This weblog features the Global Integration Updates from Member Care Associates. The Updates provide materials to support colleagues in different sectors as they connect and contribute on behalf of the major issues in our world. Feel free to add comments and resources in the "Comments" section located at the end of each of the Updates.
Global Integration Updates Common Ground for the Common Good Be the people we need--Build the world we need
Special News--January 2021
State of the Planet Our Suicidal War on Nature Reports and Research--Awareness and Action
Image source: Global Peace Index, Institute for Economics and Peace
“ To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken…Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back -- and it is already doing so with growing force and fury.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
In this Updatewe feature the recent Special Address by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the State of the Planet (part one). We use this 28 minute video as a point of departure to overview and probe the ongoing climate-environment concerns and crises, actions and debates. This is the "must" review resource--things we all need to know--in the Update. And then as you have time and interest, part two encourages us to go deeper, presenting several resources related to climate and the environment for perspectives and insights.
Guterres’ message (like the resources in this Update) does not present pleasant news. In fact, it is disturbing. And it comes at a time when so many of us are really wanting—and needing—to hear some good news in our lives and world. Nonetheless, we encourage you to dig deep within and muster the time and courage to carefully review it.
What do you think: Is this address a sensible, prophetic call to change and to confront devastating environmental folly—our suicidal war on nature? Is it manipulative rhetoric to foment fear and reinforce dependency on the UN? Something in-between? Or something else, stirring up our existential purpose and meaning?
We also continue to include Perspectives and Resources for Covid Care (part three). We have compiled these materials over the past nine months to support you, your family, your organization, and others in your life.
--Share your comments and resources on ourMCA Facebook page --Forward to your colleagues and networks (link to sign up is at the end).
Featured Resources State of the Planet Our Suicidal War on Nature Reports and Research--Awareness and Action
Source: UN image
“I have detailed an emergency, but I also see hope. I see a history of advances that show what can be done – from rescuing the ozone layer to reducing extinction rates to expanding protected areas. Many cities are becoming greener. The circular economy is reducing waste. Environmental laws have growing reach. At least 155 United Nations Member States now legally recognize that a healthy environment is a basic human right. And the knowledge base is greater than ever”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
Part One: Special Address State of the Planet Things we need to know
On 2 December at Columbia University, the UN Secretary-General presented an overview--and warning--on the woeful state of the planet. He also highlighted progress in improving aspects of the environment yet clearly emphasized the serious collaborative action that needs to take place at all levels--individual through international--to lessen and/or avert major catastrophes. We strongly encourage you to watch this address and to seriously consider--and critique from your vantage points--the assertions, concerns, and action steps outlined. You can access the video HERE (28 minutes). The text is available in the six official UN languages.
“We face three imperatives in addressing the climate crisis: First, we need to achieve global carbon neutrality within the next three decades. Second, we have to align global finance behind the Paris Agreement, the world’s blueprint for climate action. Third, we must deliver a breakthrough on adaptation to protect the world – and especially the most vulnerable people and countries -- from climate impacts”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
Part Two: Going Deeper Examples of Resources to Review
--Trash vortexes in the oceans. Original source of image unknown. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Ocean, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, is the largest. This area covers about 1.6 million square kilometers--twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. More information: Ocean Cleanup; UN Environment Program, Oceans and Seas; SDG 14: ”Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development” (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Sustainable Development); and Addressing Marine Plastic: A Systemic Approach, UN (December 2019).
--The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network(SDSN) was set up in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society." (quote from website)
--Paris Climate Agreement 2015. “The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century. The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.” (quote from website)
--Laudate Sí: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis (2015), encyclical. “13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home….43. Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture....188. There are certain environmental issues where it is not easy to achieve a broad consensus. Here I would state once more that the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.”
--UN Global Compact. “Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system and a principles-based approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Responsible businesses enact the same values and principles wherever they have a presence, and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. By incorporating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and planet, but also setting the stage for long-term success." Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.” (quote from web site)
--Psychology, History, and Human Rights. “Past and future generations need guardians to defend their latent interests in the face of capricious short-term policy decisions.” Global Network of Psychologists for Human Rights, Antoon De Baets (25 October 2020)
Concluding Remarks by Guterres “This is a moment of truth for people and planet alike. COVID and climate have brought us to a threshold. We cannot go back to the old normal of inequality, injustice and heedless dominion over the Earth. Instead we must step towards a safer, more sustainable and equitable path. We have a blueprint: the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The door is open; the solutions are there. Now is the time to transform humankind’s relationship with the natural world – and with each other. And we must do so together. Solidarity is humanity. Solidarity is survival. That is the lesson of 2020.With the world in disunity and disarray trying to contain the pandemic, let’s learn the lesson and change course for the pivotal period ahead. Thank you.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Special Address on The State of The Planet, 2 December 2020
Part Three: COVID Care Perspectives and Resources
Image courtesy and (c) ENOD 2017
Rushing towards oblivion, like lemmings to the sea We stumble through this lifetime, and call it being free. But knowing where you’re going, and who you’re meant to be That’s what freedom means to me.” Randy Stonehill, Bad Fruit, 1980
Pandemics bring out people's best selves or their worse selves--our selfless and our selfish qualities. The reality of the uncertainties and anxieties of life, and indeed survival--existential risk--is heavy upon the world. Positively, the current COVID-19 pandemic certainly provides plenty of opportunities for us all--individually through internationally--to reflect on the types of people we want to be, the types of societies we need to build, and the types of changes we have to make.
We join together in solidarity with the world community's efforts, locally through globally, on behalf of covid care and in hopes to stir up the best selves in all of us. We also note that the many overlapping problems in our world continue unabated--shadow pandemics--even as this covid pandemic dominates the center stage globally: multi-dimensional poverty, protracted violence, human rights violations, gross inequalities, racism, mental ill health, environmental degradation, etc. This is the ongoing, cascading context which challenges us daily as we seek to practically support the wellbeing of all persons/peoples and the planet.
Our recent Updates below are compiled to help ourselves and others withcovid care. Examples of issues/resources: anxiety, trauma, depression, confinement, loneliness, loss, grief, relationship strains, coping for children, work insecurities, spiritual struggles, uncertainty/concerns about what is going on, compassion, courage, mutual support, faith-based strengths, etc.
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit, Christian organization working internationally from Geneva and the USA. MCA's involvement in Global Integration focuses on the wellbeing and effectiveness of personnel and their organizations across sectors (e.g., mission, humanitarian, peace, health, and development sectors) as well as global mental health and integrity/anti-corruption, all with a view towards collaboratively supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, resource development, and publications.
Global Integration(GI) is a framework for actively and responsibly engaging in our world--locally to globally. It emphasizes connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity, commitments, and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). GI encourages a variety of people to be at the “global tables” and in the "global trenches"--and everything in-between--in order to help research, shape, and monitor agendas, policies, and action for all people and the planet. It intentionally links building the world we need with being the people we need.
Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 1963)
Disclaimer: The inclusion of the materials in the GI Updates as well as the recommendations and opinions expressed in these materials do not necessarily reflect their endorsement. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the materials lies with the reader.