Utopia

Posted on 15 February 2021 | No responses

We all need a vision that draws us to a healthier, more prosocial and life-affirming future. Having that vision gives us a destination, but also makes it easier to find the specific steps needed to create the vision’s embodiment.

This episode of Stories Make the Future is about creating a vision of a functional future rather than a perfect one: something more likely to lead to a utopian future with which we can live.

Core Values

Posted on 15 February 2021 | No responses

I believe in the value of human life in all its diversity.
I believe in the value of our living world in all its diversity.
I understand we live in a world that includes violence, cruelty, and unfairness.
We also live in a world where peace and compassion have created change.
From my experience the means by which you achieve your goals are part of the goals themselves.
You cannot achieve peace through violence.
However, you cannot achieve peace by allowing violent people to get their way.
They will simply knock you down and damage more people and more of life.
Forgiveness is not release from responsibility.
Unity is not about meeting destructiveness half way.
We must be unified for something.
Let that be a unity founded on universal well-being:
everyone and every living thing has the opportunity to live secure lives.
We must look to a future where our lives are valued
not because we are special,
but simply because we are human and alive.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Thoughts Going into 2021

Posted on 27 December 2020 | Comments Off on Thoughts Going into 2021

I am seriously concerned going into 2021. I hope I am wrong.

We seem to be descending into greater and greater hostility. My sense is that people are rightfully feeling endangered. However, their solution is to hit at easy targets rather than coming together to create culture change.

For instance those who are suffering from the deep social inequalities our culture is creating, instead of collectively acting to remove power from those who are hoarding wealth, turn to those who are weak or weaker than they and bully them for “stealing” jobs. In this way nothing changes and we are all worse off.

I wrote the below after a mostly sleepless night.

___

There is no peace without justice.
There is no justice where there is vengeance.

Fear is understandable.
Hatred is not the tool by which you overcome fear and oppression.
Tit for tat means you are playing by the monster’s handbook and learning to be a monster yourself.
Ask yourself–if I do this, am I any better than my enemies?

Always self-examine, because none of us is perfect.

Be willing to give second-chances, but question third or fourth chances.
You do not create a better world by allowing people to walk all over you.

No person is without flaws, no community is without flaws. One of the most dangerous things we do to ourselves and others is not acknowledge this.
Question the values of your oppressors. Do not perpetuate a culture of oppression by internalising their values.
Question the values of your own culture. You do not get a free pass to oppress others because you are part of an oppressed community.
Most especially do not protect those of your own, who are abusing your members, simply because they are public figures or figures of authority. You can create new public figures and new leaders. The sting of shame will pass, but damage to your own if these individuals are not called to justice can last lifetimes.

You cannot forcibly change people, you can only be there for them when they are ready to change.
The best way to create change is to be a good example of what you want to see in the world.

We need to be worried about how hostile we have all become.
We need to be worried about how self-absorbed we have all become.
Right now the planet needs our cooperation and goodwill.
You personally do not have to show kindness toward those who are doing you genuine harm, but do not perpetuate hostility.
Then we have to find each other by practising friendliness and social care.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

World Charter for Nature

Posted on 15 October 2020 | Comments Off on World Charter for Nature

In October of 1982 one hundred and eleven member states of the United Nations signed the UN World Charter for Nature. A few nations did not vote and some abstained, but only one country voted against this document: the United States.

Currently, the full document for this charter is unavailable on the United Nations website. If you follow the link to it, you will just receive a “404 page not found” message, which I find deeply concerning.

As such I felt to raise awareness of this important document, I would publish it here.

Read this, then check to see if your country signed it. If they have done so, then they are bound by treaty to abide by its precepts. Certainly, it may still need ratifying by your federal government in order to become law. Nevertheless, you have every right to insist that it does.

When we make important international agreements, particularly ones to do with our collective well-being, it is important to demonstrate we are a people of our word, we are a country of integrity. Our nation is one deserving of the world’s respect.

~~~

UN GA RES 37/7

World Charter for Nature (1982)

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming the fundamental purposes of the United Nations, in particular the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations among nations and the achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, technical, intellectual or humanitarian character,

Aware that:

(a) Mankind is a part of nature and life depends on the uninterrupted functioning of natural systems which ensure the supply of energy and nutrients,

(b) Civilization is rooted in nature, which has shaped human culture and influenced all artistic and scientific achievements, and living in harmony with nature gives man the best opportunities for the development of his creativity, and for rest and recreation,

Convinced that:

(a) Every form of life is unique, warranting respect regardless of its worth to man, and, to accord other organisms such recognition, man must be guided by a moral code of action,

(b) Man can alter nature and exhaust natural resources by his action or its consequences and, therefore, must fully recognize the urgency of maintaining the stability and quality of nature and of conserving natural resources,

Persuaded that:

(a) Lasting benefits from nature depend upon the maintenance of essential ecological processes and life support systems, and upon the diversity of life forms, which are jeopardized through excessive exploitation and habitat destruction by man,

(b) The degradation of natural systems owing to excessive consumption and misuse of natural resources, as well as to failure to establish an appropriate economic order among peoples and among States, leads to the breakdown of the economic, social and political framework of civilization,

(c) Competition for scarce resources creates conflicts, whereas the conservation of nature and natural resources contributes to justice and the maintenance of peace and cannot be achieved until mankind learns to live in peace and to forsake war and armaments,

Reaffirming that man must acquire the knowledge to maintain and enhance his ability to use natural resources in a manner which ensures the preservation of the species and ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations,

Firmly convinced of the need for appropriate measures, at the national and international, individual and collective, and private and public levels, to protect nature and promote international co-operation in this field,

Adopts, to these ends, the present World Charter for Nature, which proclaims the following principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged.

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

  1. Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not be impaired.
  2. The genetic viability on the earth shall not be compromised; the population levels of all life forms, wild and domesticated, must be at
    least sufficient for their survival, and to this end necessary habitat shall be safeguarded.
  3. All areas of the earth, both land and sea, shall be subject to these principles of conservation; special protection shall be given to unique areas, to representative samples of all the different types of ecosystems and to the habitat of rare or endangered species.
  4. Ecosystems and organisms, as well as the land, marine and atmospheric resources that are utilized by man, shall be managed to achieve and maintain optimum sustainable productivity, but not in such a way as to endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems or species with which they coexist.
  5. Nature shall be secured against degradation caused by warfare or other hostile activities.

II. FUNCTIONS

  1. In the decision-making process it shall be recognized that man’s needs can be met only by ensuring the proper functioning of natural systems and by respecting the principles set forth in the present Charter.
  2. In the planning and implementation of social and economic development activities, due account shall be taken of the fact that the conservation of nature is an integral part of those activities.
  3. In formulating long-term plans for economic development, population growth and the improvement of standards of living, due account shall be taken of the long-term capacity of natural systems to ensure the subsistence and settlement of the populations concerned, recognizing that this capacity may be enhanced through science and technology.
  4. The allocation of areas of the earth to various uses shall be planned and due account shall be taken of the physical constraints, the biological productivity and diversity and the natural beauty of the areas concerned.
  5. Natural resources shall not be wasted, but used with a restraint appropriate to the principles set forth in the present Charter, in accordance with the following rules:
    (a) Living resources shall not be utilized in excess of their natural capacity for regeneration;
    (b) The productivity of soils shall be maintained or enhanced through measures which safeguard their long-term fertility and the process of organic decomposition, and prevent erosion and all other forms of degradation;
    (c) Resources, including water, which are not consumed as they are used shall be reused or recycled;
    (d) Non-renewable resources which are consumed as they are used shall be exploited with restraint, taking into account their abundance, their rational possibilities of converting them for consumption, and the compatibility of their exploitation with the functioning of natural systems.
  6. Activities which might have an impact on nature shall be controlled, and the best available technologies that minimize significant risks to nature or other adverse effects shall be used; in particular:
    (a) Activities which are likely to cause irreversible damage to nature shall be avoided;
    (b) Activities which are likely to pose a significant risk to nature shall be preceded by an exhaustive examination; their proponents shall demonstrate that expected benefits outweigh potential damage to nature, and where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed;
    (c) Activities which may disturb nature shall be preceded by assessment of their consequences, and environmental impact studies of development projects shall be conducted sufficiently in advance, and if they are to be undertaken, such activities shall be planned and carried out so as to minimize potential adverse effects;
    (d) Agriculture, grazing, forestry and fisheries practices shall be adapted to the natural characteristics and constraints of given areas;
    (e) Areas degraded by human activities shall be rehabilitated for purposes in accord with their natural potential and compatible with the well-being of affected populations.
  7. Discharge of pollutants into natural systems shall be avoided and:
    (a) Where this is not feasible, such pollutants shall be treated at the source, using the best practicable means available;
    (b) Special precautions shall be taken to prevent discharge of radioactive or toxic wastes.
  8. Measures intended to prevent, control or limit natural disasters, infestations and diseases shall be specifically directed to the causes of these scourges and shall avoid averse side-effects on nature.

III. IMPLEMENTATION

  1. The principles set forth in the present Charter shall be reflected in the law and practice of each State, as well as at the international level.
  2. Knowledge of nature shall be broadly disseminated by all possible means, particularly by ecological education as an integral part of general education.
  3. All planning shall include, among its essential elements, the formulation of strategies for the conservation of nature, the establishment of inventories of ecosystems and assessments of the effects on nature of proposed policies and activities; all of these elements shall be disclosed to the public by appropriate means in time to permit effective consultation and participation.
  4. Funds, programmes and administrative structures necessary to achieve the objective of the conservation of nature shall be provided.
  5. Constant efforts shall be made to increase knowledge of nature by scientific research and to disseminate such knowledge unimpeded by restrictions of any kind.
  6. The status of natural processes, ecosystems and species shall be closely monitored to enable early detection of degradation or threat, ensure timely intervention and facilitate the evaluation of conservation policies and methods.
  7. Military activities damaging to nature shall be avoided.
  8. States and, to the extent they are able, other public authorities, international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:
    (a) Co-operate in the task of conserving nature through common activities and other relevant actions, including information exchange and consultations;
    (b) Establish standards for products and other manufacturing processes that may have adverse effects on nature, as well as agreed methodologies for assessing these effects;
    (c) Implement the applicable international legal provisions for the conservation of nature and the protection of the environment;
    (d) Ensure that activities within their jurisdictions or control do not cause damage to the natural systems located within other States or in the areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction;
    (e) Safeguard and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
  9. Taking fully into account the sovereignty of States over their natural resources, each State shall give effect to the provisions of the present Charter through its competent organs and in co-operation with other States.
  10. All persons, in accordance with their national legislation, shall have the opportunity to participate, individually or with others, in the formulation of decisions of direct concern to their environment, and shall have access to means of redress when their environment has suffered damage or degradation.
  11. Each person has a duty to act in accordance with the provisions of the present Charter, acting individually, in association with others or through participation in the political process, each person shall strive to ensure that the objectives and requirements of the present Charter are met.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Crossing Bridges

Posted on 15 October 2020 | Comments Off on Crossing Bridges

Congress member John Lewis is a big hero of mine: right up there with Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Malala Yousafzai. He did so much to ensure the kind, respectful, and fair treatment of all people in the US. This episode of Stories Make the Future is dedicated to John Lewis. After all he exemplifies what stories of change need to look like.

This Is the Problem

Posted on 24 September 2020 | Comments Off on This Is the Problem

This video introduces people to social problem fiction. This is a genre used to reflect upon the issues people have to face today. It is an important way to hold a mirror up to the realities many people are living.

Look Out to Your Neighbour, Look Up to Something Better

Posted on 31 August 2020 | 1 response

A friend made a comment this morning that resonated with me. “How is it that people’s minds are so fragile right now?”

How is it that people we have known to be friendly and kind have slipped into hatred?

How is it that people who were once willing to reach out a hand to those in need are now withholding help, and telling those who are suffering that they deserve it.

How is it that after being mistreated for being who they are, people turn around and mistreat others for who they are? “My pain, but not your pain”. The arrow of empathy is expected to go one direction.

How is it that so many people of such great diversity are all yearning to be like the awful selfish people on the top.

We are all scared and we are all being fed toxic stories and images through our media. We need to start looking out and looking up.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Stories Make the Future

Posted on 20 August 2020 | Comments Off on Stories Make the Future

I have started a video series about how to write the sort of stories that capture people’s imaginations and help to create a better world. I talk about how storytelling can also be part of the social or environmental activist’s strategy. Please take a look and tell me what you think!

Tips for Change

Posted on 18 July 2020 | Comments Off on Tips for Change

Helping.
CC BYSA 4.0 Intl Mr.rwaghmare

Stand up to those who are behaving in harmful manners.

Refrain from hating them…stay focused on the behaviour.

Support and applaud those doing life-affirming actions.

Do what you can to amplify the example of life-affirming action, so that it is seen more as the norm and thereby becomes more of the norm.

Don’t worry so much about converting the obstinate. Just be kind and protect the vulnerable.

Be prepared to hold out a hand when someone is ready to change their minds for the better.

You cannot change a person by telling them they are a bad person. You can change them by example, and by pointing out certain actions and words are harmful. Example is best.

Create a world whereby it is easy to do the right thing.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

The Nannies Are Okay

Posted on 12 July 2020 | Comments Off on The Nannies Are Okay

I object to “nanny state” on the same grounds as I object to “throws like a girl” or “screams like a girl”. The formula is: “this is bad, therefore it is like a female because females are laughably low status.”

However, as a metaphor “nanny state” is revealing.

Traditionally, nannies have been servants in wealthy households. They were live-in workers, sometimes even slaves, who made it possible for the woman of the house to participate in an upper-class social life.

For someone to create and use such an analogy they would probably have experienced being raised by a nanny. They may well be someone who resented a lower-class woman telling them, as rich children, what to do. In their estimation they may believe that they should have the right to tell the nanny what to do, and a nanny should have no power at all, even if it is in their best interest.

So what exactly are we saying with the phrase “nanny state”? No one for any reason should have a right to tell a rich person, regardless of age, what to do? The poor should never have power over the rich? Women should never have power over men? That caring for the populace: ensuring they have all they need and don’t hurt themselves, is a bad thing?

I am much more concerned by a surveillance state or a police state, than a nanny state. Perhaps when someone uses “nanny state” take a hard look at who they are and what their agenda is. Certain leaders right now come off as spoiled brat three year-olds yelling, “You can’t tell me what to do, I’m telling my daddy on you.”

I would love to see Mary Poppins become a positive protest symbol! I would much prefer to see her in power than many others.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

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