Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

This is a broad, catch-all category of works that fit best here and not elsewhere. If you haven't found it someplace else, you might want to look here.

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 5:29 am

Rockefeller Brothers Fund
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/5/20

Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Motto: Philanthropy for an Interdependent World
Formation: 28 December 1940; 79 years ago
Founder: John, Nelson, Winthrop, Laurance, and David Rockefeller
Headquarters: New York, New York
Products: Grant-making
Key people: Stephen B. Heintz
Endowment: $870 million (2017)[1]
Website www.rbf.org

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) is a philanthropic foundation created and run by members of the Rockefeller family. It was founded in New York City in 1940 as the primary philanthropic vehicle for the five third-generation Rockefeller brothers: John D. Rockefeller III, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David. It is distinct from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefellers are an industrial, political, and banking family that made one of the world's largest fortunes in the oil business during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Fund's stated mission is to "advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world."[2] The current president of RBF is Stephen Heintz, who was appointed to the post in 2000.[3] Valerie Rockefeller serves as RBF's chairwoman. She succeeded Richard Rockefeller, the fifth child of David Rockefeller, who served as RBF's chairman until 2013.[4]

History

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was established in 1940 by the five sons of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The five Rockefeller brothers served as the Fund's first five trustees. In 1951, the Fund grew substantially when it received a $58 million endowment from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.[5]

As the RBF's founding generation passed on, new family members joined the board, moving the Fund's giving further to the political left.[6] In 1999, the Fund merged with the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation.[5]

In November 2006, David Rockefeller pledged $225 million to the Fund that would create the David Rockefeller Global Development Fund after his death.[7]

In September 2014, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced that it planned to divest its assets from fossil fuels.[8] On disinvesting from fossil fuels, the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stephen Heintz, said: "We see this as both a moral imperative and an economic opportunity" (30 September 2014).[9]

The Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are independent, distinct institutions.[10]

Special Studies Project

Main article: Special Studies Project

From 1956 to 1960, the Fund financed a study conceived by its then president, Nelson Rockefeller, to analyze the challenges facing the United States. Henry Kissinger was recruited to direct the project. Seven panels were constituted that looked at issues including military strategy, foreign policy, international economic strategy, governmental reorganization, and the nuclear arms race.[11]

The military subpanel's report was rush-released about two months after the USSR launched Sputnik in October 1957.[12] Rockefeller urged the Republican Party to adopt the finding of the Special Studies Project as its platform. The findings of the project formed the framework of Nelson Rockefeller's 1960 presidential election platform.[13] The project was published in its entirety in 1961 as Prospect for America: The Rockefeller Panel Reports. The archival study papers are stored in the Rockefeller Archive Center at the family estate.[14]

Presidents

• Nelson Rockefeller (1956-1958)
• Laurance Rockefeller (1958-1968)
• Dana S. Creel (1968-1975)
• William M. Dietel (1975-1987)
• Colin G. Campbell (1987-2000)
• Stephen B. Heintz (2001–present)

Further reading

• Harr, John Ensor, and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century: Three Generations of America's Greatest Family, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988.
• Nielsen, Waldemar, The Big Foundations, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973.
• Rockefeller, David, Memoirs, New York: Random House, 2002.

References

1. "Endowment Summary". Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
2. "About The Fund". Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
3. Nauffts, Mitch (5 November 2000). "Stephen B. Heintz: A Conversation With the President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund". Philanthropy News Digest. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
4. "New Leadership at the Fund". RBF.org. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
5. Jump up to:a b Ciger, Joseph Charles. Philanthropists and Foundation Globalization. Transaction Publishers. p. 101. ISBN 9781412806732.
6. Horowitz, David; Laskin, Jacob. The New Leviathan: How the Left-Wing Money-Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America's Future. Crown Publishing Group. p. 45. ISBN 9780307716477.
7. "David Rockefeller Pledges $225 Million to Family Fund (Update1)". bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
8. Iyengar, Rishi (22 September 2014). "The Rockefellers Are Pulling Their Charity Fund Out of Fossil Fuels". Time. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
9. Cited in Tim Flannery, Atmosphere of Hope. Solutions to the Climate Crisis, Penguin Books, 2015, pages 117 (ISBN 9780141981048). Opening quote for the chapter ten entitles "Divestment and the carbon bubble".
10. Kaiser, David; Wasserman, Lee (8 December 2016). "The Rockefeller Family Fund vs. Exxon". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 27 February 2018. Although the boards of the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund are still led by members of the family, they are independent, distinct institutions. In these articles we are speaking only for the Rockefeller Family Fund
11. Ferguson, Niall (2015). Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist. Penguin. ISBN 9780698195691.
12. Rushed release of military subpanel's report - see Cary Reich, The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908-1958, New York: Doubleday, 1996. (pp.650-667)
13. Andrew III, John (Summer 1998). "Cracks in the Consensus: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund Special Studies Project and Eisenhower's America". Presidential Studies Quarterly. 28: 535–552. JSTOR 27551900.
14. Rockefeller Archive Center

External links

• Official website
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 6:11 am

Aspen Institute
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/5/20

Image
The Aspen Institute
Formation: 1949; 71 years ago
Type: Research institute, think tank
Headquarters: 2300 N Street, NW, Suite 700
Location: Washington, D.C.
President & CEO: Daniel R. Porterfield
Revenue (2017): $141.378 million[1]
Expenses (2017): $134.993 million[1]
Website: AspenInstitute.org

The Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit think tank founded in 1949 as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.[2] The organization is a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas. The Institute and its international partners promote the pursuit of common ground and deeper understanding in a nonpartisan and nonideological setting through regular seminars, policy programs, conferences, and leadership development initiatives. The institute is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado (its original home), and near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at the Wye River in Maryland. It has partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Paris, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, Prague, Bucharest, Mexico City, and Kiev, as well as leadership initiatives in the United States and on the African continent, India, and Central America.

The Aspen Institute is largely funded by foundations such as the Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, by seminar fees, and by individual donations. Its board of trustees includes leaders from politics, government, business and academia who also contribute to its support.

History

The Institute was largely the creation of Walter Paepcke, a Chicago businessman who had become inspired by the Great Books program of Mortimer Adler at the University of Chicago.[3] In 1945, Paepcke visited Bauhaus artist and architect Herbert Bayer, AIA, who had designed and built a Bauhaus-inspired minimalist home outside the decaying former mining town of Aspen, in the Roaring Fork Valley. Paepcke and Bayer envisioned a place where artists, leaders, thinkers, and musicians could gather. Shortly thereafter, while passing through Aspen on a hunting expedition, oil industry maverick Robert O. Anderson (soon to be founder and CEO of Atlantic Richfield) met with Bayer and shared in Paepcke's and Bayer's vision. In 1949, Paepcke organized a 20-day international celebration for the 200th birthday of German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The celebration attracted over 2,000 attendees, including Albert Schweitzer, José Ortega y Gasset, Thornton Wilder, and Arthur Rubinstein.[4]

Image
Doerr-Hosier Center at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado

In 1949, Paepcke founded the Aspen Institute; and later the Aspen Music Festival and eventually (with Bayer and Anderson) the International Design Conference at Aspen (IDCA).[5] Paepcke sought a forum "where the human spirit can flourish", especially amid the whirlwind and chaos of modernization. He hoped that the Institute could help business leaders recapture what he called "eternal verities": the values that guided them intellectually, ethically, and spiritually as they led their companies. Inspired by philosopher Mortimer Adler's Great Books seminar at the University of Chicago, Paepcke worked with Anderson to create the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar.[6] In 1951, the Institute sponsored a national photography conference attended by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Berenice Abbott, and other notables. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Institute added organizations, programs, and conferences, including the Aspen Center for Physics, the Aspen Strategy Group, Communications and Society Program and other programs that concentrated on education, communications, justice, Asian thought, science, technology, the environment, and international affairs.

In 1979, through a donation by Corning Glass industrialist and philanthropist Arthur A. Houghton Jr. the Institute acquired a 1,000-acre (4 km²) campus on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, known today as the Wye River Conference Centers.[7]

In 1996, the first Socrates Program seminar was hosted.

In 2005, it held the first Aspen Ideas Festival, featuring leading minds from around the world sharing and speaking on global issues. The Institute, along with The Atlantic, hosts the festival annually. It has trained philanthropists such as Carrie Morgridge.[8]

Since 2013,[9] the Aspen Institute together with U.S. magazine The Atlantic and Bloomberg Philanthropies has participated in organizing the annual CityLab event, a summit dedicated to develop strategies for the challenges of urbanization in today's cities.[10]

Walter Isaacson was the president and CEO of Aspen Institute from 2003 to June 2018. Isaacson announced in March 2017 that he would step down as president and CEO at the end of the year.[11] On November 30, 2017, Daniel Porterfield was announced as his successor. Porterfield succeeded Isaacson on June 1, 2018.[12]

References

1. "Annual Report 2017" (PDF). Aspen Institute. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
2. "About the Aspen Institute". aspeninstitute.org. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
3. "About - The Aspen Institute". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
4. "Elizabeth Paepcke, 91, a Force In Turning Aspen Into a Resort". The New York Times. 18 June 1994. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
5. "Herbert Bayer, 85, a designer and artist of Bauhaus School". The New York Times. 1 October 1985. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
6. "ASPEN: A 4TH DECADE FOR ANCESTOR...OF A GROWING BUSINESS BREED". The New York Times. 31 August 1981. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
7. "Cuban boy moves to Md. Shore". The Baltimore Sun. 26 April 2000. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
8. Davidson, Joanne (June 17, 2015). "Need a few million dollars, 10,000 digital whiteboards or a shipment of sheep hearts? Don't ask for them". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
9. "CityLab: Urban Solutions to Global Challenges". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
10. "CityLab 2016". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
11. "Walter Isaacson to leave Aspen Institute, become Tulane professor". NOLA.com. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
12. Platts, Barbara. "Daniel R. Porterfield named Aspen Institute's next president and CEO". Retrieved 2017-11-30.

External links

• Official website
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 7:00 am

Carnegie Corporation of New York
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/5/20

Image
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Image
The Corporation's headquarters at 437 Madison Avenue in New York
Formation: 9 June 1911; 108 years ago
Founder: Andrew Carnegie
Type: Foundation
Legal status: Nonprofit organization
Purpose: To promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding
Headquarters: New York, United States
Region: Global
Methods: Grant-giving
Fields: Education, democracy, international peace, higher education in Africa
President: Vartan Gregorian
Chair of the Board: Thomas Kean
Revenue (2018): $253 million[1]
Expenses (2018): $180 million[1]
Endowment (2018): $3.5 billion[1]
Website http://www.carnegie.org

The Carnegie Corporation of New York MHL is a philanthropic fund established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to support education programs across the United States, and later the world.[2] Carnegie Corporation has endowed or otherwise helped to establish institutions that include the United States National Research Council, what was then the Russian Research Center at Harvard University (now known as the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies),[3] the Carnegie libraries and the Children's Television Workshop. It also for many years generously funded Carnegie's other philanthropic organizations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT), and the Carnegie Institution for Science (CIS).

History

Founding and early years


By 1911 Andrew Carnegie had endowed five organizations in the US and three in the United Kingdom, and given more than $43 million to build public libraries and given another almost $110 million elsewhere. But ten years after he sold the Carnegie Steel Company, more than $150 million remained in his accounts and at 76, he wearied of philanthropic choices. Long-time friend Elihu Root suggested he establish a trust. Carnegie transferred most of his remaining fortune into it, and made the trust responsible for distributing his wealth after he died. Carnegie's previous charitable giving had used conventional organizational structures, but he chose a corporation as the structure for his last and largest trust. Chartered by the State of New York as the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the corporation's capital fund, originally worth about $135 million, had a market value of $1.55 billion on March 31, 1999.

In 1911-1912, Carnegie gave the corporation $125 million. At that time the corporation was the largest single philanthropic charitable trust ever established. He also made it a residual legatee under his will so it therefore received an additional $10 million, the remainder of his estate after had paid his other bequests. Carnegie reserved a portion of the corporation's assets for philanthropy in Canada and the then-British Colonies, an allocation first referred to as the Special Fund, then the British Dominions and Colonies Fund, and later the Commonwealth Program. Charter amendments have allowed the corporation to use 7.4 percent of its income in countries that are or once were members of the British Commonwealth.[clarification needed]

In its early years Carnegie served as both president and trustee. His private secretary James Bertram and his financial agent, Robert A. Franks, acted as trustees as well and, respectively, corporation secretary and treasurer. This first executive committee made most of the funding decisions. Other seats on the board were held ex officio by presidents of five previously-established US Carnegie organizations:

• Carnegie Institute (of Pittsburgh) (1896),
• Carnegie Institution of Washington (1902),
• Carnegie Hero Fund Commission (1904),
• Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) (1905),
• Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) (1910).

After Carnegie died in 1919, the trustees elected a full-time salaried president as the trust's chief executive officer and ex officio trustee. For a time the corporation's gifts followed the patterns Carnegie had already established. Grants for public libraries and church organs continued until 1917, and also went to other Carnegie organizations, and universities, colleges, schools, and educational agencies. Carnegie's letter of gift to the original trustees making the endowment said that the trustees would "best conform to my wishes by using their own judgement."[4] Corporation strategies changed over the years but remained focused on education, although the trust did also increasingly fund scientific research, convinced that the nation needed more scientific expertise and "scientific management". It also worked to build research facilities for the natural and social sciences. The corporation made large grants to the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the National Bureau of Economic Research, Stanford University's now-defunct Food Research Institute[5] and the Brookings Institution, then became interested in adult education and lifelong learning, an obvious follow-on to Carnegie's vision for libraries as "the university of the people". In 1919 it initiated the Americanization Study to explore educational opportunities for adults, primarily for new immigrants.

Frederick P. Keppel

With Frederick P. Keppel as president (1923-1941), the Carnegie Corporation shifted from creating public libraries to strengthening library infrastructure and services, developing adult education, and adding arts education to the programs of colleges and universities. The foundation's grants in this period have a certain eclectic quality and remarkable perseverance in its chosen causes.[6]

Keppel initiated a famous 1944 study of race relations in the United States by the Swedish social economist Gunnar Myrdal in 1937 by naming a non-American outsider as manager of the study. His theory that this task should be done by someone unencumbered by traditional attitudes or earlier conclusions led to Myrdal's widely heralded book American Dilemma (1944). The book had no immediate effect on public policy, but was later much cited in legal challenges to segregation. Keppel believed foundations should make facts available and let them facts speak for themselves. His cogent writings on philanthropy made a lasting impression on field and influenced the organization and leadership of many new foundations.[7]

In 1927 Keppel toured sub-Saharan Africa and recommended a first set of grants to establish public schools in eastern and southern Africa. Other grants went to for municipal library development in South Africa. During 1928 the corporation initiated the Carnegie Commission on the Poor White Problem in South Africa. Better known as the "Carnegie Poor White Study", it promoted strategies to improve the lives of rural Afrikaner whites and other poor whites in general. A memorandum sent to Keppel said there was "little doubt that if the natives were given full economic opportunity, the more competent among them would soon outstrip the less competent whites"[8] Keppel endorsed the project that produced the report, motivated by his concern with maintaining existing racial boundaries.[8] The corporation's concern for the so-called "poor white problem" in South Africa stemmed at least in part from similar misgivings about poor whites in the American South.[8]

White poverty defied traditional understandings of white racial superiority and thus became the subject of study. The report recommended that "employment sanctuaries" be established for poor white workers and that poor white workers replace "native" workers in most skilled aspects of the economy.[9] The authors of the report suggested that white racial deterioration and miscegenation would be the outcome[8] unless something was done to help poor whites, endorsing the necessity of the role of social institutions to play in the successful maintenance of white racial superiority.[9][10] The report expressed trepidation concerning the loss of white racial pride, with the implicit consequence that poor whites would not successfully resist "Africanisation."[8] The report sought, in part, to forestall the historically inevitable accession of a communal, class based, democratic socialist movement aimed at uniting the poor of each race in common cause and brotherhood.[11]

Charles Dollard

World War II and its immediate aftermath were a relatively inactive period for the Carnegie Corporation. Charles Dollard had joined the staff in 1939 as Keppel's assistant and became president in 1948. The foundation took greater interest in the social sciences, and particularly the study of human behavior. The trust also entered into international affairs. Dollard urged it to fund quantitative, "objective" social science research like research in physical sciences, and help to diffuse the results through major universities. The corporation advocated for standardized testing in schools to determine academic merit regardless of the student's socio-economic background. Its initiatives have also included helping to broker the creation of the Educational Testing Service in 1947.

The corporation determined that the US increasingly needed policy and scholarly expertise in international affairs, and so tied into area studies programs at colleges and universities as well as the Ford Foundation. In 1948 the trust also provided the seed money to establish the Russian Research Center at Harvard University, today known as the Davis Center for Russia and Eurasian Studies,[12] as an organization that could address large-scale research from both a policy and educational points of view.

In 1951 the Group Areas Act took effect in South Africa and effectively put the apartheid system into place, leading to political ascendancy for Afrikaners and dispossession for many Africans and colored people suddenly required to live in certain areas of the country only, on pain of imprisonment for remaining in possession of homes in areas designated for whites. The Carnegie corporation pulled its philanthropic endeavors from South Africa for more than two decades after this political change, turning its attention from South Africa to developing East African and West African universities instead.

John Gardner

John W. Gardner was promoted from a staff position to the presidency in 1955. Gardner simultaneously became president of the CFAT, which was housed at the corporation. During Gardner's time in office the Carnegie Corporation worked to upgrade academic competence in foreign area studies and strengthened its liberal arts education program. In the early 1960s it inaugurated a continuing education program and funded development of new models for advanced and professional study by mature women. Important funding went to the key early experiments in continuing education for women, with major grants to the University of Minnesota (1960, co-directors Elizabeth L. Cless and Virginia L. Senders), Radcliffe College (1961, under President Mary Bunting), and Sarah Lawrence College (1962, under Professor Esther Raushenbush).[13] Gardner's interest in leadership development led to the White House Fellows program in 1964.

Notable grant projects in higher education in sub-Saharan Africa include the 1959-60 Ashby Commission study of Nigerian needs in postsecondary education. This study stimulated aid increases from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States to African nations' systems of higher and professional education. Gardner had a strong interest in education, but as a psychologist he believed in the behavioral sciences and urged the corporation to funded much of the US' basic research on cognition, creativity, and the learning process, particularly among young children, associating psychology and education. Perhaps its most important contribution to reform of pre-college education at this time was the series of education studies done by James B. Conant, former president of Harvard University; in particular, Conant's study of comprehensive American high schools (1959) resolved public controversy concerning the purpose of public secondary education, and made the case that schools could adequately educate both average students and the academically gifted.

Under Gardner, the corporation embraced strategic philanthropy—planned, organized, and deliberately constructed to attain stated ends. Funding criteria no longer required just a socially desirable project. The corporation sought out projects that would produce knowledge leading to useful results, communicated to decision-makers, the public, and the media, in order to foster policy debate. Developing programs that larger organizations, especially governments, could implement and scale in size became a major objective. The policy shift to institutional knowledge transfer came in part as a response to relatively diminished resources that made it necessary to leverage assets and "multiplier effects" to have any effect at all. The corporation considered itself a trendsetter in philanthropy, often funding research or providing seed money for ideas while others financed more costly operations. For example, ideas it advanced resulted in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, later adopted by the federal government. A foundation's most precious asset was its sense of direction, Gardner said,[14] gathering a competent professional staff of generalists that he called his "cabinet of strategy," and regarded as a resource as important to the corporation as its endowment.

Alan Pifer

While Gardner's opinion of educational equality was to multiply the channels through which an individual could pursue opportunity, it was during the term of long-time staff member Alan Pifer, who became acting president during 1965 and president during 1967 (again of both Carnegie Corporation and the CFAT), that the foundation began to respond to claims by various groups, including women, for increased power and wealth. The corporation developed three interlocking objectives: prevention of educational disadvantage; equality of educational opportunity in the schools; and broadened opportunities in higher education. A fourth objective cutting across these programs was to improve the democratic performance of government. Grants were made to reform state government as the laboratories of democracy, underwrite voter education drives, and mobilize youth to vote, among other measures. Use of the legal system became a method for achieving equal opportunity in education, as well as redress of grievance, and the corporation joined the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and others in funding educational litigation by civil rights organizations. It also initiated a multifaceted program to train black lawyers in the South for the practice of public interest law and to increase the legal representation of black people.

Maintaining its commitment to early childhood education, the corporation endorsed the application of research knowledge in experimental and demonstration programs, which subsequently provided strong evidence of the long-term positive effects of high-quality early education, particularly for the disadvantaged. A 1980 report on an influential study, the Perry Preschool Project of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, on the outcomes for sixteen-year-olds enrolled in the experimental preschool programs provided crucial evidence that safeguarded Project Head Start in a time of deep cuts to federal social programs. The foundation also promoted educational children's television and initiated the Children's Television Workshop, producer of Sesame Street and other noted children's programs. Growing belief in the power of educational television prompted creation of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television, whose recommendations were adopted into the Public Broadcasting Act of 1968 that established a public broadcasting system. Many other reports on US education the corporation financed at this time, included Charles E. Silberman's acclaimed Crisis in the Classroom (1971), and the controversial Inequality: A Reassessment of the Effect of Family and Schooling in America by Christopher Jencks (1973). This report confirmed quantitative research, e.g. the Coleman Report, showed that in public schools resources only weakly correlated with educational outcomes, which coincided with the foundation's burgeoning interest in improved school effectiveness.

Becoming involved with South Africa again during the mid-1970s, the corporation worked through universities to increase the legal representation of black people and increase the practice of public interest law. At the University of Cape Town, it established the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in Southern Africa, this time to examine the legacies of apartheid and make recommendations to nongovernmental organizations for actions commensurate with the long-run goal of achieving a democratic, interracial society.

The influx of nontraditional students and "baby boomers" into higher education prompted formation of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education (1967), funded by the CFAT. (During 1972, the CFAT became an independent institution after experiencing three decades of restricted control over its own affairs.) In its more than ninety reports, the commission made detailed suggestions for introducing more flexibility into the structure and financing of higher education. One outgrowth of the commission's work was creation of the federal Pell grants program offering tuition assistance for needy college students. The corporation promoted the Doctor of Arts "teaching" degree as well as various off-campus undergraduate degree programs, including the Regents Degree of the State of New York and Empire State College. The foundation's combined interest in testing and higher education resulted in establishment of a national system of college credit by examination (College-Level Entrance Examination Program of the College Entrance Examination Board). Building on its past programs to promote the continuing education of women, the foundation made a series of grants for the advancement of women in academic life. Two other study groups formed to examine critical problems in American life were the Carnegie Council on Children (1972) and the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting (1977), the latter formed almost ten years after the first commission.

David A. Hamburg

David A. Hamburg, a physician, educator, and scientist with a public health background, became president in 1982 intending to mobilize the best scientific and scholarly talent and thinking on "prevention of rotten outcomes" - from early childhood to international relations. The corporation pivoted from higher education to the education and healthy development of children and adolescents, and the preparation of youth for a scientific and technological, knowledge-driven world. In 1984 the corporation established the Carnegie Commission on Education and the Economy. Its major publication, A Nation Prepared (1986), reaffirmed the role of the teacher as the "best hope" for quality in elementary and secondary education. That report led to the establishment a year later of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, to consider ways to attract able candidates to teaching and recognize and retain them. At the corporation's initiative, the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued two reports, Science for All Americans (1989) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy (1993), which recommended a common core of learning in science, mathematics, and technology for all citizens and helped set national standards of achievement.

A new emphasis for the corporation was the danger to world peace posed by the superpower confrontation and weapons of mass destruction. The foundation underwrote scientific study of the feasibility of the proposed federal Strategic Defense Initiative and joined the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to support the analytic work of a new generation of arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts. After the end of the USSR, corporation grants helped promote the concept of cooperative security among erstwhile adversaries and projects to build democratic institutions in the former Soviet Union and Central Europe. The Prevention of Proliferation Task Force, coordinated by a grant to the Brookings Institution, inspired the Nunn-Lugar Amendment to the Soviet Threat Reduction Act of 1991, intended to help dismantle Soviet nuclear weapons and reduce proliferation risks. More recently, the corporation addressed interethnic and regional conflict and funded projects seeking to diminish the risks of a wider war resulting from civil strife. Two Carnegie commissions, Reducing the Nuclear Danger (1990), the other Preventing Deadly Conflict (1994), addressed the dangers of human conflict and the use of weapons of mass destruction. The corporation's emphasis in Commonwealth Africa, meanwhile, shifted to women's health and political development and the application of science and technology, including new information systems, to foster research and expertise in indigenous scientific institutions and universities.

During Hamburg's tenure, dissemination achieved even greater primacy with respect to strategic philanthropy. Consolidation and diffusion of the best available knowledge from social science and education research was used to improve social policy and practice, as partner with major institutions with the capability to influence public thought and action. If "change agent" was a major term during Pifer's time, "linkage" became a byword in Hamburg's. The corporation increasingly used its convening powers to bring together experts across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries to create policy consensus and promote collaboration.

Continuing tradition, the foundation established several other major study groups, often directed by the president and managed by a special staff. Three groups covered the educational and developmental needs of children and youth from birth to age fifteen: the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1986), the Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children (1991), and the Carnegie Task Force on Learning in the Primary Grades (1994). Another, the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government (1988), recommended ways that government at all levels could make more effective use of science and technology in their operations and policies. Jointly with the Rockefeller Foundation, the corporation financed the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future, whose report, What Matters Most (1996), provided a framework and agenda for teacher education reform across the country. These study groups drew on knowledge generated by grant programs and inspired follow-up grantmaking to implement their recommendations.

Vartan Gregorian

During the presidency of Vartan Gregorian the corporation reviewed its management structure and grants programs. In 1998 the corporation established four primary program headings: education, international peace and security, international development, and democracy. In these four main areas, the corporation continued to engage with major issues confronting higher education. Domestically, it emphasized reform of teacher education and examined the current status and future of liberal arts education in the United States. Abroad, the corporation sought to devise methods to strengthen higher education and public libraries in Commonwealth Africa. As a cross-program initiative, and in cooperation with other foundations and organizations, the corporation instituted a scholars program, offering funding to individual scholars, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, in the independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Honours

• Honorary-Member of the Order of Liberty, Portugal (5 April 2018)[15]

See also

• Carnegie Commission on the Poor White Problem in South Africa
• Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
• Carnegie library
• Andrew Carnegie
• Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
• Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
• The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
• Nicholas Murray Butler

Footnotes

1. "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Carnegie Corporation of New York. Carnegie Corporation of New York. 2019. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
2. Carnegie Corporation of New York
3. "Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies". Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. Harvard University. 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
4. Gary Mulholland; Claire MacEachen; Ilias Kapareliotis (2013). Charles Wankel, Ph.D.; Larry E. Pate (eds.). Rise, Fall, Re-Emergence of Social Enterprise. Social Entrepreneurship as a Catalyst for Social Change: Research in Management Education and Development. Information Age Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-1623964474.
5. "Food Research Institute". Stanford University.
6. Richard Glotzer, "A long shadow: Frederick P. Keppel, the Carnegie Corporation and the Dominions and Colonies Fund Area Experts 1923–1943." History of Education 38.5 (2009): 621-648.
7. Walter Jackson, "The Making of a Social Science Classic: Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma." Perspectives in American History 2 (1985): 221-67.
8. The Silent War: Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race By Frank Füredi. Page 66-67. ISBN 0-8135-2612-4
9. Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History By Ann Laura Stoler. Page 66. ISBN 0-8223-3724-X
10. Racially segregated school libraries in KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa by Jennifer Verbeek. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, Vol. 18, No. 1, 23-46 (1986)
11. The American Century: Consensus and Coercion in the Projection of American Power By David Slater and Peter James Taylor. Page 290. ISBN 0-631-21222-1, 1999
12. "History". Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. Harvard University.
13. Elizabeth L. Cless, "The Birth of an Idea: An Account of the Genesis of Women's Continuing Education," in Helen S. Astin (ed.), Some Action of Her Own: The Adult Woman and Higher Education, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1976, pp.6-7.
14. Ellen Condliffe Lagemann (1992). The Politics of Knowledge: The Carnegie Corporation, Philanthropy, and Public Policy. University of Chicago Press. p. 183. ISBN 0226467805 – via Google Books.
15. "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved March 20, 2019.

Further reading

• Sara L. Engelhardt (ed.), The Carnegie Trusts and Institutions. New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1981.
• Ellen C. Lagemann, The Politics of Knowledge. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1989.
• Inderjeet Parmar, Foundations of the American Century: The Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
• Patricia L Rosenfield, "A world of giving : Carnegie Corporation of New York-- a Century of International Philanthropy." New York : PublicAffairs, 2014.

External links

• Carnegie Corporation of New York
• History of the Carnegie Corporation
• Carnegie Corporation of New York archives at Columbia University
• Time For Ford Foundation & CFR To Divest? Collaboration of the Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie Foundations with the Council on Foreign Relations
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 7:25 am

World Economic Forum
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/6/20

Image
World Economic Forum
Image
Headquarters in Cologny, Switzerland.
Motto: Committed to improving the state of the world
Formation: January 1971; 49 years ago (as European Management Forum)
Founder: Klaus Schwab
Type: Nonprofit organization
Legal status: Foundation
Purpose: International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation
Headquarters: Cologny, Switzerland
Region served: Worldwide
Official language: English
Executive Chairman: Klaus Schwab
Website: http://www.weforum.org Edit this at Wikidata
Formerly called: European Management Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland, is an NGO, founded in 1971. The WEF's mission is cited as "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas".[1] It is a membership-based organization, and membership is made up of the world's largest corporations.[2]

The WEF hosts an annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 3,000 business leaders, international political leaders, economists, celebrities and journalists for up to five days to discuss global issues, across 500 public and private sessions.

The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations across Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and India and holds two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. Beside meetings, the organization provides a platform for leaders from all stakeholder groups from around the world – business, government and civil society – to collaborate on multiple projects and initiatives.[3] It also produces a series of reports and engages its members in sector-specific initiatives.[4]

History

Image
Professor Klaus Schwab opens the inaugural European Management Forum in Davos in 1971.

Image
F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos in January 1992

Image
Naoto Kan, then Japanese prime minister gives a special message at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011

Image
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman, World Economic Forum

Image
The economics expert Prime-Minister Meles Zenawi, being a panelist at World Economic Forum on 2012.

The WEF was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a business professor at the University of Geneva.[5] First named the European Management Forum, it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts.

In the summer of 1971, Schwab invited 444 executives from Western European firms to the first European Management Symposium held in the Davos Congress Centre under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations, where Schwab sought to introduce European firms to American management practices. He then founded the WEF as a nonprofit organization based in Geneva and drew European business leaders to Davos for the annual meetings each January.[6]

Events in 1973, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed-exchange rate mechanism and the Arab–Israeli War, saw the annual meeting expand its focus from management to economic and social issues, and, for the first time, political leaders were invited to the annual meeting in January 1974.[7]

Political leaders soon began to use the annual meeting as venue for promoting their interests. The Davos Declaration was signed in 1988 by Greece and Turkey, helping them turn back from the brink of war. In 1992, South African President F. W. de Klerk met with Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the annual meeting, their first joint appearance outside South Africa. At the 1994 annual meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat reached a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho.[8]

In late 2015, the invitation was extended to include a North Korean delegation for the 2016 WEF, "in view of positive signs coming out of the country", the WEF organizers noted. North Korea has not been attending the WEF since 1998. The invitation was accepted but after the January 2016 North Korean nuclear test on 6 January, the invitation was revoked, and the country's delegation was made subject to "existing and possible forthcoming sanctions".[9] Despite protests by North Korea calling the decision by the WEF managing board a "sudden and irresponsible" move, the WEF committee maintained the exclusion because "under these circumstances there would be no opportunity for international dialogue".[10]

In 2017, the WEF in Davos attracted considerable attention when for the first time, a head of state from the People's Republic of China was present at the alpine resort. With the backdrop of Brexit, an incoming protectionist US administration and significant pressures on free trade zones and trade agreements, Paramount leader Xi Jinping defended the global economic scheme, and portrayed China as a responsible nation and a leader for environmental causes. He sharply rebuked the current populist movements that would introduce tariffs and hinder global commerce, warning that such protectionism could foster isolation and reduced economic opportunity.[11]

In 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the plenary speech, becoming the first head of state from India to deliver the inaugural keynote for the annual meet at Davos. Modi highlighted global warming (climate change), terrorism and protectionism as the three major global challenges, and expressed confidence that they can be tackled with collective effort.[12]

In 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gave the keynote address at the plenary session of the conference. On his first international trip to Davos, he emphasized liberal economic policies despite his populist agenda, and attempted to reassure the world that Brazil is a protector of the rain forest while utilizing its resources for food production and export. He stated that "his government will seek to better integrate Brazil into the world by mainstreaming international best practices, such as those adopted and promoted by the OECD".[13] Environmental concerns like extreme weather events, and the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation were among the top-ranking global risks expressed by WEF attendees.[14]

Organization

Headquartered in Cologny, the WEF also has offices in New York, Beijing and Tokyo. In January 2015 it was designated an NGO with "other international body" status by the Swiss Federal Government under the Swiss Host-State Act.[15]

On October 10, 2016, the WEF announced the opening of its new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco. According to the WEF, the center will "serve as a platform for interaction, insight and impact on the scientific and technological changes that are changing the way we live, work and relate to one another".[16]

The World Economic Forum claims to be impartial and that it is not tied to any political, partisan, or national interests. Until 2012, it had observer status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, when it was revoked; it is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Council. The foundation's highest governance body is the foundation board.[17]

The WEF is chaired by Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab and is guided by a Board of Trustees that is made up of leaders from business, politics, academia and civil society. Members of the Board of Trustees include: Mukesh Ambani, Marc Benioff, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Mark Carney, Laurence D. Fink, Chrystia Freeland, Orit Gadiesh, Fabiola Gianotti, Al Gore, Herman Gref, Angel Gurría, André Hoffmann, Christine Lagarde, Jack Ma, Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Maurer, Luis Alberto Moreno, Muriel Pénicaud, H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, L. Rafael Reif, David M. Rubenstein, Mark Schneider, Klaus Schwab, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Jim Hagemann Snabe, Feike Sijbesma, Heizo Takenaka, Zhu Min.[18]

The Managing Board is chaired by the WEF's President, Børge Brende, and acts as the executive body of the World Economic Forum. Managing Board members are Emma Benameur, Børge Brende, Julien Gattoni, W. Lee Howell, Jeremy Jurgens, Anil Menon, Adrian Monck, Sarita Nayyar, Richard Samans, Olivier M. Schwab, Murat Sönmez, Dominic Kailash Nath Waughray, Saadia Zahidi, Alois Zwinggi.[19]

Image
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the World Economic Forum in 2009.

Membership

The foundation is funded by its 1,000 member companies, typically global enterprises with more than five billion dollars in turnover (varying by industry and region). These enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region. Membership is stratified by the level of engagement with forum activities, with the level of membership fees increasing as participation in meetings, projects, and initiatives rises.[20] In 2011 an annual membership cost $52,000 for an individual member, $263,000 for "Industry Partner" and $527,000 for "Strategic Partner". An admission fee cost $19,000 per person.[21] In 2014, WEF raised annual fees by 20 percent, bringing the cost for "Strategic Partner" from CHF 500,000 ($523,000) to CHF 600,000 ($628,000).[22]

Activities

Annual meeting in Davos


Image
A sports shop has turned into a temporary informal reception location "Caspian week", WEF 2018.

The flagship event of the World Economic Forum is the invitation-only annual meeting held at the end of January in Davos, Switzerland, bringing together chief executive officers from its 1,000 member companies, as well as selected politicians, representatives from academia, NGOs, religious leaders, and the media in an alpine environment. The winter discussions ostensibly focus around key issues of global concern (such as the globalization, capital markets, wealth management, international conflicts, environmental problems and their possible solutions).[4][23] The participants are also taking part in role playing events, such as the Investment Heat Map.[24] Informal winter meetings may have led to as many ideas and solutions as the official sessions.[25]

At the 2018 annual meeting, more than 3,000 participants from nearly 110 countries participated in over 400 sessions. Participation included more than 340 public figures, including more than 70 heads of state and government and 45 heads of international organizations; 230 media representatives and almost 40 cultural leaders were represented.[26]

As many as 500 journalists from online, print, radio, and television take part, with access to all sessions in the official program, some of which are also webcast.[27] Not all the journalists are given access to all areas, however. This is reserved for white badge holders. "Davos runs an almost caste-like system of badges", according to BBC journalist Anthony Reuben. "A white badge means you're one of the delegates – you might be the chief executive of a company or the leader of a country (although that would also get you a little holographic sticker to add to your badge), or a senior journalist. An orange badge means you're just a run-of-the-mill working journalist."[28]

All plenary debates from the annual meeting also are available on YouTube,[29] with photographs at Flickr,[30][31]

Annual meeting in Davos

Year / Dates / Theme


1988 / -- / The new state of the world economy
1989 / -- / Key developments in the 90s: implications for global business
1990 / -- / Competitive cooperation in a decade of turbulence
1991 / -- / The new direction for global leadership
1992 / -- / Global cooperation and megacompetition
1993 / -- / Rallying all the forces for global recovery
1994 / -- / Redefining the basic assumptions of the world economy
1995 / -- / Leadership for challenges beyond growth
1996 / -- / Sustaining globalization
1997 / -- / Building the network society
1998 / -- / Managing volatility and priorities for the 21st century
1999 / -- / Responsible globality: managing the impact of globalization
2000 / -- / New beginnings: making a difference
2001 / 25–30 January / Sustaining growth and bridging the divides: a framework for our global future
2002 / 31 January – 4 February / Leadership in fragile times
2003 / 21–25 January / Building trust
2004 / 21–25 January / Partnering for security and prosperity
2005 / 26–30 January / Taking responsibility for tough choices
2006 / 25–29 January / The creative imperative[32]
2007 / 24–28 January / Shaping the global agenda, the shifting power equation
2008 / 23–27 January / The power of collaborative innovation
2009 / 28 January – 1 February / Shaping the post-crisis world
2010 / 27–30 January / Improve the state of the world: rethink, redesign, rebuild
2011 / 26–30 January / Shared norms for the new reality
2012 / 25–29 January / The great transformation: shaping new models
2013 / 23–27 January / Resilient dynamism[33]
2014 / 22–25 January / The reshaping of the world: consequences for society, politics and business
2015 / 21–24 January / New global context
2016 / 20–23 January / Mastering the fourth industrial revolution
2017 / 17–20 January / Responsive and responsible leadership
2018 / 23–26 January / Creating a shared future in a fractured world
2019 / 22–25 January / Globalization 4.0: shaping a global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution
2020 / 20–24 January / Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world[34]


Participants

Image
Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, at the 2010 World Economic Forum

In 2011, some 250 public figures (heads of state or government, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, heads or senior officials of international organizations) attended the annual meeting, including: Felipe Calderón, Robert B. Zoellick, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Nicolas Sarkozy, Ban Ki-moon, Angela Merkel, Oommen Chandy, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Ferenc Gyurcsány, François Fillon, Morgan Tsvangirai, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Min Zhu, Paul Kagame, Queen Rania of Jordan, Dmitry Medvedev, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Kevin Rudd, Barney Frank, Kofi Annan, Werner Faymann, Leonel Fernández, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa Naoto Kan, Jean-Claude Trichet, and Zeng Peiyan.[35]

Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Orrin Hatch, Victor Dzau, Georg von Krogh,[36] Bono, Paulo Coelho, and Tony Blair also are regular Davos attendees. Past attendees include George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Charles Butt, Robert Bass, Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, Raymond Barre, Julian Lloyd Webber, Sandro Salsano, Wences Casares, Imran Khan, Sadhguru.

Summer annual meeting

Image
Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group, at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian

In 2007, the foundation established the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (also called Summer Davos), held annually in China, alternating between Dalian and Tianjin, bringing together 1,500 participants from what the foundation calls Global Growth Companies, primarily from rapidly growing emerging countries such as China, India, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil, but also including quickly growing companies from developed countries. The meeting also engages with the next generation of global leaders from fast-growing regions and competitive cities, as well as technology pioneers from around the globe.[37][38] The Premier of China has delivered a plenary address at each annual meeting.

Regional meetings

Image
Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India; Sudha Pilay, Member-Secretary, Planning Commission, India; and Ben Verwaayen, chief executive officer, Alcatel-Lucent, France were the co-chairs of the India Economic Summit 2011 in Mumbai

Image
Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, speaking during Latin America Broadens Its Horizons, a session at the 2007 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum

Every year regional meetings take place, enabling close contact among corporate business leaders, local government leaders, and NGOs. Meetings are held in Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The mix of hosting countries varies from year to year, but consistently China and India have hosted throughout the decade since 2000.[39]

Young Global Leaders

The group of Young Global Leaders[40] consists of 800 people chosen by the WEF organizers as being representative of contemporary leadership, "coming from all regions of the world and representing all stakeholders in society", according to the organization. After five years of participation they are considered alumni.

Social Entrepreneurs

Since 2000, the WEF has been promoting models developed by those in close collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship,[41] highlighting social entrepreneurship as a key element to advance societies and address social problems.[42][43] Selected social entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the foundation's regional meetings and the annual meetings where they may meet chief executives and senior government officials. At the Annual Meeting 2003, for example, Jeroo Billimoria met with Roberto Blois, deputy secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, an encounter that produced a key partnership for her organization Child helpline international.[44]

Research reports

Image
Two Academy Award winner, Pakistani journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy at WEF in 2013

The foundation also acts as a think tank, publishing a wide range of reports. In particular, "Strategic Insight Teams" focus on producing reports of relevance in the fields of competitiveness, global risks, and scenario thinking.

Image
Filipino businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala at WEF in 2009

The "Competitiveness Team"[45] produces a range of annual economic reports (first published in brackets): the Global Competitiveness Report (1979) measured competitiveness of countries and economies; The Global Information Technology Report (2001) assessed their competitiveness based on their IT readiness; the Global Gender Gap Report examined critical areas of inequality between men and women; the Global Risks Report (2006) assessed key global risks; the Global Travel and Tourism Report (2007) measured travel and tourism competitiveness; the Financial Development Report (2008)[46] aimed to provide a comprehensive means for countries to establish benchmarks for various aspects of their financial systems and establish priorities for improvement; and the Global Enabling Trade Report (2008) presented a cross-country analysis of the large number of measures facilitating trade among nations.[47]

The "Risk Response Network"[48] produces a yearly report assessing risks which are deemed to be within the scope of these teams, have cross-industry relevance, are uncertain, have the potential to cause upwards of US$10 billion in economic damage, have the potential to cause major human suffering, and which require a multi-stakeholder approach for mitigation.[49]

Initiatives

Health


The Global Health Initiative was launched by Kofi Annan at the annual meeting in 2002. The GHI's mission was to engage businesses in public-private partnerships to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and health systems.

Image
Mohammad Khatami at Economic Forum in 2004

The Global Education Initiative (GEI), launched during the annual meeting in 2003, brought together international IT companies and governments in Jordan, Egypt, and India[50] that has resulted in new personal computer hardware being available in their classrooms and more local teachers trained in e-learning. The GEI model, which is scalable and sustainable, now is being used as an educational blueprint in other countries including Rwanda.

On 19 January 2017 the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global initiative to fight epidemics, was launched at WEF in Davos. The internationally funded initiative aims at securing vaccine supplies for global emergencies and pandemics, and to research new vaccines for tropical diseases, that are now more menacing. The project is funded by private and governmental donors, with an initial investment of US$460m from the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, plus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.[51]

Society

The Water Initiative brings together diverse stakeholders such as Alcan Inc., the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, USAID India, UNDP India, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Government of Rajasthan, and the NEPAD Business Foundation to develop public-private partnerships on water management in South Africa and India.

In an effort to combat corruption, the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) was launched by CEOs from the Engineering and Construction, Energy and Metals, and Mining industries at the annual meeting in Davos during January 2004. PACI is a platform for peer exchange on practical experience and dilemma situations. Approximately 140 companies have joined the initiative.[52]

Environment

Further information: Business action on climate change

In the beginning of the 21th century the forum begun to increasingly deal with environmental issues[53]. In the Davos Manifesto 2020 it is said that a company among other: "acts as a steward of the environmental and material universe for future generations. It consciously protects our biosphere and champions a circular, shared and regenerative economy." "responsibly manages near-term, medium-term and long-term value creation in pursuit of sustainable shareholder returns that do not sacrifice the future for the present." "is more than an economic unit generating wealth. It fulfils human and societal aspirations as part of the broader social system. Performance must be measured not only on the return to shareholders, but also on how it achieves its environmental, social and good governance objectives."[54]

The Environmental Initiative covers climate change and water issues. Under the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, the U.K. government asked the World Economic Forum at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to facilitate a dialogue with the business community to develop recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This set of recommendations, endorsed by a global group of CEOs, was presented to leaders ahead of the G8 Summit in Toyako and Hokkaido held in July 2008.[55][56]

In January 2017, WEF launched the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), which is a global public private partnership seeking to scale circular economy innovations.[57][58] PACE is co-chaired by Frans van Houten (CEO of Philips), Naoko Ishii (CEO of the Global Environment Facility, and the head of UN Environment (UNEP).[59] The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the International Resource Panel, Circle Economy and Accenture serve as knowledge partners.

The Environment and Natural Resource Security Initiative was emphasized for the 2017 meeting to achieve inclusive economic growth and sustainable practices for global industries. With increasing limitations on world trade through national interests and trade barriers, the WEF has moved towards a more sensitive and socially minded approach for global businesses with a focus on the reduction of carbon emissions in China and other large industrial nations.[60]

Also in 2017, WEF launched the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for the Earth Initiative, a collaboration among WEF, Stanford University and PwC, and funded through the Mava Foundation.[61] In 2018, WEF announced that one project within this initiative was to be the Earth BioGenome Project, the aim of which is to sequence the genomes of every organism on Earth.[62]

The World Economic Forum is working to eliminate plastic pollution, stating that by the year 2050 it will consume 15% of the global carbon budget and will pass by its weight fishes in the world's oceans. One of the methods is to achieve circular economy[63][64].

The theme of 2020 World Economic Forum annual meeting was "Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World". Climate change and sustainability were central themes of discussion. Many argued that GDP is failed to represent correctly the wellbeing and that fossil fuel subsydies should be stopped. Many of the participants said that a better capitalism is needed. Al Gore summarized the ideas in the conference as: “I don’t want to be naive, but I want to acknowledge that the center of the global economy is now saying things that many of us have dreamed they might for a long time,” "“The version of capitalism we have today in our world must be reformed,”[65].

In this meeting the World Economic Forum:

• Launched the Trillion Tree Campaign an initiative aiming to "grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world - in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change". Donald Trump joined the initiative. The forum stated that: "Nature-based solutions – locking-up carbon in the world’s forests, grasslands and wetlands – can provide up to one-third of the emissions reductions required by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement targets," adding that the rest should come from the heavy industry, finance and transportation sectors. One of the targets is to unify existing reforestation projects[66]
• Discussed the issue of climate change and called to expanding renewable energy, energy efficiency change the patterns of consumption and remove carbon from the atmosphere. The forum claimed that the climate crisis will became a climate apocalypse if the temperature will rise by 2 degree. The forum called to fulfill the commitments in Paris Agreement. Jennifer Morgan the executive director of Greenpeace said that as to the beginning of the forum, fossil fuels still get 3 times more money than climate solutions[67]

Global Future Councils

The Network of Global Future Councils meets annually in the United Arab Emirates and virtually several times a year.[68] The second WEF annual meeting was held in Dubai in November 2017, when there were 35 distinct councils focused on a specific issue, industry or technology.[69] In 2017 members met with representatives and partners of WEF's new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.[70] Ideas and proposals are taken forward for further discussion at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January.[69]

Criticism

Image
Protest march against the WEF in Basel, 2006.

During the late 1990s the foundation, along with the G7, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund, came under heavy criticism by anti-globalization activists who claimed that capitalism and globalization were increasing poverty and destroying the environment. Ten thousand demonstrators disrupted a regional meeting of the World Economic Forum in Melbourne, obstructing the path of two hundred delegates to the meeting.[71] Small demonstrations are held in Davos on most but not all years, organised by the local Green Party (see Anti-WEF protests in Switzerland, January 2003) to protest against what have been called the meetings of "fat cats in the snow", a tongue-in-cheek term used by rock singer Bono.[72]

After 2014, the protest movement against the World Economic Forum largely died down, and Swiss police noted a significant decline in attending protesters, 20 at most during the meeting in 2016. While protesters are still more numerous in large Swiss cities, the protest movement itself has undergone significant change.[73] Around 150 Tibetans and Uighurs protested in Geneva and 400 Tibetans in Bern against the visit of the China's paramount leader Xi Jinping for the 2017 meeting, with subsequent confrontations and arrests.[74]

Participation of NGOs

The WEF attracts a number of non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International, and the ICRC.

Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of the anti-poverty confederation Oxfam International co-chaired the 2015 meeting, where she presented a critical report of global wealth distribution based on statistical research by the Credit Suisse Research Institute. In this study, the richest one percent of people in the world own forty-eight percent of the world's wealth.[75]

At the 2019 meeting, the Oxfam director presented another report claiming that the gap between rich and poor has only increased. The report “Public Good or Private Wealth” stated that 2,200 billionaires worldwide saw their wealth grow by 12 percent while the poorest half saw its wealth fall by 11 percent. Oxfam calls for a global tax overhaul to increase and harmonise global tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals.[76]

Public cost of security

In September 2018, the city of Davos approved by popular vote to increase the security budget for the yearly meeting to CHF 1.125 million. Later that month, the Swiss house of representatives (Nationalrat) also agreed to increase police and military expenditures to CHF 39 million while the Kanton of Graubünden contributes CHF 2.25 million, the same amount the WEF is paying for security costs.[77]

Private vs public meetings

Since the annual meeting in January 2003 in Davos, an Open Forum Davos,[78] which was co-organized by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, is held concurrently with the Davos forum, opening up the debate about globalization to the general public. The Open Forum has been held in the local high school every year, featuring top politicians and business leaders. It is open to all members of the public free of charge.[79][80]

"Davos Man"

"Davos Man" is a neologism referring to the global elite of wealthy (predominantly) men, whose members view themselves as completely "international" and who despise the people of their own country, being loyal only to global capital itself. According to political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, who is credited with inventing the phrase "Davos Man",[81] they are people who "have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the élite's global operations". In his 2004 article "Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite", Huntington argues that this international perspective is a minority elitist position not shared by the nationalist majority of the people.[82]

Gender debate

Since 2011, the World Economic Forum has been addressing its very own gender quota, to introduce at least one woman for every five senior executives that attended. Female participation increased from 9% to 15% between 2001 and 2005. In 2016, 18% of the WEF attendees were female; this number increased to 21% in 2017, and 24% in 2020, five years of growth.[83][84]

See also

• 2009 Davos incident
• Asian Leadership Conference
• Boao Forum for Asia
• Davos process
• European Business Summit
• International Labour Organization
• International Transport Forum
• Istanbul World Political Forum
• St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
• Sustainable development
• World Knowledge Forum

References

1. "World Economic Forum: Our Mission".
2. "World Economic Forum: Our Members and Partners".
3. "World Economic Forum: Our Platforms".
4. Pigman. pp. 41–42.
5. Pigman. pp. 6–22.
6. Kellerman. p. 229.
7. (registration required) "Interview: Klaus Schwab" Archived 4 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.Financial Times. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
8. Lowe, Felix (14 January 2008). "WEF and Davos: A Brief History" Archived 3 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
9. Keaten Jamey, AP (13 January 2016). "World Economic Forum revokes invitation to North Korea to attend the annual meeting in Davos" Archived 11 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
10. AFP (15 January 2016). N. Korean fury over 'sinister' WEF Davos forum exclusion Archived 7 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The China Post. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
11. P. S. Goodman (2017). "In Era of Trump, China’s President Champions Economic Globalization". The New York Times(News Analysis). Retrieved 17 January 2017.
12. Livemint (23 January 2018). "WEF Davos 2018 highlights: Narendra Modi warns of three global threats". livemint.com/. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
13. Speech by the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, at the Plenary Session of the World Economic Forum – Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2019. Brasil. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
14. Taylor, Chloe (Jan 2019). Global tension is hampering our ability to fight climate change, Davos survey warns CNBC. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
15. "Press Release: World Economic Forum Gains Formal Status in Switzerland". 23 January 2015.
16. "New Forum Center to Advance Global Cooperation on Fourth Industrial Revolution". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
17. "The Leadership Team | World Economic Forum-The Leadership Team". Weforum.org. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
18. "World Economic Forum, Leadership and Governance". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
19. "World Economic Forum, Governance and Leadership". Retrieved 20 November 2011.
20. "Members | World Economic Forum-Members". Weforum.org. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
21. "The Truth About Davos: Here's Why People Happily Pay $71,000+ To Come – And Why They'll Keep Paying More Every Year". Business Insider. 26 January 2011.
22. "Sky-high Davos summit fees leave multinationals feeling deflated". The Financial Times. 10 October 2014.
23. "Q&A: World Economic Forum 2009" Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine BBC News. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
24. Madslien, Jorn (26 January 2013). "Q&A: World Economic Forum 2009". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 January 2016. Retrieved 2015-02-23. Madslien, Jorn BBC News – Davos Man eyes investment opportunities
25. Weber, Tim (26 January 2010). "A Beginners' Guide to Davos" Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine BBC News. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
26. "Forum Closes with Call to Action: Globalize Compassion and Leave No One Behind". 26 January 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
27. "Forum's homepage". Weforum.org. Retrieved 7 March2010.[permanent dead link]
28. Reuben, Anthony (27 January 2013). "My first Davos - what I learned". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 January 2016. Retrieved 2015-06-08. My first Davos – what I learned
29. "Kanaal van WorldEconomicForum". YouTube. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
30. "World Economic Forum's Photostream". Flickr. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
31. "48TH WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ANNUAL MEETING". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
32. Howe, Dave (9 August 2009). "Creativity Can Save the World". HuffPost. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
33. founder Klaus Schwab's declaration that "the need for global cooperation has never been greater".
34. "Economic, Financial and Banking Awareness 10 November 2019". PendulumEdu. PendulumEdu. 10 November 2019.
35. "World Economic Forum 2011 Abridged List of Participants"(PDF). Retrieved 22 January 2012.
36. "How can business clusters drive success". World Economic Forum.
37. "World Economic Forum: The Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions". China.org. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
38. "Summer Davos To Put Dalian on Business Map". China Daily (via People's Daily). 1 August 2007. Retrieved 25 January2011.
39. "World Economic Forum – Events". Weforum.org. World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 9 January 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
40. "Forum of Young global Leaders". Weforum.org. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
41. "Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship – Home". Schwabfound.org. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
42. Fruchterman, Jim (31 January 2005). "Davos Diary: Meetings of Minds" Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine BBC News. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
43. Moore. p. 209.
44. Bornstein. p. 272.
45. "Issues | World Economic Forum-Issues". Weforum.org. World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
46. "WEF – Financial Development Report". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 18 August 2013.
47. Pigman. pp. 43, 92–112.
48. "Global Risks | World Economic Forum-Global Risks". Weforum.org. World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
49. Global Risk Report 2009 Archived 25 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine World Economic Forum.
50. India Brand Equity Foundation. "India Adda World Economic Forum at Davos" Archived 21 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine 2012.
51. D. G. McNeil Jr (2017). Donors and Drug Makers Offer $500 Million to Control Global Epidemics. The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
52. Pigman. p. 115.
53. "Environment and Natural Resource Security". World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
54. Schwab, Klaus. "Davos Manifesto 2020: The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution". World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
55. Black, Richard (20 June 2008). "Business Chiefs Urge Carbon Curbs" Archived 23 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine BBC News. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
56. Szabo, Michael (19 June 2008). "Business Chiefs Call for G8 Climate Leadership" Archived 31 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine Reuters. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
57. "Circular Economy". World Economic Forum.
58. "TopLink". toplink.weforum.org.
59. "Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy". Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy.
60. Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security The World Economic Forum Davos 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
61. "New global initiative will help harness 4IR technologies tackle environmental issues". Waterbriefing. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
62. Casey, JP (25 January 2018). "Project to sequence all genomes on Earth to begin in Amazon rainforest". Drug Development Technology. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
63. Hughes, Kristin. "3 ways we are making an impact on plastic pollution". World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
64. Rooney, Katharine. "The story of two brothers who travelled through a river of trash and inspired a nation". World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
65. WORLAND, JUSTIN (27 January 2020). "How Davos Became a Climate Change Conference". Times. Retrieved 31 January2020.
66. Pomeroy, Robin. "One trillion trees - World Economic Forum launches plan to help nature and the climate". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
67. Pomeroy, Robin. "What you need to know about Davos 2020: How to save the planet". World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
68. "Global Future Councils". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
69. "Dubai to host second WEF annual meeting of Global Future Councils". Al Arabiya English. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
70. "Home, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution". Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
71. Barret, Bernard (15 November 2000). "Beating Up – A Report on Police Batons and the News Media at the World Economic Forum, Melbourne, September 2000" Archived 26 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. [Australian Politics]. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
72. Noon, Chris (21 January 2006). "Bono Teams Up With Amex, Gap For Product Red" Archived 8 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Forbes. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
73. C. Thumshirn (2017). Warum das WEF keine Demonstranten mehr anlockt(in German). Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
74. Tibetans and Uighurs protest in Geneva. SWI swissinfo.ch (Politics-Conflict). Retrieved 22 January 2017.
75. Vara, Vauhini (January 2015). Critics of Oxfam’s Poverty Statistics Are Missing the Point. The New Yorker. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
76. Taylor, Chloe (January 2019). Richest 26 people now own same wealth as poorest half of the world, Oxfam claims cnbc.com. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
77. Davos stimmt ab - Mehr Geld für das WEF(in German) SRF.ch. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
78. "Open Forum Davos, Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund". Openforumdavos.ch. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
79. Pigman. p. 130.
80. "Open Forum". YouTube. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
81. Timothy Garton Ash. Davos man's death wish Archived 21 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 3 February 2005
82. Samuel Huntington. "Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite" Archived 14 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The National Interest, Spring 2004
83. A. Gibbs (2017). As world leaders descend upon Davos, the gender debate rumbles on CNBC News. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
84. A. Gibbs (2017). The percentage of women at Davos is greater than ever before Quartz. Retrieved 19 November 2019.

Sources

• Bornstein, David (2007). How to Change the World – Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. Oxford University Press (New York City). ISBN 978-0-19-533476-0. 358 pages.
• Kellerman, Barbara (1999). Reinventing Leadership – Making the Connection Between Politics and Business. State University of New York Press (Albany, New York). ISBN 978-0-7914-4071-1. 268 pages.
• Moore, Mike (2003). A World Without Walls – Freedom, Development, Free Trade and Global Governance. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England; New York City). ISBN 978-0-521-82701-0. 292 pages.
• Pigman, Geoffrey Allen (2007). The World Economic Forum – A Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Global Governance. Routledge (London, England; New York City). ISBN 978-0-415-70204-1. 175 pages.
• Rothkopf, David J. (2008). Superclass – The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York City). ISBN 978-0-374-27210-4. 376 pages.
• Schwab, Klaus M.; Kroos, Hein (1971). Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau. Verein Dt. Maschinenbau-Anst. e.V.. Maschinenbau-Verl (Frankfurt om Main, Germany). OCLC 256314575.
• Wolf, Michael (1999). The Entertainment Economy – How Mega-Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives. Random House (New York City). ISBN 978-0-8129-3042-9. 336 pages.
• "Behind the Scenes at Davos" broadcast 14 February 2010 on 60 Minutes
• ´How to Open the World Economic Forum´ – Matthias Lüfkens in Interview with 99FACES.tv
• "Everybody’s Business: Strengthening International Cooperation in a More Interdependent World" launched May 2010, Doha, Qatar

External links

• Official website
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 7:40 am

Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment Is a Religious Issue
Edited by Steven C. Rockefeller and John C. Elder
by Stuart Smithers
Tricycle
FALL 1992

SPIRIT AND NATURE: Why the Environment Is a Religious Issue
Edited by Steven C. Rockefeller and John C. Elder.
Beacon Press: Boston, 1992.
226 pp. $30.00 (clothbound) $16.00 (paperback).


One of the most common and enduring stereotypes in environmental literature is the idea that Eastern religions promote a sense of harmony between human beings and nature. On the other side of the stereotype stand the religions of the West, promoting the separation of human beings and nature and encouraging acts of domination, exploitation, and control....

This image of an affirmative Eastern attitude toward nature must have lurked in the minds of the environmental activists and friends of the environment who gathered at Middlebury College in the fall of 1990 to hear the 14th Dalai Lama speak on the topic of "Spirit and Nature." Tibet, like traditional Japan, has been the focus of a certain Western yearning for the East as a place to discover not only a unique sense of wisdom (what one observer called "an intimate and creative relationship with the vast and profound secrets of the human soul") but a wisdom that can insure "the future survival of Earth itself."6 There was a hush in the Middlebury field house as the Dalai Lama seated himself on the stage and began to speak.7 It must have been a surprise when he began by saying that he had nothing to offer to those who came expecting to hear about ecology or the environment, and even more surprising when he interpreted the word "nature" as a reference to "the fundamental nature of all reality" and entered into a discourse on the Buddhist concept of Emptiness. To explain the connection between nature and Emptiness, he said: "When talking about the fundamental nature of reality, one could sum up the entire understanding of that nature in a simple verse: 'Form is emptiness and emptiness is form' (The Heart Sutra). This simple line sums up the Buddhist understanding of the fundamental nature of reality."8 And he went on to explain how Tibetan philosophers use logical analysis to develop their view of Emptiness and to pursue what he said was the "expressed aim of Buddhism," namely, the purification and development of the mind.

The Dalai Lama's words were surprising not because he seemed unfriendly toward the "natural" world in the prevailing sense of the word (that is, toward ecosystems of plants, animals, the atmosphere, the ocean, rivers, mountains and so on), but because he so gently and easily shifted attention away from the natural world toward the development of human nature and the purification of the mind. The sense of surprise only became more acute when he began to develop the concept of Emptiness and indicated that it involved a denial of the reality of what he took to be "nature" itself. To say that "Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form," in the language of Mahayana philosophy, is to say that all things are "empty" of any inherent "nature" or identity.9 The purification of the mind, which the Dalai Lama called the "expressed aim of Buddhism," comes from stripping away false concepts of the "nature" of things and resting content with their Emptiness. In other words, "nature" (in one possible meaning of the word) may very well be a barrier to overcome in a quest for human development.

What should we make of the gap between the Dalai Lama's words and the conventional image of the Buddhist attitude toward nature? Does the Dali Lama see something in the Buddhist tradition that others do not? Is the image of Buddhism as an ecologically friendly tradition simply an artifact of the Western imagination?


-- Is There a Buddhist Philosophy of Nature?, by Malcolm David Eckel


Driving toward Seattle in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I am faced again with a certain despair for the environment and myself. Here I am rushing to Seattle past urban sprawl and “industrial parks” (a wonderful oxymoron) in a truck that con­sumes far more energy than is necessary, pondering the conse­quences of our ugly “progress”­ only to realize I have arrived at these same observations, conclu­sions, and sentiments before. I have begun to recognize a familiar feeling that life is moving in circles, that for all the politically correct talk about the environ­ment, the charters, and the summits, nothing really changes for the better, and just identifying environmental and ecological problems is no longer important. The next far more difficult step must be to question how these problems can be corrected and to admit that many of the proposals already put forward have failed; not because the ideas were wrong, but because advocates have not appreciated the need for a more sophisticated understanding of human nature in relationship to the environmental crisis. Spirit and Nature, edited by Steven C. Rockefeller and John Elder, is an important new direction in envi­ronmental discourse because it squarely faces the question of reli­gious force, both personal and institutional, as a prime player in the politics of environment.

The text contains the lectures and addresses of a four-day symposium entitled “Spirit and Nature: Religion, Ethics, and Environmental Crisis,” which was held at Middlebury College (where both Rockefeller and Elder are professors) in the fall of 1990. The symposium presented Buddhist, Islamic, Christian, Jewish, and Native American religious perspectives.


Every chapter in Spirit and Nature sounds a note that could be lengthened, shortened, or tuned in some way; and while each voice is intelligent and caring and unique, several recurring themes and questions emerge.

In different ways many of the authors have arrived at the central importance of “interdependence” as a primary principle for under­standing ecological reality and for the actions which proceed from such an understanding. This notion is hardly unfamiliar to Buddhists and is included in the Dalai Lama’s remarks (“A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective”) at the symposium. According to the Buddhist view of “interdepen­dence,” our lives are propelled by craving or desire, and that fact has not been overlooked by other traditions. Ismar Schorsch (“Learning to Live with Less: A Jewish Perspective”), for example, laments our lack of self-restraint and the “ferocious consumerism of American life,” while Sallie McFague (“A Square in the Quilt”) alludes to the same dilemma in her discussion of St. Augustine’s understanding of sin as “living a lie”:

… living in false relations to God and other beings. It [sin] is, as he said in a term that may sound quaint and anachronistic but which is ecologically up-to-date, “concupiscence,” an insatiable appetite …


Recognizing this fact of human nature (desire, the force of desire, and its many subtle and uncon­scious layers of manifestation) must lead to important questions about the challenge we face as the Western “lifestyle” of consumerism spreads across the globe: should we expect rational discourse to prevail against non­rational forces, especially the non­rational forces of consumerism, which is nothing more than a meaningless economics of desire?

The full danger of consumerist societies and our inability to convert societies to a more envi­ronmentally sound lifestyle is only weakly represented in Spirit and Nature because, I think, the book is one-sided. While I consider myself to be very much on the same side, I wonder how useful it is to talk to oneself, as it were. Ronald Engel (“Liberal Democ­racy and the Fate of the Earth”) seems to be approaching this point when he writes: “We need to pause for a moment and listen to the two sides of this debate.”

Spirit and Nature is undoubt­edly a successful book because it makes us return to the primary issues of the environmental move­ment and ask, What next? One very real possibility introduced in Spirit and Nature is to convene another conference that would include “the other”: that is, intelligent and successful people in busi­ness, politics, science, and technol­ogy who do not share the point of view of the authors and editors. Listening to “the other,” I might gain a new respect for the incredi­ble forces that resist restraint, forces which—even though I am in sympathy with ecology and conservation movements—I find echoes of in myself: a certain lazi­ness, a refusal to give up a life of luxury (like the luxury of driving alone to Seattle) for the Spartan life advocated by Socrates or even Zen Master Dogen.

Professor Schorsch discusses his use of pen and paper for writ­ing as a way of resisting mecha­nization. But one wonders if his secretary did not process his words on a computer. This type of small contradiction is also a part of human nature, and the inability to see such contradic­tions certainly is a part of human nature and the resistance to change. It would be helpful to meet with “the other,” especially if one came to realize that “the other” exists, in some form, in all of us and that “the other” might offer some unanticipated oppor­tunities for change.

Nevertheless, the intriguing religious orientation offered in Spirit and Nature suggests that the environmental crisis exists not because we have forgotten the world, but because we have forgotten ourselves. In one of the most demanding chapters, Seyyed Hossein Nasr (“Islam and the Environmental Crisis”) describes us as a “humanity in rebellion against both heaven and earth,” and concludes that:

The solution of the environmental crisis can come about only when the modern spiritual malaise is cured and there is a rediscovery of the world of the Spirit, which, being compassionate, always gives Itself to those open and receptive to Its vivifying rays.


And yet if one does believe that a “spiritual sense” is a necessary prerequisite to an enlightened ecoview, then perhaps the environmental crisis is even worse than previously thought. One might even argue that to view the environmental crisis as a spiritual issue or from a spiritual point of view only reflects the pitifully low ebb of “Spirit” in our general culture. As the Dalai Lama noted:

Taking care of the planet is nothing special, nothing sacred or holy. It’s just like taking care of your house. We have no other planet, no other house, except this one….We cannot go to any other planet. If the moon is seen from a distance, it appears quite beautiful. But if we go there to stay, I think, it would be horrible. So, our blue planet is much happier. Therefore, we have to take care of our own place. This is not something special or holy. This is just a practical fact!


Stuart Smithers is assistant professor of South Asian Religions at the University of Puget Sound.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 8:24 am

Review: [Untitled] Reviewed Work: Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment Is a Religious Issue, by Steven C. Rockefeller, John C. Elder
by Leslie A. Muray
American Journal of Theology & Philosophy
January, 1994

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


[Jeff Gibbs] Where did the idea of colleges going green by burning trees come from, anyway? A little college called Middlebury, in the heart of Vermont.

[Man] Welcome to the celebration of the opening of Middlebury’s new biomass gasification system. It’s now my great pleasure to introduce this afternoon’s speaker, Bill McKibben.

[Audience clapping]

[Bill McKibben] What powers a learning community? And as of this afternoon, the easy answer to that is wood chips. Um, it’s incredibly beautiful to stand over there, and see that big bunker full of wood chips. You can put any kind of wood in, you know: oak, willow, whatever you want. Pretty much anything that burns we can toss in there if we can chip it down to the right size. And there are very few similar cases any place in this country of that kind of change over that scale. But it shows it could happen anywhere, and it should happen anywhere. In fact, it must happen everywhere.

-- Planet of the Humans, written, produced and directed by Jeff Gibbs


Bill McKibben resides in Ripton, Vermont, with his wife, writer Sue Halpern. Their only child, a daughter named Sophie, was born in 1993 in Glens Falls, New York. He is a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, where he also directs the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism. McKibben is also a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. He is a long-time Methodist.

-- Bill McKibben, by Wikipedia


This is a collection of papers given at the four-day symposium entitled "Spirit and Nature: Religion, Ethics, and Environmental Crisis" held at Middlebury College during the fall of 1990. Significantly, Bill Moyers produced a public television documentary, first aired in June 1991, about the symposium.

The "Introduction" gives an excellent overview of the history of the discussion concerning religion and ecology, environmental ethics, and the development of deep ecology and ecofeminism since the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. An important and informative aspect of this section is the inclusion of the efforts of international organizations and associations to formulate a global ethic of sustainable development (9-11). The first chapter, "A Tradition of Thanksgiving," by Audrey Shenandoah, a Clan Mother of the Onondaga nations, is the keynote presentation of the symposium. This is a commentary on the thanksgiving prayer with which she opened (unfortunately, it is not reproduced in the volume), which stresses various dimensions of humanity's inherent spiritual connection to the earth.

Readers unfamiliar with Jewish perspectives on ecology will find "Learning to live with less: A Jewish Perspective" by Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor and Professor of Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, illuminating. His discussion centers on the following question: "Can religion responsibly imbue the individual citizen with a spiritual renewal that will enable his world view, enlarge his inner life, and temper his wants?"(30). Schorsch develops "a portrait of Judaism as a millennial effort to foster a religious culture of self-restraint that intuitively respects the value and integrity of its natural environment"(30). This "religious culture of self-restraint" can be found in Jewish law's injunction against inflicting pain on animals, its restrictions on the use of land, and participatory study through which the Torah is internalized (30-37).

In "A Square in the Quilt: One Theologian's Contribution to the Planetary Agenda," Sallie McFague both reiterates and moves beyond some of her main themes in Models of God. Shifting emphasis from dualism, authority, and hierarchy to holism, participation, and community, she focuses on the "the common creation story," the contemporary picture of the world depicted by postmodern science that can potentially enable contemporary theology to make consonant with contemporary visions of reality its understanding of God, thus rendering its claims credible (50). Radically interrelated and interdependent with everything in the universe, humans are co-creators with God, who is "in, with, and under the entire evolutionary process" (51). Emphasizing our belonging to the earth, McFague links justice and ecological issues through the common creation story. She reminds us, with a sense of urgency, of our planetary citizenship, of the fact that the planetary agenda is everyone's agenda, and calls us to contribute one square to the quilt (51-58).

Of particular interest to readers of this journal is J. Ronald Engel's "Liberal Democracy and the Fate of the Earth," bearing the obvious influence of John Dewey. Engel focuses on the need to understand the ecological crisis as a crisis of citizenship, in the sense of extending the concept to the non-human natural world and our responsibility for its despoliation (64-66). This crisis of citizenship must be understood as a crisis in liberal democracy: its formalism and consumerism, its being an expression of the mechanistic, dualistic, "ontological individualism" of the modern world view that is at the root of the ecological crisis and that has to be supplanted by an understanding of democracy rooted in an ontology of the individual-in-community inclusive of the whole of the web of life (66-74).

In this discussion, the author points out that scientific reason and critical reason are indispensable to the liberal democratic tradition and environmental responsibility. Just as the histories and futures of the modern sciences and the liberal democratic tradition are inseparably linked, indispensable to the very meaning of democracy is "the liberal conviction that all our traditions and personal beliefs must be submitted to searching self-criticism and reconstruction in light of our changing situation and the emergence of new knowledge and insight" (68). Finally, he addresses the urgent problem of awakening faith, "the faith of prophetic liberal democracy ... that this immediate and absolute world of ordinary human experience, this world we share with each other and all other living things on this earth, is the sphere of ultimacy" (76). That awakening is awakening to Spirit in Nature (78). Engel's use of the work of Vaclav Havel not only shows a perceptive understanding of Central and Eastern Europe but also displays a creative contrast in meaning of democracy and ecological responsibility between the West and the former Eastern bloc.

One of the more fascinating and illuminating pieces in this volume is Seyyed Hossein Nasr's "Islam and the Environmental Crisis," written from a Sufi perspective. Nasr espouses a panentheistic position: God is the All-Encompassing whose creation is a theophany, the "Cosmic Quran" (88-89), revealing God. The role of humans is to be vice-gerents of God (92). He expresses this notion of vice-gerency, complemented by servanthood, in the following manner:

In the same way that God sustains and cares for the world, humankind must nurture and care for the ambience in which they play the central role. They cannot neglect the care of the natural world without betraying that "trust" (al-amanah) which they accepted when they bore witness to God's lordship in the pre-eternal covenant (al-mithag) ... (92-93).


Nasr maintains that it is the modern turning away from God the All-Encompassing that has led to the environmental crisis (93). The author concludes with a perceptive and informative discussion of the Islamic world's responses to modernity, particularly in relation to Western imperialism and domination (97-106).

Some readers of this journal may be interested in Nasr's brief allusions to the Pakistani philosopher-poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal, whose panentheism has been treated at some length by Charles Hartshorne (see especially, Philosophers Speak of God). Nasr mentions that, while Iqbal was too preoccupied with problems affecting the Islamic world and too profoundly influenced by nineteenth century philosophy to make environmental concerns central to his work, there are glimpses of the kind of ecological attitude he is advocating in some of the Pakistani philosopher's poetry (99). Iqbal was profoundly influenced by Bergson and the impact of Whitehead is no less evident; his work (see especially, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam and Islam as an Ethical and a Political Ideal) is indispensable in gaining an understanding of Islam. I hasten to add that Nasr is more than a worthy successor to Iqbal as an Islamic dialogue partner for North American radical empiricists, naturalists, and religious liberals interested in environmental issues.

"A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective on Spirit in Nature" by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is a down-to-earth, non-technical presentation of a Buddhist understanding of nature, reality, and response to the environmental crisis. Seeking "a practical ethic of caring for our home" which he grounds in the Buddhist understanding of interdependence (117), he advocates the cultivation of compassion, which he identifies with "a strong sense of care and concern for the happiness of the other..." (118-19). Taking increased responsibility leads to the hope, courage, joy, peace, and the feeling of being cared for, necessary for sustained action: "... basic human nature is compassion or affection" (120).

One of the most common and enduring stereotypes in environmental literature is the idea that Eastern religions promote a sense of harmony between human beings and nature. On the other side of the stereotype stand the religions of the West, promoting the separation of human beings and nature and encouraging acts of domination, exploitation, and control....

This image of an affirmative Eastern attitude toward nature must have lurked in the minds of the environmental activists and friends of the environment who gathered at Middlebury College in the fall of 1990 to hear the 14th Dalai Lama speak on the topic of "Spirit and Nature." Tibet, like traditional Japan, has been the focus of a certain Western yearning for the East as a place to discover not only a unique sense of wisdom (what one observer called "an intimate and creative relationship with the vast and profound secrets of the human soul") but a wisdom that can insure "the future survival of Earth itself."6 There was a hush in the Middlebury field house as the Dalai Lama seated himself on the stage and began to speak.7 It must have been a surprise when he began by saying that he had nothing to offer to those who came expecting to hear about ecology or the environment, and even more surprising when he interpreted the word "nature" as a reference to "the fundamental nature of all reality" and entered into a discourse on the Buddhist concept of Emptiness. To explain the connection between nature and Emptiness, he said: "When talking about the fundamental nature of reality, one could sum up the entire understanding of that nature in a simple verse: 'Form is emptiness and emptiness is form' (The Heart Sutra). This simple line sums up the Buddhist understanding of the fundamental nature of reality."8 And he went on to explain how Tibetan philosophers use logical analysis to develop their view of Emptiness and to pursue what he said was the "expressed aim of Buddhism," namely, the purification and development of the mind.

The Dalai Lama's words were surprising not because he seemed unfriendly toward the "natural" world in the prevailing sense of the word (that is, toward ecosystems of plants, animals, the atmosphere, the ocean, rivers, mountains and so on), but because he so gently and easily shifted attention away from the natural world toward the development of human nature and the purification of the mind. The sense of surprise only became more acute when he began to develop the concept of Emptiness and indicated that it involved a denial of the reality of what he took to be "nature" itself. To say that "Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form," in the language of Mahayana philosophy, is to say that all things are "empty" of any inherent "nature" or identity.9 The purification of the mind, which the Dalai Lama called the "expressed aim of Buddhism," comes from stripping away false concepts of the "nature" of things and resting content with their Emptiness. In other words, "nature" (in one possible meaning of the word) may very well be a barrier to overcome in a quest for human development.

What should we make of the gap between the Dalai Lama's words and the conventional image of the Buddhist attitude toward nature? Does the Dali Lama see something in the Buddhist tradition that others do not? Is the image of Buddhism as an ecologically friendly tradition simply an artifact of the Western imagination?


-- Is There a Buddhist Philosophy of Nature?, by Malcolm David Eckel


'''Caring for the World' [Earth]" by Robert Prescott-Allen, senior consultant for "Caring for the Earth," a document that attempts to formulate strategies for the attainment of a sustainable way of life, sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Wide Fund for Nature, emphasizes the need to develop a "world ethic of sustainability." He reiterates six principles from "Caring for the World": 1) limit human impact on the non-human natural world to carrying capacity; 2) conserve the conditions of life; 3) minimize the depletion of nonrenewable resources; 4) aim for an equitable distribution of the costs and benefits of resource use and environmental management; 5) promote long-term economic development so as to increase resource productivity and natural wealth; 6) promote values that aid the attainment of sustainability (131). Additionally, he enumerates six strategic directions proposed for the transformation to sustainability: 1) transformation of attitudes and practices; 2) building a global alliance; 3) empowerment of communities; 4) integration of environment and development; 5) stabilization of population and resource demand; 6) conservation of the variety of life (32-36). He closes with a call for a Universal Declaration and Convention on Sustainable Development, violations of which should be monitored by an "Amnesty for Earth" or "Advocates for Earth" modeled after Amnesty International.

Steven C. Rockefeller's "Faith and Community in an Ecological Age" eloquently raises the religious dimension of environmental ethics. Comparing anthropocentric and biocentric approaches to environmental ethics (142-44), he claims that, since "the environmental crisis is a crisis in our understanding of and commitment to community" (144), a major transformation in human values and behavior can occur only if it involves a concern and faith that are religious in nature (144). Rockefeller maintains:


A religious concern is one that is a matter of fundamental controlling interest to a person. A person is religiously concerned about those values which he or she regards as essential to fulfillment in the deepest sense. To be religiously concerned about a set of moral values is to have faith in those values, trust them as true guides to enduring well-being and peace. A moral faith that is religious in nature has a unifying effect on the personality focusing and releasing energy (144-45).


Religious faith springs from the deepest center of the self, involving the whole personality -- in biblical language, the heart (145). A moral faith religious in quality involves the awakening and transformation of the heart, dependent on an encounter with the sacred that empowers a sense of the sacredness of the non-human natural world (145).

Rockefeller gives a succinct historical analysis of the kinds of value that have encouraged the despoliation and exploitation of nature including aspects of the biblical tradition, the Greek heritage, and the Newtonian-Cartesian worldview (147-55). Rockefeller also engages in the retrieval of "prophetic voices in the past" -- Hua-yen Buddhism and Shingon Buddhism; the Confucian philosopher Chang Tsai; aspects of the Hebrew and Christian traditions that affirm ecological sensitivities, compassion for animals, and the liberation of the oppressed; Jesus' standing in this prophetic tradition; St. Francis of Assisi; Dionysius the Areopagite; Hildegard of Bingen; Meister Eckhart; Whitehead; Heidegger; John Macquarrie's dialectical theism; al-Ghazali; Sufism; aspects of the Shari ' ah; Schweitzer; Buber; Henry David Thoreau; John Muir; Aldo Leopold (155-66). The author describes growing ecological sensibilities over the last two decades as a "Great Awakening" (167). He concludes that the roots of the awakening of a faith in ecological and democratic values, indispensable to the long term success of the environmental movement, " ... lie deep in ancient traditions, but it is the destiny of this and future generations to bring this faith into full flower in the light of the new knowledge of the interdependence of the whole earth community" (169).

The stimulating discussion between the presenters, moderated by Steven C. Rockefeller, is reproduced in Chapter 9, entitled, '''Keeping Faith in Life': A Dialogue." The Epilogue, John C. Elder's "Brooding over the Abyss," analyzes Judith Anderson's etching Missa Gaia: This is My Body with its depiction of brooding in the midst of the beauty and variety of life as an appropriate image for the quest for a spiritual basis of environmental responsibility (195-96). He uses a number of complementary examples from various areas of human endeavor (Whitehead, St. Francis, Taoist-influenced Buddhism, Thoreau, Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey, scientists who study organisms not in isolation but in relation to their environments and to each other, and Darwin), concluding with the Apollo 17 photograph "Planet Earth," fruitful for the necessary religious transformation of our views of the non-human natural world (197-99). The book concludes with an Appendix containing the United Nations' "World Charter of Nature" (201-5).


World Charter for Nature.
Publisher: UN General Assembly
Author: UN General Assembly (37th sess.: 1982-1983)
Publication Date: 28 October 1982

Cite as: UN General Assembly, World Charter for Nature, 28 October 1982, A/RES/37/7, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f22a10.html [accessed 6 May 2020]

The General Assembly,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the revised draft World Charter for Nature,14

Recalling that, in its resolution 35/7 of 30 October 1980, it expressed its conviction that the benefits which could be obtained from nature depended on the maintenance of natural processes and on the diversity of life forms and that those benefits were jeopardized by the excessive exploitation and the destruction of natural habitats,

Further recalling that, in the same resolution, it recognized the need for appropriate measures at the national and international levels to protect nature and promote international co-operation in that field,

Recalling that, in its resolution 36/6 of 27 October 1981, it again expressed its awareness of the crucial importance attached by the international community to the promotion and development of co-operation aimed at protecting and safeguarding the balance and quality of nature and invited the Secretary-General to transmit to Member States the text of the revised version of the draft World Charter for Nature contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on the draft World Charter for Nature,15 as well as any further observations by States, with a view to appropriate consideration by the General Assembly at its thirty-seventh session,

Conscious of the spirit and terms of its resolutions 35/7 and 36/6, in which it solemnly invited Member States, in the exercise of their permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, to conduct their activities in recognition of the supreme importance of protecting natural systems, maintaining the balance and quality of nature and conserving natural resources, in the interests of present and future generations,

Having considered the supplementary report of the Secretary-General,16

Expressing its gratitude to the Ad Hoc Group of Experts which, through its work, has assembled the necessary elements for the General Assembly to be able to complete the consideration of and adopt the revised draft World Charter for Nature at its thirty-seventh session, as it had previously recommended,

Adopts and solemnly proclaims the World Charter for Nature contained in the annex to the present resolution.

48th plenary meeting
28 October 1982

_______________

Notes:

14. A/36/539.
15. Ibid., annex 1.
16. A/37/398 and Add.1.

ANNEX

World Charter for Nature


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 co-operation 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 achievement, 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 habitats 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 habitats 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

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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 are as concerned.

10. 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, the rational possibilities of converting them for consumption, and the compatibility of their exploitation with the functioning of natural systems.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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 adverse side-effects on nature.

III. IMPLEMENTATION

14. 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.

15. Knowledge of nature shall be broadly disseminated by all possible means, particularly by ecological education as an integral part of general education.

16. 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.

17. Funds, programmes and administrative structures necessary to achieve the objective of the conservation of nature shall be provided.

18. Constant efforts shall be made to increase knowledge of nature by scientific research and to disseminate such knowledge unimpeded by restrictions of any kind.

19. 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.

20. Military activities damaging to nature shall be avoided.

21. 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 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.


This is a very fine collection of essays, usable as a text in classes on ecological theologies, theology (at least those that put ecology and pluralism at the center of their concern), and environmental ethics. It is one of the few books that deal with religion and ecology to contain essays from the primal, Western, and Eastern religious traditions and include the liberal democratic tradition. The volume is an indispensable resource. The essays, individually and collectively, advance the discussion in substantial ways. The book is also virtually unique in attempting to connect the more explicitly religious concerns with the United Nations' "World Charter of Nature" and the document ''Caring for the Earth," prepared jointly by IUCN, UNEP, and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Nevertheless, I experienced frustration and incompleteness in reading and rereading this volume. While the need to see the environmental crisis as a religious problem cannot be stressed enough, my reaction, to allude to the immortal words of that eminent North American thinker, Yogi Berra, was, "It's deja vu all over again!" I remember well attending conferences and seminars addressing similar themes over twenty years ago! The gist of my criticism is that the book does not address more concretely and specifically some of the issues -- free trade, animal rights, deep ecology -- alluded to in some of the papers and documents presented. The use of sexist language by some of the authors I found anachronistic and irritating.

Of course, no book can possibly do everything or address every need. My criticism is intended, in a highly appreciative vein, as an urging to Rockefeller and Elder for another symposium on religion and concrete issues of eco-justice, with the hope that the papers will be of as high quality as those contained in this volume.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 10:15 am

World Charter for Nature.
Publisher: UN General Assembly
Author: UN General Assembly (37th sess.: 1982-1983)
Publication Date: 28 October 1982
Cite as: UN General Assembly, World Charter for Nature, 28 October 1982, A/RES/37/7, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f22a10.html [accessed 6 May 2020]

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.




The General Assembly,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the revised draft World Charter for Nature,14

Recalling that, in its resolution 35/7 of 30 October 1980, it expressed its conviction that the benefits which could be obtained from nature depended on the maintenance of natural processes and on the diversity of life forms and that those benefits were jeopardized by the excessive exploitation and the destruction of natural habitats,

Further recalling that, in the same resolution, it recognized the need for appropriate measures at the national and international levels to protect nature and promote international co-operation in that field,

Recalling that, in its resolution 36/6 of 27 October 1981, it again expressed its awareness of the crucial importance attached by the international community to the promotion and development of co-operation aimed at protecting and safeguarding the balance and quality of nature and invited the Secretary-General to transmit to Member States the text of the revised version of the draft World Charter for Nature contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on the draft World Charter for Nature,15 as well as any further observations by States, with a view to appropriate consideration by the General Assembly at its thirty-seventh session,

Conscious of the spirit and terms of its resolutions 35/7 and 36/6, in which it solemnly invited Member States, in the exercise of their permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, to conduct their activities in recognition of the supreme importance of protecting natural systems, maintaining the balance and quality of nature and conserving natural resources, in the interests of present and future generations,

Having considered the supplementary report of the Secretary-General,16

Expressing its gratitude to the Ad Hoc Group of Experts which, through its work, has assembled the necessary elements for the General Assembly to be able to complete the consideration of and adopt the revised draft World Charter for Nature at its thirty-seventh session, as it had previously recommended,

Adopts and solemnly proclaims the World Charter for Nature contained in the annex to the present resolution.

48th plenary meeting
28 October 1982

_______________

Notes:

14. A/36/539.
15. Ibid., annex 1.
16. A/37/398 and Add.1.

ANNEX

World Charter for Nature


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 co-operation 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 achievement, 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 habitats 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 habitats 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

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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 are as concerned.

10. 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, the rational possibilities of converting them for consumption, and the compatibility of their exploitation with the functioning of natural systems.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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 adverse side-effects on nature.

III. IMPLEMENTATION

14. 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.

15. Knowledge of nature shall be broadly disseminated by all possible means, particularly by ecological education as an integral part of general education.

16. 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.

17. Funds, programmes and administrative structures necessary to achieve the objective of the conservation of nature shall be provided.

18. Constant efforts shall be made to increase knowledge of nature by scientific research and to disseminate such knowledge unimpeded by restrictions of any kind.

19. 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.

20. Military activities damaging to nature shall be avoided.

21. 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 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 11:07 am

Earth Charter Initiative
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/6/20

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.




Image
The Earth Charter Initiative
Type: Non-governmental organization
Founded: 2000 [1]
Headquarters: San José, Costa Rica
Area served: Environmentalism
Website http://www.earthcharter.org

The Earth Charter Initiative is the collective name for the global network of people, organizations, and institutions who participate in promoting the Earth Charter, and in implementing its principles in practice. The Initiative is a broad-based, voluntary, civil society effort, but participants include leading international institutions, national government agencies, university associations, NGOs, cities, faith groups, and many well-known leaders in sustainable development.

Mission and goals

The stated mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace.

Goals

1. To raise awareness worldwide of the Earth Charter and to promote understanding of its inclusive ethical vision.
2. To seek recognition and endorsement of the Earth Charter by individuals, organizations, and the United Nations.
3. To promote the use of the Earth Charter as an ethical guide and the implementation of its principles by civil society, business, and government.
4. To encourage and support the educational use of the Earth Charter in schools, universities, religious communities, local communities, and many other settings.
5. To promote recognition and use of the Earth Charter as a soft law document.


Strategic objectives

• To promote development of a global network of Earth Charter supporters and activists with the collaboration of advisors, affiliates, partner organizations, and task forces.
• To create and disseminate high quality communications and educational materials to different target groups that will reach millions of people.
• To translate key Earth Charter materials in all major languages of the world.
• To set up Earth Charter websites in all countries in partnership with key individuals and organizations.
• To promote the Earth Charter vision in key local, national and international events and engage individuals and organizations in applying it in their areas of activity.
• To position the Earth Charter in relation to important international initiatives and processes so that its ethical framework can be used as a guide in efforts to address urgent challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, the Millennium Development Goals, food security, and conflict resolution.
• To undertake training programmes to facilitate the uptake and application of the Earth Charter in different sectors.
• To develop the guidance and instruments to help organizations, businesses, and local communities use the Earth Charter to assess progress toward sustainable development.


Organization

A formal network of affiliates, partners, and youth groups helps to promote the Earth Charter around the world. Many of these representatives are based in prominent national-level organizations and institutions.

The Initiative is served and coordinated by Earth Charter International, which is composed by an Executive Office called the ECI Secretariat, and by the ECI Council. The Secretariat is composed by a very small staff, and it is based at the University for Peace campus in San José, Costa Rica.
The Council is equivalent to a Board, they meet once a year and provide strategic guidance to the Secretariat and the EC Initiative.

Earth Charter Youth Program

The Earth Charter Youth program is a network of youth NGOs and young activists who share a common interest in sustainable development and the Earth Charter. Severn Cullis-Suzuki from Vancouver, Canada was nominated as youth representative in the Earth Charter Commission, which oversaw the drafting process. At the age of 17, Severn participated in the Earth Summit of 1997 and made sure that concerns of young people were taken seriously in the process of drafting the Earth Charter. She contributed to the inclusion of principle 12c in the final version of the Earth Charter which stresses the need to: “Honor and support the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.” The launch of the Earth Charter Youth program was inspired by this ethical principle. Today there are two youth representatives on the Earth Charter International Council.

See also

• Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• Earth Day

References

1. FAQs - Earth Charter. (2016). Earth Charter. Retrieved 29 December 2016, from http://earthcharter.org/about-eci/faqs/

External links

• Official website
• The Earth Charter in Action blog
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 06, 2020 11:36 am

Brundtland Commission [World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED)] [Center For Our Common Future]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/6/20

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Formerly known as the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), the mission of the Brundtland Commission is to unite countries to pursue sustainable development together. The Chairperson of the Commission, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar in December 1983. At the time, the UN General Assembly realized that there was a heavy deterioration of the human environment and natural resources. To rally countries to work and pursue sustainable development together, the UN decided to establish the Brundtland Commission. Gro Harlem Brundtland was the former Prime Minister of Norway and was chosen due to her strong background in the sciences and public health. The Brundtland Commission officially dissolved in December 1987 after releasing Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, in October 1987. The document popularized (and defined) the term "Sustainable Development". Our Common Future won the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in 1991.[1] The organization Center for Our Common Future was started in April 1988 to take the place of the Commission.

History

Ten years after the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, a number of global environmental challenges had clearly not been adequately addressed. In several ways, these challenges had grown. Particularly, the underlying problem of how to reduce poverty in low-income countries through more productive and industrialized economy without, in the process, exacerbating the global and local environmental burdens, remained unresolved. Neither high-income countries in the North nor low-income countries in the South were willing to give up an economic development based on growth, but environmental threats, ranging from pollution, acid rain, deforestation and desertification, the destruction of the ozone layer, to early signs of climate change, were impossible to overlook and increasingly unacceptable. There was a tangible need for a developmental concept that would allow reconciling economic development with environmental protection. Views differed on several questions: were local environmental problems the result of local developments or of a global economic system that forced particularly low-income countries to destroy their environmental basis? Did environmental burdens result mainly from destructive economic growth-based development or from a lack of economic development and modernization? Would reconciling the economy and the environment require mainly technical means by using more resource-efficient technologies or mainly social and structural changes that would include political decision-making as well as changes in private consumption patterns? The 1980 World Conservation Strategy of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, was the first report that included a very brief chapter on a concept called "sustainable development". It focused on global structural changes and was not widely read. The UN initiated an independent commission, which was asked to provide an analysis of existing problems and ideas for their solution, similar to earlier commissions such as the Independent Commission on International Development Issues (Brandt Commission) and the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues (Palme Commission).[2]

In December 1983, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, asked the former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, to create an organization independent of the UN to focus on environmental and developmental problems and solutions after an affirmation by the General Assembly resolution in the fall of 1983.[3] This new organization was the Brundtland Commission, or more formally, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The Brundtland Commission was first headed by Gro Harlem Brundtland as Chairman and Mansour Khalid as Vice-Chairman.

The organization aimed to create a united international community with shared sustainability goals by identifying sustainability problems worldwide, raising awareness about them, and suggesting the implementation of solutions. In 1987, the Brundtland Commission published the first volume of “Our Common Future,” the organization's main report. “Our Common Future” strongly influenced the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 and the third UN Conference on Environment and Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002. Also, it is credited with crafting the most prevalent definition of sustainability, as seen below.[4]

Events before Brundtland

During the 1980s it had been revealed that the World Bank had started to experience an expanded role in intervening with the economic and social policies of the Third World. This was most notable through the events at Bretton Woods in 1945. The ideas of neoliberalism and the institutions promoting economic globalization dominated the political agenda of the world's then leading trading nations: the United States under President Ronald Reagan and the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, both classical liberals.

The Brundtland Report was intended as a response to the conflict between the nascent order promoting globalized economic growth and the accelerating ecological degradation occurring on a global scale. The challenge posed in the 1980s was to harmonize prosperity with ecology. This postulated finding the means to continue economic growth without undue harm to the environment. To address the urgent needs of developing countries (Third World), the United Nations saw a need to strike a better balance of human and environmental well-being. This was to be achieved by redefining the concepts of "economic development" as the new idea of "sustainable development" - as it was called in the Brundtland Report.[5]

To understand this paradigm shift, we start with the meaning of the key term: development

Resolution establishing the Commission

The 1983 General Assembly passed Resolution 38/161 "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond", establishing the Commission.[6] In A/RES/38/161, the General Assembly:

"8. Suggests that the Special Commission, when established, should focus mainly on the following terms of reference for its work:

(a) To propose long-term environmental strategies for achieving sustainable development to the year 2000 and beyond;

(b) To recommend ways in which concern for the environment may be translated into greater co-operation among developing countries and between countries at different stages of economic and social development and lead to the achievement of common and mutually supportive objectives which take account of the interrelationships between people, resources, environment and development;

(c) To consider ways and means by which the international community can deal more effectively with environmental concerns, in the light of the other recommendations in its report;

(d) To help to define shared perceptions of long-term environmental issues and of the appropriate efforts needed to deal successfully with the problems of protecting and enhancing the environment, a long-term agenda for action during the coming decades, and aspirational goals for the world community, taking into account the relevant resolutions of the session of a special character of the Governing Council in 1982;"[6]

Modern definition of sustainable development

Main article: Sustainable development

The Brundtland Commission draws upon several notions in its definition of sustainable development, which is the most frequently cited definition of the concept to date.

A key element in the definition is the unity of environment and development. The Brundtland Commission argues against the assertions of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and provides an alternative perspective on sustainable development, unique from that of the 1980 World Conservation Strategy of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The Brundtland Commission pushed for the idea that while the "environment" was previously perceived as a sphere separate from human emotion or action, and while "development" was a term habitually used to describe political goals or economic progress, it is more comprehensive to understand the two terms in relation to each other (We can better understand the environment in relation to development and we can better understand development in relation to the environment, because they cannot and should not be distinguished as separate entities). Brundtland argues:

"...the "environment" is where we live; and "development" is what we all do in attempting to improve our lot within that abode. The two are inseparable."

The Brundtland Commission insists upon the environment being something beyond physicality, going beyond that traditional school of thought to include social and political atmospheres and circumstances. It also insists that development is not just about how poor countries can ameliorate their situation, but what the entire world, including developed countries, can do to ameliorate our common situation.

The term sustainable development was coined in the paper Our Common Future, released by the Brundtland Commission. Sustainable development is the kind of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The two key concepts of sustainable development are: • the concept of "needs" in particular the essential needs of the world's poorest people, to which they should be given overriding priority; and • the idea of limitations which is imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet both present and future needs.[7]

Most agree that the central idea of the Brundtland Commission's definition of "sustainable development" is that of intergenerational equity. In sum, the "needs" are basic and essential, economic growth will facilitate their fulfillment, and equity is encouraged by citizen participation. Therefore, another characteristic that really sets this definition apart from others is the element of humanity that the Brundtland Commission integrates.

The particular ambiguity and openness-to-interpretation of this definition has allowed for widespread support from diverse efforts, groups and organizations. However, this has also been a criticism; perceived by some notable commentators as "self-defeating and compromised rhetoric".[8] It nonetheless lays out a core set of guiding principles that can be enriched by an evolving global discourse. As a result of the work of the Brundtland Commission, the issue of sustainable development is on the agenda of numerous international and national institutions, as well as corporations and city efforts. The definition gave light to new perspectives on the sustainability of an ever-changing planet with an ever-changing population.

-Brundtland commission (Our Common Future) The Report of the Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, was published by Oxford University Press in 1987, and was welcomed by the General Assembly Resolution 42/187. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, General Assembly Resolution 42/187, 11 December 1987. One version with links to cited documents Our Common Future, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987. Published as Annex to General Assembly document A/42/427, Development and International Co-operation is available.

The document was the culmination of a “900-day” international-exercise which catalogued, analysed, and synthesised written submissions and expert testimony from “senior government representatives, scientists and experts, research institutes, industrialists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and the general public” held at public hearings throughout the world.

The Brundtland Commission's mandate was to: “[1] re-examine the critical issues of environment and development and to formulate innovative, concrete, and realistic action proposals to deal with them; [2] strengthen international cooperation on environment and development and assess and propose new forms of cooperation that can break out of existing patterns and influence policies and events in the direction of needed change; and [3] raise the level of understanding and commitment to action on the part of individuals, voluntary organizations, businesses, institutes, and governments” (1987: 347). “The Commission focused its attention on the areas of population, food security, the loss of species and genetic resources, energy, industry, and human settlements - realizing that all of these are connected and cannot be treated in isolation one from another” (1987: 27).

The Brundtland Commission Report recognised that human resource development in the form of poverty reduction, gender equity, and wealth redistribution was crucial to formulating strategies for environmental conservation, and it also recognised that environmental-limits to economic growth in industrialised and industrialising societies existed. As such, the Report offered “the analysis, the broad remedies, and the recommendations for a sustainable course of development” within such societies (1987:16). The report deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed for achieving it. The definition of this term in the report is quite well known and often cited:

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". It contains two key concepts:

• the concept of "needs", in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
• the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."

Structure

The Brundtland Commission was chaired by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. Politicians, civil servants, and environmental experts make up the majority of the members. Members of the commission represent 21 different nations (both developed and developing countries are included). Many of the members are important political figures in their home country. One example is William Ruckelshaus, former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All members of the commission were appointed by both Gro Harlem Brundtland and Mansour Khalid, the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

The commission focuses on setting up networks to promote environmental stewardship. Most of these networks make connections between governments and non-government entities. One such network is Bill Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development. In this council government and business leaders come together to share ideas on how to encourage sustainable development. The Brundtland Commission has been the most successful in forming international ties between governments and multinational corporations. The 1992 and 2002 Earth Summits were the direct result of the Brundtland Commission. The international structure and scope of the Brundtland Commission allow multiple problems (such as deforestation and ozone depletion) to be looked at from a holistic approach.[9]

Sustainability efforts

The three main pillars of sustainable development include economic growth, environmental protection, and social equality. While many people agree that each of these three ideas contribute to the overall idea of sustainability, it is difficult to find evidence of equal levels of initiatives for the three pillars in countries' policies worldwide. With the overwhelming number of countries that put economic growth on the forefront of sustainable development, it is evident that the other two pillars have been suffering, especially with the overall well being of the environment in a dangerously unhealthy state. The Brundtland Commission has put forth a conceptual framework that many nations agree with and want to try to make a difference with in their countries, but it has been difficult to change these concepts about sustainability into concrete actions and programs. Implementing sustainable development globally is still a challenge, but because of the Brundtland Commission's efforts, progress has been made. After releasing their report, Our Common Future, the Brundtland Commission called for an international meeting to take place where more concrete initiatives and goals could be mapped out. This meeting was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A comprehensive plan of action, known as Agenda 21, came out of the meeting. Agenda 21 entailed actions to be taken globally, nationally, and locally in order to make life on Earth more sustainable going into the future.[10]

Economic Growth

Economic Growth is the pillar that most groups focus on when attempting to attain more sustainable efforts and development. In trying to build their economies, many countries focus their efforts on resource extraction, which leads to unsustainable efforts for environmental protection as well as economic growth sustainability. While the Commission was able to help to change the association between economic growth and resource extraction, the total worldwide consumption of resources is projected to increase in the future. So much of the natural world has already been converted into human use that the focus cannot simply remain on economic growth and omit the ever-growing problem of environmental sustainability. Agenda 21 reinforces the importance of finding ways to generate economic growth without hurting the environment. Through various trade negotiations such as improving access to markets for exports of developing countries, Agenda 21 looks to increase economic growth sustainability in countries that need it most.[11]

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection has become more important to government and businesses over the last 20 years, leading to great improvements in the number of people willing to invest in green technologies. For the second year in a row in 2010, the United States and Europe added more power capacity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. In 2011 the efforts continue with 45 new wind energy projects beginning in 25 different states.[12] The focus on environmental protection has transpired globally as well, including a great deal of investment in renewable energy power capacity. Eco-city development occurring around the world helps to develop and implement water conservation, smart grids with renewable energy sources, LED street lights and energy efficient building. The consumption gap remains, consisting of the fact that "roughly 80 percent of the natural resources used each year are consumed by about 20 percent of the world's population". This level is striking and still needs to be addressed now and throughout the future.[13]

Social Equality

The Social Equality and Equity as pillars of sustainable development focus on the social well-being of people. The growing gap between incomes of rich and poor is evident throughout the world with the incomes of the richer households increasing relative to the incomes of middle - or lower-class households. This is attributed partly to the land distribution patterns in rural areas where majority live from land. Global inequality has been declining, but the world is still extremely unequal, with the richest 1% of the world's population owning 40% of the world's wealth and the poorest 50% owning around 1%. The Brundtland Commission made a significant impact trying to link environment and development and thus, go away from the idea of environmental protection whereby some scholars saw environment as something of its sake. The Commission has thus reduced the number of people living on less than a dollar a day to just half of what it used to be, as many can approach the environment and use it. These achievements can also be attributed to economic growth in China and India.[13]

Members of the Commission

• Chairman: Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway)
• Vice Chairman: Mansour Khalid (Sudan)
• Susanna Agnelli (Italy)
• Saleh A. Al-Athel (Saudi Arabia)
• Pablo Gonzalez Casanova (Mexico) (ceased to participate in August 1986 for personal reasons)
• Bernard Chidzero (Zimbabwe)
• Lamine Mohammed Fadika (Côte d'Ivoire)
• Volker Hauff (Federal Republic of Germany)
• István Láng (Hungary)
• Ma Shijun (People's Republic of China)[14]
• Margarita Marino de Botero (Colombia)
• Nagendra Singh (India)
• Paulo Nogueira Neto (Brazil)
• Saburo Okita (Japan)
• Shridath S. Ramphal (Guyana)
• William D. Ruckelshaus (USA)
• Mohamed Sahnoun (Algeria)
• Emil Salim (Indonesia)
• Bukar Shaib (Nigeria)
• Vladimir Sokolov (USSR)
• Janez Stanovnik (Yugoslavia)
• Maurice Strong (Canada)

Ex Officio

• Jim MacNeill (Canada)[15]

Staff of the Commission

In May 1984. an Organizational Meeting of the Commission was held in Geneva to adopt its rules of procedure and operation and to appoint a Secretary General to guide its work. In July 1984, a Secretariat was established in Geneva, temporarily at the Centre de Morillon and later at the Palais Wilson. Members of the Secretariat have included:[16]
Secretary General: Jim MacNeill

See also

Agenda 21
• Our Common Future
• Sustainability
• Sustainable Development
• Nuclear power proposed as renewable energy

References

1. "1991- The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03.
2. Iris Borowy, Defining Sustainable Development: the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission), Milton Park: earthscan/Routledge, 2014.
3. "History of Sustainability". epa.gov. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
4. "This Norwegian's past may connect with your future". 23 June 2010. Archived from the original on 23 June 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
5. "ProfWork / PreludeToBrundtland". pbworks.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January2017.
6. Jump up to:a b United Nations. 1983. "Process of preparation of the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond."Archived 2017-07-12 at the Wayback Machine General Assembly Resolution 38/161, 19 December 1983. Retrieved: 2007-04-11.
7. Francis, Environment Magazine - Taylor and. "Environment Magazine - What Is Sustainable Development? Goals, Indicators, Values, and Practice". environmentmagazine.org. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January2017.
8. Manns, .J., "Beyond Brudtland's Compromise", Town & Country Planning, August 2010, pp.337-340 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
9. "Wayback Machine" (PDF). archive.org. 17 April 2012. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
10. "DSD :: Resources - Publications - Core Publications". 5 April 2012. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
11. "DSD :: Resources - Publications - Core Publications". 8 April 2012. Archived from the original on 8 April 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
12. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
13. Jump up to:a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
14. "Ma Shijun | University of Minnesota China Office". china.umn.edu.
15. Wikisource:Brundtland Report
16. Development, World Commission on Environment and. "Our Common Future, Annexe 2: The Commission and its Work - A/42/427 Annex, Annexe 2 - UN Documents: Gathering a body of global agreements". un-documents.net. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu May 07, 2020 5:32 am

Part 1 of 2

Is There a Buddhist Philosophy of Nature?
in Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryúken Williams, eds. Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1997.
by Malcolm David Eckel
1997

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.

Damage Control: any efforts, as by a Company, to curtail losses, counteract unfavorable publicity, etc.

-- Dictionary.com

"When there is no ego or selfishness, there is nothing that will destroy nature, nothing that will exploit and abuse nature." This is about as practical as visualizing whirled peas. Of course a planet full of egoless beings wouldn't damage anything. They would probably all just sit around and turn into a bowl of jelly. Nobody even knows what it means to be without an ego except this man. How can this be a prescription for saving the ecology of the world? Ah, he explains it here. Once we have no egos then "the external, physical aspect of nature will be able to conserve itself automatically." Right, even with 5 Billion egoless beings eating, driving cars, burning fossil fuels, and polluting the seas.

Now, for the happy close-out. "When Buddhists remember that the Buddha was born under and among trees, awaking while sitting under a tree, taught in the outdoors sitting among trees and, in the end, passed away into parinirvana beneath some trees, it is impossible not to love trees and not to want to conserve them." Very comforting, except that Nepal is a very Buddhist country, and despite all the tree lovers there, there is nary a tree to be found. The Thais started out with more trees, but will end up with just about as many as the Nepalese if they keep it up, notwithstanding their being Buddhist.

All of these problems, of course, are the outward projection of inner "defilements" that disturb the "mind's natural ecology....like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind's natural state." Yes, but that doesn't mean that corporate executives with planet raping on their mind, and military leaders who bomb first and ask questions later are just figments of our neurotic imagination. They are real people who will not go away simply because we meditate effectively.

The speaker is comforted because he looks out and sees that "the entire cosmos is a cooperative system." He needs a bigger telescope. Looking through the Hubble, scientists have discovered the universe is a demolition derby among celestial bodies of vastly different size and speed. Tiny black holes can rape a red giant down to nothing. Every 10,000 years or so our solar system dips through part of the spiral arm of the milky way galaxy where lots of big, fast-moving stars and space junk proliferate, and we're lucky we don't have an interstellar collision every damn time it does that. The speaker suggests we "bring back the cooperative in the form of comrades sharing birth, aging, illness, and death." That's hard to argue with, but then he concludes by saying "then we will have plenty of time to create the best ecology." This seems to suggest that we can complacently wait until we get our mind and society sorted out before we tackle the problem of the world's degrading physical condition.

I would say quite the contrary. Whenever you get around to realizing the nature of the universe in your own mind, it will still be there. If we wait too many more years before addressing the ecological problems afflicting the earth, it will be too late. So what would you do first?

-- The Misuse of Western Terms by Eastern Mystics, by Charles Carreon


One of the most common and enduring stereotypes in environmental literature is the idea that Eastern religions promote a sense of harmony between human beings and nature. On the other side of the stereotype stand the religions of the West, promoting the separation of human beings and nature and encouraging acts of domination, exploitation, and control. Roderick Nash gave classic expression to this contrast when he said: "Ancient Eastern cultures are the source of respect for and religious veneration of the natural world" and "In the Far East the man-nature relationship was marked by respect, bordering on love, absent in the West."1 Y. Murota drew a similar contrast between Japanese attitudes toward nature and the attitudes he felt are operative in the West: "the Japanese view of nature is quite different from that of Westerners ... For the Japanese nature is an all-pervasive force ... Nature is at once a blessing and a friend to the Japanese people ... People in Western cultures, on the other hand, view nature as an object and, often, as an entity set in opposition to mankind."2

This contrast between the East and the West owes much of its influence in recent environmental literature to the seminal article by Lynn White, Jr., "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis."3 White depicted the Judeo-Christian tradition as anthropocentric and argued that Judeo-Christian anthropocentrism stripped nature of its sacred status and exposed it to human exploitation and control. While he did not comment at great length about the Eastern traditions, he clearly understood them as the opposite of the traditions of the West.

The beatniks and hippies, who are the basic revolutionaries of our time, show a sound instinct in their affinity for Zen Buddhism and Hinduism, which conceive of the man-nature relationship as very nearly the mirror image of the Christian view.


White's image of the contrast between East and West was taken up in the same journal seven years later, by the Japanese historian Masao Watanabe.4 Watanabe associated the Japanese people with "a refined appreciation of the beauty of nature" and said that "the art of living in harmony with nature was considered their wisdom of life." White's image continues to be reflected by some of the best known contemporary writers in the environmental movement. In a recent collection of essays, Gary Snyder, the venerable and respected survivor of Lynn White's "beatniks and hippies," drew a series of graceful connections between Henry David Thoreau's concept of the "wild," the Taoist concept of the Tao, and the Buddhist concept of Dharma:

Most of the senses of this second set of definitions [of the wild] come very close to being how the Chinese define the term Dao, the way of Great Nature: eluding analysis, beyond categories, self-organizing, self-informing, playful, surprising, impermanent, insubstantial, independent, complete, orderly, unmediated, freely manifesting, self-authenticating, self-willed, complex, quite simple. Both empty and real at the same time. In some cases we might call it sacred. It is not far from the Buddhist term Dharma with its original sense of forming and firming.5


This image of an affirmative Eastern attitude toward nature must have lurked in the minds of the environmental activists and friends of the environment who gathered at Middlebury College in the fall of 1990 to hear the 14th Dalai Lama speak on the topic of "Spirit and Nature." Tibet, like traditional Japan, has been the focus of a certain Western yearning for the East as a place to discover not only a unique sense of wisdom (what one observer called "an intimate and creative relationship with the vast and profound secrets of the human soul") but a wisdom that can insure "the future survival of Earth itself."6 There was a hush in the Middlebury field house as the Dalai Lama seated himself on the stage and began to speak.7 It must have been a surprise when he began by saying that he had nothing to offer to those who came expecting to hear about ecology or the environment, and even more surprising when he interpreted the word "nature" as a reference to "the fundamental nature of all reality" and entered into a discourse on the Buddhist concept of Emptiness. To explain the connection between nature and Emptiness, he said: "When talking about the fundamental nature of reality, one could sum up the entire understanding of that nature in a simple verse: 'Form is emptiness and emptiness is form' (The Heart Sutra). This simple line sums up the Buddhist understanding of the fundamental nature of reality."8 And he went on to explain how Tibetan philosophers use logical analysis to develop their view of Emptiness and to pursue what he said was the "expressed aim of Buddhism," namely, the purification and development of the mind.

The Dalai Lama's words were surprising not because he seemed unfriendly toward the "natural" world in the prevailing sense of the word (that is, toward ecosystems of plants, animals, the atmosphere, the ocean, rivers, mountains and so on), but because he so gently and easily shifted attention away from the natural world toward the development of human nature and the purification of the mind. The sense of surprise only became more acute when he began to develop the concept of Emptiness and indicated that it involved a denial of the reality of what he took to be "nature" itself. To say that "Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form," in the language of Mahayana philosophy, is to say that all things are "empty" of any inherent "nature" or identity.9 The purification of the mind, which the Dalai Lama called the "expressed aim of Buddhism," comes from stripping away false concepts of the "nature" of things and resting content with their Emptiness. In other words, "nature" (in one possible meaning of the word) may very well be a barrier to overcome in a quest for human development.

What should we make of the gap between the Dalai Lama's words and the conventional image of the Buddhist attitude toward nature? Does the Dali Lama see something in the Buddhist tradition that others do not?
Is the image of Buddhism as an ecologically friendly tradition simply an artifact of the Western imagination?


Buddhist Theory of the Universe.

In sketching the Buddhist world-system, with its "antres vast and deserts idle," existing mostly on the map of the imagination, it is deemed advisable, in order to avoid needless repetition, to give at once the Lamaist version, even though this is slightly more "developed" than the cosmogony of Buddha's day; although it cannot be very different after all, for the Lamaist accounts of it are in close keeping with the Barhut lithic remains, and almost identical with the versions found among the Ceylonese and other Buddhists of the south, and the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists.

This, our human, world is only one of a series (the others being fabulous) which together form a universe or chiliocosm, of which there are many.

Each universe, set in unfathomable space, rests upon a warp and woof of "blue air"or wind, liked crossed thunderbolts (vajra), hard and imperishable as diamonds (vajra?), upon which is set "the body of the waters," upon which is a foundation of gold, on which is set the earth, from the axis of which towers up the great Olympus— Mt. Meru (Su-meru, Tib., Ri-rab) 84,000 miles high, surmounted by the heavens, and overlying the hills.

In the ocean around this central mountain, the axis of the universe, are set (see figures) the four great continental worlds with their satellites, all with bases of solid gold in the form of a tortoise — as this is a familiar instance to the Hindu mind of a solid floating on the waters. And the continents are separated from Mt. Meru by seven concentric rings of golden mountains, the inmost being 40,000 miles high, and named "The Yoke" (Yugandara), alternating with seven oceans, of fragrant milk, curds, butter, blood or sugar-cane juice, poison or wine, fresh water and salt water. These oceans diminish in width and depth from within outwards from 20,000 to 625 miles, and in the outer ocean lie the so-called continental worlds. And the whole system is girdled externally by a double iron-wall (Cakravata) 312-1/2 miles high and 3,602,625 miles in circumference, — for the oriental mythologist is nothing if not precise. This wall shuts out the light of the sun and moon, whose orbit is the summit of the inmost ring of mountains, along which the sun, composed of "glazed fire" enshrined in a crystal palace, is driven in a chariot with ten (seven) horses; and the moon, of "glazed water," in a silver shrine drawn by seven horses, and between these two hang the jewelled umbrella of royalty and the banner of victory, as shown in the figure. And inhabiting the air, on a level with these, are the eight angelic or fairy mothers. Outside the investing wall of the universe all is void and in perpetual darkness until another universe is reached.

Of the four "continents" all except "Jambudvipa" are fabulous. They are placed exactly one in each of the four directions, and each has a smaller satellite on either side, thus bringing the total up to twelve. And the shapes given to these continents, namely, crescentic, triangular, round, and square, are evidently symbolic of the four elements.

These continents, shown in the annexed figure, are thus described: —

On the East is Videha, or "vast body" (P). This is shaped like the crescent moon, and is white in colour. It is 9,000 miles in diameter, and the inhabitants are described as tranquil and mild, and of excellent conduct, and with faces of same shape as this continent, i.e., crescentic like the moon.

On the South is Jamudvipa (F), or our own world, and its centre is the Bodhi-tree at Budh Gaya. It is shaped like the shoulder-blade of a sheep, this idea being evidently suggested by the shape of the Indian peninsula which was the prototype of Jambudvipa, as Mt. Kailas in the Himalayas and N.E. of India was that of Mt. Meru. It is blue in colour; and it is the smallest of all, being only 7,000 miles in diameter. Here abound riches and sin as well as virtue. The inhabitants have faces of similar shape to that of their continent, i.e., somewhat triangular.

On the West is Godhanya, or "wealth of oxen" (I), which in shape is like the sun and red in colour. It is 8,000 miles in diameter. Its inhabitants are extremely powerful, and (as the name literally means, cow + ox + action) they are believed to be specially addicted to eating cattle, and their faces are round like the sun.

On the North is Uttara-Kuru, or "northern Kuru" -tribe (M), of square shape and green in colour, and the largest of all the continents, being 10,000 miles in diameter. Its inhabitants are extremely fierce and noisy. They have square faces like horses; and live on trees, which supply all their wants. They become tree-spirits on their death; and these trees afterwards emit "bad sounds " (this is evidently, like many of the other legends, due to a puerile and false interpretation of the etymology of the word).

The satellite continents resemble their parent one in shape, and each is half its size. The left satellite of Jambudvip, namely, "The ox-tail-whisk continent," is the fabulous country of the Rakshas, to which Padma-Sambhava is believed to have gone and to be still reigning there. And each of the latter presents towards Mount Meru one of the following divine objects respectively, viz., on the east (? south) the mountain of jewels, named Amo-likha, shaped like an elephant's head, and on the south, the wish-granting tree, on the west the wish-granting cow, and on the north the self-sprung crops.

In the very centre of this cosmic system stands ''The king of mountains," Mount Meru, towering erect "like the handle of a mill-stone," while half-way up its side is the great wishing tree, the prototype of our "Christmas tree," and the object of contention between the gods and the Titans. Meru has square sides of gold and jewels. Its eastern face is crystal (or silver), the south is sapphire or lapis lazuli (vaidurya) stone, the west is ruby (padmaraga), and the north is gold, and it is clothed with fragrant flowers and shrubs. It has four lower compartments before the heavens are reached. The lowest of these is inhabited by the Yaksha genii — holding wooden plates. Above this is "the region of the wreath-holders" (Skt., Srag-dhara), which seems to be a title of the bird-like, or angelic winged Garudas. Above this dwell the "eternally exalted ones," above whom are the Titans.

The Titans.

The Titans (Asura) or "ungodly spirits."

These are pictured in the "Wheel of Life" (at page 108), in the upper right section. Their leading trait is pride, and this is the world of rebirth for those who, during their human career, have boasted of being more pious than their neighbours. The Titans were originally gods; but, through their pride, they were, like Satan, expelled from heaven; hence their name, which means "not a god." And their position at the base of the Mount Meru is intermediate between heaven and earth.

The duration of their life is infinitely greater than the human, and they have great luxury and enjoyment; but in pride they envy the greater bliss of the gods, and die prematurely, fighting vainly against the gods for the fruits of the heavenly tree and the divine nectar.

Their region is represented in the picture, of an almost colourless atmosphere. They live in fortified houses. The ground, both inside and outside the fort, is carpeted with flowers of which the inhabitants, male and female, make the wreaths and garlands which they wear. They are dressed in silk; and when the heroes are not engaged in fighting they spend their time in all sorts of gaiety with their wives. In the right-hand corner is shown their birth from a lotus-flower and their obtaining a wish-granting tree and cow. The rest of the picture is devoted to their misery, which consists in their hopeless struggle and fatal conflict with the gods. The commander of the forces is seen in conclave with his leaders, horses are being saddled and the "heroes" are arming themselves with coats of mail and weapons. Another scene shows the battle raging along the border separating their county from heaven, and the general mounted with his staff as spectators in the background. The warriors of the first line are all killed or horribly mangled by the thunderbolts and adamantine weapons hurled at them by the gods. One of the weapons possessed alike by gods and Titans is a spiked disc.

The ultimate fate of every Titan is to die painfully warring against the gods with whom they are in constant conflict, and they have no access to the ambrosia with which a wounded god obtains instant recovery. Another scene (see picture on page 102) depicts the womenfolk gathered round "The Reflecting Lake of Perfect Clearness" after the departure of their lords to the battle. In this lake are mirrored forth all the doings and ultimate fate of their absent spouses, and there is also shown the region of re-birth of themselves, which is nearly always hell, owing to the passionate life which they lead in the Asura world. And while their lovers die painful and passionate deaths, the misery of the womanfolk of this world is to look into this fascinating lake and experience the horror of such hideous spectacles. In the picture some women are shown peering into the lake, and others on the banks are giving vent to their grief.  

The Heavens and the Gods.

Above the region of the Titans, at a distance of 168,000 miles, are the bright realms of the gods. In the lowest compartment of the heavens are the four "great guardian kings of the quarters" (Tib.,rgyal-c'en de-z'i; Skt., Catur-Maharaja)...

These great celestial kings guard the heavens from the attacks of the outer demons; and have to be distinguished from a more extended category of guardian gods, the ten Lokpals who guard the world from its ten directions; namely, Indra on the east, Agni (the fire-god) on the south-east, Yama (the death-god) on the south, Rakshas (? Sura) on the south-west, Varuna (the water-god) on the west, Vayu (the wind-god) on the north-west, Yakshas on the north, Soma (the moon) on the north-east, Brahma, above; Bhupati, below....

In the centre of this paradise is the great city of Belle-vue (Sudarsana), within which is the celestial palace of Vaijayanta (Amaravati) the residence of Indra (Jupiter), the king of the gods. It is invested by a wall and pierced by four gates, which are guarded by the four divine kings of the quarters. It is a three-storied building; Indra occupying the basement, Brahma the middle, and the indigenous Tibetan war-god — the dGra-lha — as a gross form of Mara, the god of Desire, the uppermost story. This curious perversion of the old Buddhist order of the heavens is typical of the more sordid devil-worship of the Lamas who, as victory was the chief object of the Tibetans, elevated the war-god to the highest rank in their pantheon, as did the Vikings with Odin where Thor, the thunder-god, had reigned supreme. The passionate war-god of the Tibetans is held to be superior even to the divinely meditative state of the Brahma.

War with the Titans.  

The gods wage war with the Titans, who, as we have seen, are constantly trying to seize some of the precious fruit of the great Yon-du sa-tol (Skt., Parijata) tree, or "tree of the concentrated essence of earth's products," whose branches are in heaven, but whose roots are in their country. The climber which encircles this tree is called the Jambuti tree, and is the medium by which the quintessence of the most rare delicacies of Jambudvip are instilled into the larger tree And the war-god directs the divine army.

To account for the high position thus given to the war-god, it is related that he owes it to the signal assistance rendered by him to the gods in opposing the Asuras.

The misery of the gods.

The god enjoys bliss for almost incalculable time; but when his merit is exhausted then his lake of nectar dries up; his wish-granting tree, cow and horse die; his splendid dress and ornaments grow dim and disappear; his palace gets dilapidated; his flowers and garden fade; his body, no longer bathed by nectar, loses its lustre and sweats like mortals, so that his person becomes loathsome to his goddess-companions and the other gods, who shun him, and so the poor god dies miserably. If he has led a virtuous life during his existence as a god then he may be re-born in heaven, otherwise he goes to a lower region and may even be sent to hell. Buddha was born twenty times as the god Sakra or Indra (Jupiter) and four times as Brahma.

The Buddhist Hell.

The antithesis to heaven is hell, which with its awful lessons looms large on the horizon of the Buddhists. For according to their ethical doctrine of retribution, and in the case of the more theistic developments, their conception of God as the supreme type of right-doing, they picture him like a human judge trying and punishing the evil-doers; although, with truly Buddhist idealism, these tortures are believed by the more philosophical Lamas to be morbid creations of the individual's own ideas, a sort of hellish nightmare. The majority of the Lamas, however, and the laity, believe in the real material character of these hells and their torture.

The Buddhist hell (Naraka) is a true inferno situated in the bowels of the human earth like Hades, and presided over by the Indian Pluto, Yama, the king and judge of the dead, who however is himself finite and periodically tortured. Every day he is forced to swallow molten metal. So, as the shade of Achilles says, "it is better to live on earth as the poorest peasant than to rule as a prince of the dead."...

Hell is divided into numerous compartments, each with a special sort of torture devised to suit the sins to be expiated. Only eight hells are mentioned in the older Buddhist books, but the Lamas and other "northern" Buddhists describe and figure eight hot and eight cold hells and also an outer hell (Pratyeka naraka), through which all those escaping from hell must pass without a guide. The Brahmanical hells are multiples of seven instead of eight; some of them bear the same names as the Buddhists, but they are not systematically arranged, and as the extant lists date no earlier than Manu, about 400 A.D., they are probably in great part borrowed from the Buddhists...

In addition to the hot and cold hells are eighty-four thousand external hells (Ne-ts'e-wa, Skt. ? Lokantarika) situated mostly on the earth, in mountains, deserts, hot springs, and lakes.

Another state of existence, little better than that of hell, is the Preta (Tib., Yi-dag) or Manes, a sort of tantalized ghoul or ghost. This world is placed above hell and below the Sitavan forest, near Rajgriha, in the modern district of Patna in Bengal.

These wretched starvelings are in constant distress through the pangs of hunger and thirst. This is pictured in the Wheel of Life, also in the annexed figure. This is the special torment for those who, in their earthly career, were miserly, covetous, uncharitable, or gluttonous. Jewels, food, and drink are found in plenty, but the Pretas have mouths no bigger than the eye of a needle, and gullets no thicker in diameter than a hair, through which they can never ingest a satisfying amount of food for their huge bodies. And when any food is taken it becomes burning hot, and changes in the stomach into sharp knives, saws, and other weapons, which lacerate their way out from the bowels to the surface, making large painful wounds. They are constantly crying "water, water, give water!" And the thirst is expressed in the picture by a name which is seen to issue from their parched mouths, and whenever they attempt to touch water it changes to liquid fire. Avalokita is frequently figured in the act of giving water to these Pretas to relieve their misery. And a famous story of Buddha credits the great Maudgalyayana, the right-hand disciple of "the Blessed One," with having descended into the Preta-world to relieve his mother. As this story, the Avalambana Sutra, dating to before the third century A.D., gives a very vivid picture of this tantalizing purgatory, and also illustrates the rites for extricating the starveling ghosts,76 it is here appended.

***

The Yoga doctrine of ecstatic union of the individual with the Universal Spirit had been introduced into Hinduism about 150 B.C. by Patanjali... It taught spiritual advancement by means of a self-hypnotizing to be learned by rules. By moral consecration of the individual to Isvara or the Supreme Soul, and mental concentration upon one point with a view to annihilate thought, there resulted the eight great Siddhi or magical powers, namely (1) "the ability to make one's body lighter, or (2) heavier, or (3) smaller, (4) or larger than anything in the world, and (5) to reach any place, or (6) to assume any shape, and (7) control all natural laws, and (8) to make everything depend upon oneself, all at pleasure of will — Iddhi or Riddi." On this basis Asanga, importing Patanjali's doctrine into Buddhism and abusing it, taught that by means of mystic formulas — dharanis (extracts from Mahayana sutras and other scriptures) and mantra (short prayers to deities) — as spells, "the reciting of which should be accompanied by music and certain distortion of the fingers (mudra), a state of mental fixity (samadhi) might be reached characterized by neither thought nor annihilation of thoughts, and consisting of six-fold bodily and mental happiness (Yogi), whence would result endowment with supernatural miracle-working power." These miraculous powers were alleged to be far more efficacious than mere moral virtue, and may be used for exorcism and sorcery, and for purely secular and selfish objects. Those who mastered these practices were called Yogacarya.

***

Even the purest of all the Lamaist sects — the Ge-lug-pa — are thorough-paced devil-worshippers, and value Buddhism chiefly because it gives them the whip-hand over the devils which everywhere vex humanity with disease and disaster, and whose ferocity weighs heavily upon all. The purest Ge-lug-pa Lama on awaking every morning, and before venturing outside his room, fortifies himself against assault by the demons by first of all assuming the spiritual guise of his fearful tutelary, the king of the demons, named Vajrabhairava or Samvara, as figured in the chapter on the pantheon. The Lama, by uttering certain mantras culled from the legendary sayings of Buddha in the Mahayana Tantras, coerces this demon-king into investing the Lama's person with his own awful aspect. Thus when the Lama emerges from his room in the morning, and wherever he travels during the day, he presents spiritually the appearance of the demon-king, and the smaller malignant demons, his would-be assailants, ever on the outlook to harm humanity, being deluded into the belief that the Lama is indeed their own vindictive king, they flee from his presence, leaving the Lama unharmed....

***

LAMAIST mythology is a fascinating field for exploring the primitive conceptions of life, and the way in which the great forces of nature become deified. It also shows the gradual growth of legend and idolatry, with its diagrams of the unknown and fetishes; and how Buddhism with its creative touch bodied forth in concrete shape the abstract conceptions of the learned, and, while incorporating into its pantheon the local gods of the country, it gave milder meanings to the popular myths and legends.

The pantheon is perhaps the largest in the world. It is peopled by a bizarre crowd of aboriginal gods and hydra-headed demons, who are almost jostled off the stage by their still more numerous Buddhist rivals and counterfeits. The mythology, being largely of Buddhist authorship, is full of the awkward forms of Hindu fancy and lacks much of the point, force, and picturesqueness of the myths of Europe. Yet it still contains cruder forms of many of these western myths, and a wealth of imagery...

[T]he earliest Buddhist mythology known to us gives the gods of the Hindus a very prominent place in the system. And while rendering them finite and subject to the general law of metempsychosis, yet so far accepts or tolerates the current beliefs in regard to their influence over human affairs as to render these gods objects of fear and respect, if not of actual adoration by the primitive Buddhists....

In addition to the worship of Buddha, in a variety of forms, the Mahayana school created innumerable metaphysical Buddhas and Bodhisats whom it soon reduced from ideal abstractness to idolatrous form. And it promoted to immortal rank many of the demons of the Sivaist pantheon; and others specially invented by itself as defensores fidei; and to all of these it gave characteristic forms. It also incorporated most of the local deities and demons of those new nations it sought to convert. There is, however, as already noted, reason for believing that many of the current forms of Brahmanical gods were suggested to the Brahmans by antecedent Buddhist forms. And the images have come to be of the most idolatrous kind, for the majority of the Lamas and almost all the laity worship the image as a sort of fetish, holy in itself and not merely as a diagram or symbol of the infinite or unknown.

The Lamaist pantheon, thus derived from so many different sources, is, as may be expected, extremely large and complex. Indeed, so chaotic is its crowd that even the Lamas themselves do not appear to have reduced its members to any generally recognized order, nor even to have attempted complete lists of their motley deities. Though this is probably in part owing to many gods being tacitly tolerated without being specially recognized by the more orthodox Lamas...

Many of the more celebrated idols are believed by the people and the more credulous Lamas to be altogether miraculous in origin— "self-formed," or fallen from heaven ready fashioned...

***

The truly "local gods" or Genii loci, the "foundation owners" of the Tibetans, are located to a particular fixed place, and seldom conceived of as separate from their places. In appearance they are mostly Caliban-like sprites, ill-tempered and spiteful, or demoniacal...

***

[T]he commonest use of sacred symbols is as talismans to ward off the evils of those malignant planets and demons who cause disease and disaster, as well as for inflicting harm on one's enemy. The symbols here are used in a mystical and magic sense as spells and as fetishes, and usually consist of formulas in corrupt and often unintelligible Sanskrit, extracted from the Mahayana and Tantrik scriptures, and called dharani, as they are believed to "hold" divine powers, and are also used as incantations...

The eating of the paper on which a charm has been written is an ordinary way of curing disease, as indeed it had been in Europe till not so many centuries ago, for the mystic Rx heading our prescriptions is generally admitted to have had its origin in the symbol of Saturn, whom it invoked, and the paper on which the symbol and several other mystic signs were inscribed constituted the medicine, and was itself actually eaten by the patient. The spells which the Lamas use in this way as medicine are shown in the annexed print, and are called "the edible letters" (za-yig).

A still more mystical way of applying these remedies is by the washings of the reflection of the writing in a mirror, a practice not without its parallels in other quarters of the globe. Thus to cure the evil eye as shown by symptoms of mind-wandering and dementia condition — called "byad-'grol" — it is ordered as follows: Write with Chinese ink on a piece of wood the particular letters and smear the writing over with myrobalams and saffron as varnish, and every twenty-nine days reflect this inscribed wood in a mirror, and during reflection wash the face of the mirror with beer, and collect a cupful of such beer and drink it in nine sips.

But most of the charms are worn on the person as amulets. Every individual always wears around the neck one or more of these amulets, which are folded up into little cloth-covered packets, bound with coloured threads in a geometrical pattern. Others are kept in small metallic cases of brass, silver, or gold, set with turquoise stones as amulets, and called "Ga-u." These amulets are fastened to the girdle or sash, and the smaller ones are worn as lockets, and with each are put relics of holy men — a few threads or fragments of cast-off robes of saints or idols, peacock feathers, sacred Kusa grass, and occasionally images and holy pills. Other large charms are affixed overhead in the house or tent to ward off lightning, hail, etc., and for cattle special charms are chanted, or sometimes pasted on the walls of the stalls, etc...

***

Kon-ch'og-chi-du, or "sacrifice to the whole assembly of Rare Ones" ... This feast is observed by Lamas of all sects, and is an interesting sample of devil-worship. The old fashion is here detailed, but it differs from that of the reformed or high church only in providing for a slightly larger party of demoniacal guests; the Ge-lug-pa inviting only the following, to wit, their chief Lama, St. Tson-K'a-pa, their tutelary deity Vajra-bhairava, Vajrasattva Buddha, the deified heroes, the fairies, the guardian demons of the Ge-lug-pa creed, the god of wealth, the guardian demons of the caves where the undiscovered revelations are deposited, the five sister sprites of mount Everest, the twelve aerial fiendesses (Tan-ma), who sow disease, and the more important local gods.

***

LIKE most primitive people, the Tibetans believe that the planets and spiritual powers, good and bad, directly exercise a potent influence upon man's welfare and destiny, and that the portending machinations of these powers are only to be foreseen, discerned, and counteracted by the priests.

Such beliefs have been zealously fostered by the Lamas, who have led the laity to understand that it is necessary for each individual to have recourse to the astrologer-Lama or Tsi-pa on each of the three great epochs of life, to wit, birth, marriage, and death: and also at the beginning of each year to have a forecast of the year's ill-fortune and its remedies drawn out for them.

These remedies are all of the nature of rampant demonolatry for the appeasing or coercion of the demons of the air, the earth, the locality, house, the death-demon, etc.

Indeed, the Lamas are themselves the real supporters of the demonolatry. They prescribe it wholesale, and derive from it their chief means of livelihood at the expense of the laity...

The astrologer-Lamas have always a constant stream of persons coming to them for prescriptions as to what deities and demons require appeasing and the remedies necessary to neutralize these portending evils....

The days of the month in their numerical order are unlucky per se in this order. The first is unlucky for starting any undertaking, journey, etc. The second is very bad to travel. Third is good provided no bad combination otherwise. Fourth is bad for sickness and accident (Ch'u-'jag). Eighth bad. The dates counted on fingers, beginning from thumb and counting second in the hollow between thumb and index finger, the hollow always comes out bad, thus second, eighth, fourteenth, etc. Ninth is good for long journeys but not for short (Kut-da). Fourteenth and twenty-fourth are like fourth. The others are fairly good coeteris paribus. In accounts, etc., unlucky days are often omitted altogether and the dates counted by duplicating the preceding day...

The spirits of the seasons also powerfully influence the luckiness or unluckiness of the days. It is necessary to know which spirit has arrived at the particular place and time when an event has happened or an undertaking is entertained. And the very frequent and complicated migrations of these aerial spirits, good and bad, can only be ascertained by the Lamas...

***

Dwelling in an atmosphere of superstition, the Lamas, like the alchemists of old, do not recognize the limitation to their powers over Nature. They believe that the hermits in the mountains, and the monks in their cloisters, can readily become adepts in the black art, and can banish drought, and control the sun, and stay the storm; and many of their necromantic performances recall the scene of the "witches' cauldron" in Macbeth.

***

Barring the Door against the Earth-Demons.

The local earth-spirits are named "Master Earth'' or "Earth-Masters,"' and are comparable to the terrestrial Nagas of the Hindus. The most malignant are the "gnan" who infest certain trees and rocks, which are always studiously shunned and respected, and usually daubed with paint in adoration...

The ceremony of "closing the door of the earth," so frequently referred to in the Lamaist prescriptions, is addressed to her.

In this rite is prepared an elaborate arrangement of masts, and amongst the mystic objects of the emblem the strings, etc.; most prominent is a ram's skull with its attached horns, and it is directed downwards to the earth...

The whole erection is now fixed to the outside of the house above the door; the object of these figures of a man, wife and house is to deceive the demons should they still come in spite of this offering, and to mislead them into the belief that the foregoing pictures are the inmates of the house, so that they may wreak their wrath on these bits of wood and so save the real human occupants....

Demons of the Sky.

The demons who produce disease, short of actual death, are called She, and are exorcised by an elaborate ceremony in which a variety of images and offerings are made. The officiating Lama invokes his tutelary fiend, and thereby assuming spiritually the dread guise of this king evil, he orders out the disease-demon under threat of getting himself eaten up by the awful tutelary who now possesses the Lama. The demons are stabbed by the mystic dagger purba...

***

Their inveterate craving for material protection against those malignant gods and demons has caused them to pin their faith on charms and amulets, which are to be seen everywhere dangling from the dress of every man, woman, and child.

***

The people live in an atmosphere of the marvellous. No story is too absurd for them to credit, if only it be told by Lamas. They are ever on the outlook for omens, and the every-day affairs of life are governed, as we have seen, by a superstitious regard for lucky and unlucky days...

***

Prayers ever hang upon the people's lips. The prayers are chiefly directed to the devils, imploring them for freedom or release from their cruel inflictions, or they are plain naive requests for aid towards obtaining the good things of this life, the loaves and the fishes. At all spare times, day and night, the people ply their prayer-wheels, and tell their beads, and mutter the mystic six syllables — Om ma-ni pad-me Hum! "Om! the Jewel in the Lotus, Hum!" — the sentence which gains them their great goal, the glorious heaven of eternal bliss, the paradise of the fabulous Buddha of boundless Light — Amitabha.

Still, with all their strivings and the costly services of their priests, the Tibetans never attain peace of mind. They have fallen under the double ban of menacing demons and despotic priests. So it will be a happy day, indeed, for Tibet when its sturdy over-credulous people are freed from the intolerable tyranny of the Lamas, and delivered from the devils whose ferocity and exacting worship weigh like a nightmare upon all.

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell, M.B., F.L.S., F.R.G.S.


Or is it possible that the Buddhist tradition is a complex combination of ideas and aspirations, some of which are positively disposed toward the environment and some of which are not? If so, is it possible to reconcile the Dalai Lama's approach to the concept of nature with the image of a tradition that seeks to establish harmony between human beings and the natural world? The purpose of this essay is to explore the incongruity in the Dalai Lama's words, to ask where the incongruity comes from, and to ask whether it is possible to identify a "Buddhist philosophy of nature," a philosophy that is genuinely affirmative of what we have come to think of as the "natural" world and, at the same time, true to the complex impulses that shape the Buddhist quest for the purification and development of the mind.

To start with, where do we get the stereotype of Buddhist reverence for the natural world? Masao Watanabe began his account of the Japanese attitude toward nature by telling a story about the nineteenth-century art historian Lafcadio Hearn and the genesis of Western perceptions of Japan. Watanabe said that he read Lafcadio Hearn's account of his first visit to Japan to a group of American students. (It was the trip that led to Hearn's fascination with Japan and to his decision to make Japan his permanent residence.) Watanabe asked his students what they first noticed about Hearn's account of his visit. The answer was Hearn's image of the Japanese love of nature, symbolized in Hearn's story of a Japanese warrior who arranged vases of chrysanthemums to welcome his brother home from a journey. The students' answer then elicited Watanabe's own comments about the sense of natural beauty in Japanese landscape design, flower arrangement, the tea ceremony, poetry, and cuisine.

Watanabe is right to suggest that Western people first approach Japanese views of nature through an aesthetic medium. When Japan opened to the West in the early 1850's, Japanese art flooded into Western markets and had significant effect on the stylistic vision of Western artists as different as James McNeill Whistler and Vincent Van Gogh.10 There are few more powerful and suggestive icons of the Japanese vision of nature than the gnarled rocks and empty spaces of a Zen garden like the one at Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, and few poets of the natural world can match the grace and intensity that is so evident in the wroks of the Japanese poet Basho. It is sometimes said that to grasp the significance of Basho's poem,

Old pond--
Frog jumps in --
Sound of water!


is to grasp the whole meaning of Buddhism.11 Certainly, the "meaning" of this poem must have something to do with the condensed appreciation of a single moment in the flow of the natural world, a moment in which the minds of the poet and the reader become absorbed in the natural event itself.

Basho's poetic appreciation of nature has strong antecedents in Chinese literature, as in the work of the shadowy T'ang Dynasty poet whose identity is known simply by the name Cold Mountain. In the lines of the Cold Mountain poet, the Buddhist "way" takes on a distinctly naturalistic flavor.

As for me, I delight in the everyday Way,
Among mist-wrapped vines and rocky caves.
Here in the wilderness I am completely free,
With my friends, the white clouds, idling forever.
There are roads, but they do not reach the world;
Since I am mindless, who can rouse my thoughts?
On a bed of stone I sit, alone in the night,
While the round moon climbs up Cold Mountain.12


This verse displays a distinctive sensitivity to the rough, unhewn aspects of nature, to mists, rocks and trees -- all the aspects of nature that Gary Snyder associated with Henry David Thoreau's concept of the "wild."13 But it also expresses important Buddhist values. The lines reflect the traditional theme of the Middle Way, leading from the experience of suffering and ignorance in the world of ordinary people to the wisdom of a solitary and enlightened sage, and they map the contrast between these two realms of experience in a series of standard images. The ordinary world is one of entanglement, obscurity, and darkness, with "mist-wrapped vines," and "idling clouds." The world of enlightenment is one of detachment, coolness, and clarity, where the round moon that symbolizes the Buddha's awareness climbs up Cold Mountain.

I delight in the everyday Way
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30944
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Articles & Essays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

cron