing the 1993 Parliament. Our part of the overall task is to prepare a synthesis of everything available on the future of Earth. The report, to be entitled Global 2000 Revisited: What Shall We Do?, will describe what Earth will be like in the 21st century if all nations continue as they now plan and will ask the world’s spiritual leaders to share their wisdom on how we humans should manage our affairs on Earth in the 21st century.
We are also beginning to assemble a "catalog" of key projects and major actions that need to be done for Earth. One example might be to utilize the best satellite technology now available to build and deploy a highly effective famine early warning system. Another might be a system to provide at least an elementary education to every child on the planet.
The report and a very early draft of the catalog will be major inputs into the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. The Parliament will provide a high-visibility forum at which thoughtful spiritual leaders will have a global audience. Many prominent spiritual leaders have already agreed to attend, including His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Dr. Abdula Omar Nasseef, Director General, Muslim World League. An agenda item for the 1993 Parliament is the possibility of establishing a continuing institution called the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Following the 1993 Parliament, we want to work with the continuing Parliament of the World’s Religions (if it comes into being), with other interreligious organizations, with individual spiritual leaders, and with individuals from all faith traditions to prepare an event or series of events in the 1999-2001 period. Part of the preparation will be the development of three documents:
(1) the report on the projected state of Earth in the 21st century;
(2) the combined wisdom of the faith traditions with respect to the critical issues; and
(3) the catalog of key projects and actions that the respective traditions could support and recommend. This work should be completed by about 1996.
We will need the assistance of a group of dedicated and committed spiritual leaders. We need them to help think through what are the key projects and actions needed to put Earth on a sustainable course and to help arrange the participation of fifty to one hundred of the most respected spiritual leaders of the world. We also need them and the leaders of the national 21st Century Studies to help arrange meetings with all heads of state of the world, and to ensure that all heads of state participate.
To the political leaders, we will say, in effect:
We, the peoples of the world, are approaching a major anniversary, an anniversary of Earth.
Anniversaries, of course, are a time for celebration, but they are also a time for
giving gifts. Since this is an extraordinary anniversary, your nation may want to
join other nations in making a gift to Earth for the 21st century.
To help you to think through what gift might be appropriate for your nation to
give, we have brought you three reports: a picture of the future of the planet in the
21st century; the wisdom and teaching of the faith traditions on the critical issues
of the 21st century; and a catalog of major projects and actions that experts,
visionaries, and spiritual leaders recommend be done for Earth.
We ask that you share these documents with your parliament (or congress, etc.) and begin consideration of a major gift that your nation could make to Earth in the 21st century.
Then, we would present to each head of state a formal invitation and a few large, blank sheets of special paper. The invitation would be for the head of state to attend a gathering at Thingvellir sometime in the summer of 2000. We would like the invitations to the heads of state to be issued both in the name of a group of spiritual leaders of the world and in the name of the people of Iceland.
The invitation would also ask the heads of state, after deciding with their parliament on a suitable gift for Earth, to search out their nation’s best calligraphist and have their nation’s pledge to Earth recorded on the large sheets of special paper. They should then bring their nation’s pledge with them to the gathering at Thingvellir.
The event at Thingvellir in 2000 will require careful planning, and we would like to work closely with Icelanders and spiritual leaders in exploring the possibilities. Currently we envisage fifty to one hundred spiritual leaders assembled under a beautiful tent at one end of the upper flats at Thingvellir. In front of the spiritual leaders would be a stone table, constructed for the occasion by an artist. Beyond the table on the plane would be an even larger colorful tent, and under this tent would be assembled the almost two hundred heads of state of the world, each accompanied only by a spouse.
The actual celebration would have the three parts traditional to most "transition" celebrations: a ritual death to and giving up of the old 20th century and its ways of being and thinking; a brief, symbolic transitional event to mark the entry into the new; and a celebration of the possibilities of the new. Gifts to Earth from both heads of state and spiritual leaders would be a part of the celebration and would express our collective best wishes for Earth during the new era. The gifts from spiritual traditions may be even more important than the gifts from nations.
For the actual gifting ceremony, the spiritual leaders and heads of state would rise and walk to the stone table. Then, facing their peers and (by television) the peoples of the world, they would each read from the beautifully hand-written page their faith’s or nation’s pledge of what it will do for Earth in the 21st century. Similar events could be planned and held in individual nations, provinces, communities, and even families throughout the world.
After the announcement of each gift, the head of state or spiritual leader would place the written pledge on the stone table. At the end of the ceremony, the pages would all be bound together in what might be called Earth Book, 2000 and entrusted to the Icelandic Parliament, the Althingi, for safekeeping. The book would also be translated into many languages and distributed widely as a palpable symbol and reminder of what the peoples of Earth committed themselves to on the occasion of their entry into the 21st century and the third millennium.
The meeting would need to continue for several days. There are three reasons. First, the importance of this milestone, this anniversary of Earth, demands that the spiritual and political leaders of Earth pause for several days to mark and celebrate it. Second, two hundred heads of state and a hundred spiritual leaders will need at least a few minutes each to announce their gifts. And, finally, the event must not be rushed. There must be time for celebration, music, and perhaps even dancing. This will be an event that will be remembered forever, and we must do it well.
You may ask, Why hold this meeting at Thingvellir? In answer, we would say that perhaps there are other places on Earth where such a meeting could be held, but of the places we know of, Thingvellir seems best for several reasons.
Iceland is a unique place. Not only is it one of the few nations in the world which would welcome the heads of state of all nations, it is also one of the few nations in the world to which every head of state would feel comfortable in accepting an invitation. In addition, Iceland has begun, with the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting, to build a reputation as a place where diplomatic meetings can be held at the highest and most thoughtful level.
Iceland is also special in that women hold important leadership positions. The future of Earth is critically dependent on humans everywhere learning to value and utilize the talents of women. Since the political and spiritual leaders of the world are predominantly men, ways must be found to include women in the Thingvellir event. Perhaps the women of Iceland will be able to help imagine how this can be done.
Then, there is the setting itself. Thingvellir is simply beautiful. The natural amphitheater below the cliff; the plain where hundreds of people can easily gather; the clear, blue Oxara river; the inspiring clouds; the simple, yet elegant style of the few buildings; and the powerful symbolism of the joining of the European (Eastern) and American (Western) tectonic plates. This is truly a place that holds the world together. All this is perfect, exactly as it should be.
There are long summer days at Thingvellir. The midnight sun creates a special, magical environment that could enhance the gathering greatly.
Iceland is the only place in the world we know of where when something really important is to be decided or remembered, the artificial, human-made environment of the Parliament building is abandoned in favor of the outdoor, natural environment at Thingvellir, the original site of the oldest continuing parliament. This practice is important for the meeting in 2000. If humans are to have a successful 21st century, they must make peace with their original environment, and the symbolism of a major meeting of Earth’s of heads of state and spiritual leaders in our original environment could start us off in the right direction.
Thingvellir has a tradition of diplomacy and self-sacrifice that will be important in the human future. These traditions range from the work of the Law Speaker to the final acts of Njal and his children as recounted in Njal’s Saga.
Thingvellir has a tradition of religious tolerance. The little known story of how Christianity came to Iceland in 1000 is an example. Under the double threat of foreign invasion if Christianity was not adopted as the national religion and of civil war it was, the Althingi acted with great wisdom in adopting Christianity but allowing everyone to worship as they pleased privately. This solution satisfied everyone, avoided war, and established a unique tradition of religious tolerance, diplomacy, and compromise in Iceland.
But most important, is the tradition of more than a thousand years that Thingvellir is a place where even enemies can meet. Like the feuding Icelanders in 930, the entire human community today desperately needs a place where even enemies can meet. By sharing Thingvellir and its traditions with the world, Iceland can make a gift to Earth that no other nation could, a gift truly beyond value.
This last tradition could be important in solving one of several logistical details of such a gathering, namely security. Providing security for a meeting of the world’s spiritual leaders and heads of state could be a major burden if Iceland should choose to assume full responsibility. But by tradition, security for meetings at Thingvellir is not the responsibility of a single group or community; it is a responsibility shared by all who attend. This tradition can and should be continued. The invitation to the gathering should include information on the tradition and on the Thingvellir oath of safety for all participants. Each participant should be asked to guarantee to all other participants that neither they nor any of their nation’s people will harm anyone during the meeting or while they are traveling to or from the meeting. The meeting itself should begin with a modernized version of the Thingvellir oath.
Facilities and accommodations are another consideration. We would hope that the whole gathering could be kept simple. If it were held in the summer, the meeting itself might be in the open air tradition of Thingvellir. We envision the use of large colorful tents so that no new buildings would be needed at Thingvellir. If the guests were strictly limited to the spiritual leaders and heads of state, their principal spouse or partner, a single aid or assistant, and no news media, the numbers would probably not exceed the capacity of the accommodations and food services in Reykjavik in 2000.
The 21st century holds many opportunities and obstacles for our generation and for our children. An event that draws on the traditions of Thingvellir and the emotional energies of the entry into the new millennium could help all of us on Earth to make the best of the opportunities and to overcome the challenges.
When you have had an opportunity to reflect on this letter, we would appreciate an opportunity to meet with the members of the Thingvallanefnd. Then, if there is interest, we could begin together developing a plan and preparing a feasibility study.
Gerald O. Barney Executive Director MILLENNIUM INSTITUTE
1 Barney, G. O. 1980. The Global 2000 Report to the President, Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.
2 Time. 2 January 1989. pp. 29-30.
3 Novacek, P. 1992. Personal communication.
4 Pimental, D. 1992. Competition for Land: Development, Food, and Fuel. In Kuliasha,
M. A.; Zucher, A.; and Ballew, K. J., Eds. Technologies for a Greenhouse Constrained Society. Boca Raton: Louis Publishers. 1992. pp. 325-348.
5 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Commodity Economics Division, Trade Analysis Branch. 1993. Based on Agrostat data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome.
6 For a well-written description of what happens when there is not enough food to feed a large number of people, see: Brown, D. 1993. "Starving Somalis Face Ultimate Survival Test: As Malnutrition Leaches Cells’ Needs, the Human Body Rations Remaining Glucose." The Washington Post. 4 January 1993. p. A1.
7 United Nations. 1992. Long-Range World Population Projections. New York: United Nations. p. 22.
8 United Nations. 1992. Ibid.
9 Kristof, N. D. 1993. "China’s Crackdown on Births: A Stunning, and Harsh, Success." The New York Times. 25 April 1993. p. A1.
10 Ruttan, V. W. 1990. "Constraints on Sustainable Growth in Agricultural Production: Into the 21st Century." In: Agriculture and Rural Development Department and Training Division, World Bank, eds. 1991. Eleventh Agricultural Symposium: Agricultural Issues in the Nineties. Washington: The World Bank.
11 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. 1989. FAO Production Yearbook tapes. Rome: U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
12 Ruttan, V. W. December 1992. Personal communication.
13 Ruttan, V. W. 1990. "Constraints on Sustainable Growth in Agricultural Production: Into the 21st Century." In: Agriculture and Rural Development Department and Training
Division, World Bank, eds. 1991. Eleventh Agricultural Symposium: Agricultural Issues in the Nineties. Washington: The World Bank.
14 Brown, L. R. 1970. Seeds of Change: The Green Revolution and Development and the 1970s. New York: Praeger Publishers. Dalrymple, D. 1980. Development and Spread of Semi-Dwarf Wheat and Rice in the United States: An International Perspective. Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Crosby, A. W., Jr. 1972. The Columbian Exchange: The Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Viola, H. J. and Margolis, C. 1991. Seeds of Change. Washington: The Smithsonian Institution Press.
15 Carroll, C. R.; Vandermeer, J. H.; and Rosset, P. M. 1990. Agroecology. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 641 pages.
16 National Research Council. 1989. Alternative Agriculture. Washington: National Academy Press. 448 pages.
17 Ruttan, V. W., ed. 1993. Agriculture, Environment, and Health: Toward Sustainable Development into the 21st Century. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Ruttan,
V. W. 1990. "Constraints on Sustainable Growth in Agricultural Production: Into the 21st Century." In: Agriculture and Rural Development Department and Training Division, World Bank, eds. 1991. Eleventh Agricultural Symposium: Agricultural Issues in the Nineties. Washington: The World Bank. Ruttan, V. W. December 1992. Personal communication.
18 Leopold, A. 1953. Round River. New York: Oxford University Press.
19 Masters, C. D., et al. 1991. Ibid.
20 Raven, P. H. 1987. We’re Killing Our World: The Global Ecosystem in Crisis. Occasional Paper. Chicago: The MacArthur Foundation. pp. 12-13.
21 Wilson, E. O. 1993. "Is Humanity Suicidal?" The New York Times Magazine. 30 May 1993. p. 24.
22 Ruttan, V. W. December 1992. Personal communication.
23 Hubbert, M. K. 1977. "World Oil and Natural Gas Reserves and Resources." In: Congressional Research Service. Project Independence: U.S. and World Energy Outlook Through 1990. Washington: Government Printing Office. pp. 632-644. Neehring, R. 1978. Giant Oil Fields and World Oil Resources. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corp. Masters, C.D.; Root, D. H.; and Attanasi, E. D. 1991. "Resource Constraints in Petroleum Production Potential." Science. 12 July 1991, vol. 253, pp. 146-152.
24 Masters, C. D.; Root, D. H.; and Attanasi, E. D. 1991. "Resource Constraints in Petroleum Production Potential." Science. 12 July 1991, vol. 253. pp. 146-152.
25 Masters, C. D.; et al. 1991. Ibid.
26 Pimentel, D. and Dazhong, W. "Technological Changes in Energy Use in U.S. Agricultural Production." In: Carol, C. R.; Vandermeer, J. H.; and Rosset, P. M. Agroecology. New York: McGraw Hill Publishers. 1990. p. 154.
27 Energy Information Administration. 1992. Annual Energy Outlook 1992. Washington:
Department of Energy. DOE/EIA-3083 (92). p. 6; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 1989. Energy and Technology R&D -- What Could Make a Difference? as reported in: U.S. Department of Energy. 1991. National Energy Strategy. Washington:
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28 Goldberg, J., et al. 1985. "Basic Needs and Much More One With Kilowatt Per Capita." Ambio. vol. 14, no. 4-5, pp. 190-200. Levins, A. B. 1977. Soft Energy Paths: Toward a Durable Peace. Cambridge, MA: Bellinger.
29 See, for example: Daly, H. E. and Cobb, J. B., Jr. 1989. For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community and the Environment and a Sustainable Future. Boston: Beacon Press; and Ahmad, Y. J.; El Serafy, S.; Lutz, E. 1989. Environmental Accounting for Sustainable Development. Washington: The World Bank.
30 Reuters. 1993. "SDI, Chernobyl Helped End Cold War, Conference Told." New York Times. 27 February 1993. p. A17.
31 Daly, H. E. and Cobb, J. B., Jr. 1989. For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community and the Environment and a Sustainable Future. Boston: Beacon Press.
32 Turner, B. L., II, et al. 1990. The Earth As Transformed by Human Action. New York: Cambridge University Press.
33 UNEP/GEMS. 1987. The Greenhouse Gases. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.
34 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 1992. 1992 IPCC Supplement. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization. p. 25. New historical data show that massive changes in the average global temperature can occur in decades rather than in centuries. Sullivan, W. "Study of Greenland Ice Finds Rapid Change in Past Climate." The New York Times. July 1993. p. A1.
35 Watson, R. T. and Albritton, D. C. 1991. Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1991. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization. p. ES-v.
36 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 1990. Policymakers Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Climate Change. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization. pp. 22-23.
37 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 1990. Policymakers Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Climate Change. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization.
38 Global Environment Monitoring System. 1987. The Greenhouse Gases. Nairobi: U.N. Environment Programme.
39 Watson, R. T. and Albritton, D. C. 1991. Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1991. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization. p. ES-v.
40 UNEP/GEMS. 1987. "The Ozone Layer," Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.
41 Stevens, W. K. "Peril to Ozone Hastens a Ban on Chemicals." The New York Times. 26 November 1992. p. A1.
42 Watson, R. T. and Albritton, D. C. 1991. Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1991. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization. ES-i - ES-viii. Gleason, J. F., et al. 1993. "Record Low Global Ozone in 1992." Science. vol. 260. 23 April 1993. pp. 523526. Kerr, R. A. 1993. "Ozone Takes a Nose Dive After The Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo." Science. vol. 260. pp. 490-491.
43 Gen. 13:1-12
44 For details on Zaire, see Nobel, K. B. 1992. "As the Nation’s Economy Collapses, Zairians Squirm Under Mobutu’s Heel." The New York Times. 30 August 1992. p. 14. "Zaire Farce." 1992. The Economist. 12 December 1992. pp. 53-4. Wa Mutua, M. "The Last Chapter?" Africa Report. September/October 1992. pp. 54-56. Linden, E. "Kinshasa, Zaire." Time. 11 January 1993. pp. 30-31. Lumumba-Kasongo, T. "Zaire’s Ties to Belgium: Persistence and Future Prospects in Political Economy." Africa Today. 3rd Quarter 1992. pp. 23-48.
45 Turnbull, C. M. 1972. The Mountain People. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 131-132.
46 Kamm, H. 1993. "’People Smugglers’ Send New Tide of Refugees Onto Nordic Shores." The New York Times. 15 February 1993. p. A1.
47 Kamm, H. "In Europe’s Upheaval, Doors Close to Foreigners." The New York Times. 10 February 1993. p. A1.
48 Simmons, M. "The Sex Market: Scourge on the World’s Children." The New York Times. 9 April 1993. p. A3.
49 Bread for the World. 1990. Hunger 1990: A Report on the State of World Hunger. Washington: Bread for the World Institute on Hunger and Development.
50 Buber, M. 1958. I and Thou. New York: Collier Books.
51 Nhat Hanh, T. 1988. The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press. pp. 33-38.
52 For other examples of alternatives that are working, see: Starke, L. 1990. Signs of Hope: Working Towards Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ekins,
P. 1992. A New World Order: Grassroots Movements for Global Change. London: Routledge. Schmidheiny, S. 1992. Changing Course: A Global Business Perspective on Development and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: The M. I. T. Press. Goldberg, J.; Johansson, T. B.; Reddy, A. K.; and Williams, R. H. "Basic Needs and Much More With One Kilowatt Per Capita." Ambio. vol. 14. no. 4-5. pp. 190-200.
53 Linden, E. "Megacities." Time. 11 January 1993. pp. 30-31. Margolis, M. 1992. World Monitor. March 1992. pp. 42-50
54 Finnbogadottir, V. 8 April 1992. Personal communication.
55 Few people realize how common terrorist bombings have become in the United States. See: Thomas, P. 1993. "Use of Explosives in Crimes Doubles Since 1987, Killing Two Dozen a Year." The Washington Post. 13 March 1993. p. A3.
56 Meadows, D. H.; Meadows, D. L.; and Randers, J. 1992. Beyond the Limits. Post Mill, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 196.
57 The suggested actions presented here have been drawn from many sources including: Goodland, R. and Daly, H. "Ten Reasons Why Northern Income Growth is not the Solution to Southern Poverty." In: International Journal of Sustainable Development 1
(2) 23-30, 1992. Serageldin, I. "Agriculture and Environmentally Sustainable Development." Bank’s World. April 1993. pp. 18-21. Peccei, A. 1977. The Human Quality. Oxford: Pergamon; The World Commission on Environment and Development. 1987. Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Demeny, P. 1992. "Policies Seeking a Reduction of High Fertility: A Case for the Demand Side." ESD/P/ICPD.1994/EG.II/INF.16. New York: Population Division of the United Nations. MacNeill, J.; Winsemius, P.; and Yakushiji, T. Beyond Interdependence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brown, L. R.; Flavin, C.; and Postel, S. 1991. Saving the Planet. New York: Norton. Secretariat, U. N. Conference on Environment and Development. 1992. Agenda 21. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Korten, D. C. 1990. Getting to the 21st Century: Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda. Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press. Brown, L. R. 1981. Building a Sustainable Society. New York: Norton; Brown, L. R., et al. 1990. State of the World 1990. New York: Norton.
58 Gore, A. "What Is Wrong With Us?" Time. 2 January 1989. p. 66. Wilson, E. O. "Is Humanity Suicidal?" The New York Times Magazine. 30 May 1993. p. 24.
59 Rev. 21:4.
60 Berry, T. 1988. The Dream of the Earth. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. p. 29.
61 Berry, T. 1988. op. cit. p. 153
62 The World Commission on Environment and Development. 1987. Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. McNeill, J. "Strategies for Sustainable Economic Development." Scientific American. September 1989. pp. 154-165.
63 The attribute of "replicability" is an important aspect of sustainability. It invites the North to live in a way that would be sustainable globally if the North’s lifestyle were replicated throughout the South, too. For further information on this concept, see: Corea,
G. "The Rich Must Show the Way to a Replicable Lifestyle." South Letter. June 1991. p.
64 McNamara, R. S. 1991. A Global Population Policy to Advance Human Development in the 21st Century: Rafael M. Salas Memorial Lecture. New York: United Nations. pp. 15-16. Goodland, R. 1991. "The Case That the World Has Reached Limits." In: Goodland, R.; Daly, H.; and El Serafy, S., eds. 1991. Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development Building on Brundtland: Environment Working Paper No. 46. Washington: The World Bank. Vitousek, P. M.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Ehrlich, A. H.; and Matson, P. A. "Human Appropriation of the Products of Photosynthesis." Bioscience. May 1986.
65 Anderson, J. W. and More, M. 1993 "Born Oppressed." In The Washington Post. Washington: The Washington Post. 14 February 1993. p. A1.
66 Berry, T. 1988. The Dream of the Earth. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. p. 37.
67 A short, thoughtful analysis of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in the context of the decline of the Westphalian system of international order is provided in Suter, K. 1992. "Toward a More Equitable World Order." An unpublished paper prepared for the Kuala Lumpur Conference of the Club of Rome. 1519 November 1992. Available from K. Suter, GPO Box 4878, Sydney, NSW, 2001, Australia.
68 An unusually candid portrait of the problems in the United Nations is provided in Thornburgh, D. 1 March 1993. Report to the Secretary General of the United Nations by the Under Secretary-General for Administration and Management. New York: United Nations.
69 Binder, D. and Crossette, B. 1993. "As Ethnic Wars Multiply, U.S. Strives for a Policy." The New York Times. 7 February 1993. P. A1.
70 Fischer, L. 1954. Ghandi: His Life and Message for the World. New York: Mentor Books. pp. 100-101.
71 Sharp, G. 1985. National Security Through Civilian-Based Defense. Omaha, NE: The Association for Transarmament Studies.
72 Schmidheiny, Stephan, et al. 1992. Changing Course: A Global Business Perspective on Development and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
73 See Grossman, R. L. and Adams, F. T. Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation. Cambridge MA 02140 (P. O. Box 806): Charter, Ink./CSPP. 1993.
74 One that is far above average is: General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 1990. Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and an associated study guide: Presbyterian Eco-Justice Task Force. 1989. Keeping and Healing the Creation. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Others that are more disappointing include: John Paul II, His Holiness. 1990. "Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation: A Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 1990." Rome: The Vatican; and John Paul II, His Holiness. 1991. "Centesimus Annus." Rome: The Vatican.
75 Kinnamon, M., ed. 1991. Signs of the Spirit: Official Report of the Seventh Assembly. Geneva: WCC Publications. pp. 68-69.
76 Ramphal, S. 1992. Our Country, The Planet: Forging A Partnership for Survival. Washington: Island Press. pp. 202-203.
77 From an evolutionary point of view, there are many interesting questions about how and when early humans became aware of the divine or began to hear or sense revelations. One examination of this matter that I have found very helpful and insightful is: Jaynes, J. 1976. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
78 Binder, D. and Crossette, B. 1993 "As Ethnic Wars Multiply, U.S. Strives for a Policy." The New York Times. 7 February 1993. p. A1
79 Romans 8: 18-24.
80 Genesis: 1: 28-30.
81 An Earth-future without humans is really not an Earth-future. Without humans, the loss of potential and consciousness would be so large that Earth would simply not be Earth. Furthermore, an Earth-future without humans is impossible for humans even to imagine. For a thoughtful attempt to imagine an Earth-future without humans, see Schell,
J. 1982. "The Second Death." In Schell, J. The Fate of the Earth. New York: A. Knopf. pp. 99-178.
82 The original article was written by Branimir Talajic, a Sarajevo-based reporter for Novi Vjesnik, a daily newspaper in Zagreb. His article was translated for Pacific News Service by Branimir and Yelka Talajic, Croatian immigrants who live in Saratoga, California. Reprinted by permission.
83 For a list of the 48 religious and ethnic wars now in progress on every continent, see: Binder, D. and Crossette, B. "As Ethnic Wars Multiply, U.S. Strives for a Policy." The New York Times. 7 February 1993. p. A1.
84 See Swimme, B. and Berry, T. 1992. The Universe Story. Cloud, P. Oasis in Space: A History of the Planet from the Beginning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Capra, F. and Steindl-Rast, D. Belonging to the Universe. San Francisco: Harper-Collins; and Wilson, E. O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; and Crosby, A. W. 1986. Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
85 While no faith tradition has gone very far in developing inter-species ethics and morality, a few individuals have made significant steps in this direction. See, for example: Engel, J. R., and Engel, J. G., eds. 1990. Ethics of Environment and Development: Global Challenge and International Response. University of Arizona Press. Pinches, C. and McDaniel, J. B., eds. 1993. Good News for Animals: Christian Approaches to Animal Well-Being. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
86 For examples of questions being raised by others, see: Union of Concerned Scientists. 1992. "World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity." (This statement signed by 1,575 scientists from 69 countries and a press release are available from Union of Concerned Scientists, 1616 P Street, NW, Suite 310, Washington, DC, 20036, USA.) Lasch, C. "Is Progress Obsolete?" Beyond the Year 2000: A Special Issue. Time. Fall 1992. p. 71. International Coordinating Committee on Religion and Earth. 1993. "An Earth Charter: A Spiritual Perspective." Available from: International Coordinating Committee on Religion and the Earth, P.O. Box 67, Greenwich, CT 06831, USA. Kyser, R. 1993. "The Role of the Churches in Population Growth, Immigration and the Environment." 1993. The Social Contract. Winter 1992-93. pp. 75-142. Goodland, R. 1991. Tropical Deforestation Solutions, Ethics, and Religions: Environment Working Paper No. 43. Washington: The World Bank. Goodland; R., Daly, H.; and El Serafy, S. 1991.
Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development Building on Brundtland: Environment Working Paper No. 46. Washington: The World Bank. Forrester, J. W. 1971. "Churches at the Transition Between Growth and World Equilibrium." In: Forrester, J. W. 1975. Collected Papers of Jay W. Forrester. Cambridge, MA: The M. I.
T. Press. pp. 255-269. Shiva, V. 1989. Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. London: Zed Books. Spretnak, C. 1991. States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age. San Francisco: Harper Collins. Hardin, G. 1963. "A Second Sermon on the Mount." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. vol. vi, no. 3, Spring 1963. Hardin, G. 1968. "The Tragedy of the Commons." Science. vol. 162. 13 December 1968. pp. 12431248. Vickers, G. 1970. Freedom in a Rocking Boat: Changing Values in an Unstable Society. Middlesex, England: Pelican Books. Linden, E. "Too Many People." Beyond the Year 2000: A Special Issue. Time. Fall 1992. pp. 64-65.
87 Professor Julian Jaynes at Princeton University argues that "revelation" (hearing the gods) is a capability that humans have largely lost since the founding of the great religious traditions. Those few that still hear "voices" are largely dismissed by society as having one form or another of mental illness. See: Jaynes, J. 1976. The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
88 Aykroyd, P. H. 1992. The Anniversary Compulsion. Toronto: Dundurn Press.
89 1992. "A Fast Journey to 2 Celebrations." The New York Times. 29 November 1992. Section 5, p. 3.
90 Beyond the Year 2000: What to Expect in the New Millennium: A Special Issue. 1992. New York: Time.
91 Boorstin, D. J. 1983. The Discoverers. New York: Random House. pp. 596-603.
92 Several thoughtful books and papers have now been published relating to how we humans might mark Earth’s entry into the 21st century. These include: Aykroyd, P. H. 1992. The Anniversary Compulsion. Toronto: Dundurn Press. Schwartz, H. 1990. Century’s End: A Cultural History of the Fin de Siecle from the 990s through the 1990s. New York: Doubleday. Hyde, L. 1979. The Gift. New York: Vintage Books. Johnson, W.
M. 1991. Celebrations. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
93 John Paul II, His Holiness. 1992. "Lessons of the Galileo Case." Origins: CNS Documentary Service. 12 November 1992. pp. 370-373.
94 Berry, T. 1988. The Dream of the Earth. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. p. 137.