We'll be using this first issue to introduce you to a few of the working groups that are part of the New Civilization Network, and as well to give everyone an idea of what to expect from future issues. The groups that have responded so far are a diverse mix of large, highly structured organizations with a world view; to smaller, more casual groups with a neighborhood focus. These groups are using the Web in innovative ways to reach out, expand their work and inform people who would not otherwise be aware of their organizations.
In future issues, we hope to include information on groups that have no websites, as well as articles from group leaders themselves, on the basics of starting, running, and keeping a group going. We are always open to suggestions! If you have an idea for a future article, or would like to see a certain topic covered, please send me an e-mail with your suggestion. We'd like to hear about your failures as well as successes. Because of the differences of the groups, something that turned out to be a bad idea for one group may be brilliant for another.
We expect to include a section on upcoming events-anything your group has planned would be of interest. In the next issue, we'd like to see how groups get their start. We'd like to hear from you!
Trudy W. Schuett, Editor
For more information see the 'Saturday Walkers Club' hyperlink from the Global Ideas Bank home page (http://newciv.org/GIB/).
Nicholas Albery firstname.lastname@example.org
Many dedicated activists for environmental and social causes say they are motivated by a profound love of life, nature and Earth. "Every person, and every form of life, is born with that love," according to Dr. Michael J. Cohen, author of the new Ecopress book "Reconnecting With Nature: Finding Wellness Through Restoring Your Bond With The Earth"
Dr. Cohen says that most people's innate love of Earth has been squelched by the "civilizing" process that teaches us to excesssively separate from, exploit and conquer nature, including our sensory inner nature, our "inner child." This year, activities from his Reconnecting With Nature book are being used on Earth Day to reverse the squelching process and its adverse effects.
"Significantly, most adults experience a degree of shame when they say that they love the Earth," notes Dr. Cohen. "That shame translates into our runaway fears, apathy and problems." He says that we can not simply ask people to love the Earth and, out of that love, act in behalf of sustaining life and balanced relationships. "The plea seldom produces action because people are no longer significantly conscious of that love and its global ethic," Cohen observes.
Dr. Cohen directs Project NatureConnect, the Applied Ecopsychology program of the Institute of Global Education, a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization.
To help reestablish a responsible relationship with nature Cohen has contributed a potent ecopsychology exercise from Reconnecting With Nature. Via the Internet, it is being shared globally as an International Earth Day and Ecopsychology Activity. The activity enables people to rationally and emotionally reconnect with Earth. Cohen finds that this sensory reconnection nurtures and rejuvenates our innate love of life. "That love and its ethic once again registers in our consciousness. It becomes a guiding light for our psyche and relationships," he said.
Cohen insists that Earth connectedness overcomes apathy. He says, "It is a common ground, a love that unifies people. It motivates the participation needed to sustain personal, environmental and social relationships in balance. If we want to achieve such relationships, it is wise to restore our love for them. "
The free Earth Day Activity is located at http://www.pacificrim.net/~nature/earthday97.html or by requesting it from email@example.com. Hard copy is available by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to Earth Day, P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, Washington U.S.A.
The International Earth Day Activity is one of 23 ecopsychology activities presented in Reconnecting With Nature. Results from doing these activities are eye-opening. Larry Davies, an alternative school counselor in Vancouver, Washington reports: "During Dr. Cohen's Reconnecting With Nature workshop with one of our recovery groups, we visited a trashed natural area next to the student's proposed new school. The area was slated to be paved as a parking lot, and we did the nature reconnecting Earth Day permission activity there. As a result, the student's felt that the area, like themselves, wanted to recover from the abuse it received from society. They sensed that, like them, it had been, in their words: 'hurt, molested, invaded, raped and trespassed,' 'It wanted to become healthy or die,' 'It felt trashed and overwhelmed, 'It had no power, it needed a fix or help to recover.' Since then, the area and their inner nature has given them permission to enlist the support of social and environmental agencies to save the area from becoming a parking lot. Instead, the garbage will be removed and it will recover as an indigenous natural area. It will be nurtured and nurturing, support wildlife, be an educational and therapeutic nature sanctuary for the school and a host for doing more applied ecopsychology activities.
The students recently wrote and received a grant to help make this vision of theirs a reality. Here's what they said in the grant's vision statement:
'We are a recovery group based on reconnecting with nature. In our recovery efforts, nature plays a major role. We have choosen a small piece of wilderness that reflects us as a community. This wilderness community is being choked by alien plants and stressed by pollution, abandonment and major loss. We, too, are being choked by drugs and stories that pollute our natural self. We feel abandoned by our society and cut off from nature which fills us with grief. As we remove the foreign garbage, blackberries and ivy from the area, we work on removing the toxins from our lives. As we plant healthy trees we also learn new healthy ways to survive. By protecting this ecosystem we find the strength to open our minds, hearts, and souls for the survival of our Mother Earth and ourselves.'
The students in this nature reconnecting program have quit using drugs. Their test scores show significant improvement in the areas of self-esteem, depression, stress and sleeplesness. Every student's attendance and academic progress has improved. "Reconnecting With Nature has proven to be a valueable preventative tool for the recovery of people and Earth." said Mr. Davies. "Many other people also report increased wellness from doing the activities." Cohen believes their widespread use can radically reduce our runaway expenditures for social programs.
The March 1997 issue of Prevention Magazine contains an article that further substantiates the use and value of Reconnecting With Nature.
Institute of Global Education
A United Nations Non-Governmental Organization
Department of Integrated Ecology,
Box 1605 Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Chair
For information and updates: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Earth Day is celebrated on March 21 in some places and April 22 in others.
"Earth Day is the first holy day ... and is devoted to the harmony of
nature... The celebration offends no historical calendar, yet it transcends
- Margaret Mead
The World Ideas Network (WIN) was created in the summer of 1996 for the purpose of using communications tools and technologies to share experiences and ideas for creating a better, more livable world. The founders believe that everyone who lives on the planet has a potential for participating in its improvement and dealing effectively with changing times, and that WIN will provide both the opportunity and the means of doing so.
Currently, WIN exists as a site on the Internet's World Wide Web (address in box, below). WIN asks individuals, CSOs, governments, and other local and international organizations to use the electronic medium to assist in the "crusade" of creating a better world -- by sharing what they know, what they have, their best idea, and new points of view. WIN users will be able to search -- and provide input into -- a massive "ideas database" containing sustainable community strategies from around the globe. The concept is that if all states and countries understand and are linked through their common ideals and ideas, there will be greater synergy in our collective international actions.
In addition, WIN aims to improve the amount and kind of access that all people from every nation have to information that can help them to live better. Any person with access to computer equipment -- whether at home, at school, through a public library, CSO/NGO, or other public service mechanism -- will be able to participate.
One of WIN's most important goals is to generate and sustain a feeling of world citizenship. This feeling becomes all the more important as advances in science, technology, and politics allow people of all nations to be involved not only in their own neighborhoods, but in global happenings as well. WIN's information will come from people and civic practitioners in communities, so people will be able to learn and draw their own conclusions without the "screen" of the news media.
In the months since its inception, WIN has been involved in collecting, analyzing, and distributing information, with an emphasis on new or innovative ideas for improving local and global economies, politics, and social lives. There are prototype sites for Brazil and for the world, which include sections answering the "Question of the Week," addressing "Planet Earth Main Issues," and showcasing the best ideas and projects. There are plans to open WIN branches in five countries and in five Brazilian states in 1997.
WIN has a very ambitious economic goal: its founders believe that within 15 years, it will construct between 50,000 and 100,000 "virtual communities" around the world. The technical and logistic support required for this immense network, and the indirect economic development that it is expected to spur, will create tens of millions of jobs.
WIN will accomplish a related social goal by providing and promoting virtual jobs: people will have more time to spend at home, with family or pursuing hobbies, and will contribute less to the traffic congestion and chaos that have become emblematic of our modern urban society. The object is to use technology efficiently and well, rather than allowing people to become slaves to work and progress.
Politically, WIN believes that its focus on solutions content will help people understand events and problems in their own countries and others, and possibly to offer grassroots level answers to ongoing political problems. Citizens will be able to play a more active role in local and world discussions and politics.
WIN is currently funded by its Brazilian founder/directors, Cristina Leite, Marcio Bezerra, and Mario Tavares, with help from a key sponsor, Amana-Key, a Brazilian knowledge company. But profit is only a minor objective of WIN's founders, who are currently looking for funding from other companies and organizations that have a similar perception of world problems and the human and technological capacity to solve them. WIN's budget for 1997 is about US$100,000, which includes world and Brazilian sites, as well as starting the development of two self-sustained communities in Brazil. Critical organizational decisions are made by the three directors, acting as a board, based on what works best for WIN's mission, objective, and philosophy.
WIN is a candidate to be a featured project at the World Exposition - Hannover 2000. By the time of the exposition, its directors expect WIN to be active in at least 15 countries. WIN will host its own World Quality of Life Symposium in Fortaleza, Brazil, in September of 1998.
The main challenge to WIN's directors has been showing and proving to different people and organizations that the utopic idea of worldwide shared information and learning is feasible and can become a reality. On the other hand, this challenge allows WIN to find and join other people who have similar visions for a better future.
In exhibiting the project proposal to funders and others in the last year, the WIN founders have been encouraged and inspired by the idea that is possible to build a better world -- and that WIN can be a part of making that better world a reality. They quote Walt Disney as saying, "If you can dream it, you can do it."
A WIN briefing book, explaining the project's main principles and vision for the future, is available on the WIN web site (http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/1887)
We are now, as of April 6, launching with some other organizations and networks our projects for year 2000 in an event in Barcelona. We have opened a web page for Internet participation. It would be great if you could help us extend this invitation to take part in the event.
As you'll see, we are proposing with some other organizations a Count-Up Calendar for 2000 with 10 dates (Sundays) for interconnected events all over the world. The basic idea is to produce time convergence from the diversity of expressions.
This event inaugurates the Count Up to year 2000, a series of ten events to be held approximately every 100 days and always on a Sunday. Jointly with worldpeace 2000 we are proposing other networks and cities to organize and interconnect events on those dates. A celebration has already been confirmed in Tarragona for July 13th, organized by Together in the World. Other groups are also using this calendar as a reference.
The WAM team. Ivan Carrascal,Mabel Carrera, Javier Creus, Juan Losantos; Mercedes Mas de Xax‡s, Gerardo Peral, Bea sanz, Beatriz Soulier.
In order to effect change, real change, an individual must "sell" an idea to another individual. Now you have two committed people. If each two can each "sell" the idea to just one other person...you now have four...needless to say a geometric progression ensues. But each time you only have to "sell" the idea to one another person at a time.
I am focusing my "selling" time on sustainable - renewable energy. We have structured a company(for profit) of scientists and marketers to merchandise...solar, geothermal and hydrogen(fuel cells) energy. We provide consulting, design(hybrid methane/propane solar systems) distribution, installation, manufacturing (coming soon) and education(seminars) about the latter systems.
We all believe and feel the spirit of transformation coming...it is in the air, it is with almost all people one meets...everyone wants to know what it means and what they can do. I suggest make a commitment to something you believe in...something you want to make better, then do it. There is great power in believing--taking personal responsibility for your actions.
Specifically our group has a physicist(Ph.D.), process engineer(Ph.D.), former utility executive, CPA/chief financial officer, sales/marketing executive. More than half these people are women, one still works for a Fortune 100 corporation: all are looking for a change in work direction and life style. All are married, three have children under 13, two have grown children and are doting grandparents. All are high achievers, get things done people.
Part of the vision of this group is to build a manufacturing facility somewhere in the United States. Initially to employ 10 people...within 18 months 40-50 people. We will manufacture solar modules. In our model of the facility we plan to build, it will be handicapped accessible. Important to us is to create a company that addresses a need that helps society and employ a staff of integrated diversity.