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 Update -- June 2017 Common Ground for the Common Good Doomsday Next Stop, Global Dis-Integration?
15 Seconds to Midnight The world clock in our office. The time has been the same for 15+ years.
Overview Is time running out for humanity? Is the end of the world imminent? There are lots of ideas about the doomsday notion, ranging from it being a naive, archaic myth to it being a lurking, empirically-supported certainty. Is global dis-integration something to be: debunked, delayed, defused...or? This is a tough topic which we try to tackle in this Update!
Part One lists several high-profile, recent quotes from various influential organisations. These are messages about the diligent attempts to ameliorate the deleterious impact on and irreparable destruction of the people-planet nexus. Part Two then takes us in a similar direction via a sobering musical trip down memory lane. We share links to several songs (many from the 1960s-1970s) that deal with themes of world catastrophe and/or aspirations and exhortations for world peace and love.
The materials in the Update are admittedly chosen selectively by us in order to emphasize perspectives on the extremely precarious and perilous nature of 'the "anthropocene age" in which by its actions "humanity now threatens to destabilise the Earth’s key life-support systems"(The Lancet, 16 July 2015). It is a work in progress. So feel free to add your thoughts and resources on our Facebook Pageor Global Integration Blog(e.g., quotes/music from different local/regional and generational sources).
We finish the Update with some personal reflections on "The Age of Egregious." Starting us off though, is a fascinating brief video on the Doomsday Clock.
Actively integrating our lives with global realities by connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, faith-based).
Part One: Quotes Warnings of Catastrophe--Working for Wellbeing
"It is two and a half minutes to midnight." The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 and is overseen by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. It conjectures how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. Watch the five minute video about it's history and meaning, by Vox (7 March 2017).
Doomsday warnings and allusions are mostly conditional, albeit serious: drastically change the directions we are going--our mentalities-lifestyles, inequities-iniquities--or we will experience (even greater) dire, inalterable, global consequences. For many people, places and time periods, doomsday (small personal "d" vs large global "D") has already come and gone, through conflict, calamity, greed, poverty, exploitation, disease, and a myriad of other evils. .
Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, United Nations (2015, Excerpts from Paragraphs 14, 15, 18). “We are meeting at a time of immense challenges to sustainable development. Billions of our citizens continue to live in poverty and are denied a life of dignity. There are rising inequalities within and among countries. There are enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power…The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk. It is also, however, a time of immense opportunity….We are announcing today 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets which are integrated and indivisible. Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavour across such a broad and universal policy agenda. We are setting out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting ourselves collectively to the pursuit of global development and of “win-win” cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world.”
--World Disasters Report 2016: Resilience: Saving Lives Today, Investing for Tomorrow, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2016, p. 8). “Humanitarian needs are growing at an extraordinary pace – a historical pace – and are outstripping the resources that are required to respond. That is a familiar refrain, but one that sadly is worth repeating here…The human suffering [in overlooked places like Zimbabwe] has been lost amongst the conflicts and mass displacement around the world that dominate the humanitarian landscape. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer acceptable. It will only lead to further silent suffering as more and more people exhaust all coping mechanisms and are left to fend for themselves without the help they so desperately need. This World Disasters Report makes the case simply and eloquently for a different approach to humanitarian action, one that strives to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable and at-risk communities. To paraphrase the report: investing in resilience saves lives and money.
--Leaving No One Behind: Humanitarian Effectiveness in the Age of Sustainable Development. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (2016, p. 4). “As of July 2015, an estimated 114 million people in assessed countries were in need of humanitarian assistance, compared to 40 million just over ten years ago. Needs are not only growing, but their drivers and time horizons have also changed: most people in crisis live in contexts of fragility, where existing vulnerabilities due to causes like poverty, food insecurity and exclusion are compounded by conflict and violence, intensifying natural disasters, and unplanned urbanization….Cycles of conflict and disasters are displacing millions, leaving people vulnerable and in need of humanitarian action for decades, and in some cases, for generations. Alongside these challenges are positive trends: local, national, regional and international capacity to prepare for and manage crises continues to grow. Actors from all backgrounds are increasingly taking initiative, joining forces, and getting more organized to address growing needs, beginning with affected people themselves….Despite these gains at all levels, the complexity and volume of crises means that many people still do not receive the assistance and protection they need…”
--World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law, World Bank (2017, xiii). “The global development community needs to move beyond asking “What is the right policy?” and instead ask “What makes policies work to produce life-improving outcomes?” The answer put forward in this year’s World Development Report is better governance—that is, the ways in which governments, citizens, and communities engage to design and apply policies….Given strained government budgets and development aid, it is vital that resources be used as effectively as possible. We can do this by harnessing the finance and skills of private businesses, working even more closely with civil society, and redoubling our efforts in the fight against corruption, one of the biggest roadblocks to effective, lasting development. However, coordinating the efforts of this diverse set of groups requires clarity on the roles and responsibilities of each group, along with effective rules of the road to reach and sustain agreements. Without paying greater attention to stronger governance, the World Bank Group’s goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, as well as the transformational vision of the United Nations’ broader Sustainable Development Goals, will be out of reach.”
--Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone, United Nations Development Program (2016, iii). “Over the past quarter-century there has been impressive progress on many fronts in human development, with people living longer, more people rising out of extreme poverty and fewer people being malnourished. Human development has enriched human lives—but unfortunately not all to the same extent, and even worse, not every life. It is thus not by chance but by choice that world leaders in 2015 committed to a development journey that leaves no one out—a central premise of the 2030 Agenda. Mirroring that universal aspiration, it is timely that the 2016 Human Development Report is devoted to the theme of human development for everyone. The Report begins by using a broad brush to paint a picture of the challenges the world faces and the hopes humanity has for a better future. Some challenges are lingering (deprivations), some are deepening (inequalities) and some are emerging (violent extremism), but most are mutually reinforcing…At the same time, however, the Report reminds us what humanity has achieved over the past 25 years and gives us hope that further advances are possible. We can build on what we have achieved, we can explore new possibilities to overcome challenges and we can attain what once seemed unattainable.”
Global Peace Index 2017, Institute for Economics and Peace (2017, p. 3). “The ten-year trend in peacefulness finds that global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2.14 per cent since 2008, with 52 per cent of GPI countries recording a deterioration, while 48 per cent improved. The global level of peacefulness deteriorated rapidly after the global financial crisis, however, since 2010, the movements have been within a small range, resulting in this year’s levels of peacefulness returning to approximately the same level as in 2010. Contrary to this year’s trend, the domain that deteriorated the most over the ten-year period was Safety and Security, with 61 per cent of countries recording a deterioration. The major falls in this domain occurred in the sub-Saharan Africa region due to increases in terrorism impact and political instability. Conversely, the domain with the largest improvement was Militarisation where 60 per cent of countries became less militarised over the past decade. Finally, it is important to note the global trend in peacefulness has been dominated by developments in the MENA region. The violence and conflict has been so intense that if the region were excluded from the rest of the world, the average levels of peacefulness would not have changed significantly over the last decade.”
Corruption Perception Index 2016, Transparency International (2016, from website). “Let's get straight to the point: No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016. Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year's index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country's public sector. Top-scoring countries (yellow in the map below) are far outnumbered by orange and red countries where citizens face the tangible impact of corruption on a daily basis. This year’s results highlight the connection between corruption and inequality, which feed off each other to create a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.”
Part Two: Music Warnings of Catastrophe--Yearnings for Peace
Cover from Time magazine, 23 October 1995
Note: Some of the music videos below contain images of violence, political messages/overtones, and religious views/sentiment.
Everybody--Ingrid Michaelson (2010, lyrics) We have fallen down again tonight...
Peace Train--Cat Stevens (1971) and Yusuf Islam (2008) Now I've been crying lately...
Personal Reflections The Age of Egregious
Our reflections below are based on an entry in our CORE Member Care weblog series, Pax Dei-Living in Peace (Aspirations and Desperations, 10 January 2014). We finish with excerpts from 2 Peter 3 and the Preamble in the United Nation's Charter (1945).
Listen to the Age of Aquarius, from the rock opera Hair, 1969. Sung by the Fifth Dimension. *****
I really like this song, The Age of Aquarius. That is to say, I really like its engaging aspirations and entrancing music. I just wish that reconfiguring reality could happen by simply yearning for a new mystical, harmonious age. Nearly 50 years on, we see how the the age of aquarius quickly morphed back into the ongoing age of egregious. In spite of our best efforts, our liberating aspirations (and at times prurient inspirations) have yet to replace our constricting desperations (and putrid exploitations). Here is a song about it all, from our new mock opera, Tare.
When our doom is just like that of Faust's And stupid persons are blind to scars Then Beasts will guide our planet And fear will steer the wars. This is the conning of the Age of Egregious The Age of Egregious. Egregious! Egregious!
Disharmony, misunderstanding, Selfishness, mistrust abounding. Time for falsehood and derision Golden profit, lecherous visions Mystic nonsense, reprobation, And the mind’s incarceration. Egregious! Egregious!
Let the dark shine Let the dark shine in... ***** We join with people of all faiths and no faiths, of new ages and old ages, and everything in-between, in yearning for peace—starting in our own souls--letting the Light shine into us and from us, for the sake of both truth and peace on our beguiled, burdened planet.
And as for our views about Doomsday--how things may end, or better, how things will be restored--a good summary from a Christian perspective is here:
"Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness. So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace. Interpret our Master’s patient restraint for what it is: salvation." 2 Peter 3:11-14 (The Message).
In the meantime. we earnestly join with others in finding common ground for the common good...
"We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice andrespect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, And for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims."Preamble, United Nations Charter (1945) ***** Share your comments and more resources: Facebook Page or Global Integration Blog
(includes a translation tool into several languages)
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a non-profit organisation working internationally from Geneva and the USA. MCA's involvement in Global Integration focuses on the wellbeing and effectiveness of personnel and their organizations in the mission, humanitarian, and development sectors as well as global mental health, all with a view towards supporting sustainable development for all people and the planet. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications.
Actively integrating our lives with global realities by connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, faith-based). *****
TheGI Updates are designed to help shape and support the emerging diversity of global integrators who as learners-practitioners are committed to the "common ground for the common good." The image at the top of theUpdate (global pearl) is a cover detail form Global Member Care (volume 2): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity (2013). William Carey Library.
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.