THE ORIGINAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE NEWS ARTICLES SHOWS THE NEWS AS A "BIOGRAPHY" OF THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF THE CONSUMER
THE INDEX IS AN OVERVIEW OF THE SAME ARTICLES RELATED TO THE 12 NECESSITIES OF LIFE
01 200906 POWER OF COMPASSION / DALAI LAMA
01 200905 INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE / UN
02 ART & CULTURE
02 200901 WE ARE THE REVOLUTION / JOSEPH BEUYS
02 200706 IMAGINE THE ECONOMY / SHELLEY SACKS
02 200611 EVERYBODY IS AN ARTIST / BEUYS
03 SCIENCE & RESEARCH
03 201504 STATE OF THE WORLD / WORLDWATCH
03 201410 WORLDECONOMY / RUDOLF STEINER EXPO
03 201409 CONSUMER RESEARCH / ICCR
03 201405 STATE OF THE WORLD / WORLDWATCH
03 201004 SCIENCE MUST GO ON / RUDOLF STEINER 150
03 200902 CREATIVITY OR BIG BANG / DARWIN
03 200711 KNOWLEDGE FOR THE FUTURE
04 201508 EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL WORLD CONGRESS
04 201506 CONSUMERCLASSROOM / ECONOMY360
04 201503 SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES / UNESCO CHAIR
04 201411 DESD 2004-2014 / UN EDUCATION
04 201208 HOME ECONOMICS CONFERENCE / IFHE 100 YEARS
04 201110 CONSUMER AFFAIRS / EU MASTERS
04 201005 CONSUMER EDUCATION FOR ALL / UNITED NATIONS
04 200910 LIFE(S)LONG LEARNING
04 200903 CONSUMER EDUCATION RESPONSIBLE LIVING / PERL
04 200805 CONSUMER EDUCATION / CCN
04 200712 CONSUMER360ACADEMY / ANNUAL REPORT
04 200703 CONSUMER360ACADEMY / A NEW NAME
06 NUTRITION & ENVIRONMENT
06 201408 GREENPEACE / ARCTIC SUNRISE
06 200908 GOOD GOVERNANCE / GAIA LOGICA
06 200810 THE BUZZ ABOUT BEES / RESEARCH
06 200711 CLUB OF ROME / AL GORE
08 MONEY & BANKING
08 201505 BANKING & IMPACT / TRIODOS BANK
08 201502 WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM / DAVOS
08 201410 THE FUTURE OF BANKING / LONDON
08 201407 NEW MARKETING / HARVARD UNIVERSITY
08 201406 INEQUALITY AND CAPITAL / PIKETTY
08 201409 GLOBAL REPORTING / ISO 26000
08 201209 HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH / SKIDELSKY
08 201104 WORLD FAIR TRADE / FROM WTO TO WFTO
08 201010 FINANCING A BETTER WORLD / TRIODOS BANK
08 200911 WORLD FAIR TRADE / ADAM SMITH
08 200809 MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND
08 200804 SUBSCRIPTION / CLIENT CARDS
08 200803 ETHICAL BANKING / TRIODOS BANK
08 200801 ECONOMIC GROWTH / BEYOND GDP
09 TRAVEL & TRANSPORT
10 201201 WORDS WORDS WORDS / CLASH OF IDEAS
10 200709 TALK OF THE DAY / THE WORLD IS A VILLAGE
10 200707 NEWS IN THE MAKING / OUTLOOK
10 200607 DIALOGUE DIALOGUE / LEX BOS
11 LEGISLATION & POLITICS
11 201507 DEMOCRACY RISING / ATHENS
11 201501 NONVIOLENT REVOLUTIONS / THE HANDBOOK
11 201206 RIO+20 / UN CONFERENCE
11 201204 GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS / BHUTAN
11 201101 ARAB SPRING / TOWARD DEMOCRACY
11 201009 MILENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS / UN
11 201008 CULTURE OF PEACE / UN
11 201007 OUR COMMON FUTURE 2.0
11 201006 COMMON WEALTH / JEFFREY SACHS
11 201003 CONSUMER RIGHTS / KENNEDY
11 200912 INCOME AND LABOUR / KEYNES
11 200907 HEAD HEART HANDS OF MANKIND / PERLAS
11 200904 CULTURE POLITICS ECONOMY
11 200812 UNITED NATIONS 60 YEARS
11 200811 OBAMA PRESIDENT
11 200802 RALPH NADER FOR PRESIDENT
11 200609 INCOME AND LABOUR DISCUSSIONS
12 201107 OCCUPY WALL STREET
12 201002 EGOISM TO ALTRUISM
12 201001 WORLD SOCIAL FORUM
12 200909 BIG PICTURE / BLUEPRINTS & ROADMAPS
12 200810 HOMEWORK TO DO
12 200807 MONITOR / OUTLOOK
12 200806 ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE / WSF
12 200710 CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL / CONGRESS
12 200705 THE WORLD IN PROGRESS
12 200702 CONSUMER GOVERNANCE IN ACTION
12 200701 WHAT IS CONSUMER GOVERNANCE
12 200612 CATALIZING CHANGE / THE FIRST 5 YEARS
Club of Rome to COP 22 - Solutions in the Making
One year after the Climate Summiit COP21 in Paris this month in Marrakech in Morocco the COP 22 conference was about starting towards solutions for the problems causing climate change. Especially interesting was the launch of Dennis Meadows newest book about changing attitude and behaviour. The Climate Change Playbook - 22 Systems Thinking Games for More Effective Communication about Climate Change.
In the old beautiful castle of Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands Dennis Meadows co-author of Limits to Growth (Club of Rome 1972) presented us with great enthousiasm the 22 games that teachers and trainers can use to learn children and adults and organizations as well not only to understand the problems but also to find the tools for effective communication about climate change and to real change in attitudes and behaviour, habits and lifestyles. The Climate Chance Playbook is a masterpiece for transforming system-dynamic thinking towards taking the right decisions in our lifestyles.
These simple interactive games in the Climate Change Playbook help practioners and educators present climate change from a systems-perspective demonstrating its complex interconnectred web of causes, effects and unintended impacts. Designed by leaders in sytems-thinking climate communications and sustainability, the games focus on learning by doing and are suitable for a variety of ages and audiences. Playing the games help people navigate the obstacles that make understanding climate change so difficult and also identify the leverage points to create real long term solutions.
"When you're walking along a tricky curving, unknown, surprising, obstacle-strewn path you'd be a fool to keep your head down and look just at the next step in front of you. You'd be equally a fool just to peer far ahead and never notice what's immediately under your feet. You need to be watching both the short and the long term. You need to watch the whole system!"
OECD Global Symposium on Financial Education in Auckland New Zealand
More than 150 high-level delegates from 40 countries attended the two-day event in Auckland, New Zealand, including officials and experts from the OECD/International Network on Financial Education (OECD/INFE), ministries of finance and education, central banks, regulatory and supervisory authorities, governmental officials, as well as international organisations, the academic community, the private sector and NGOs.
This high-level global symposium addressed the following topics:
International Conference on Consumer Research 2016
The Competence Center of Consumer Research North Rhine-Westphalia (CECORE NRW) organized the second International Conference on Consumer Research (ICCR) 2016 September 26-27 in the Science Center (Wissenschaftszentrum) in Bonn Germany. The theme of the conference was "The 21st Century Consumer: Vulnerable, Responsible, Transparent?" and meant to discuss different views, concepts, and models of consumers and the implications for policy-making. Questions like: Is there a way to protect vulnerable consumers more efficiently? Can responsible consumers get new tools to achieve healthy and sustainable societies? Is transparency an asset or a threat to consumers? Does nudging help to unfold self-governance of consumers?
Roles, capabilities and responsibilities of consumers seem to be rapidly changing. Companies and politics reach out to consumers to shape future markets and the well-being of our societies. Interdisciplinary consumer research is vital to explore conditions and consequences of change. Researchers from different disciplines and countries worldwide gathered to enrich this debate.
Prof. Victoria Thoresen gave an inspiring keynote speech about the educated consumer who wants to be part of the chain more and more in the dialogue between producers and consumers and all other stakeholders. (Read more: September News). Prof. Frank Trentmann the writer of the amazing history of the consumer untill the 21st century The Empire of Things and a great storyteller about the consumer in space and time gave the closing speech of the conference (Read more: August News).
UNESCO Chair - Partnership for Education and Research About Responsible Living PERL
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seek to address their unfinished business. "The interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals are of crucial importance in ensuring that the purpose of the new Agenda is realised. If we achieve our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better." (From the preamble of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development)Awareness of the impacts human activity have on the environment and on society is not new, but integrating up-to-date, evidence-based insights on the topic into higher education curricula and practice is only slowly becoming noticeable.
Following the first global wake-up calls in the early 1970's, the topic of minimizing the effects on nature caused by the way people live was reiterated and became the core mandate for Agenda 21 initiatives. Focus was put on the role of industry and government in improving infrastructures, enacting regulations and modifying products in order to reduce carbon emissions. Life-cycle analysis of products and dematerialization/decoupling production processes have been the main approaches, concentrating on improving energy efficiency.
Eventually economists and social scientists provided additional perspectives dealing with the social consequences of unsustainable production and consumption. The role of the individual and his/her lifestyle choices has become a significant part of the discussion on how to mitigate climate change and promote the transition to a more just, sustainable future. The Marrakech Process on Sustainable Consumption and Production (2000-2010) supported projects and worked to bring to the attention of educators, policy-makers and the public at large the pressing need to reflect on how we organize our daily life, socialize, share, learn and educate. In other words, rethinking our ways of living, how we buy and what we consume.
The UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) integrated education for sustainable consumption into its agenda as an essential element of ESD in 2008. By then recognition of the interrelatedness of systems and processes was growing and the discussion about sustainable lifestyles expanded to examine how unsustainable ways of living are connected to non-communicable diseases, to poverty, and to the unequal usage and distribution of resources. The concepts of social responsibility began to incorporate consideration also for future generations and their opportunities.
At the World Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in 2012, leaders of the world agreed that awareness-raising and education about sustainable lifestyles needed to increase both in scope and quality. A 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10-YFP) was adopted and preparations are being made to launch the program on Sustainable Lifestyles and Education in order to up-scale positive initiatives already in existence and to support new, innovative ones."We recognize that poverty eradication, changing unsustainable and promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are the overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development." The Future We Want, Rio+20, 2012 Parallel to the establishing of a 10-YFP UNESCO has prepared a Global Action Program as a follow-up to the UN DESD. This Program also emphasizes the urgent need for holistic, values-based, practical education which stimulates systems thinking and social learning.
Among the issues which PERL has brought to the discourse on sustainable development has been that of the need to promote empathy, social learning, moderation and sharing. To do so, a more world-embracing vision is needed from institutions of higher education -- a vision which encourages all students to be global citizens and to show in their daily lives how they contribute to a more just and sustainable world community. This is more easily said than done. PERL has encouraged the processes of social innovation and co-creating based on a cycle of social learning which involves reflection on values and practices, frank and open consultation amongst all relevant stakeholders, action, reflection on the actions taken, making adaptions, followed by a renewed cycle of consultation-action-reflection-adaption. PERL has also assisted in creating multi-stakeholder alliances and fora where new research and experience on these issues can be shared (SOURCE: PERL / UNITWIN WEBSITE)
The Empire of Things - How We Became a World of Consumers (A must-read for everyone!)
Book Review (Amazon): What we consume has become a central-perhaps the central-feature of modern life. Our economies live or die by spending, we increasingly define ourselves by our possessions, and this ever-richer lifestyle has had an extraordinary impact on our planet. How have we come to live with so much stuff, and how has this changed the course of history?
In Empire of Things, Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary story of our modern material world, from Renaissance Italy and late Ming China to today's global economy. While consumption is often portrayed as a recent American export, this monumental and richly detailed account shows that it is in fact a truly international phenomenon with a much longer and more diverse history. Trentmann traces the influence of trade and empire on tastes, as formerly exotic goods like coffee, tobacco, Indian cotton and Chinese porcelain conquered the world, and explores the growing demand for home furnishings, fashionable clothes and convenience that transformed private and public life. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries brought department stores, credit cards and advertising, but also the rise of the ethical shopper, new generational identities and, eventually, the resurgence of the Asian consumer.
With an eye to the present and future, Frank Trentmann provides a long view on the global challenges of our relentless pursuit of more-from waste and debt to stress and inequality. A masterpiece of research and storytelling many years in the making, Empire of Things recounts the epic history of the goods that have seduced, enriched and unsettled our lives over the past six hundred years.
Sustainable Development Goals Year 1 - A Consumers Impression
At the first ever conference about the progress of the Global Goals we heard all the stories and best practices during the Partnership Exchange at the United Nations in New York July 18. About 300 of the more than 2200 partner organizations followed the debates and the discussions about the essentials of working towards the SDG's in the first year and the years ahead in the Agenda 2030.
"You are the actors" was the starting point of the day and of course we ourselves as individual consumers or citizens are the ones who are co-responsible for the future we want, Not only to ask better questions for best possible solutions but also change our daily habits towards more responsible lifestyles. Together with our consumer organizations and in dialogue with producers, trade, financing and governments as well.
Literacy and a common language are the basis for that dialogue and needs to be learned already at schools and universities but also in all kinds of projects and meetings around the world. Through internet and working with new business models all the best practices can be learned in the most efficient way.
April - June 2016
TRUE Brands - Transparent Responsible Unique Empathic
TRUE Brands was published in April in the Netherlands but soon also in English. A bestseller about a better world in the making! Mark van de Grift has written a masterpiece about all aspects of all stakeholders in the production, trade, pricing and consumption of products and services in a way we can all follow the processes and organizations involved.
Ralph Nader organized in May his groundbreaking 50 years of consumer advocacy and the road ahead. The 4 days "Breaking Through Power" congress was held in the Constitution Hall in Washington DC and followed livestream by The Real News Network, a tv station which is financed 100% by consumers / viewers.
Energy Globe Awards were announced in June for the winners in 177 countries worldwide - the most important prize for sustainability projects. End of this year the five world awards will be announced for projects about earth, water, air, fire, and youth.
January - March 2016
Paris Climate Conference COP 21
In december all countries of the world decided in Paris to work together in managing the climate change within 1.5 degrees raising of the average temperature. An euforic finish of years and years of conferencing debating and calculating! After twenty years of thinking and twenty years of talking the next twenty years will now be about working and implementing the new techniques and organizations to fulfill that promise.
In January and February two big events in the Netherlands were organized to discuss about the future of food. Bio1000 and Food Otherwise (Voedsel Anders) at Wageningen University with more than 900 people! About he quality of food, about true price and about more and more dialogue in the chain from farm to fork. About the essential steps towards agriculture as being part not of industry or technique but of nature itself. Organic and especially biodynamic agriculture have proved to be the most innovative road into the 21st century.
In March the whole world was watching all shifts in the geopolitical relations, war and peace, Europe in stress, and the United States where elections get more attention than ever in the world! Especially Bernie Sanders is favourite for the youth willing to participate for a better future.
This winter season showed us a lot of interesting startups since the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 in September in New York. More people than ever are now active to work on all options. The words "Yes We Can" are now heard around the world. Enough work to do, lots of problems ahead but the trend in motivating each other is now that by trial and error another world is possible!
Consumers International and the Sustainable Development Goals 2015 - 2030
"With the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the world takes an important step towards a more sustainable future. But the journey can be made so much easier with consumer protection as a companion", writes Consumers International's (CI) Director General Amanda Long (Blog September 23).
"The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals build on the work of the Millennium Development Goals, which focus on poverty eradication and fighting hunger, and will take a more inclusive, universal approach with the addition of new measures to reduce inequality, tackle climate change and environmental degradation, promote peace, prosperity and sustainable economic growth. With slightly less fanfare, but no less significance to consumer organisations, the revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) are also expected to be adopted by this year's UN General Assembly. Consumers International have been at the heart of this revision process, working with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Member States to ensure they are both stronger and more relevant to consumers in today's global marketplace.
I strongly believe that much more should be made of this opportunity to link these two important global agendas. Consumers are at the heart of many of the issues dealt with in the UN SDGs and it will be a missed opportunity not to use the UN Guidelines to promote consumer welfare, sustainable consumption and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. People's ability to consume, the consumption choices available to them and whether they are treated fairly as consumers, fundamentally affects the quality of their lives and of the environment around them. The UN SDGs' ambition is commendable, but to meet this ambition, everyone needs to be on board. Consumers are the largest constituency in the economy and should not be ignored.
Consumer protection provides a clear means to curb inequalities and to promote fairness, justice and environmental protection in an increasingly complex global economy. It ensures that people everywhere are treated fairly and with dignity in the marketplace, and have access to safe, healthy, sustainable products and services. This is particularly important for poor and vulnerable people who are often the most exploited. There is still time and opportunity. Once the UN SDGs are formally adopted, policy makers' attention will turn to getting their message across to the public, and to developing ways to measure their progress.
The public will gain a greater understanding of the UN SDGs if their rights as consumers are protected and promoted through the UN SDGs. And a number of the UN SDGs will be achieved far more effectively by including the implementation of the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection as an indicator to help measure progress towards the achievement of the UN SDGs. UNEP, the UN Environment Programme, also recognises the UNGCP's value and is calling for the same indicator to monitor progress on the UN SDG on sustainable consumption and production. But the UNGCP's impact covers far more than simply helping people buy the most sustainable option available.
The UN SDGs' objectives to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and promote shared prosperity, fundamentally rely on how consumers think and act, and how their opportunities, choices and rights are protected - in the developed and developing world. The eight Millennium Development Goals made great progress in some areas, but fell short in others. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals need to draw on everybody and every policy, to stand any chance of achieving their objectives by 2030. Consumer protection is an essential partner for this journey. Let's not miss this opportunity."
Sustainability Through the Eyes of Astronauts - Unique 3D Earth Theatre
This month a unique theatre was opened in the Netherlands! Looking to the Earth through the eyes of the astronauts of the International Space Station ISS. To experience the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals for our magnificent but also fragile planet! And explore the possibilities of new designs to save the climate and our future in the other exposition halls!
Education for All - The UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015 - 2030
The greatest conference experience of the 21st century happened in New York September 25-27. All world leaders and all representatives of the most important companies, citizen- and consumerorganizations were there to launch the sustainable development goals and to discuss the first steps to make. An inspiring start for the future we want!
Citizens Income in Perspective
The newest book 101 Reasons for a Citizen's Income offers a short, accessible introduction to the debate on a Citizen's Income, showing how a universal, unconditional income for every citizen would solve problems facing the benefits system, tackle poverty, and improve social cohesion and economic efficiency. For anyone new to the subject, or who wants to introduce friends, colleagues or relatives to the idea, 101 Reasons for a Citizen's Income is the book to open up debate around the topic. Drawing on arguments detailed in Money for everyone, it offers a convincing case for a Citizen's Income and a much needed resource for all interested in the future of welfare (Policy Press).
Next year the Basic Income World Conference will be in Seoul, South Korea July 7-9, 2016. This year's pre-conference in June was already very inspiring because of so many initiatives and laws in-the-making in so many countries. Next year it will become visible how the pilots have started in Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and perhaps even more countries. And how to interprete the first results and experiences.
Education International puts free education high on summit agenda UN
When the governments of Ethiopia, Norway and the Republic of Korea joined UNESCO to discuss the Investment Case for Education at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa on 14 July, one important issue was absent from the conversation: free education. A side event was organised around the conclusions of both the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea in May as well as this month's Summit on Education for Development in Oslo Norway.
"Education is the most transformative source of any society. We need to assert education as the core of the new sustainable development goals, whether it is gender equality or skills." Also on the panel was the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) stressing that more needs to be done to adequately finance education, including greater partnerships in advocacy because education needs its moment now. We have to step up our investment, adding that training is crucial; otherwise you end up with kids not learning if the teachers aren't trained! Access to quality education is a basic human right. The conference created a realistic roadmap on how to finance the Sustainable Development Goals.
Commercialisation and privatisation in and of education will be at the heart of Education International's agenda for the next four years as the organisation concluded a successful Seventh World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. It is a "threat that poses great harm to the greatest enterprise of our society: quality public education", said EI's President, Susan Hopgood in her closing remarks at the end of five days of debate, networking, and sharing of ideas and best practice. "We leave here united, ready to fight against the scourge of private enterprise in our classrooms."If the new global Sustainable Development Goals are to succeed, EI must use its standing to ensure quality education for all finally becomes reality for every child, she said. Hopgood also praised the work of Education Support Personnel and called for investment in young educators.
Concluding her remarks, she said: "This congress was about values in the world. It was about union values, educator values, and societal values. We are here to make a better world."
Democracy Rising - World Conference in Athens
CRESTON DAVIS, GLOBAL CENTER FOR ADVANCED STUDIES: "Boy, we couldn't have planned the conference to be at a better time given the volatility of what's happening here in Greece. But basically yes, after Syriza came to power here in January, my friend Maria Nikolakaki, a professor, and myself started to think, let's put on a conference that deals with specific questions about democracy rising that is a kind of inspirational moment where you connect up the Occupy movements to things that happened in the Arab Spring to all over. And you start to bring together leading intellectuals, public intellectuals like Tarik Ali, to journalists, novelists, and even politicians from Podemos and Syriza."
Economy360 - An Introduction to Consumer Governance
"As consumers we take all the decisions of the world! Who is going to work for us as farmer physician teacher architect or otherwise? So we don't have to think about empowerment in the first place because we already decide in which direction a euro yen or dollar is starting a new round. Directly or indirectly via taxes savings or subsidies. So consumer education is all about conciousness. About learning how to make the best possible choices. And the best way to see the big picture and all the details of the complex world of economy is by looking through the windows of our twelve daily necessities of life. The easiest way to streamline all information for "consumer governance" (Our first text on the expertblog of the European website for schoolteachers).
Triodos Bank Annual Report 2014 - Focus on Impact
"Triodos Bank takes an unconventional approach to assessing impact. Numbers do matter of course, but they are not our starting point. It sounds counterintuitive because we often hear that conventional growth, graphs that go up, and rising numbers are good news to be celebrated. But this is not always true. For instance, if your bank is in the business of sustainable change, financing a single, innovative new business which will drive an entirely new sustainable industry could mean more impact than financing ten established businesses in a mature industry." (Peter Blom, CEO)
Symposium and launch State of the World 2015
"We think we understand environmental damage: pollution, water scarcity, a warming world. But these problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Deeper issues include food insecurity, financial assets drained of value by environmental damage, and a rapid rise in diseases of animal origin. These and other problems are among the underreported consequences of an unsustainable global system.
In State of the World 2015, the flagship publication of The Worldwatch Institute, experts explore hidden threats to sustainability and how to address them. Eight key issues are addressed in depth, along with the central question of how we can develop resilience to these and other shocks. With the latest edition of State of The World, the authorities at Worldwatch bring to light challenges we can no longer afford to ignore."
Unesco 70 years and the Unitwin chair for sustainable lifestyles
At the final conference of the Unesco Decade for Education for Sustainable Development in Nagoya Japan last November professor Victoria Thoresen was chair of a discussion panel. This month at the headquarters in Paris she received the UNESCO/UNITWIN chair for Sustainable Lifestyles for Hedmark University in Hamar Norway and launched the book Responsible Living - Concepts, Education and Future Perspectives.
At the conference of the International Federation of Home Economics later this month in Malta she gave a very inspiring presentation of what consumer education can be! Not only about responsible living as an individual but also as part of the whole world family we are all together as consumers and citizens as well! The essence of a holistic view to see what is everyone's role on the stage called planet earth as focus point in the universe!
A better world in the making - business governments and civil society working together
While revolutions are sometimes necessary for ending structures of the past, working towards a better world takes a little bit more time than seven days! Following the developments of the world and especially the world economy during the conferences in Davos Switzerland each year all parties have done a great job in starting up the great dialogue between all parties and about all issues! Especially important now because the United Nations will launch the new Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2025 this year.
Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action
How to Start a Revolution is the inspiring movie about the ideas of how people can work towards societies of living together in the best possible harmony. Gene Sharp was nominated three times for the Nobelprize and worked lifelong on this research and published a small book of only 70 pages about the basic principles of nonviolent revolution: From Dictatorship to Democracy. It became a worldwide bestseller for all people that wanted to change towards taking own responsibility for their own life and freedom of choice, for their country and society as citizens, and for their participation in the worldeconomy as a whole as consumers.
One way or another, people are more and more active today in what Alvin Toffler already wrote in all his books The Third Wave, Future Shock, Powershift, Revolutionary Wealth and others about the changes in civilzation into the 21st century.
The Future of Banking - Banking for the Future
Two important conferences in England and in the Netherlands about banking in the future and for the future. The financial crisis has triggered us all to think deeper about the real values presented by money. And to think further about the ways that banks can help streamlining the economic globalization towards prosperity for all. What about local currencies and crowdfunding and what about the worldwide sytems of banking and investing and the dialogue between consumers and producers as the new basis for financing in the 21st century?
DESD 2005 - 2014 Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (final conference)
In Nagoya Japan the UNESCO World Conference looked back to the decade for educating the next generation towards more knowledge about sustainable development. Coming to an end in looking back of what was achieved it was also a looking forward to the next decade to come! As we know the Millenium Development Goals will also be followed next year by the new UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015 - 2025.
Rudolf Steiner Exposition: The Human Being in the Middle of the Universe
After travelling through many European cities the exposition about the life and work of Rudolf Steiner was now in the Netherlands in the Port of Rotterdam. Like this largest harbour in the world where people know what economics is all about, a special paper about what Rudolf Steiner said about the worldeconomy as science and as reality in 1919 already was sold out in the shortest time (fourty thousand). In those days he already saw the problems growing which we now see in the financial crisis. In the Economic Course for students he gave many basic insights for economic thinking which make clear many new insights, why's and how's.
In the same way that we saw a return of the ideas of John Maynard Keynes we experience more and more "hunger" for basic insights in worldeconomy (as we do in all areas of knowledge since consumers finally became more interested to take responsibity for a better world). As a scientist and as a philosopher Steiner gave many basic insights. Although he gave also many guidelines for practical use for agriculture, schoolteachers, medicare, arts, economics and society as a whole, etc etc etc it's up to everyone and every organization themselves to think about all kinds of solutions which are most appropriate to circumstances and goals. (See for instance our own webportal Consumer360Academy as an initiative for exchange of insights and experiences about consumer-producer dialogue and consumer education in consumer governance!).
International Conference on Consumer Research
In the German city of Bonn the first international conference about Consumer Research was organised. Although research is an always ongoing process it is also essential to meet each other from time to time to exchange insights and experiences. Bonn is also the city where the International Federation for Home Economics, the worldwide oldest association of teachers and researchers is housing.
Greenpeace ice-breaker - back from breaking the ice in an international conflict
The "Arctic Sunrise" and the whole crew came back to her home shipyard in Amsterdam! With tears in our eyes we watched the ship slowly entering the harbour of Amsterdam with some small boats escorting her and a loud hello from the ship and an even louder welcome from the quay! Director of Greenpeace International Kumi Naidoo gave a warm welcome speech for the crew who had broken the ice for the international talks about drilling oil in the Arctic Sea. A very important action because the whole world is asking to preserve the area as a part of the Earth where nature can help us solve our pollution- biodiversity- and climateproblems.
New Basics of Marketing
"We can't think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly! New approaches are appearing every day!" (The New Basics of Marketing / Harvard Business Review / July-August 2014 / page 56.) Indeed the 21st century shows us in all directions that consumers are now active partners in almost all product/service chains. The economy of demand and supply has grown towards an economy of question and answer! Where we as consumers have to ask the best questions to get the best answers (the best possible products, services and advices)!
Capital, inequality and income
On top of all discussions about basic incomes, top salaries and the rising inequality between both this book appears about how capital works in the economy. Thomas Piketty not only wrote a masterpiece in economic science since Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Paul Samuelson but also in inspiring "storytelling". A bestselling book worldwide in the financial world but also in a wide interested public which is now almost the whole civil society because of these discussions!
State of the World 40 Years!
Worldwatch Institute in Washington celebrated 40 years with a symposium about the special issue of State of the World about Governing the world and sustainability:
"Citizens expect their governments to lead on sustainability. But from largely disappointing international conferences like Rio II to the U.S.'s failure to pass meaningful climate legislation, governments' progress has been lackluster. That's not to say leadership is absent; it just often comes from the bottom up rather than the top down. Action-on climate, species loss, inequity, and other sustainability crises-is being driven by local, people's, women's, and grassroots movements around the world, often in opposition to the agendas pursued by governments and big corporations.
These diverse efforts are the subject of the latest volume in the Worldwatch Institute's highly regarded State of the World series. The 2014 edition, marking the Institute's 40th anniversary, examines both barriers to responsible political and economic governance as well as gridlock-shattering new ideas. The authors analyze a variety of trends and proposals, including regional and local climate initiatives, the rise of benefit corporations and worker-owned firms, the need for energy democracy, the Internet's impact on sustainability, and the importance of eco-literacy. A consistent thread throughout the book is that informed and engaged citizens are key to better governance.
The book is a clear-eyed yet ultimately optimistic assessment of citizens' ability to govern for sustainability. By highlighting both obstacles and opportunities, State of the World 2014 shows how to effect change within and beyond the halls of government. This volume will be especially useful for policymakers, environmental nonprofits, students of environmental studies, sustainability, or economics-and citizens looking to jumpstart significant change around the world".
First 3-year evaluation of the ISO 26000 Guidelines
The worldwide guidelines ISO 26000 for organizations working on more responsible ways of producing, fair trade and true price calculation have been evaluated after the first three years of experience. After consultation of all users the International Standard Organization in Geneva Switzerland decided that the guidelines will be confirmed for the next three years. There was great consensus that the guidelines give a good framework for dialogue with all stakeholders and further development of organizations.
The Global Reporting Initiative GRI in Amsterdam publishing the worldwide guidelines for accounting used by organizations working on a more responsible way also introduced the newest upgrade G4.
Because both organizations ISO and GRI are working on the same issues there is of course an ongoing dialogue about how to translate results of responsible and sustainable production in transparent annual reports. GRI also works closely together with IFRS the International Financial Reporting System, since ten years now the official guidelines for accounting and reporting for all companies worldwide registered at and financed via Wall Street and all the other global stock exchanges.
January 2013 - March 2014
Text will be available soon
September - December 2012
How much is enough? How much do we really need? A bestseller!
Robert Skidelsky who is the biographer of John Maynard Keynes and wrote - together with his son Edward - a highly interesting and bestselling book about the issue of quantity!
Ghandi once said "There is always enough for everyone's needs but never enough for anyone's greed". This book is about that central question. How much is enough? What do we really need? How much time do we need to work to meet our consumption goals? What is quality of life? Limits to Growth - Natural or Moral? A wake-up call!
Ban ki Moon introduced the new website of the United Nations about education not only for all but also for education towards responsible citizenship.
And the Club of Rome celebrated 40 years after the worldwide bestseller Limits to Growth in 1972 and now published the book "2052"...... what can we expect for the next forty years?
Global Wellbeing - World Congress of Home Economics Teachers
In Melbourne 750 teachers and teacher trainers gathered to discuss home economics, consumer-education, sustainabilty and responsible lifestyles beyond Rio+20. The International Federation of Home Economics IFHE is the oldest organization working for more than hundred years already on awareness and research in home economics on schools worldwide.
Rio+20 and beyond ...
After Rio the Janeiro it is now up to all of us individually to work on realizing our commitments made before and during the conference and those yet to be chosen. Rio+20 accelerated consciousness around the world for all seven billion consumers. Which makes it easier to take better decisions. As a consumer, consumer organization, politician or producer. We're living in a most inspiring time!
Citizens on the move - Consumers of the future
Between over-enthousiasm and deepest critics lies the real road ahead in the 21st century. Looking at the final draft of the Rio+20 conference we can have mixed views and different emotions. Some said it was more than expected but less than hoped for but in the end it is what it is. The outcome of a long process where all parties were involved - and hopefully - evolved and became wiser!
The only way to understand human history is to compare it with the biography of the human being itself. Since we learned thinking in ancient Greece, living together through Roman laws, and working together since the Industrial Revolution we are now in the 21st century of "maturity" thinking discussing and deciding about our own future, the future WE want.
But in the same way as growing up we can't expect all things happening in one day! And not everyone is growing as fast as the other. So we can indeed recognise cultural creatives as the ones who take the lead, citizens who are working on transitions in civil society and society as a whole, and "consumers-only" who are only consuming and not convinced yet to change their lifestyle.
But we ourselves 7.000.000.001 human beings are of course the real managers, as consumers (making choises, and paying ALL the bills), as citizens (arguing all the pro's and con's in politics and on the streets) and as cultural creatives (asking new questions, starting initiatives and evaluating progress). The future we want is in the making every day and we are of course lifelong learning as an individual. Society is the mirror we made/make ourselves and in which we can see our own biography.
The Rio+20 conference has given a huge impact worldwide on people's thinking, motives and tools for change. Especially because of social media and press. Which gives a broader basis as a license-to-act for politicians, business and ngo's as well. For helping implementing our Agenda 21 and more!
Ready for Rio+20 - Consumer Education in Responsible Living
Around the world almost everybody and every organization is thinking and talking already for a year or more about the event to come in Rio de Janeiro next month. The title "the future we want" has triggered everyone to prepare well what we are going to talk about and what we think that should be decided in a new worldwide social contract about a sustainable future.
In Rotterdam in the Netherlands we joined a big conference with 1300 people discussing in many workshops about almost every issue. Consumer/citizens and people of many different organizations listened and discussed about problems, possibilties, priorities and pioneering initiatives. A special keynote speaker was Crownprince William Alexander who is working on the worldwide problems of water, the expertise of the Dutch while living in the delta of the river Rhine. And one very interesting award-winning project is working on making prices more transparent and all inclusive so that people are better informed to take better decisions to buy or not to buy.
Especially young people at the conference gave a cry-out for more education about how to work towards a more sustainable future. As we know many organizations have already worked many years on education and is now really coming into a rapids this year.
Beyond Economic Growth - Beyond GDPQuality of life is a much wider perspective than quantity or economic growth only. All discussions about all crisis-situations we have in the world today are now more and more connected to the one single question about the meaning of life. What have we created so far, what are we doing now and what is the future we want? That's the discussion worldwide now for the Rio+20 conference. The prime minister of Bhutan was at the UN to talk about an interesting way to look from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness (GNH).
Words words words...
In February in the Amsterdam Tropical Museum the NCDO celebrated 40 years of Dutch international development. We heard interesting keynote speeches of Pascal Lamy of WTO and World Bank as a "follow-up" of the Christmas speech of HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in December who was now listening. In January there was the yearly conference of the World Economic Forum in Davos where Klaus Schwab organized an interesting debate at the end about business and ethics. Also in the same month many people were gathering in Porto Alegre in Brasil on the World Social Forum. And this year the Council on Foreign Relations are celebrating their 90th anniversary as a think tank for US international diplomacy. Title of the first issue of Foreign Affairs this year is "Clash of Ideas in 90 Years".
First Graduates in Consumer Affairs
Interesting developments of all kinds this quarter of the year! The 80 regions around the world where business governments and education are working together in pilot areas for sustainability celebrated their first five years of expertise built. The first students finished the new EU masters for future managers of consumer organizations marketing or government. And a new series of travel guides for sustainability worldwide is expanding rapidly.
Occupy Wall Street - 99 Consumers Versus 1
Occupy Wall Street can be seen not as a heated debate but as a mature discussion between consumers. It's all about what is called an un-reason-able division of common made wealth. And so the question about the quality of life. And therefore the ultimate cause of all problems about sustainability. Not only because the consumption of the 1% but the consumption of all of us, directly via our own expenses or indirectly via our taxes and pensions.
From WTO to WFTO
This year also terrorism seems to come to a halt by the end of the Al Qaeda movement. But still it will be more and more important that responsibility is taken more seriously not only by governments and business but by us citizens as well to avoid problems get out of hand again in world relations. It was the WTO that was attacked because it was not fair enough, so we as consumers should really pay the real price to give the right answer!
Spring at last
On the 17th of December last year an outrage began what is now called the Arab Spring (writing 2012), an uprising of the people against their dictatorial government. Later followed by Libya and Egypt and other countries. An historic development of consumer/citizen awareness and responsibility for real democracy.
Professor Yunus' message from Bangladesh to Davos
Social Entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, sent a message from Bangladesh to World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 participants, promoting the cause of social business. Yunus drew a line between ?selfish business? that maximizes profit and ?social business? that focuses on other benefits such as development. The two can coexist, he said, but sharing norms and dreams means pushing a new image of humanity. Best known for his engagement in microcredit, Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 together with the Grameen Bank. Muhammad Yunus is on the Board of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
In the middle of the worldwide economic turbulence the Triodos Bank for sustainable banking celebrated their first 30 years in innovation. CEO Peter Blom was invited on many occasions to talk about how banking institutes can look to sustainability also when it is about their own functioning in the world. They are in the end the managers of the mirrors of worldtrade, the facilitators of the bookkeeping of the worldeconomy.
One of the first four founding fathers of Triodos Bank was Rudolf Mees, a banker himself as member of the board of ING Bank died at the age of 79 but not after giving a long and highly interesting lecture about banking as he saw it. It was for a big audience in the restaurant of the Triodos Bank, asking all of us to take over the threads he could not finish in this life anymore of which he knew he would only have a short time left. He was one of my bosses at ING Bank when I worked there as a financial product developer. After the Triodos Bank was founded in 1980 I started my research for what is now the Free Consumer Association. Read more: About Us (PD).
These months we were also writing together with 400 other people the follow-up report 2.0 of the UN Brundtland Report "Our Common Future" for the next 25 years, organised by prof Jan Jonker of Nijmegen University. And surprise surprise was the lecture in the heart of the scientific world at the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences in Amsterdam where prof Klaas van Egmond presented his book Sustainability - A Form of Civilization.
The Whole World at Work - About the Millennium Development Goals in Progress
Always highly interesting to follow the United Nations "live" where 192 countries gathered this month to tell about what they are doing about the world problems in their own countries and how the MDG's are in progress! Best speakers are always those who speak paperless: Poland about solidarity worldwide, Obama as the great mediator about that we (all) can! And the Netherlands as co-founders of globalization, EU and UN about renovation from old to new structures in international institutions.
Looking to the world as a whole is now much easier for everybody thanks to internet, but seeiing the big picture and all kinds of relations is only possible by our own imaginations of course! And even more important is to think about remarks that not only governments and NGO's but also business must be involved, and most of all of course we ourselves as consumers! Because we are the ones that ask the questions, always pay the real price direct or indirect, and enjoy yes or no the quality of all products and services, the quality of life.
Decade for a Culture of Peace 2001-2010
At the end of the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace now the final report is published by the project manager David Adams. From over 100 countries worldwide 1.054 organizations of which 147 international organizations gave their opinions about the past and the future, about problems and opportunities for a worldwide future of peace, sustainability, tolerance and solidarity.
Eight categories of organizations reported about their experiences and about their points of view. Education as the most important. Sustainability, Human Rights, Gender, Participative democracy, Understanding tolerance and solidarity, Freedom of information, Peace and security. The most interesting development mentioned in the report was the worldwide famous project of micro credits, the Grameen Bank of Yunus who gave the most powerful impuls towards a better world.
PS: We joined the country-conference which David Adams held in Amsterdam in 2005 together with thirty people of other dutch organizations. In the final report 2010 we give our opinion about the past and the future by mentioning our annual report and our publication "about the quality of life" (see international organizations / sustainability / vrije consumenten / free consumers or see our website).
Our Common Future 2.0 in the making
More than 400 people in the Netherlands have gathered to write an upgrade version of the famous Brundtland Report and to present it in 2012 exact 25 years after the first publication by the United Nations in 1987. Starting next month on the yearly "Sustainable Tuesday" in the old parliament building in The Hague on September 7 with a presentation to politicians and the public. This crowdsourcing project of twenty teams working on different themes everybody will spend two weeks of his/her time in the next three months for discussions and try to rewrite the report and make it fit for the 21st century.
Of course only the most exact scientific knowledge can show us the best possible roadmaps. And only the most humane institutions we build can help to build the most reasonable human relations. And so the best possible circumstances for our common future. We think!
From the End of Poverty to Common Wealth
Jeffrey Sachs wrote a masterpiece again with a magnificent title! One word that can motivate everyone of us everywhere to go forward working for a better world possible! A title that invites us to go on even when one should disagree with parts of his book. In the 21th century thinking and talking is necessary, but trial & error is even more important!
Jeffrey D. Sachs is the director of The Earth Institute, professor of sustainable development at Columbia University. He is also special advisor to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was director of the UN Millennium Project on the Millennium Development Goals.
About the book: Drawing from his unexcelled experience and knowledge, Jeffrey D. Sachs has written a state of the world report of immediate and enormous practical value. Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet delivers what the title promises: a crystal-clear analysis, a synthesis, a reference work, a field manual, a guidebook, a forecast, and an executive summary of recommendations fundamental to human welfare. It says to those responsible for Earth's 6.6 billion people: Just look at the numbers. The world has changed radically in the past several decades; it is going to change more, faster and faster. In spite of all we have accomplished through science and technology -indeed because of it – we will soon run out of margin. Now is the time to grasp exactly what is happening. The evidence is compelling: we need to redesign our social and economic policies before we wreck this planet. At stake is humankind's one shot at a permanently bright future.
Worldwide introduction of consumer-education
Consumer-education in sustainable consumption has been introduced by the United Nations at the CSD-18 conference May 3-14 in New York. The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living PERL led by the Hedmark University in Norway was represented by the project manager prof. Victoria Thoresen. PERL is the international group of teacher trainers that prepared the Guidelines for consumer education for primary and secundary schools and higher education.
In 2008 the United Nations already published a report about how journalists and the media can help to make sustainability more and more transparent for the public, for business and for politicians ......... and for educators and students.
If we really want to know how to choose as consumers, we have to know the ‘inner quality’ of everything, of products, services and processes and the whole cosmos around in space and time and beyond those parameters. Therefore we need not only the natural sciences, but also the spiritual sciences. Since Einstein created the thought milieu that all phenomena are dependent on matter alone, Goethe already gave us the tools to discover the higher forms of research. Furthermore it is thanks to Rudolf Steiner that we can now understand how even the higher spiritual sciences have developed through human history until the present time. The science must go on! If we include natural science, however, there are seven steps to go. In the problems concerning the environment and climate, we can now experience a second stage of living processes al around us.
Just as the natural sciences made great progress since the sixteenth century, to discover how the various parts of the universe fit and work together, so did Goethe, during his journey through Italy how man can learn to see the unity of it all in minerals, plants (his idea of the ‘Urpflanze’), animals (characters) and human beings (the significance of biographies). To alchemists these were known as earth, water, air and fire; in modern chemistry they are known as the states : solid, liquid, gas and heat.
In this way we can understand that the physical sciences have their limits in the material world as such. As far as plants are concerned we can see that they have not merely a material process but also a ‘living’ process, not only gravitation as it were but also levitation. In the animal world, we can see that they have a material body, that they live by eating plants directly or indirectly, and have the capacity to walk freely, each sort with its specific character. The human being goes beyond all these characteristics with his possession of an inner spirit and the capacity to act with a high degree of freedom and to create his or her own biography. This process is comparable to a factory building with all its machines, tools and other component parts as materials, transport and production as the living process, and working schemes and organization as the ‘character ‘ as it were of the enterprise and finally human relations as the ‘spirit of enterprise’)
That Goethe was the great builder of the bridge between the natural sciences and the spiritual sciences was recognized by Rudolf Steiner, who did all the research to make transparent how the spiritual side is always the other side of the same ‘coin’ which we call reality. Using the factory again as an analogy: behind all the processes of a factory we can find the mission statement, the motivation. The question why we should we produce for specific consumers is a case of question and answer between human beings, in the encounter of freely (!) chosen goals in life, which we can call ‘new karma’. The further development of these higher degrees of research are called imagination, inspiration and intuition. In other words it is the world of imaginations, feelings and experiences, and furthermore of encounters with the other as an individual entity, … also when we talk of angels and beings of a higher order.
It was this month that Dick van Romunde died at the age of 96, who was a good friend and a great scientist, who taught us to take these steps in our own personal evolution.
It was president John F Kennedy who announced on March 15 1962 the Bill on Consumer Rights, giving the consumers and their newborn worldwide organization Consumers International (International Organization of Consumer Unions) some very important tools to become partners on the playing field of the world economy.
This year Consumer Rights Day was about "It's OUR money!" pointing towards everyone who is working with money one way or another. But of course we ourselves are the first and most important players in the economy! Because every time we decide to buy or to finance something WE decide who is going to work for us as e farmer, teacher, politician or automaker, and a euro yen or dollar begins a new round!
So in one way or another .... we are also responsible for the whole process in the end! In the same way that a manager has responsibility for the whole factory, consumer governance is about the whole chain of production. Made visible in fair trade and all kinds of labelling. Made practical by all kinds of consumer associations, visitors days and dialogues every season and/or every annual meeting with producers and all other stakeholders.
How egoism turns into altruism
When we are taking care for our own life we are free but also egoistic by definition. When we take into account our family as well, then our egoism will have another "sound". And when a king is fighting for his people, then egoism gets an even bigger scale and a sound of higher ideals! But when somebody feels him/herself responsible for humankind and the cosmos as a whole, egoism becomes altruism! In other words: freedom becomes freedom for all!
Thanks to globalization and internet we feel more and more like living in a big village, as one big family. Which - of course - we were already since Adam and Eve! Together with our ongoing insight that spirituality and materiality are two sides of the same coin we learned to look 360 degrees around to become world citizens AND cosmopolitans!
A better world in progress - looking talking and working 360
In the ongoing process we can also recognise the developments within the twelve different areas.
01 The upcoming talks between worldreligions starting 2011 in the UN Decade for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. 02 The rise of art and especially social art as a tool for more dialogue and thinking in solutions instead of problems only. 03 Science on a turning point from materialistic towards wholistic thinking.
04 Education for a free individual development for everybody as UN Millennium Development Goal. 05 Medicare, clean water and hygiene worldwide. 06 Food, biological agriculture and biodiversity becoming mainstream, INCLUDING the buzz of living bees if we are not too late!
07 Housing and architecture show more experiments and "organic" style according to more creativity of the people living in it. 08 Financial restructuring of institutions making money a mirror of reality instead of virtuality. 09 Traveling from tourism to connecting people and projects.
10 Communication from small talk towards international conferencing and sharing knowledge. 11 Human/consumer rights, fair trade and democratization towards direct dialogues. 12 Associations from sporting clubs and small talks towards highly professional consumer organizations.
Consumer governance in progress
Those who take the final decisions are the consumers of course! WE make choices every day who is going to work for us as farmer, physician, teacher for our children, architect, government, artist or scientist! And WE pay the bills. So WE are the stakeholders and the stockowners. And our household booklet is the mirror of our piece of a better world in progress!!!
housekeeping book in 12 columns
Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild - Another World is Possible
The first three words are the title of the annual conference of the World Economic Forum this month in Davos Switzerland. The World Social Forum (Another World is Possible) is organising dialogues this whole year around the world on many platforms. And the Worldwatch Institute published their annual State of the World 2010 with the title "From Consumerism to Sustainability". After a century of lessons learned and homework done now the exams can begin!
Keynes and the issue of labour and income
Keynes is in the picture again worldwide! John Maynard Keynes already indicated in 1929 that our necessities of life, at least the basic ones are always there whatever crisis occurs! If you don't have the opportunity to buy them, life is coming to an end and so the economy! The process of producing and consuming has to go on, and so the system of financial registration of wealth and the division of it has to be well organized! Keynes indicated that government should spend more when the economy goes downward. In fact he says that we have to take care for enough buying prower. But why not complete social security - or even better - the whole incomedivision system for everybody in the world?
How much is enough?
(Keynes' biographer Robert Skidelsky in November 2009)
The economic downturn has produced a wider critique of “growthmanship” – the pursuit of economic growth or the accumulation of wealth at all costs, regardless of the damage it may do to the earth’s environment or to shared values. John Maynard Keynes addressed this issue in 1930, in his little essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.” Keynes predicted that in 100 years – that is, by 2030 – growth in the developed world would, in effect, have stopped, because people would “have enough” to lead the “good life.” Hours of paid work would fall to three a day – a 15-hour week.
From Adam Smith to WFTO - fair trade as the key to a sustainable world
All players in the field are now moving towards a new worldeconomy where transparency, dialogue and fair pricing will be the basis for more wealth AND more wellness. That's what Adam Smith really meant: free trade for the benefit of ALL.. And money as the most transparant means to registrate. Where the (world)economy is the playing ground for the division of labour to get the 1+1=3 effect. Where we are consumers AND producers at different moments of the week or in different places on the world.
Especially in the role of consumers we have the biggest responsibility because we are the ones who ask the questions or give the mandate or the command for a product or service. And do the last check and pay the bill. Of course we did that already since thousands of years, only became conscious of that since we entered the 21st century.
Consumer education is now introduced by Consumers International to governments worldwide for implementing in school curriculums, the place where all our knowledge of economy starts! And although this website about twelve necessities of life gives a good overview, in reality every situation is of course a complex of many issues and many many people involved. That's the reason why the artist Joseph Beuys gives it the name "Soziale Kunst" (social art), why Schiller is writing about "Spieltrieb" (playground) and about the ethical education of mankind, and why Shakespeare says: "The whole world's a stage and every human being a merely player".
Where we as human beings are looking to the world of organizations around us in a threefold way (with head, heart and hands): to the world of culture (religion/art/science/education/ communication), the world of human relations (human rights/consumer rights/justice/politics and international relations), and the world of the economy (all activities where we create all our wealth together with all the other people of the world), it is in the economical aspects where things become most concrete until and including the financial bookkeeping of it all.
And to keep in touch with the big picture while acting in every single daily situation ("think globally-act locally"), it is easy to recognize that we all play our "roles" in that polarity created to gain more efficiency as consumer and/or producer (or trader or banker in between to connect those two). And that the main issue is quality of products/services as the basis for the quality of our life.
And according to Shakespeare we can have a feeling of friendship towards each other in recognizing each others role rather than thinking about the struggle for life and looking for lowest prices only! Dialogue and subscription are the best tools for bridging this gap plus a meeting or an annual report each year to evaluate the relation.
For our own lifelong learning process it can be very handy to registrate (only) our most interesting information, meetings and monthly payments on an A4 sheet with twelve columns or on the rear side of a matchbox. That's what managers do, that's the most simple basis for lifelong learning in consumer governance!
kabbala - macrokosmos microkosmos
Robert Rotar 1926-1999
Blueprints and Roadmaps. Darwin, Buber and Steiner about the big picture.
Everyone's own blueprint is the inner motivation for everyone's own biography! That's what the philosopher Martin Buber is telling us about the development of the human individuality. But what about mankind? What is interesting to know about our common history, our common problems now, and especially our common future yet to be created? That's the most interesting question now in the year of the philosopher Charles Darwin, at the beginning of the 21st century where we all turned into the age of maturity!
Darwin simply thinks that it is a matter of struggle for life only and then hope for the best. The philosopher Rudolf Steiner was not satisfied until he found out that the human being is able to see his/her own biography through former lives on earth. And to understand how the blueprints and the roadmaps of all people are forming a big picture which is quite similar to the individual biography. In a nutshell: humankind has entered the 21st century! We all can experience now that we are stepping into maturity, that we are also talking within organizations more mature than ever before, and we can observe that globalization is a living process of human relations itself!
Looking into the reality of history and the developments today we can feel a beginning of understanding that the human being has all the creative power to unfold his/her own "blueprint" via all possible "roadmaps"! We're free to choose! But the same is also relevant for everyone else and even for humankind as a whole including the whole nature and cosmos. Because we all live in the same house, in the same infinite but nevertheless common place called cosmos. And so we also have to talk about responsibility. In cultural, social and economical sense we have to find out how we can shape together the best world possible.
And for those who love mathematics: "the proof is in the pudding"! If astronomers found out that the solar system itself is in a continuous spiral on its way towards the stars of Hercules. When it is possible to see our own (world) biography in the Akasha Chronicle which is likely to be that same spiral. And when we recognize spirals in flowing water, structures of trees, and our own DNA, then we can also understand WHY all the roadmaps of our lives are spirals as well! Always swinging between left and right, lighter and darker times, sometimes backward, but most of the time forward! We can proof this by looking back: the problems of today we couldn't solve ten years ago, so we are growing every day, also humankind as a whole! The old game of mother Goose on a board with 63 steps (9x7) shows the biography of the individual and of humankind. That's the bigger picture!
From Theory to Praxis! Trial and Error towards Good Governance
Thinking and talking are over, try-outs and start-ups in all possible directions are now filling up the news! Good governance in the making: for consumers and civil society, producers, professionals in marketing and trade, bankers, politicians and all their organizations as well! Fair Trade changed their name into World Fair Trade Organization WFTO, an important step to be better recognised on a worldwide scale! Teacher-training in Consumer Education will be financed for the next three years, by the EU/Brussels, the Ministry for Education in Norway and many others. The Consumer Citizen Network based at Hedmark University in Hamar, Norway, is from now on called: the Partnership for Education and Research in Responsible Living: PERL. Our organization is very glad to be one of the more than hundred partners again!
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization FAO in Rome have released their report, announcing that biological agriculture is efficient to feed the world. In the Netherlands the book Gaia Logica was released about the basics of sustainability by professor Kees Zoeteman. It describes all the "layers" of the biosphere we're living in, in time and in space, based on the oldest and most modern knowledge of mankind. Wouter van Dieren, member of the Club of Rome, says it already in his foreword: after Fridjof Capra's Tao of Physica this book will be a worldwide bestseller
Globalization is recognizing the threefold character of the human being
Nicanor Perlas for President in the Philippines
In the second sentence of the US Declaration of Independence of 1776 it is called: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". In the French Revolution we hear the words Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, recognizing our freedom in cultural life, equality among each other in all aspects of human (and consumer) rights, and fraternity where we are working together in the economy, which is global per definition. This month it has been 220 years that the French Revolution of 1789 took place; in France and in many other countries "Quatorze Juillet" was celebrated.
In the Philippines Nicanor Perlas announced this month to run for President in 2010, due to many people who asked him to. He believes that now it is the time for good governance to tackle cultural, political and economical problems in a globalizing world whereever possible. Because of his lifelong research and experience in the threefold character of the human being and the human society, he will certainly give a big push towards innovative thinking in globalization! Nicanor Perlas may inspire us to be creative in the shaping of our cultural life, as a citizen and as a consumer, as a politician or as a producer in the 21st century!
Perlas has written over 300 articles and monographs including an international best selling book, Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power, and Threefolding, translated in over 9 languages. (English ISBN 9789719223306) He was technical writer of the Philippine Agenda 21, the official government blueprint for sustainable development in the Philippines as well as technical writer of Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD), A Framework for the Localiation of Philippine Agenda 21. Both were written for the Presidential Council for Sustainable Development.top.
Nicanor Perlas also has been a resource Person and keynote speaker in over 70 global conferences and 130 national conferences on a range of cs including culture and societal transformation, integral sustainable development, globalization, technology, corporate social responsibility, science and spirituality, second scientific revolution, multiple intelligence, safe energy, good governance, global warming, social threefolding, strategic microfinance, direct democracy and many other topics.
Perlas has been consultant and adviser to UN agencies, Philippine official delegations to the United Nations, government and donor agencies, and civil society organizations including colleges and universities in the area of human development, organizational transformation, appreciative inquiry, integral sustainable development, civil society, multiple intelligence and other areas of work.
Read more www.nicanor-perlas.com
Dalai Lama in Amsterdam:
About the Power of Compassion in Turbulent Times
His Holiness said that man is a social animal, with a need for interaction with others. The economic crisis and environmental problems affects us all and creates interdependence and the need for a compassionate society. His Holiness said that he speaks as just one human among six billion and gains a personal benefit from a peaceful world. A more self-centered attitude is unrealistic in a modern, connected society.
His Holiness explained that although the health of the world in the early years of the new century was poor, he viewed the overall development as positive. The Berlin Wall was removed through a popular movement rather than violent upheaval and in general there were signs that the world had the capacity to grow closer together. He acknowledged that while not enough was being done to address environmental problems, the awareness of the problems was, in itself, a positive sign since this was a relatively recent phenomenon.
However, to end global violence there must be an end to violence at the local and individual level. Many people may feel that the idea of ‘world peace’ was too big for anyone to effect. His Holiness felt that the practical approach is to start with the inner peace of the individual, progressing through the family to the community and beyond.
Far beyond our expectations his speech developed into a historical and situational 360-degrees overview, directed to all of us as consumers or producers, as citizens or as politicians. He suggested how to work harder towards a better world and thus, motivated by our compassion for all of our fellow human beings, help solve all existing problems.
News in the making...
There's a lot of news in the making worldwide! While everybody is doing now his/her "homework" we may hope for interesting plans when schools start again in september!
The UN Decade of Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue DIID 2011-2020 or the coordination in the research about the vanishing of the bees, or consumereducation starting in september by Consumers International and Unesco, or the restructuring of finance and banking, or even the end of materialism let's call it "Darwin and beyond", or what about Europe where citizens can learn to become worldcitizens ..... !
Life is an interesting challenge Hemingway would say!
Rethinking Society - what's new(s)?
As the civil society organization Civicus celebrates 16 years of being in action next month for a better balance between civil society state and private organizations (cultural life, political life and economy) it seems good to think about the basics of life, the principles on which the cosmos the society and the human beings are built. For we are now in the middle of a time of rethinking society and all its institutions, thanks to the financial crisis which ignited it .......
As human beings we all have our head heart and hands as our tools for thinking feeling and willing, or as the manager calls it planning organizing and realization. In a household we call that "make a list, go shopping, and purchase the goods and services you find the best choice!".In a wider perpective we see that also in the world as a whole: in the cultural political and economical sectors of society, where we can recognise ourselves as cultural creatives, as citizens and as consumers.
And that's exactly where the French revolution mentioned the three laws of society that the great philosopher Rousseau meant: liberty equality and fraternity. Liberty in our thoughts, science, arts and religion, in education and communication. Equality in everything what has to do with our social relations in human rights, politics and international relations including our human right for a reasonable part of all the wealth of knowledge, civil participation, and a reasonable income. And brotherhood / working together in all aspects of economical life.
It is obvious that a (world)society of human beings has the same organization as the human being himself, isn't it? An interesting example we can find in the decision already made in the 12th century in Paris to build the Sorbonne University on the left bank of the Seine (Rive gauche), all the economical activities on the right bank (Rive droite), and .... the Court of Justice in the middle on the island (Isle the la Cite)! But to understand exactly how we are positioned in the cosmos we have to look in our vertical line where we are in the polarity of the infinite cosmos and the small island called Earth. In the spiritual world with our head, in the human world with our heart (more specific heart and lungs, our rhytmic system), and in the material world beneath with our hands and feet.
So far so good and nothing new! Old stuff for everyone who has an open eye for the world around.But the inner qualities of society are even more interesting! When liberty equality and brotherhood are working in the other sections of society (or organization). For instance when equality reigns in religion, or when too much liberty is given to economical life as we see now in the crisis of capitalism ... In the same way that our head heart and hands are working together as a harmony of three specialized instruments, so has to do society and its institutions. So we have to rethink a few things! And to discover and recognise the inner qualities of society ... THAT'S NEW(S)!
United Nations Decade for Consumer Education 2005 - 2014
More than 700 educators and scientists gathered in Bonn Germany March 31 - April 2 for a look backward and forward in the UN Decade for Education in Sustainable Development DESD 2005-2014. On the website of Consumers International we could already read the article "Here and Now" of professor Victoria Thoresen, coordinator of the Consumer Citizen Network CCN indicating that all teacher training guides are now ready to introduce consumer education in all primary and secondary schools worldwide. One hour a week to be integrated in lessons about social society and/or home economics.
Together with almost 200 teacher-trainers, scientists and consumer organizations of the Consumer Citizen Network CCN we had a conference at the Technical University in Berlin a week earlier for the "finishing touch" of six yeats of research and preparation of those teacher-training guidelines and all other aspects of consumer education. In the next three years all CCN partners will continue as consultants for implementing and further development of training programs, video's etc etc under the new name PERL / Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living 2009 - 2012.
Big Bang or creativity?
"In the Beginning there was Nothing ....... and even that exploded!" This was one of the many many marvellous humorfull one-liners of "Loesje" (Little Louise) this year, a famous Dutch group of journalists organizing all kinds of workshops in writing imaginative and inspiring to-the-point short texts. Already for 25 years now and also international! Another one was meant for politicians but can also be used for all kinds of discussions and even conflicting situations: "Pardon me! You're standing on my standing point!" (point of view). Practical humor for everyday situations but also for bringing profound scientific and philosophical discussions into a current.
Especially now in the year of the famous scientist Darwin it is becoming more and more apparent that evolution is reality, but only understandable if seen as the mirror of a creative process. In the same way for instannce that there is first a manager or CEO with a plan and a blueprint evoluating into an organization and a factory building with machines and tools and a lot of other stuff ......... and not vice versa! Then only then we can get acces to the idea that Creation AND Evolution are two sides of the same coin. As we can also recognise in our everyday thinking arguing and acting.
(PS for scientists and non-scientists: mathematically the idea of the Big Bang is theoretically correct of course when we recognise the creation of all matter as an inward spiraling process for a certain time to a certain mathematical point, now outward spiraling from that same mathematical point. In the same way we can see in a Nautilus shell or at CERN in Geneva where they photograph atomic processes. So first "breathing in", now "breathing out" ........ as we also can read in the old Kabbala "matter is concentrated light" ..... now resurrecting again in consciousness, transparency, science, knowledge! Even all esoteric knowledge of all kinds of organizations became exoteric/public since the twentieth century!)
I like America and America likes me
Joseph Beuys / Coyote New York 1974
We are the revolution! Everybody is an artist!
This month the great exposition "WE are the Revolution" of the greatest 20th century artist Joseph Beuys came to an end. Visitors from all over the world came to Berlin to meet the inner world of the cultural creatives, where the other half of the world still believes this year with Darwin that all reality is build up not by action but by accident!
Comment of a visitor from Paris, where after America the great Revolution took place in 1789: "It seems to me that there is no better time than the present for a major Beuys retrospective. His art was a reaction to the excesses of conspicuous consumption that dominated Western Culture. The contrast provided by the Jeff Koons (ghost of Walt Disney) exhibition could not be more appropriate. His giant artless creations are a product of and footnote to the end of an epoch".
International Herald Tribune January 12 / Posted by: Bernard, Paris France.
Professor Joseph Beuys' most important work was to teach that we have to be creative ourselves, to use our freedom to create a world of transparency, democracy and sustainability. To research how the economy works, how mind and matter are two sides of every creative process, and how we can discover all the laws of the natural and social and spiritual worlds to make the best of all social sculptures i.e. organizations for living together on the same planet. He called it "Soziale Plastik" and used all kinds of materials to educate in the basic artistic laws of light, warmth and force as stepstones not only in chemistry but also in social reality. And especially now where the whole world is thinking about new ways in financing, foodsupply, sustainability etc etc all creativity is needed to find the best ways forward.
There were also two great conferences in Belgium this month about consuming and economic growth. In Antwerpen about the Turning Point (Omslag) and in Brussels about "Beyond GDP" talking about new ways of measuring the quality of life. Especially the way they try to do so in the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is interesting where they call it the Gross National Happiness to be measured (as far as quality can be measured).
Of course happiness is in the first place the way we manage to be creative in creating our own life. Secondly how we respect each other to be able to do so (a reasonable income is a right). And third how far we reach to do so in a sustainable way and with a high quality of life. Then "WE are the revolution" is exact the right description of the human being entering the 21st century of maturity.
And when in former centuries they were able to call us brave new apes, dummies or marketing-targets, from now on we are all co-creators! Every year listening to each other, talking and planning at the World Social Forum, this month in the middle of the Amazon area between all the other species and all newly dicovered apes: in the city of Belem. Another World IS Possible. But only when we as consumer/citizens ask the right questions we can expect to get the right products and the right services!
United Nations 60 Years: from Human Rights to Consumer Rights
The Declaration of the Human Rights in 1948 was the first time in the history of mankind to write down ourselves the basic rules for living together, for a "social contract" Rules which the philosopher Rousseau, kings, priests and god himself did before us! Rules that now are also the basis for all kinds of discussions in parliaments, corporate governance and ...consumer laws.
After the consumer advocate Ralph Nader declared US cars "Unsafe at any Speed" consumer laws came into a current worldwide. Although the US and especially the state of California have a comprehensive system of consumer laws, the European commission for Consumer Affairs has developed a structure connecting laws of 27 countries. Plus an online educational program called Dolceta and a Europa Diary for all schoolchildren. So there's only one more step to go for a worldwide handbook and education ... read more www.ec.europa.eu/consumers
Barack Obama as one of the most important new Coordinating Executive Officers in a globalizing world! Since more and more people are talking at the "kitchentable" called internet we are now in a world where everybody is learning to be a worldleader him/herself (...... for 1 / 6.000.000.000 part). And Obama could well be a very good coordinator because he lived in different countries and shows to be interested in the people not only as voters but as future clients!
Perhaps he already read the book The IBM Way, how they became one of the most excellent companies in the world by listening to clients first. They called it "business on demand" foreseeing already that the 21st century would be the beginning of an economy of question and answer. Interesting is also how people act and react worldwide! People see each other more and more as citizen, as consumer, but also .... as friend and colleague in solving world problems together. The whole world at the kitchentable!
There's a lot of homework to be done by everybody and all organizations worldwide! The new standards for Corporate Social Responsibility ISO 26000 are discussed in Santiago (Chili) and will be published in 2010. UN/UNEP and Global Reporting Initiative GRI are working together about new guidelines for financial institutions and climatechange. The debates for the next 4 years of US policy will start next month and be revealed in the State of the Union in January 2009 which in this globalizing world will still be an important indicator of the direction the world will sail, although... the whole world is now on board ship !!!
Consumer organizations discussed at the OECD conference in Paris this month about consumer education. Consumers International in London welcomed their new Director General Mr Joost Martens, bringing a lot of experience from all corners of the world during his work for Oxfam. The European consumers organization BEUC in Brussels started with masterclasses for professionalizing staffmembers of consumer associations in media presentation, lobbying, consumer law, and management.. For all participants (including us) also a great challenge to go for more international networking to exchange experiences!
In the greatest workshop of all called "world" we see debates become more and more dialogues! But if it is biofuel versus food, solar versus nuclear energy, or biodiversity versus gmo, dialogues are going towards the bottom of the problems towards full transparancy! And thanks to internet, thanks to modern journalists as moderators, and thanks to consumers/citizens working in civil society organizations all discussion have become worldwide discussions! Also the discussion about the bees...
Even de problem about the vanishing bees (30-70%) in the western industrialised world called colonial collapse disorder CCD was on CNN television this month! And even Prince Charles is fighting for their survival in a worldwide action to save the bees from GMO crops, see www.mellifera.de . In the same way that agriculture had to turn into an efficient but now also more organic and dynamic direction - or let's call it allround - agriculture in this 21st century, also the beekeepers have to upgrade their working methods and not use their honey-bees as working bees alone anymore! Because organic beekeepers don't have these problems! Their bees have a stronger immunity against diseases because they can live their own lives (more natural materials, normal distance between honeycombs, etc) and be as almost as productive. See also the website of organic consumers in the USA www.organicconsumers.org/bees. As consumers we should therefore ask more and more for honey delivered by bees kept on a more natural way, called organic honey. And pay the right price for the work that bees and beekeepers do for us! It is now or never to bee or not to bee! Also for our own survival because our agriculture is depending on their buzzzzzzy work! See article below.
Mellifera e.V. - Centre for Organic Beekeeping
Mellifera e.V. is an independent non-profit-making association. Since 1985 we have been pioneering and developing sustainable ecological concepts for beekeeping. With research projects, seminars and publicity Mellifera e.V. is heading the discussion on beekeeping matters including the care and management of colonies and dealing with illnesses. Our Centre is running the Fischermühle apiary with approx. 150 hives for research and training purposes. Mellifera e.V. introduces lay people to the fascinating world of bees, informs about their endangerment and makes sure there is a public political debate about the future of beekeeping.
Fascinating topics in the beekeeping center Fischermühle On a world-wide level apiculture is caught in an existential crisis the true proportions of which are covered up by drugs and the feeding of sugar. The causes are manyfold. Without measures of the beekeeper most bee colonies would be destined to die. In Germany wild bees do not survive any more. Many other pollinating insects are threatened or already extinct. Keeping bees has become a challenge, in many respects taking the beekeeper to his limits.
The conventional measures of the beekeeper are often a strain on the bees. Mellifera e.V. is interested in an appropriate way of keeping bees, not only in an organic approach to combating illnesses. We link holistic perspectives and working closely with the bees with practical concepts and scientific work. The Centre offers a place to meet for non-dogmatic exchange and professional further training. Mellifera e.V. works with a net of partner organisations caring for bees and other pollinating insects.
There is no way back to 'the good old times'. It is necessary for all social forces to work together on as large a scale as possible and to carry a common responsibility for the bees. You as an individual can also help. You are warmly invited to participate.
The Buzz About Bees
The breathtaking book of Jurgen Tautz / University Wurzburg / Germany / is now also available in English! The Buzz about Bees / ISBN 978-3-540-78727 / $ 40,-
But how about the people on that fast spinning globe? Can we still hold each others hands and not fall? In 1994 the painting of Edvard Munch called The Cry was stolen from the museum in Oslo, seven years later in 2001 the twin towers in New York collapsed because of a terrorist attack and we heard all the cries in reality. And now again seven years later the crisis in the money system worldwide recording the outcries on the floors of all the stock exchanges....! An incarnation from a "spiritual vision" to a heartbreaking outcry of the world that globalization has to become a fair (world trade) playing field, to the financial crisis now which is a culmination of too much freedom for egoism. Where freedom belongs to our thoughts and culture, and where fairness belongs to our relations, personal national and international, for all our economical needs we need to work together to get the best results and not for our incomes alone.
All the results of our economy have to be redistributed again one way or another, for which we constructed all the social systems, taxes, subsidies, sponsoring, price discrimination, development aid untill remissions since the emancipation of people from old family ties in the centuries behind. However this building process is not ready yet and the results we can see now in the exploding and imploding incomes worldwide into the biggest polarity possible! That's NOT realistic and NOT human, and even NOT efficient! Which is now also realised by most of the six billion consumer/citizens worldwide in a globalizing world more and more feeling to be one big family. Which in fact we are since Adam met his girlfriend Eve...
Interesting is the fact that this discussion was already underway since about two years! About basic incomes and top salaries many seminars and conferences were about looking for arguments and new ways to deal with the question of distribution of wealth. Even for the billions of poorest people at the "bottom of the piramid". And parallel the cooperation of worldpopulation in the creation of (our own) wealth. At the conferences of the OECD in Brussels in november 2007 and the conference at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands this issue was discussed under the title "Beyond GDP" (Gross Domestic Product is a measure of all production) or: from welfare to wellness, from quantity to quality, by calculating economic processes in a better and more sustainable way.
Because of the fact that consciousness is an irreversible process we may have high hopes for good solutions towards a better worldwide "social contract" in incomes and spendings, in work and wealth. See also our publications / about the quality of life (pdf)
July / August 2008
This month we give you our annual overview of all 12 areas of consumer governance so that you can "connect the dots" again between all activities of mankind. The consumer is living in a world where all products and services play a role in his/her daily life. So as a consumer we have to overlook the whole "theatre" to recognise all the different roles played by ourself and others as consumers, producers and all kinds of traders and moderators in between, AND the play as a whole!
tendencies in the worldnews
Update July / August 2008
"From globalise to cosmosize" / understanding needs helicopterviews / From clash of civilizations to meet & greet / individuality and spirituality
Especially religion is an area where we ourselves as consumers have to be active in finding the roots of all spirituality! Find our own "lifelines" instead of listening alone (to our producers/moderators - priests, rabbi's, imams, guru's, sjamaan, Darwin, or even our best friend). Also Pope Benedictus in Colonia Germany already told the youth of the 21st century: "....it's not any more about religion and faith in the old fashioned way, but from now on it's all about ..... how credible are YOU?" From the old religions - through materialism of the past four, five centuries and secularisation nowadays - the human being is on its way to find his/her own free destiny! As individual, as citizen, as consumer. "Connecting the dots" with spirituality (again).
Art from outside watching to inside activity / art as a tool in daily life / social relations / building organizations
Arts become more and more part of daily life itself. Jeder Mensch ein Kunstler - Every human being a (co-) creator (professor in modern art and especially social art Joseph Beuys always repeated). Worldwide all schools also recognised the arts as a training instrument for creativity more than making fine things alone! Even big organizations discovered that one day of painting, dancing or sculpting in clay can be a very profitable learning process for building better relations and better organizations. Transforming ideals into realities is an ever ongoing creative proces of trial and error, thinking - arguing - willing, not only when working on new products but also working on new relations, workprocesses, new laws, and all other issues concerning änother world "in the making".
Making the unvisible visible / from microscope and dna to visualizing through projective geometry, flowforms or cristallization / and further
The science must go on! For science in general we need new ways of research! The natural sciences have led us into the physical world. But for a real understanding of plants, animals and human beings we need the scientific fenomenologic methods that Goethe developed (Urpflanze or living principle for the world of all plants, Typus or character for the animals/groups, Biography for the individual human being). These researchmethods also form the bridge to the higher forms of science, looking into the spiritual worlds, by strengthening our thinking, feeling and willing (head/hart/hands) in imagination, inspiration and intuition. This was our comment on the website of the World Science Forum in Budapest 2005.
Every child worldwide / from individual development to a better society / consumer education and lifelong learning
All kids to school according to Millenium Development Goals of the United Nations is in
progress but will take longer than expected (81% - 87% from 1990 - 2004)
Since the turning point of the centuries also quality is more and more recognised in developing individual possibilities instead of training the old knowledge alone. See Rudolf Steiner, Montessori, Dalton and others. And last but not least life itself (consumer as autodidact) is a playing field for all kinds of learning and discovery! Lifelong learning not only for new jobs, not only for consumer education, but also as a discovery journey through infinity and eternity!
Less patents for more medicins worldwide / clear water first
More than one Millenium Development Goal of the United Nations is focussed on health and healthcare. Developing conciousness that biological and local food-production is the first step for surviving and get on our feet here on earth, all kinds of medicare are neccesary first to survive the sicknesses of the past such as hunger, war and bad water supplies. More and more organizations, governments and producers are now working on new ways of a better distribution of healthcare and medicins worldwide. Using the wealth of nations for the health of nations. Globalisation of healthcare first, pay later...
Biological food in the lift / gentech to be contained / new energy / restoring sustainability
Getting the whole world family sitting at the table and have a decent meal is the most important Millenium Development Goal of the UN. When we re-arrange incomes or only spend 3 percent of all our army budgets for this we can start eating and even not need to go to war anymore at all! The other 97 % we can use then for all kinds of other activities! The old economic principle of choosing between producing butter or bullets! And of course gentech is interesting for scientists and some medicare but not for food! Biological food is now in the lift, the EU has even started a promotion campaign! Now we can go "culinair" following the Eurotocques top-cooks!
Other issues underway are the discussions about gentech, about nanotechnology, about the honeybees, about the biofuel, climate and clear water. Agriculture, environment, energy and commodities are parts of nature as a whole. Solar energy and hydrogen are on the move, so we can hope to restore sustainability and climate in time. The new wave is Cradle2Cradle! New commodities as carbon can follow-up iron and aluminium. Nature itself in all aspects is in the centre of all discussions today!
Experiments experiments / organic architecture in the making / tangent lines and projective geometry as a tool
After so many styles of architecture through the ages we ended in the most materialistic form ... the cube. The most non-spiritual mathematical structure of the salt cristall. represented in the Dead Sea! But it gave us the utmost freedom to think about sculpture, architecture, furniture and gardening. And today we're really in the middle of experimenting and discovering how lines, structures, surfaces, colours and materials give us the finest views, feelings and inner forces to work and live! The turning point towards living (organic) architecture was made by Frank Loyd Wright and Herzberger. In the magnificent House on the Waterfalls the connection between living inside and nature outside is made visible and became a real experience! In the multi-cubic office building of Centraal Beheer Assurance Company in Apeldoorn Netherlands the architect Herzberger opened up all cubes to make relations possible between all people in the building. From container building to social networks! The beginning of using mathematical tangents not yet visible as in organic architecture, but already full-scale experience! The organic style today became worlwide fame with the ING Bank headquarters in Amsterdam (Bijlmer), built in a network of ten tower-structures which was also the most energy-efficient building in the wordld. This year it was chosen by the public as one of the most beautifull buildings.
Sustainable investing / worldwide bookkeeping / one stocks-exchange and perhaps worldmoney in due time / wto and fair trade
Money is a mirror of all activities in society based on division of labour. To achieve more benefits for all we divide all our labour in specializations and exchange all the products and services again. The administration system is called money. When products or services are not available or not in time the value (price) changes to make exchange possible in the end. All other issues as international relations between countries, ethical labour, fair trade etc are manipulations or corrections on this process. The worldwide standard for financial reporting IFRS, a world currency in the making, the globalization of trade in the WTO discussions now, IMF and Central Banks together in Basel, and of course the Global Reporting Initiative GRI for good corporate governance will have the result that the world economy will become highly transparant and show us the real prices. New York and Amsterdam Stock Exchanges also merged last year, and Asia will follow in some years to make one worldmarket for stocks. About fair trade and the whole discussion about dividing the wealth between two dollar a day and ten million a year can then become fully transparant how to look at the colours of the spectrum in between and how to talk about the right for a REASONable income for everybody.
World is getting smaller every day / from tourism to ecotourism to private projects / Meet & Greet
When oil will be replaced by solar energy in H2O tanks (prognosed within ten years by Durch students of the University of Delft this summer who designed a hydrogen racing car) the travelling possibilities will be almost unlimited for everybody. Together with the internet people will be able to communicate and meet&greet by wire and tyre! And the oil can be used for other products, tires, asfalt and plastics, anti-noise walls can dissapear in the landscape to give a clear view on the horizons again, and with carbon cars the world can use steel for railways only. But who wants to go by train then?
Internet and mobile / citizen journalists / alternative newsmedia / multi media
Although talking one-to-one is the basis of communication and telepathy the long distance variant of it, internet is the main route for all our communication today. And beyond that it is a medium also for all written information and can be used as archive as well, plus all kinds of applications in technique, design and our daily work in all different aspects. But even further it became a "tool" voor everybody to become a citizen journalist, private researcher, a lifelong learning student, and a worldwide activist if neccesary. Research, surgery, spaceshuttles, warfare and the rise of democracy worlldwide, fair trade, world currency and financial reporting worldwide in the end. Communication has everything to do with exchange of information (systems) parallel to trade and travel and between people. But direct communication as writing and reading, travelling and talking will always be there as the basic communication route for ALL twelve sense-organs!
International diplomacy and crises mediation / participative democracy / europe as a test / proposals of citizens
Politics and diplomacy at work in the 21st century! No longer citizens are waiting for actions of actiongroups but rather start an action themselves via internet. Since 9/11 and the first three years after that where a kind of black&white thinking came up, people began to cooperate in all organizations more and more. The World Watch Institute spent the whole issue of their State of the World 2004 to the consumer/citizen! In 2005 the UN started with the Decade for Education in Sustainable Development DESD 2005-2014. The World Social Forum in Porto Alegre Brazil and the Economic World Forum in Davos Switzerland started up talking. And the systems of money, stocks, trade and financial reporting went globalizing too. Parallel to the cultural and economic globalization also political democratization went global. The EU referndum as an exemple, but also initiatives as PressNow to help papers, radio- and tv stations emerge in all countries, and last but not least the International Crisis Group that went into action to solve problems, moderate and start projects to prevent war. The same procedure in official governmental strategies is called 3D - defense- diplomacy - development.
All kinds of human relations / consumer-trade-producer relations / consumerorganizations
Multimedia, forums, and finally choosing our own networking are the three steps in modern time to create all kinds of associations to reach our cultural, social or economical goals. In cultural and social life we know it since centuries that people come together. But consumer-trade-producer relations including the finance of projects is very new! The rise of all kinds of consumer associations is also the proof that mankind has entered maturity in the 21st century!
Another world in the making - Consumer, freedom and responsibility
The tone has changed! In all directions we can hear and see people taking action more and more! After all the thinking and talking conferences and workshops have now titles such as "from thinking to action" and alike. This year there is a clear tendency to DO things, even by trial and error. Although it still takes a lot of talking and writing, the "tone" and the "intentions" have changed significantly.
In the Netherlands for instance there was a concrete conference about tuning in all the different methods of medicare, we were visitor at a very constructive discussion in the Upper House about defense-diplomacy-development or 3D strategy in Afghanistan, we listened to the presentation at the SER (Social Economical Council) of their report about new ways of financing agriculture biodiversity and landscaping in the Netherlands and in Europe, listened to the speech of Alexander Rinnooy Kan about globalising and sustainability at the Club of Rome, and read the speech of the bee-keepers association in parliament about the crisis of the disappearing bees. But also the discussions about the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius about food-supplements etc became more "overheated" while approaching the implementation in 2009. And the teachers who were overheated by government-rules became now cooling down by taking over again the management of their own jobs.
Internationaly we see discussions more and more looking for pragmatic solutions, action, building bridges to go forward one way or another. In trade, in sustainabilty, in crisis management, in working together between countries and continents to build a global village. The introduction in 2005 of the International Finance Reporting System IFRS, the connecting of stock-exchanges and the Euro as a pioneer of a worldwide "greenback" in the making are signals as well.
And last but not least the Internet and the exchange of knowledge worldwide by open courseware for instance by the Massachustes Institute of Technology in Boston USA. Their website counts 80.000 pages free knowledge and even the possibility to be "in the classroom" via webcam! The MIT was also the University where Meadows and Forrester started the Club of Rome in 1971 and foresaw that globalising is a creative process which needs the responsibility of all of us 6 billion consumers to restore sustainabilty while (and sometimes before) going on! Cradle2Cradle sounds like a magic solution, but that will take time. But why not ask ourself daily: .... how sustainable am I?
Annual Report 2008 / Jan - May
Most important development in the world was the OECD conference in Paris "Beyond GDP" followed by a conference at the University of Tilburg in The Netherlands January 10 about the neccesary trend in thinking from Wellness to Well-being. If this is the breakthrough in our thinking then we can hope for another world! Because thinking about the quality of life - of ourself AND of all the others - is in fact our everyday starting-point in decision-making!
But even more urgent is of course the present foodcrisis! Although the development in the quality of food and organic foodproduction is booming, the quantity-problem is even getting worse! Hopefully the experience of world politics in problemsolving will be strong enough to overcome the foodcrisis! Especially now becomes visible that ....... "a reasonable income is a right" !
As Free Consumers Association we are now more and more active in workshops, seminars, and in innovative projects such as "professionalizing" consumer-trade-producer dialogue and of course the ongoing conferences on consumer education of the Consumer Citizen Network, this year in Tallinn Estonia.
Last but not least our english website is almost ready for readers worldwide!
Fifth CCN International Conference on Consumer Education / Olympia Hotel, Tallinn Estonia
We were in Tallinn / Estonia 5-6 May for the fifth yearly conference of the Consumer Citizen Network CCN about consumer education to be implemented on schools worldwide in the coming years. The CCN is working together with the EU program for Lifelong Learning and the UN Decade for Education in Sustainable Development.
The Consumer Citizenship Network is an interdiciplinary network of educators, researchers and civil-society organisations, (including UNESCO, UNEP and Consumers International) who recognize the pressing need for constructive action by individuals in order to achieve sustainable consumption and global solidarity.
The Consumer Citizenship Network has, since 2003, developed interdiciplinary approaches to central issues dealing with the balance between material and non-material well-being and with how one can translate ethical values into everyday practice through concientious participation in the market. CCN2 also brings toghether expertise in the fields of citizenship-, enviromental- and consumer education to further develop research and good practice for teaching and assessing consumer citizenship education. The CCN is a Socrates Erasmus 3. Network consists of 133 institutions in 37 countries. www.hihm.no/concit.
A card for clients who are willing to pre-finance their part of the stock they are going to buy in the month ahead, is in the making for the whole organic branch in The Netherlands! Two shopowners with similar ideas became the Golden Pear Innovation Prize 2008. The Green Passage in Rotterdam and Buys&Ko in Wageningen had developed different but quite similar ideas.Together with the branch-organizations who gave the prize they will now develop it further to introduce the cardsystem nationwide.
When most people think of a bank, they think of the organisation that keeps their money safe and secure until they need it. When most people decide who to bank with, they consider the rate of interest they will receive, the services they will benefit from and how easy will it be to access their money. What most people don’t think about is how that bank then invests their money when they’re not using it.
A bank’s core business is to use the money savers deposit, to lend it to someone else. With most banks you don’t know who’s using and benefiting from your savings. Instead the bank is in control of your money and decides who they will lend it to and what that money will be used for. But if you ask the bank what they’re doing with your money they won’t tell you.
Triodos Bank is different. We only lend to organisations which create real social, environmental and cultural value such as charities, social businesses, community projects and environmental initiatives. Each one is a practical, well-grounded initiative dedicated to social aims which benefit the community, care for the environment, respect human freedom and develop individual talents and capacities. As part of our commitment to transparency we publish a Project List, which details all the activities that we finance in the UK and Ireland at the time of printing.
Many financial organisations, from high street banks to pension providers now offer funds and schemes where you can save and invest your money ethically, partly in response to the success that ethical pioneers including Triodos Bank have had. Most ethical investments use negative lending criteria. This means that the organisations that they lend money to cannot be involved in malevolent activities such as child labour, large scale environmental damage or the arms trade. But Triodos Bank has a different approach – the enterprises we invest in are all actively pursuing social, environmental and cultural goals, not just avoiding negative activities.
While Triodos provides opportunities for people to save and enjoy a reasonable rate of interest, a growing number of social enterprises need to finance their development. Many charities, social businesses, community groups, environmental initiatives have a wide range of socially valuable and innovative projects which need access to credit. They need a banking partner which understands the way they work, recognises and supports their values, and can work with them to find the right financial arrangements for their needs.
Triodos Bank co-workers use their expertise and judgement to assess each loan application on its own merits, analysing a project’s social, environmental and cultural ‘added value’ as well as its financial performance. We have a genuinely human approach to banking, sharing the values of the enterprises we support and taking the time to visit and understand each one. As a result, we support a wide variety of initiatives in many sectors, all over the UK and Ireland, reflecting the growing strength and diversity of the social economy.
Saving with Triodos Bank means that people in all parts of the UK and Ireland can develop and build organisations which enrich their community and safeguard the environment – building a more sustainable future for us all.
February 24. Ralph Nader - world famous advocate and frontrunner for consumer rights announced his plan to go for president! In the NBC television interview Meeting the Press he said .............
ECOnomics in the 21st century
As the producers of copiers Ricoh are advertising with this new creative way of reading the word eco-nomics, so is the discussion about a sustainable future on the Global Action Day of the World Social Forum on January 26 worldwide, and in Davos at the World Economic Forum. But also in all the discussions about "Beyond GDP" in Brussels and Tilburg Netherlands about the new indicators towards growth of wealth (quality of life) instead of economic growth only.
December 2007 / Annual Report
The year 2007 was full of activities and new developments. A new website, again hundreds of small catalist-actions such as comments, articles, networking, lobbying, joining discussions at many seminars and congress workshops, and last but not least following the world news to serve our members looking 360 degrees around the horizon to all twelve working fields in the world!
Strategically we worked more and more on priorities as quality of life, new ways in science, innovative initiatives and helping in the search for solutions in different problem-situations. And we started seminars and masterclasses in different cities in Holland and abroad! In Sofia Bulgaria we gave our first workshop in the Consumer Citizen Network CCN where teachers are preparing programmes for consumereducation on schools and universities worldwide, in connection with the UN Decade for Sustainable Development. In our workshop we worked on the issue "Consumer, Arguments and Producers".
In the world around us a lot of positive developments are going fast forward! Al Gore showed us the way in handling the Climate. Cradle2Cradle (see Google) is the new way for 100% sustainability. And Professor Pralahad wrote his famous marketing bestseller The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid about producing for the two billion poorest consumers as the new emerging markets! Globalising is going on!
Our plans for 2008 are to complete the english pages on our website and to globalise also! Our new (extra) name is consumer360.org to be remembered more easily, but especially to show the essence of the consumer-management-information-system. The image of the twelve daily needs produced around the horizon of our world!
PS For the bees who cannot speak for themselves we want to cry out for them that the global problem of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is a problem for us all! The bees are dying of too much efficiency in bee-keeping, in the US and also in Europe up to 70% have died instead of the normal rate of 20% in winter times. And so we are loosing our girlfriends AND the basis of our agriculture!
So: buy more biological honey! (See also the breathtaking bestseller Phanomen Honigbiene - not yet in english - written by professor Jurgen Tautz and with 180 color photos isbn 978-3-8274-1845-6 and go to www.beegroup.de and watch the trailer video of BeeMovie!) Or Google to CCD Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD BEES in english or your own language. Save the bees!
The new subtitle of our association is: "forum for active consumers and innovative initiatives"!
Investing in Knowledge is Investing in the Future!
Aula Technical University
ISO 26000, Consumers International, Cradle to Cradle, and more
All consumer unions around the world gathered in Sydney this month at the 18th annual congress of Consumers International. Hot item was of course the development of the new ISO 26000 standard for social responsibility which will be launched worldwide in 2009. But many many other items were discussed of course. See www.consumersinternational.org (Consumers International was launched in 1959 in the Netherlands on initiative of Consumentenbond and many others, as Int Org of Consumer Unions IOCU).
# About sustainability is the best option given now by all the projects of Cradle2Cradle worldwide which are the most concrete examples of how to get the world sustainable (again). In the USA and China Ford and Nike changed whole productionlines already. A big pilot cityproject will be launched now in Venlo, Netherlands. See Google, Wikipedia, or the book itself written by William (Bill) Donough and Michael Braungart: Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the Way we make Things ISBN 0865475873.
# In bio(dynamic) foodchains plans are developed to professionalize client cards and pre-financing that piece in stock which will go to our own household by our purchases during the month. A way to become more associated with the whole chain of production to consumption (an old idea also of Consumer360 which we co-developed in different projects together with Triodosbank in the eighties, but which obviously becomes relevant only in the 21st century.....)
# In England and Holland discussions are ongoing about probable integrating alternative directions in medicare when based on professional basis.
Talk of the Day
No great events in September but a lot of talking about everything! We were at a debate about the essence of warfare in Amsterdam, and next month about warfare and civilians organized by the Red Cross in the Peace Palace in The Hague. Since 9/11 everybody worldwide became aware that war and peace has everything to do with everybody!
We made a testdrive in the Honda Civic Hybride (smooth!) and read about BMW (fast!) in big advertisements about hybrid and hydrogen in the near future. And that electric power transmission has no technical limits for high speeds for trains and cars as well. China is thinking more thoroughly about sustainability, Korea is opening up a litlle bit, the US takes a litlle bit back of its authorithy and joins the debate, in the Middle East some problems have to be solved yet. African countries are in the picture now and will join the world economic stage soon. Consumers worldwide become more and more conscious of living in the same "village"!
July / August 2007
News in the making - interesting developments ahead!
More interesting than the hottest news of course is the expected news ahead! What news is in the making, which developments and trends are ahead, and can we see them already? In the same way as reading Agatha Christie life itself can be read as a thrilling story in which we ourselves are the players! As Shakespeare wrote for "As you like it" now performed in the open air theatre of Diever www.shakespearetheaterdiever.nl in Holland: "The world's a stage ...... and all consumers and producers are merely players". www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/all-world-s-stage ........
And: invisible consumers and producers are becoming more and more visible! Of all twelve economic areas FINALLY the most earthy - food and agriculture - is appearing in full spotlight on the worldstage now! A little book appeared about the whole processing of money in the chain from consumer to producer working towards an economy of question and answer. (Geld verbindt de BD-voedselketen / Money connects the biodynamic foodchain / Jan Saal / 2,50 / overige uitgaven / www.gezichtspunten.nl / only in Dutch yet). It describes in an enthousiastic way how we can make the best connections and personal relations with our producers in buying the products cash and pin, saving and investing - call it prepaid - in stocks of the shops in the chain, and making new developments possible in research and education by subsidizing. After the developments of the paper baskets with fresh crops from the countryside this is the phase of professionalizing the relations between consumers and producers into the 21st century. For insiders: This book also finds its roots in 1980 when Triodosbank was founded, projects in many shops started together with many consumers, then students, some of them now CEO's in the foodchain! Jan Saal is now director of the school for educating farmers and chairman of Demeter International in Holland, organization for biodynamic agriculture. See www.demeter-bd.nl or www.demeter.net The Triodosbank itself www.triodos.nl is now also present in Bristol www.triodos.co.uk Brussels www.triodos.be Frankfurt www.triodos.de and Madrid www.triodos.es and working together with banks worldwide in microfinancing projects. After being helpers then with the start of Triodosbank for producers and consumers, the writer of this newsarticle (Peter Daub) specialized since then in consumer issues and consumer organizations and founded the Vrije Consumenten Vereniging / Free Consumers Association in 2001. This year we chose our new (extra) name Consumer360 www.consumer360.org as our new international name.
More special news in the making is of course visible in all kinds of discussions about genetical modified food and medicins, about the great deathtoll of bees worldwide caused by the artificial beekeeping the last hundred years. The worldwide conference of beekeepers is next month in Melbourne www.apimondia2007melbourne.com But also Mac Donalds is now switching to ecological food! Perhaps all initiatives together worldwide give us a climate change in the right direction again? In the 21st century globalization shows that now everybody is a pioneer! The news is in the making every second of the day in every corner of the world! Of all developments in our 360 degrees world we see that everybody is aware of globalization now and wishing to be involved more and more! The new TV broadcasting station Independent World Television IWT www.therealnews.com started this month! Independent because it is financed by consumers only! A station where everybody can ask questions and make contributions in the search for news!
Invisible consumers and producers
In a globalized economy only our own imagination can make consumers and producers to a real experience. Two interesting presentations are trying to make us aware of our own responsibility to "see" our worldwide neighbours as consumers and/or producers.
Shelly Sacks, professor at the Oxford Brooks University presents an artistic social sculpture of dried bananas combined with production numbers to make visible for us consumers the producers of bananas on the Windward Islands. See www.exchange-values.org or ISBN 978-3-928780-66-7 Exchange Values - Images of invisible Lives or at the exposition untill August in the Goetheanum, Dornach Switzerland.
Best business book of the year is published by Professor C K Prahalad about the greatest yet invisible market opportunities in the 21st century: the 4 billion other consumers in the world! The Fortune of the Bottom of the Pyramid ISBN 9780131877290.
Long-term (positive) developments in a nuttshell
Most of the time we give the news about the most interesting items, but this time we give you again a kind of overview of all twelve areas. Although in every area so many interesting developments are to be reported we try to concentrate on the main upward trends. And the biggest reason to be positive is that more and more people every day are thinking, talking and acting towards solutions. And that's by definition an irreversible process!
March / april 2007
We launched our new international name www.Consumer360.org as a picture of what is meant by all-round "consumer governance". We hope you will agree with us that it is a good description of how we as consumers want to know everything, to talk about everything and to be able to make the best possible choises.
The existing names freeconsumers.org and vrijeconsumenten.nl will remain available as well.
Interesting to know is that the .com domain existed already as a name for the yearly congress for producers in packaging. One of the most important communication-carrying lines between producers and consumers! Another interesting newsitem this month is that the Dutch government will take initiatives to make sustainable production know-how an export issue of great importance!. The old VOC (Dutch East India Company) in the other direction! Bringing back the science and experience made possible by the delivery of all the products in the 17th century! Hopefully with lots of profit for all people worldwide!
Consumer governance in action
Saying no to Europe in a first round triggered all Europeans to go into debates now in February and in March (Berlin) about how to go forward! Thinking, debating and asking the best questions IS consumer governance towards those who do the government issues. And of course only if it is continued as a lifelong process and includes the checking of the answers! Only participating democracy is true democracy. Participating is also the right word in all other associations where consumers and producers are in a continuing dialogue about products and services. About quality, quantity and price. About guarantuee. And about payment, delivery and use. Participating by asking the questions especially about (inner) quality, and paying the right price in the right time. All questions asked in the last decades are now resulting in more and more positive actions of producers. For instance insurances for all kinds of medical treatment, teachers developing new lessons themselves, researchers going beyond the natural sciences looking for ALL knowledge! So that we can ask even better questions in the next round!
What is consumer governance?
As we saw this month at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and in the Netherlands how the new government in Holland and the EU were discussed, all signals were about understanding and especially about promoting consumer governance! People themselves as consumer-citizens are more and more taking seriously their role in asking the questions, but also their responsibility for their choises. But consumer governance also means dialogue with producers, government or educators, with marketing, science and last but not least check and double-check! Consumer governance has to do with all the same items as every manager has to work on. In a world where all labour is divided we are delegating or in fact asking to each other "to do the job for us". And only DIALOGUE can bridge the gap again which we invented ourselves by dividing and delegating all those jobs: in space in time and in expertise!
December 2006 / Annual Report
The smallest website about the biggest issue: consumer governance!
After 5 years we're still a small organization but that has everything to do with the character of our association! Catalyzers ARE always small by definition, they only try to help forward the bigger issues! But in 2007 we will introduce our new website and start with more lectures and seminars. And of course also continue in writing comments, joining discussions and social forums, indirect lobbying via consumer organizations, and networking by matching information between organizations, press-agencies and individuals.
In 2006 we gave seminars in consumer governance at the Dutch Social Forum and at Nyenrode University. We joined conferences about consumer education in Hamar/Norway, Berlin/Germany and Utrecht/Netherlands. And we were listening and discussing at several meetings with lectures of ministers and members of parliament. Plus seminars about microfinance, about alternative moneysystems, (Lietaer), and the introduction of his book Globalisation that works by Joseph Stiglitz in Amsterdam.
Comparing with other general and special consumer organizations we are focussed on management information as a tool itself. How can we as individuals oversee and understand the whole worldeconomy and ourselves in the middle of it? With the 360 degrees overview of consumerorganizations we all have to deal with, it has become much easier to find our way and to prepare our decisions. With the different pages of our website with "open courseware" information, search-options and a newpage in which we try to analyse the main issues, daily information becomes easy to read! In working out these things during lectures and seminars we experienced how everybody became aware of that as an eye-opener.
To write about all 200 actions this year would take pages. To get a broader insight of our activities see our former annual reports. An overview of the developments in consumer governance worldwide over the last few years is also given in our newspages.
This is what Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), the most famous modern artist of the 20th century, already said over and over again. Until February 2007 there is now a great exibition in Moyland Castle / Germany www.moyland.de about the materials he used to explain all unvisible things. Social relations, thoughts, feelings, and world tendencies in economical, social and spiritual human behaviour can be made visible by all kinds of materials to symbolise and wake up conciousness and will to change. Solutions are always creative actions and everybody is creative him/herself to do something to help to make a better world (Jeder Mensch ein Kunstler! Everybody an Artist!). And all those possible other worlds can be discussed January 20-25 in Nairobi Kenya during the next World Social Forum www.worldsocialforum.org! And to get an even better look around what's going on around the world you can also login on the new worldwide televisionchannel which is totally financed by the viewers only: the Independent World Television IWT www.iwtnews.com starts with an interview with Naomo Klein! So we can all start the year 2007 with many new tools for our heads, hearts and hands!
September / October 2006
First this: what counts most for us all as a human being is the quality of life! Isn't it? Everything we choose in doing things ourselves, or buying products or services from others (producers government or cultural institutions) is to maintain or increase the quality of our life in the way we decide it to be quality! So the quality of life is always priority number one. And so the quality of products and services. But why are still so many products so poor in quality, unsustainable or even dangerous?
Because all labour is still connected to income! This system which was introduced a few centuries ago and later promoted by Adam Smith has driven the economy in a positive way. But also shows to be counterproductive to quality because income (quantity) was in fact the priority instead of quality. But the worldwide discussions now are revealing the truth that producing is only an economic issue. And talking about who needs what in a (world)family is an issue between all people, not only the producers! As we can see in all social sytems developed in the 20th century arranging finance for children, students, sick or jobless people and elderly (and for holiday or sabattical).
The discussions worldwide now about basic income and/or top wages are only the beginning of thinking about this! When all forms of income will be arranged between ALL people in the future, then, yes then the producers can really go for sustainability and quality! Then also visible in terms of bookkeeping, because everybody then has the money to pay for quality.
July / August 2006
The dialogue between consumer-citizens (civil society), governments and business is more and more going on as a matter of course. Especially in focusing on the essence, the quality of products and services. Based on all the questions asked in recent years we see now a minister talking about taste of food together with top-cooks, milk factories selling fresh milk from cows living outdoors, german top carmakers introducing hydrogen cars. Trade talks emerging to fair trade talks, microfinance for small entrepeneurs worldwide, conflictmanagement in international relations. The world has become a coffee-house! Dialogue was also the special focus of one of the co-founders of Triodosbank. Dr A H Bos (Lex) discovered in his seven years of research tshat dialogue has everything to do with facts versus opinions, and goals versus 'roadmaps'. About facts and goals you need to agree, about opinions and the ways to work it out you are going into dialogue. Lex inspired thousands of people in governments and multinationals worldwide with his enthousiasm and profesionalism! He helped us all to find the basics of communication between people with the utmost respect for the individual freedom. Lex was also the mentor of our initiative! He died July 30 at the age of 81 and is still our mentor!
Literature: Forming judgements. A path to inner freedom 87-89303-42-3 Dynamische Urteilsbildung 3-258-06874-7 La formation du jugement dans la vie sociale 2-852248-260-6 Oordeelsvorming. Een weg naar innerlijke vrijheid 90-73310-32-6 For training and advise go to: www.dialoog.net