Overcoming the Dissociation Crisis

A report on the Global Online Policy Forum: Solutions from Crisis, from the Pathway to Paris project…

Systems thinking views systems as already containing the expression of their own virtues and their own failings. A system cannot fail, unless the failure is made possible by some component of the system. In our use of energy, in contact with the Earth’s climate system, there is a flaw: our system is not designed to maintain a reliable climate-energy balance. So, we are pushing past the limits of the system, and motivating/encountering disruption. If we understand this, we can better see our limits, understand our strengths, and leverage the virtues of the system to achieve an outcome conducive to human thriving.

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A Call for Global Citizenship

Report from the World Bank / IMF Civil Society Forum

In the years I have been attending and contributing to the World Bank / IMF Civil Society Policy Forum, I have witnessed a distinct and ongoing evolution. Multilateral institutions like the World Bank and IMF, which are funded by and directed by governments, and which do business with governments, have direct impacts on elements of society that are not in the room when decisions are made. So civil society organizations have an important role to play in highlighting and reducing major risk areas, and in shaping policies that lead to better outcomes.

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Climate Change is a Threat Multiplier

Climate Security Roundtable at American Legion discusses nexus between energy, water, food & national security

Citing the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, Brigadier General Gerald Galloway (ret.), on Friday June 27, told representatives of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Earth Policy Institute and Citizens’ Climate Lobby, that “climate change is a threat multiplier” and will shape the future operating environment. As water and food become more scarce and life-supporting ecosystems are degraded, as the costs of coping with disasters rise, the opportunities for chaos and instability to take root also increase.

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Putin Squanders Olympic Glow to Seize Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown away the halo of global good feeling that might have come with the success of the Sochi Olympic Games. Russia’s hosting of the Games was marred when armed paramilitary extremists linked to Putin publicly whipped members of the punk rock protest band Pussy Riot, but Putin’s government handled that situation by scolding the responsible Cossacks and denouncing such abuse of citizens.

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Why Kiev Matters

The struggle over Ukraine’s political system is important to the world for a lot of reasons. In short:

  1. It matters whether any human population has fair and transparent, democratically accountable government;
  2. Ukraine is a strategic crossroads, both for political and economic reasons;
  3. The tension over violence against protesters in Kiev could explode into a regional war that no one can afford;
  4. A peaceful resolution is an indicator of whether Russia and Europe can work together;
  5. Ukraine’s strategic value is partly to do with geopolitical spheres of influence, partly about carbon-based energy.

So, what is happening at this hour in Kiev matters to the wider world for moral reasons, for strategic political and economic reasons and because the outcome may determine whether petrostate hegemony will hold sway over the future of more than half a billion people. That authoritarian petrostate model—an outgrowth of both the Soviet dictatorship and the post-Soviet plutocracy in Russia—severely limits the power of individuals and communities to influence government, and to build a more humane, more collaborative, more sustainable future, from the ground up.

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