The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Wasting Time and Energy on Politics (Part 1)
Royalty free cartoons
We are now well into the 21st century and two observations about our collective human endeavour can be made.  First, if we do not collectively address the complex issues of now, there is little likelihood of human-kind continuing to enjoy a worthwhile existence into the 22nd century.

The second observation is that our collective decision-making institutions (governments) are either incapable or unwilling to address these issues in the manner in which they must be addressed.

During the 20th century representative democracy (that institution that embodied our collective decision-making enterprise) made some worthwhile and beneficial advances.  Women were enfranchised, many indigenous people finally obtained the vote from their colonial oppressors, dictatorial and cruel regimes were replaced by democracies (e.g. South Africa, India, Chile).  Two world wars were fought supposedly to protect democracy and freedom.  By the end of the century the fall of the Berlin Wall seemed to suggest that representative democracy had prevailed.

But, also by the end of the 20th century representative democracy was showing clear signs of not coping with societal pressures, and the changes in technology, population and consumption that had been made since WW II.

Some Complex Issues

Climate change was beginning to be understood, but not taken seriously by politicians and global institutions.  Kyoto failed, Stockholm failed, and we continued to pump CO2 into the atmosphere.

Violence continued to be the method-of-choice when it came to resolving conflicts.  Although it was reducing1, the world still spent around $12 trillion (that's 12 million, millions) or more on its militaries in the final decade of the century.  At least two dozen wars were being fought as the century came to a close.

Social inequality grew at a staggering rate in the final decades of the 20th Century   The world gini coefficient2 grew from 0.66 in 1980 to 0.71 in 2002 (one of the largest increases the world has ever seen).

Of all the animals that have become extinct in the last 500 years, 60% became so in the 20th Century.  In other words, the rate of extinction is increasing at an alarming rate.  Some scientists are so alarmed that they suggest that one-half of the world’s multi-cellular life forms will be extinct by 2100 because of “human-disruption of the biosphere.”

Opposition and Alternatives

Since the turn of the century there has arisen at least two major oppositional movements for social change.  One of these called for greater equality and was epitomised by the Occupy movement – along with it’s attendant slogan of “we are the 1%.”  The other is the opposition to those businesses that significantly fuel climate change (such as Big Oil and Big Coal).  At the forefront of this opposition are movements such as, Greenpeace and others.

Concurrent with these oppositional movements has been the growth of alternative approaches – often local, low-impact and non-hierarchical, yet highly innovative and inter-connected.

Many within these movements understand clearly that if change is going to be made, then it will have to be made by them.  It will not be made by politicians sitting and debating in parliaments, senates and congresses around the world.  It will not be made by high-level diplomats and government advisers meeting in summits, forums and conferences around the world.

These movements are implementing and proving the exhortation from Margaret Mead3 to:
“Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world.  Indeed, its the only thing that ever has.”
Part 2 will question the efficacy of continuing to work for politicians and political parties if what we desire is better ways of making collective decisions and making decisions that will seriously address the issues we face in the 21st century.

1. Although world spending on the military did fall during the 1990s, it has been climbing again since the beginning of the 21st Century, The US is the biggest spender, contributing around 40% to the world spending.
2. The gini coefficient is an internationally recognised statistical measure of income inequality.  The coefficient is a number between 0 and 1, the closer it is to 1 the greater is the inequality.
3. Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978) was a highly respected cultural anthropologist who did much to make the insights of anthropology available to a wider audience.

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you
    create this website yourself or did you hire someone to doit for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to construct my own blogand would like to know where u got this from. thank you Obat daya tahan tubuh


This blogsite is dedicated to positive dialoque and a respectful learning environment. Therefore, I retain the right to remove comments that are: profane, personal attacks, hateful, spam, offensive, irrelevant (off-topic) or detract in other ways from these principles.