sustainaBLISSt

To care as ONE, to act as ONE, to protect as ONE, to be ONE

Petition for labeling GMOS ends today! Lets not fall behind in yet another category USA!

Today, there’s a floor fight in the U.S. Senate to decide who benefits this time around: You or corporate lobbyists? 

An estimated 75 to 80% of processed food in the U.S. contains GMOs (genetically modified organism). For the past 15 years, Americans have been denied the basic right to know what’s in our food, despite the fact that more than 50 countries around the world already require labeling of genetically engineered food. Just this month, the ministry of consumer affairs in India issued a notification indicating that every food package containing genetically modified food shall bear at the top of its principal display panel, the words ‘GM.’

Don’t we deserve the same!? 

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Even Russia and China  label GMOs, allowing their citizens the fundamental right to know what they’re eating! Why not the U.S.? Because giant biotech and seed companies like Monsanto have written the rules for our governmental regulatory agencies and paid billions in lobbying, public relations and campaign donations over the past two decades. Senator Bernie Sanders is standing up to the corporations by putting forward an amendment to label genetically engineered foods and he needs our support! We should also join eco-advocates in supporting fair crop insurance for organic farmers and guaranteeing seed diversity for generations to come!  

Right now members of Congress are writing a letter to tell the FDA that it’s time to label genetically engineered foods. In the next 48 hours your Senators and Congressperson needs to hear from you immediately so you can have the Right to Know what you’re eating!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/call/tell_Congress_48_hours_to_label_gmos/ 

If you can’t reach your Senator or Congressperson by entering your information below, please call the Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

 

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Petition for labeling GMOS ends today! Lets not fall behind in yet another category USA!

Today, there’s a floor fight in the U.S. Senate to decide who benefits this time around: You or corporate lobbyists? 

An estimated 75 to 80% of processed food in the U.S. contains GMOs (genetically modified organism). For the past 15 years, Americans have been denied the basic right to know what’s in our food, despite the fact that more than 50 countries around the world already require labeling of genetically engineered food. Just this month, the ministry of consumer affairs in India issued a notification indicating that every food package containing genetically modified food shall bear at the top of its principal display panel, the words ‘GM.’

Don’t we deserve the same!? 

Image

Even Russia and China  label GMOs, allowing their citizens the fundamental right to know what they’re eating! Why not the U.S.? Because giant biotech and seed companies like Monsanto have written the rules for our governmental regulatory agencies and paid billions in lobbying, public relations and campaign donations over the past two decades. Senator Bernie Sanders is standing up to the corporations by putting forward an amendment to label genetically engineered foods and he needs our support! We should also join eco-advocates in supporting fair crop insurance for organic farmers and guaranteeing seed diversity for generations to come!  

Right now members of Congress are writing a letter to tell the FDA that it’s time to label genetically engineered foods. In the next 48 hours your Senators and Congressperson needs to hear from you immediately so you can have the Right to Know what you’re eating!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/call/tell_Congress_48_hours_to_label_gmos/ 

If you can’t reach your Senator or Congressperson by entering your information below, please call the Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

 

Leave a comment »

Bigger is Better is Bonkers Part II: Can’t Go Without Looking Within

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We left off saying how our self-interest is at the heart of the problem as it causes the environmental crisis. Yet, on the flip-side of the self-interest coin lies the solution. Self-interest is inherent and ensures that we take care of our biological selves, finding adequate food, water and shelter, and avoiding life-threatening situations. To avoid suffering and return to a state of inner well-being is our most fundamental self-interest – the true bottom line against which we measure all our actions.

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We are rather like Nasrudhin, the “wise-fool” of Sufi tales, who has lost his key somewhere in his house. But he is searching for it out in the street “because,” he says, “there is more light outside.” We too look for the key to fulfillment in an illusory world around because that is the world we know best. We know how to change that world which is predicated on gathering possessions, making people and things behave the way we want and satisfying our ego through the material world but there seems to be “much less light inside” so we shun looking from within for answers.  This is why we consume so much more than we physically need. Most of what we consume we consume in the belief that it will make us happier. If only we had enough, we tell ourselves, we would be happy. We have become addicted to the material world like a person with a chemical addiction, we want to feel good inside. So we gather for ourselves whatever we believe will make us feel better. But because no ‘thing’ can ever satisfy that inner need, the ‘high’ soon wears off, and we go off in search of another ‘fix’. This addiction to things is one of the prime reasons we resist the very changes that we most need to make if we are to create a sustainable civilization.

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Peter Russell says, “this is another reason our economic system has become so wedded to growth. We believe that material prosperity equates with inner peace. This may be true for a person who lacks the basics to survive, but the majority of people in developed nations who have far surpassed attaining the basics seem to know when to stop consuming. Our mindset revolves around the idea “If only I had more wealth or opportunities I would be happier,” yet craving only leads to more craving. Our fear of transforming this mindset arises because the resulting mindset does not pursue the same experiences and does so with a different orientation of consciousness. In the ‘get more’ mind-set, we are dogs chasing a stick and arriving is not an option. Our only freedom of choice in this mindset exists as the freedom to choose between one brand and another, one job or another. Meaningful work and a meaningful life have been severed from our supposed needs of survival within our system.

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It no longer works for the individual, as Wendel Berry makes clear in his book, The Unsettling of America:

An American is probably the most unhappy citizen in the history of the world. . . . He suspects that his love life is not as fulfilling as other people’s. He wishes that he had be been born sooner, or later. He does not know why his children are the way they are. He does not understand what they say. He does not care much and does not know why he does not care. He does not know what his wife wants or what he wants. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make him suspect that he is basically unattractive. He feels that all his possessions are under threat of pillage. He does not know what he would do if he lost his job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies failed, if the police went on strike, if the truckers went on strike, if his wife left him, if his children ran away, if he should be found to be incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of course, he consults certified experts who, in turn, consult certified experts about their anxieties.

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Our system does not work for the planet as a whole.  Our unsustainable consciousness about our western way of live is the first thing that’s going to have to undergo a rapid change. It leads to short-term needs that are intrinsically incompatible with the long-term needs of future generations. Changing our behaviors is not enough; we have to reorient the mode of consciousness that underlies them.

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Accomplishing this consciousness shift appears to be a herculean effort but once a threshold level is crossed in understanding, real change will happen. Catalyzing the momentum for this shift will be our way of accelerating the natural process of maturation. The wisdom we need for this maturation has been the goal of all the great spiritual traditions. They have each uniquely been trying to help us move beyond our material attachments; to find within ourselves the peace of mind that we eternally seek; and to nourish the wisdom we each carry in our hearts so that it may become the basis of our words and more importantly our actions.

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Peter Russell suggests that we need the psychological equivalent of the Apollo Project for human consciousness expansion.  Kennedy set the challenge of getting to the moon in ten years. The resources were there, the knowledge was being gained, the technology had to be developed. Dedication to the mission brought fruition, and nine years later the first human being was standing on the moon.  For Russell, “The new frontier we now urgently need to master is not outer space but inner space.” In this case, the monetary resources are there, considering all of the trillions spent each year defending ourselves against each others greed and jealousy. The knowledge is being gained. Seeds of it are to be found in the great spiritual teachings, in many philosophies, in various psychotherapies, and in the emerging fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. The real need is a dedicated research and development effort to explore how we can most easily release our minds from this materialist mindset and move into a more mature mode of functioning. The technology on how to expedite this more mature mode of consciousness will be the subject of future posts.

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Rubbing our eyes and seeing our authentic self without the materialistic conditioning is just not something we have applied ourselves to.  The payoffs from shifting from the ego-centric view to a more sustainable mode would be priceless! With less attachment to material goods we now believe our so important, the worth we place on relationships, personal health and spiritual endeavors increases. Inner-development is not an isolated solution but it is the underlying root cause that should be addressed rather than preoccupying ourselves with short-term fixes for the symptoms of the global crisis. The road ahead is one of miraculous self-discovery that will only serve to unite humankind into a larger self. Embrace the changing tides that cause this to arise! As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Enlightenment for a wave, is the moment the wave realizes it is water.” When humanity has the same collective revelation, there will be an enduring peace.

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The happy trails are traveled together!

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“Bigger is Better” is Bonkers Part I: The Leviathan of Economic Growth

Many have bandied about the word “sustainability,” from green philosophers to but what does it really mean? Amidst the hundreds of definitions though, the pervading idea is that we should leave earth in as good a state we found it, which is possible, just not the direction we are headed in.  ‘Development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ is a tall order when greed has caused short-term desire to trump long-term practicality. Obviously, it is an imperative to change our course to repair the damage done the planet’s biosystem, but the problem is that the steps necessary to bring it about are not in our immediate interest and this results in planetary procrastination.

The first assumption we need to investigate about sustainable development is whether it is compatible with the model of growth for both population and industry. The average Westerner today consumes over 100 times the resources of a person living 200 years ago at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Over the same period, the population has increased by a factor of ten. Combine these two growths together and the result is a 1000-fold increase in consumption, and with it a corresponding increase in waste and pollution. As the human population most likely doubles over the next three decades, the industrial production will exponentially increase as the basic resources we need to survive are exacerbated. Our visible consumer culture is so extreme that the storage-locker industry is growing quickly in the U.S. despite the simultaneous increase in the size of our homes. Philosopher Peter Russell opines, “Corporate rates of growth are planned to be even higher. Many major US corporations, including some of the greener ones, have committed themselves to growth rates of between 10% and 15% At that rate, companies currently turning over $10 billion will be in the trillion dollar range in thirty years. How can that be sustainable in the long-term?” Shifting from manufacturing to information processing will lessen the rate at which our consumption of grows, but slowing the rate of growth does not eliminate the problem; it merely moves the crisis point a few years into the future.

With this mounting problem, we need to turn away from isolationism and realize not helping the third world will only contribute to furthering their instances of deforestation, over-grazing, soil erosion and water contamination. Yet, in the U.S. and other developed nations, our neo-Keynesian model is fixated on economic growth at the expense of societal well-being. The success of our growing economy is the mistaken object of worship as if we believe that the pursuit of happiness can be quantified on the New York Stock Exchange. The pundits cheer the headlines boasting increases in industrial outputs without any pause for what it means in the long-term. There is a way to calculate “Green GDP” where the environmental costs of growth are factored in. Yet Pundits ignore this when they advocate projects like the Keystone XL pipeline by saying it will create jobs and grow the economy. Ironically, it would only create temporary jobs for the construction and not much else, but besides this, it is just another instance of kowtowing toward big oil and putting ourselves further down the fossil-fuel road to nowhere.

In his recent book, The Growth Illusion, the economist Richard Douthwaite argues that the only truly sustainable economy is one with zero material growth. He shows how, despite all its promises, growth has done very little in recent years to raise the quality of life. The promise of more jobs has been offset by the unemployment generated by increased efficiency and productivity from new technologies, which the drive for growth has produced. Statistics show that “few people in the more developed countries are more fulfilled than they were thirty years ago. A study in 1955 showed that one third of U.S. population said they were happy with their lives. The same study repeated in 1992 found that exactly the same proportion of the people were happy with their lives – despite the fact that per capita productivity and consumption have both doubled over this time.The reality is that “continued economic growth has made a few people richer, and a lot of people poorer. In 1980 the average large company CEO earned 42 times as the average hourly paid worker. In 1992 he earned 157 times as much. The same pattern has happened over the world as a whole, resulting in a net flow of wealth from the Third World to the First World. During the 1980s incomes fell in more than 40 developing countries, in some cases by as much as 30 percent. Over the same period Third World debt has been increasing at 10% per year – that means a doubling every seven years.” Douthwaite concludes that ‘the sooner growth is dropped from our thinking and we revert to setting ourselves specific and finite objectives that lead towards our steady state the better our future will be.”

Herman Daly of the World Bank puts it more bluntly in his essay in the book The Sustainable Society: It is obvious that in a finite world nothing physical can grow forever. Yet our current policy seems to aim at increasing physical production indefinitely. But zero-growth is far too uncomfortable for most economists and politicians to accept as Western capitalism cannot survive without growth. National and corporate economies are compelled to expand if they are to avoid collapse. Herein lies a fundamental conflict. We want to ensure the future of humanity, and yet we also want to ensure the very system that is contributing to its downfall. As Willis Harman, one of the founders of the World Business Academy, points out, “this is rather like a patient who implores his physician to heal him, but subject to the conditions that the doctor not interfere with his drinking, smoking, eating or stress-producing attitudes. Yet we do something similar when we admit the seriousness of our unsustainable modern way of life, and insist that the cure be sought without disturbing our concepts of the necessity of technological progress and economic growth.” As a consequence most definitions of sustainable development do little more than make economic growth more equitable and environmentally careful. They seldom challenge the assumption that economic growth is beneficial.

Peter Russell states, “the hidden hand of self-interest invites people and corporations to get around the law, or do the minimum they can get away with; not to do the maximum possible. He mentions the CFC story as an example of this behavior. CFCs were created more than twenty five years ago as the result of a search for inert, non-toxic, inflammable, stable, compressible gases – gases that would, in other words be safe for human beings and for the environment. Only after their manufacture had begun did some people suspect that they might damage the ozone layer that shields the Earth’s surface from harmful ultraviolet light. The Montreal Protocol banned CFCs but they are stilled used today. The thinning of the ozone layer is cause for alarm but if the ozone hole continues growing, skin cancers and eye cataracts linked to it are likely to be the least of our worries. The increased UV light hitting the tips of plants, where they are most vulnerable destroys the DNA in these cells and the plant will not reach maturity, and will not seed. Microscopic phytoplankton in the sea which have no skin to protect them and are very vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation are also facing destruction which would crush the planet’s food chain will crash.

Another point Peter Russell makes is how “our economic system unintentionally exacerbates our global crisis through the charging of interest. Although we may take the charging of interest for granted, it is only relatively recently it has become a widely accepted practice. Usury – as the practice is often called – was originally out-lawed in Judaism; the Old Testament contains several warnings against it. The cultures of ancient Greece and Rome likewise denounced the practice. Aristotle called it the most unnatural and unjust of all trades. For centuries it was outlawed by the Church of Rome’s Canon Law. And it is forbidden by the Koran, and there are today several Islamic countries whose banks are forbidden to charge interest. Why have spiritual teachings and philosophers repeatedly argued against usury? There are several reasons – both moral and economic. First, the accumulation of compound interest is economically unsustainable in the long-term. A dollar invested at 10% compound interest would be worth $2.59 after ten years; $13,780 after a hundred years; and $2.473,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 after a thousand years – which is about ten trillion times the value of the Earth’s weight in gold. Second, it is those who have money who lend it and those without who need to borrow and pay the interest. This tends to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. Third, usury is wanting something for nothing. The act of lending money involves no input of human labor – apart perhaps from the signing of an agreement and entering some data in a computer. The borrower may well use the money to do something useful, but the lender has done nothing. Yet he still expects to receive something in return. Its the time-old desire for a free lunch.

But where does this extra something come from? Most money-lenders are so concerned with their own gains they do not consider this question – or turn a blind-eye to it. In order that the interest on all these loans can be paid the amount of money in circulation has to increase. But this fuels inflation – more money chasing the same amount of goods decreases the value of the money. So governments strive to compensate as much as possible for the extra money by increasing real wealth. The result? The need for continued economic growth.”

Russell posits that sustainable development is not compatible with a democratic system in which leaders must pander to the interests of those who put them in power. Elected leaders need the popular vote, and the popular vote is strongly influenced by what people think politicians will give them in the short-term rather than the long-term. In most cases this is not what is required for sustainable development. Take, for instance, George Bush’s refusal to sign the Biodiversity Convention at the Earth Summit in Rio. He defended his position by arguing that it endangered company patent rights and was not in the interest of American business. Despite the fact that a number of scientists in the ‘”threatened” biotechnology industries lobbied the then president, trying to persuade him that his decision was short-sighted, and that the loss of biodiversity was a far greater threat than the protection of US business interests, he stuck to his position. Was it just a coincidence that Bush was up for re-election that year, and a major part of his political campaign funds came from the corporate world? Voters short-term, materialist interests are one reason why European Green parties have not fulfilled their initial promise. People began to realize that voting green was not just voting for a healthier environment; it was also, in the final analysis, voting for an end to growth, an end to unbridled consumption, and end to low taxation, and the loss of many personal comforts and conveniences. Who would vote for that? The fact that we may not be here in twenty years time if we do not is too distant a consideration.

 

Many of us have become so attached to our lifestyles that we would risk oblivion rather than let go of the things that we tell ourselves are so important. This leads to all manner of convoluted thinking where blame for the Environmental crisis is shifted or denied outright. Yet, we are all responsible. Almost everyone today is aware that automobiles are a major producer of carbon dioxide. But how many of us have stopped driving a car? Few. And of those of us who argue that they must have a car, how many have chosen to drive the most fuel-efficient car on the market? Again, very few. Why not? One reason is that most of us do not believe it would actually make any difference. Why make such personal sacrifices if the vast majority of people continue as before? They will make no measurable difference to the planet or the rest of humanity. The only difference will be a decrease in personal comfort and convenience. And this is not in our self-interest. In the words of Rusell, “One of our major impediments to sustainability is our greed, our love of power, our love of money, our attachment to our comforts, our unwillingness to inconvenience ourselves. In one way or another human self-interest is either creating the problem or preventing us from solving it.” Paradigm-shifting our self-interest is the goal and the subject of part II of this entry.

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Nothing but net: Sustainable urban-farming and food forests!

Times are changing when it looks like there will be more veggies coming out of Detroit than Cadillacs. Post-industrial Detroit is the home of a growing sustainable living and community gardening movement!  Detroit resident John Hantz, CEO of the Hantz Group, wants to build the “world’s largest urban farm.” The plan proposes to address persistent issues such as food security, blight removal, consolidation of city services and job creation!

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When it comes to growing your own food, former basketball star and urban farmer Will Allen is shooting threes! CEO of Growing Power, Allen’s mission is to provide hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner! These systems provide high-quality, safe, healthy, affordable food for all residents in the community. He states his goal is simple, “to grow food, to grow minds, and to grow community.” Its Rainbow Farmers Cooperative of over 300 small family farmers viably generates produce and grass-based meats for distribution in Chicago, Madison, and Milwaukee. Check out Will’s book The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities.

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Besides beauty, rooftop gardens grow food and take carbon dioxide out of the air while releasing breathable oxygen. Plus they keep your house cooler and lower your energy bill! 

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 Vertical farming is a concept that argues that it is economically and environmentally viable to cultivate plant or animal life within skyscrapers, or on vertically inclined surfaces. The idea of a vertical farm has existed at least since the early 1950s and built precedents are well documented by John Hix in his canonical text “The Glass House.”

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Beacon Hill, Seattle will be home to the nation’s first food forest, a seven-acre permaculture project providing fruits and vegetables for anyone taking a stroll in the area.  The Friends of the Food Forest, a steering committee for the project, have been adamant in involving the community in the process and they’ve also been successful at overcoming bureaucratic roadblocks that have squelched many a progressive community project.  The food forest will be created according to the principles of permaculture, in order to yield a truly sustainable long-term system.  Delicious edibles filling the forest include: blueberry and raspberry bushes, apple trees, vegetables, herbs and walnut trees. Food forest designer Jenny Pell said, “If Seattle could provide 5 percent of its food from within the city, that would be more than almost any other city in the world. Even places that are really committed get less than 1 percent.” 

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An aerial view of the project’s future site

So, if you are not sold yet, urban community farms would cultivate a habitat for a large variety of species that under existing conditions have a much harder time finding an ecological niche in the urban environment. This is a pretty significant factor in re-greening our cities!  Urban-based agriculture would also greatly reduce traffic because there would be far less associated with the transport of food in our cities.  Urban farming would also revitalize areas affected by urban decay, transforming ghettos into groves. Natural farming methods, Permaculture and no-dig gardening are great for building soil and are far less backbreaking than traditional farming methods and would be the foundation for employment of old and young alike. Just like these farming methods, we too need to learn to work with nature rather than against it!

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Dragonpreneurship: The Financial, Social and Environmentally Responsible Eco-Entrepreneur Training & Coaching Program

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The name Dragonpreneur was coined by Phil McMaster, an adventurer and professor who has traveled the globe in search of solutions to poverty, ignorance, fear and war. In China, he noticed that for thousands of years the symbolism of the dragon has been used as a metaphor for power and responsibility in the face of change. Through the Dragonpreneurship program, he has combined the idea of dragon spirit with entrepreneurship to face the emergent environmental crises afflicting the world. Dragonpreneur “Sustainable” Entrepreneurship Training was developed to teach a new generation of entrepreneurs – people who want to start an enterprise and make money — but also be a benefit to Society and the Environment. More and more people, are promising to use 3 finger “DragonTHINK” sustainability salute in the global campaign to SEE the CHANGE and combat global warming by thinking about BALANCE & HARMONY. The three fingers mean we SEE the need to care for our Society, Environment and Economy. The history of the Sustainability Symbol started with teaching Social Enterprise and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to MBA students in Hong Kong.  Philip McMaster, known to his students as Professor P, (some suggest it’s “Professor Planet”) was constantly illustrating successful, long-lived business models based on attention to the “Triple Bottom Line” – not just Economic responsibilities, but also responsibility for Society and the Environment.

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                             Certified ‘Dragonpreneurs’ brandishing the Three Finger Sustainability Salute!

Teaching the principles of entrepreneurship to management students at major universities in Canada and China, McMaster realized that the “modern” education systems in the world suppressed creativity, innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, resulting in superficially-trained individuals lacking the strength of character, confidence and skill to lead themselves, let alone lead others. Therefore, he developed a unique system of learning based on experiential training, including classroom introduction, puzzles, ceremonies and useful exercises. Dragonpreneurs achieve their skills by completing tasks and milestone projects corresponding to the five talons of the Golden Dragon: 1) Understanding financial, environmental, and responsibility, 2) Encouraging innovative perceptions, 3) Mastering holistic leadership, 4) Becoming a voice for those who cannot speak, and 5) Understanding the principles of abundance and unlimited wealth creation for all! These talons confer white, green, red, yellow and black belts as the dragonpreneur progresses through the program. The McMaster Institute for Sustainable Development in Commerce facilitates the Dragonpreneur program which supports the non-profit efforts of the Institute. The mission of the McMaster Institute is to research and develop ways to enhance public and corporate social responsibility, and to provide training, networking and certification services to individuals, corporations and governments to balance the Social, Environmental and Economic needs of the Planet Earth and its human inhabitants!

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Ricky Fan, President of the Hong Kong EPA and Legislative Councillor Choy So Yuk join Philip McMaster  and the Sustainable Chinese New Year Pig as he “releases” the the  SEE three FINGERS symbol to the world February 1st 2007.

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Sustainable Education & Cultural Understanding

Sustainability for youth means enabling them to envision a better future. If we know where we want to go then hopefully the ones who are inheriting our world can get there on the backs of those who have set the precedent to act sustainably.  Yet, our current education systems stamps out divergent thinking (generating creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions) with its rigid teaching styles and myopic focuses.  The classrooms of tomorrow need not bore and aggravate but empower to participate in decision-making and genuinely care by virtue of being informed.  This is a tall task but the more that genuine interest inspires their hearts not only to know but to act on knowledge, there is hope. Galvanizing cross-cultural bonding on the issue of sustainability in the information age is easier than ever but fights the drag of apathy.  The only way dreams get airborne is by crafting those small, day to day habits into signs of our authenticity and gratitude for the world.  Continued economic growth must be challenged as a tenet of the neoliberal mentality that disenfranchises those who already have little control. It is up to those that already have more means to fight against the doctrine that runaway growth is good. We pervasively delude ourselves into thinking that because everyone is acting unsustainably, its ok that I am too.  But this will only exacerbate the tragedy of the commons: Putting yet another piece of plastic into the ocean, polluting the sky by spewing a toxic fume that depletes our ozone layer and fuels global warming.  We trigger ecological disasters, ignorant of the delicate balance of interconnected ecosystems.  With are already absurd carbon-footprint, the least we can do is mitigate our damage and teach younger generations how to reverse the processes that got us here. 

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One answer lies in putting down the guns and picking up the ploughs.  The institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) believes that the U.S. and China must continue to work closely together to promote climate change activism.  The two countries have significant experience, technologies and services that can complement each other’s efforts to address energy and environmental challenges to promote low carbon development by taking advantage of expertise from a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations!

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Founded in 1999, Shanghai Roots & Shoots has carried out many successful programs for the environment, animals, and community involving youth. Past notable programs include YP Recycling 2004, Save the Siberian Tiger Program, and the Chimp Habitat Renovation Program.

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 Jazz quartet connects with Chinese youth: The cultural diplomacy program has partnered with New York City’s Jazz program at the Lincoln Center to send jazz musicians through seven Chinese cities as part of the ‘Rhythm Road’ to promote more sustainable relations and cultural bonding.  Kate McGarry and Keith Ganz performed at Guizhou Normal University in Guiyang, Guizhou province. Image

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Greenovate Environmental Challenge for Kids Outreach has empowered 50,000 Chinese youth ‘green ambassadors.’ It offers hands-on activities so students can use their creativity to learn about waste. They are encouraged to come up with concepts for crafts while learning how harmful plastic can be for the environment. 

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Sustainability & Income Inequality: The Caravan of Care

While discussing ‘income inequality’ might seem taboo, it is a reality that every country faces                                  and acknowledging it as facet of cultivating a more sustainable world is necessary responsibility.

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The ever-widening wealth gap in countries, including developed and developing countries                                                is reaching a critical stage. The wealthy should concern themselves with the communities                                        that facilitated their financial gains; as well as caring for the Earth itself which provided                                              the limited resources for that wealth. This situation highlights an ever-present need to                                                        facilitate positive engagement between wealthy individuals and less-endowed communities.                                       To this end, many social and charity projects have been set in motion over the years, and                                           the list now grows to include the Caravan of Care, an initiative launched by Philip McMaster.

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Organized under the McMaster Institute for Sustainable Development in Commerce,                                                the Care Caravan involves two stages of activities. The first stage is what McMaster calls                                         “an expedition to poorer communities”, in which participants are encouraged to commit                                       their own capabilities instead of just wealth to a social cause. Under guidance of a                                          relevant NGO, wealthy individuals that take part in the Caravan of Care will spend their                                        money and resources on acquiring supplies or commodities needed for specific                                                 communities. These acquired items are then be transported personally – and under                                                    protection of local authorities – in 4×4 vehicles to the target community, where the                                        participants will engage the locals in exchanges of commodities for information on                                                                indigenous culture and living conditions. Currently the Caravan of Care is still in a                                               nascent stage, having run a single pilot in Sichuan, China. The expedition involved                                                   3 main vehicles and 2 support vehicles, with a team of 16 people including                                                                  personnel from collaborating NGO, the Global Village Beijing, and was received                                                        warmly by locals. Going forward, McMaster is confident that the project will gain traction.

Image

 

Sharing is a key experience for the Caravan of Care,” says McMaster. “Participants do                                                    not give out money – they share equipment, supplies, stories and experience and learn                                                           what the actual needs are among these communities and people they engage with.”                                                  Upon returning from the expedition, the participants will be immediately interviewed on                                         their experience. This is followed by a gala event a few days later, during which the                                                exploits of the participants will be rewarded. “They will be given certificates as a sign                                               of recognition, and the videos recording their expeditions will be shown,” says McMaster.                                            “We want to create a ripple effect whereby other similarly wealthy individuals attending                                                the event will be inspired by an emotionally satisfying experience to emulate similar actions.”                                      As more individuals or entities are incentivized to join the Caravan of Care, the program can                                            be further incorporated into existing charity and social projects run by governmental and                                            non-governmental organizations as well as corporations to ensure a larger scale and greater                           efficiency!

Image

“The challenge now is to have wealthy individuals realize that this is an opportunity for                                            them to take actions and create a positive impact on humanity. I do not think this is a                                               difficult challenge.” At the same time, McMaster also stresses that the Caravan of Care                                                        is not just about the rich helping the poor, although that is a crucial part of the program.                                                “It is really more about helping to improve the standards of living. Hence, target communities                                       do not have to be impoverished. Rather, they have to have specific needs to address.                                                   In helping to address these needs, the program also delivers happiness.”  In this respect,                                           the Caravan of Care is consistent with the global trend of incorporating happiness as part                                          of the policy metrics in various countries, as is highlighted by China’s new 5-year plan. 

Image

Philip McMaster (center) shares the Symbol of the Caravan Of Care, the 3 Finger                                                    “Peace Plus One” Sustainability Salute with, from left to right: Liu Hong, Emmanuel                                             Daniel Founder and President of The Asian Banker Magazine, Sustainability Ambassador                                            Ms. Jenny Zheng Jiaoli, Mr. Gboyega Songonuga Regional Head, Africa IFC,                                                      Vincent O’Brien, Chair, ICC Banking Commission Market Intelligence Group,                                                                          at the Banking Commission Meeting & ICC Trade Finance Summit in Beijing.

Leave a comment »

Sustainability & Income Inequality: The Caravan of Care

While discussing ‘income inequality’ might seem taboo, it is a reality that every country faces                                  and acknowledging it as facet of cultivating a more sustainable world is necessary responsibility.

Image

The ever-widening wealth gap in countries, including developed and developing countries                                                is reaching a critical stage. The wealthy should concern themselves with the communities                                        that facilitated their financial gains; as well as caring for the Earth itself which provided                                              the limited resources for that wealth. This situation highlights an ever-present need to                                                        facilitate positive engagement between wealthy individuals and less-endowed communities.                                       To this end, many social and charity projects have been set in motion over the years, and                                           the list now grows to include the Caravan of Care, an initiative launched by Philip McMaster.

Image

 

Organized under the McMaster Institute for Sustainable Development in Commerce,                                                the Care Caravan involves two stages of activities. The first stage is what McMaster calls                                         “an expedition to poorer communities”, in which participants are encouraged to commit                                       their own capabilities instead of just wealth to a social cause. Under guidance of a                                          relevant NGO, wealthy individuals that take part in the Caravan of Care will spend their                                        money and resources on acquiring supplies or commodities needed for specific                                                 communities. These acquired items are then be transported personally – and under                                                    protection of local authorities – in 4×4 vehicles to the target community, where the                                        participants will engage the locals in exchanges of commodities for information on                                                                indigenous culture and living conditions. Currently the Caravan of Care is still in a                                               nascent stage, having run a single pilot in Sichuan, China. The expedition involved                                                   3 main vehicles and 2 support vehicles, with a team of 16 people including                                                                  personnel from collaborating NGO, the Global Village Beijing, and was received                                                        warmly by locals. Going forward, McMaster is confident that the project will gain traction.

Image

 

Sharing is a key experience for the Caravan of Care,” says McMaster. “Participants do                                                    not give out money – they share equipment, supplies, stories and experience and learn                                                           what the actual needs are among these communities and people they engage with.”                                                  Upon returning from the expedition, the participants will be immediately interviewed on                                         their experience. This is followed by a gala event a few days later, during which the                                                exploits of the participants will be rewarded. “They will be given certificates as a sign                                               of recognition, and the videos recording their expeditions will be shown,” says McMaster.                                            “We want to create a ripple effect whereby other similarly wealthy individuals attending                                                the event will be inspired by an emotionally satisfying experience to emulate similar actions.”                                      As more individuals or entities are incentivized to join the Caravan of Care, the program can                                            be further incorporated into existing charity and social projects run by governmental and                                            non-governmental organizations as well as corporations to ensure a larger scale and greater                           efficiency!

Image

“The challenge now is to have wealthy individuals realize that this is an opportunity for                                            them to take actions and create a positive impact on humanity. I do not think this is a                                               difficult challenge.” At the same time, McMaster also stresses that the Caravan of Care                                                        is not just about the rich helping the poor, although that is a crucial part of the program.                                                “It is really more about helping to improve the standards of living. Hence, target communities                                       do not have to be impoverished. Rather, they have to have specific needs to address.                                                   In helping to address these needs, the program also delivers happiness.”  In this respect,                                           the Caravan of Care is consistent with the global trend of incorporating happiness as part                                          of the policy metrics in various countries, as is highlighted by China’s new 5-year plan. 

Image

Philip McMaster (center) shares the Symbol of the Caravan Of Care, the 3 Finger                                                    “Peace Plus One” Sustainability Salute with, from left to right: Liu Hong, Emmanuel                                             Daniel Founder and President of The Asian Banker Magazine, Sustainability Ambassador                                            Ms. Jenny Zheng Jiaoli, Mr. Gboyega Songonuga Regional Head, Africa IFC,                                                      Vincent O’Brien, Chair, ICC Banking Commission Market Intelligence Group,                                                                          at the Banking Commission Meeting & ICC Trade Finance Summit in Beijing.

Leave a comment »

Sustainability & Income Inequality: The Caravan of Care

While discussing ‘income inequality’ might seem taboo, it is a reality that every country faces                                  and acknowledging it as facet of cultivating a more sustainable world is necessary responsibility.

Image

The ever-widening wealth gap in countries, including developed and developing countries                                                is reaching a critical stage. The wealthy should concern themselves with the communities                                        that facilitated their financial gains; as well as caring for the Earth itself which provided                                              the limited resources for that wealth. This situation highlights an ever-present need to                                                        facilitate positive engagement between wealthy individuals and less-endowed communities.                                       To this end, many social and charity projects have been set in motion over the years, and                                           the list now grows to include the Caravan of Care, an initiative launched by Philip McMaster.

Image

 

Organized under the McMaster Institute for Sustainable Development in Commerce,                                                the Care Caravan involves two stages of activities. The first stage is what McMaster calls                                         “an expedition to poorer communities”, in which participants are encouraged to commit                                       their own capabilities instead of just wealth to a social cause. Under guidance of a                                          relevant NGO, wealthy individuals that take part in the Caravan of Care will spend their                                        money and resources on acquiring supplies or commodities needed for specific                                                 communities. These acquired items are then be transported personally – and under                                                    protection of local authorities – in 4×4 vehicles to the target community, where the                                        participants will engage the locals in exchanges of commodities for information on                                                                indigenous culture and living conditions. Currently the Caravan of Care is still in a                                               nascent stage, having run a single pilot in Sichuan, China. The expedition involved                                                   3 main vehicles and 2 support vehicles, with a team of 16 people including                                                                  personnel from collaborating NGO, the Global Village Beijing, and was received                                                        warmly by locals. Going forward, McMaster is confident that the project will gain traction.

Image

 

Sharing is a key experience for the Caravan of Care,” says McMaster. “Participants do                                                    not give out money – they share equipment, supplies, stories and experience and learn                                                           what the actual needs are among these communities and people they engage with.”                                                  Upon returning from the expedition, the participants will be immediately interviewed on                                         their experience. This is followed by a gala event a few days later, during which the                                                exploits of the participants will be rewarded. “They will be given certificates as a sign                                               of recognition, and the videos recording their expeditions will be shown,” says McMaster.                                            “We want to create a ripple effect whereby other similarly wealthy individuals attending                                                the event will be inspired by an emotionally satisfying experience to emulate similar actions.”                                      As more individuals or entities are incentivized to join the Caravan of Care, the program can                                            be further incorporated into existing charity and social projects run by governmental and                                            non-governmental organizations as well as corporations to ensure a larger scale and greater                           efficiency!

Image

“The challenge now is to have wealthy individuals realize that this is an opportunity for                                            them to take actions and create a positive impact on humanity. I do not think this is a                                               difficult challenge.” At the same time, McMaster also stresses that the Caravan of Care                                                        is not just about the rich helping the poor, although that is a crucial part of the program.                                                “It is really more about helping to improve the standards of living. Hence, target communities                                       do not have to be impoverished. Rather, they have to have specific needs to address.                                                   In helping to address these needs, the program also delivers happiness.”  In this respect,                                           the Caravan of Care is consistent with the global trend of incorporating happiness as part                                          of the policy metrics in various countries, as is highlighted by China’s new 5-year plan. 

Image

Philip McMaster (center) shares the Symbol of the Caravan Of Care, the 3 Finger                                                    “Peace Plus One” Sustainability Salute with, from left to right: Liu Hong, Emmanuel                                             Daniel Founder and President of The Asian Banker Magazine, Sustainability Ambassador                                            Ms. Jenny Zheng Jiaoli, Mr. Gboyega Songonuga Regional Head, Africa IFC,                                                      Vincent O’Brien, Chair, ICC Banking Commission Market Intelligence Group,                                                                          at the Banking Commission Meeting & ICC Trade Finance Summit in Beijing.

Leave a comment »