All previous revolutions were national revolutions, where the revolutionaries sought control of a particular country in order to change the direction of that nation's policies. Now we are in the early stages of the first global revolution: It is a values revolution that is saying, instead of having money values rule over the life cycle, we must have life values rule over the money cycle. We must subordinate the economy to society and nature, rather than subordinating society and nature to the economy.
This global values revolution is growing from the grassroots all over the world. It is the coming together of many separate movements that seek to go beyond treating the symptoms of the world's problems in order to get at root causes and find solutions. There are literally millions of social change organizations that make up the peace movement, the environmental movement, the anti-racism movement, the women's' rights movement, etc., and they are now coming together around common goals and shared values to create a solutionary movement.
This movement is inspired by and takes lessons from Mother Nature. And Mother Nature's core operating principle is unity-of-diversity. So the solutionary movement is unifying around shared principles in order to build a future world with no starving children, no endangered species, no clear-cut forests, and no wars for oil. It is essential for us to enunciate these shared principles, discuss them, and see how they can be put into practice to create more joy and less suffering in the world.
• Solutionaries look beyond the symptoms of a problem to see the solution embedded within. The filling up of landfills and garbage dumps tells us that we need to radically change our relationship with the material world. Because all natural resources are running out, we must replace the linear economic model with a circular economy in which everything at the end of its use-reuse-cycle either goes back into the production process as raw material or into the soil as compost.
• Solutionaries shun the unbridled acquisition of material goods for personal gain. We try to live simply so that others may simply live.
• Solutionaries believe that the preservation of the earth and all living things is the responsibility of everyone. Natural resources should be treated as being on loan to us from future generations. This is about us learning to become good ancestors.
• Solutionaries seek to develop a sense of compassion and empathy for other living things. Being able to feel deeply injustice done against anyone, anywhere in the world, is a beautiful quality of solutionaries.
• Solutionaries strive to go beyond charity to build lasting ties of solidarity that allow people to help themselves while helping others. We treat the symptoms of a problem but we also seek to discover the causal roots of the problem and make systemic change.
• Solutionaries affirm the rights elaborated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially the economic rights to employment, shelter, education, healthcare and food. We also defend the rights of freedom of expression, assembly and religion.
• Solutionaries support the right of workers to organize to defend their rights and press for better working conditions.
• Solutionaries strive to overcome racism, sexism and class prejudice in ourselves, our communities and our governments.
• Solutionaries believe that international trade and investment should be based on mutual benefit, not the exploitation of the poor by the rich. The negotiation of international trade agreements should include significant input by small business, workers and the poor.
• Solutionaries support the struggle of family farmers and landless peasants for sufficient land, water and tools to grow food for their families.
• Solutionaries support the right of women everywhere to participate fully in the running of their societies.
• Solutionaries support sweeping reductions in military spending, with the money going instead to meet human needs such as housing, health care and education.
• Solutionaries believe that international conflicts should be resolved peacefully through multilateral institutions such as the United Nations. All governments -- especially powerful ones -- should strengthen the democratic and development aspects of the U.N. so it can live up to its original promise.
• Solutionaries advocate a socially responsible type of tourism that respects local culture and environments and tries to leave tourist money in the hands of local people.
• Solutionaries believe that businesses, especially transnational corporations, should be responsible to their workers and to the communities where they do business.
• Solutionaries believe that it is the duty of all citizens to be actively involved in shaping the domestic and foreign policies of their governments.
Solutionary movements around the world are realizing that we must implement Mother Nature's core principle, unity-of-diversity, or we may perish as a species. Most societies have some version of the Golden Rule --"do unto others as you would have others do unto you." And now we need to unpack that word "others" to mean all living things.
We urge you to promote these solutionary principles in any nonviolent way you can.
Dr. Kevin Danaher is executive director of Friends of SF Environment.
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