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     Would you agree that sustainability is more than adopting good ecological practices? Have you ever had the thought that progress in social justice is necessary for us to implement the infrastructure we need for long-term sustainability? For us to experience success in any endeavor we must learn to communicate well, negotiate decisions in a timely fashion and implement our ideas with efficiency.

     Education is a key element to social justice and preserving our natural environment. What if the system of education we employed offered its participants an understanding of the importance of diversity and interdependence through experiential training on the relatedness of all things (human and otherwise) and how decisions made today affect all future life?  A public education model that promotes social justice and environmental sustainability is necessary for these movements to have a wide reaching and long lasting impact.

     Most anyone today will agree that the issues and difficulties presently facing humanity are ostensibly insurmountable. Perhaps we (the people) have created the complicated problems of the modern age as an opportunity to know ourselves by rising to meet and solve these problems. One thing is clear, there is no way out but through and the time of heroes is past. No one person has the answer to the issues of our day. Soon, not unlike our humble beginnings, communities will again be vital to our survival.

     For us to be successful we must implement structures that assist many minds to make decisions together that will be accepted and supported, despite seeming differences. For this reason communication skills, diversity training, democracy, and social justice work are crucial vehicles on the path of sustainability. 

     Do you know that democracy, when practiced correctly, supports political self-determination? Democracy utilizes important tools such as inclusive decision-making, equal representation, balanced power sharing and strict accountability. Following proven democratic community models, neighborhoods can come together to address local issues in their bioregion. Organized communities can apply all the powers democracy offers to create a socially and environmentally just society, one community, one bioregion at a time.  Networking communities together worldwide allows us to shift our focus between local and global issues as required.

     All the technology, systems and resources we need to find and implement solutions are available now. Consciously, the only ingredient people lack is intent. Hope and intent can be fostered through education and the support that comes through knowing that together we can create a bright future for ourselves.

     In regard to this work there are a couple of people you should know about. Paul Hawken is an entrepreneur, a writer, an advocate for our natural environment and an active supporter of social justice work. A few of his book titles are: The Next Economy; Growing A Business and The Ecology of Commerce. His most recent book is Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming. The following is an excerpt:

It is axiomatic that we are at a threshold in human existence, a fundamental change in understanding about our relationship to nature and each other. We are moving from a world created by privilege to a world created by community. The current thrust of history is too supple to be labeled, but global themes are emerging in response to cascading ecological crises and human suffering. These ideas include the need for radical social change, the reinvention of market-based economics, the empowerment of women, activism on all levels, and the need for localized economic control. There are insistent calls for autonomy; appeals for a new resource ethic based on the tradition the commons, demands for the reinstatement of cultural primacy over corporate hegemony, and a rising demand for radical transparency in politics and corporate decision-making. It has been said that environmentalism failed as a movement, or worse yet, died. It is the other way around. Everyone on earth will be an environmentalist in the not too distant future, driven there by necessity and experience.”

Based on this passage we see that Mr. Hawken is quite clear that the movement to preserve the environment is lost without simultaneously addressing the issues of society and business that create the framework in which we live.

     Reverend Deborah Johnson of Inner Light Ministries has been a champion of social justice for most of her life. She has been described as “A voice for compassion, equality, and reconciliation, her primary focus has been on coalition building, conflict resolution, public policy development, and cultural sensitivity awareness. She holds a vision of Oneness, beyond creed and doctrine, and feels particularly called to heal the sense of separation between those adhering to conservative and progressive ideologies.” Would you agree with Rev. D. Johnson that without putting our differences aside and working together, solutions cannot be found, accepted or implemented? Where shall we look for a model that works?

      The most successful life system we know is a biosphere we call Earth. If we examine her closely we find that there is tremendous interwoven diversity in biological life forms as well as elements and naturally occurring phenomena. It is this interdependent and interconnected diversity that gives the ecosystem its strength to handle pathogens, disease and change over time. We as a species have a lot to learn, integrate and adapt as we awaken to our symbiotic relationship with the Earth herself.

     Do you agree with Mr. Hawken and Rev. D. Johnson that the merging of the environmental and social justice movements is vital to our process of creating the world we want to live in and leave for all our future generations? At this monumental time in human history is it not essential that we take the step past tolerance and find the acceptance that diversity is a natural necessity and embrace it as strength?

    The Community Empowerment Network is a resource for those on the path of social and environmental sustainability. The network utilizes natural principles and age-old wisdom, coupled with new technology, to achieve its goal of empowering individuals and communities to take part in actively creating their future. Fun, interactive and powerful, the network’s state of the art social technologies change the way we think about community and group decision-making. Furthermore, engaging in network activities gives participants hope for the future by witnessing the possibility of success through hands-on experience.


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