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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VIII. Pedia Sapiens: A New Genesis Future

6. A Viable Gaiasphere: Planetary Patriots and Matriots

Ayton-Shenker, Diana, ed. A New Global Agenda: Priorities, Practices, and Pathways of the International Community. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. A collection by mostly woman authors which advises that only by an inclusive emphatic unity can a resolve and pathway forward become possible. Its three parts, People, Society, and Planet, cover issues such as Essential Freedoms, Regenerative Development, Health and Wellness, Collaborative Leadership, and Security and Pease We note Women Rebuilding Societies: Resiliency from the Bottom Up by Laurie Adams, An Economy in Service to Life by Hunter Lovins, and especially Crowdsourcing the Feminine Intelligence of the Planet by Jensine Larsen (see bio below).

Diana Ayton-Shenker is a senior fellow (mellow) at The New School in New York. Named one of “25 Leading Women Changing the World” by Good Business New York, Diana is founding CEO of philanthropic strategy and social innovation firm, Global Momenta, helping private foundations, families, and ventures optimize their social impact. (Amazon)

Jensine Larsen is a digital entrepreneur, international journalist, and speaker. She is the founder of World Pulse, (see herein) a global digital network connecting tens of thousands of women from 190 countries and bringing them a global voice. Jensine initiated World Pulse magazine, digital empowerment training for women change makers, and WorldPulse.com as a mobile, multi-lingual social network platform. (www.jensinelarsen.com)

Barrett, Gary and Almo Farina, eds. Integrating Ecology and Economics. Bioscience. 50/4, 2000. An introduction to a dedicated issue wherein authors consider the life and human carrying capacity of the planetary biosphere. This leads to a call for a new field of integrative study known as “noospheric economics” which can join people and nature.

Batello, Caterina, et al.. The Future is an Ancient Lake. Rome: FAO Interdepartmental Working Group for Food and Agriculture, 2004. Traditional knowledge, biodiversity and genetic resources are carefully applied to achieve an intentional sustainability for the Lake Chad ecosystems.

Battaglia, Eugenio, et al. Systems of Global Governance in the Era of Human-Machine Convergence. arXiv:1802.04255. We cite this entry by complex system theorists in Switzerland (EB), Germany (Jie Mei) and France (Guillaume Dumas) as an example of attempts to intentionally realign our artificial, worldweb civilization, lately in critical disarray, by way of natural guidance from physical, organic, ecological, and ultimately neuro-cognitive principles.

In this note we draw foundational parallelisms between neurophysiological systems and ICT-enabled social systems, discussing how frameworks rooted in biology and physics could provide heuristic value in the design of evolutionary systems relevant to politics and economics. In this regard we highlight how the governance of emerging technology (i.e. nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science), and of climate change, presently confront us with a number of connected challenges. We argue that wise general solutions to such interrelated issues should embed the deep understanding of how to elicit mutual incentives in the socio-economic subsystems of Earth system in order to jointly concur to a global utility function. (Abstract excerpts)

As an example of such an interdisciplinary approach, we draw foundational parallelisms between neurophysiological systems and ICT-enabled social systems. We conclude that such kind of framework can provide heuristic value in the design of evolutive governance systems relevant to politics and economics. In particular, we argue that bio-inspired organization designs can answer some of the many ethical and governance issues raised by a complex and heterogeneous human society living on a planet heading to a global ecological state shift. (1)

Battro, Antonio, et al, eds. Children and Sustainable Development: Ecological Education in a Globalized World. International: Springer, 2017. The proceedings of a Workshop hosted in November 2015 by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican entitled “Children and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Education.” A lead chapter, for example, is Children as Agents of Change for Sustainable Development by Joachim von Braun, a German agricultural economist who was appointed in June 2017 by Pope Francis as President of the Pontifical Academy. Some other chapters are The Sustainable Planet, Educating Students to Sustainability, Learning, Literacy and Sustainable Development, A Bright Start for Every Child in Rural China, and AmritaRITE: A Holistic Model for Rural India. Presenters ranged from regional educators and activists to the neuroscientist Wolf Singer.

This book addresses the changes in education practices, especially basic education, necessitated by the global challenges of climate change and sustainable development and in a context characterized by increasing poverty and inequality, migration and refugees.
Written by a range of international scholars, scientists and grassroots practitioners from Africa, Latin America, Asia (India, China, Malaysia) and Europe, the individual contributions focus on education policies and child development in various social contexts. Case-based experiences from both developed and developing countries provide inspiration and shed new light on the fundamental changes needed to adapt existing school systems and teacher training to face the challenges of the future. In this regard, the need to empower children themselves is emphasized. (Springer)

Children under the age of 15 represented 26 % of the world population (893 million girls, 956 million boys) in 2014. They mainly live in low and middle income countries. Children are exposed to current and future social, economic and environmental sustainability problems, but are also potential agents of change for sustainability, even in childhood. This paper explores how the role of children can be enhanced by transformative education in support of their experiences in discovery, participation, and agency of change. Action-related projects and new information technologies offer opportunities. The tremendous diversity of the living conditions of the world’s children (e.g. related to their age, gender, rural/urban, poor/non-poor, cultural contexts, discrimination and marginality), and the types of children’s respective sustainability problems need to be considered. Experiences with children’s roles as agents of change for sustainability (incl. influence on adults’ behavior) are reviewed, based on educational initiatives related to innovation, environmental protection, consumption, health, water and sanitation, and caring for others. (von Braun Abstract)

Baum, Seth. Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology. Sustainability. 2/2, 2010. The Penn State University geographer is presently Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (Google, see below), and a leading advocate for getting on with the realization we human beings have a huge problem, but which can and is meant to be solved. Akin to Arnould above, an imaginative setting of special planet Earth within an increasingly life-favorable universe could be a major motivation. With the emergence of a global knowledge, it is conceivable that individual and collective intelligence could be a significant factor to the future fate of the whole cosmos.

Astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, offers profound insights into human sustainability. However, astrobiology is commonly neglected in sustainability research. This paper develops three topics connecting astrobiology to sustainability: constraints on what zones in the universe are habitable, the absence of observations of extraterrestrial civilizations, and the physical fate of the universe. These topics have major implications for our thinking and action on sustainability. While we may not be doomed, we must take certain actions to sustain ourselves in this universe. The topics also suggest that our current sustainability efforts may be of literally galactic importance. (Abstract)

The Global Catastrophic Risk Institute’s mission is to help mobilize the world’s intellectual and professional resources to meet humanity’s gravest threats. The Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (GCRI) is a nonprofit think tank working on the topic of global catastrophic risk. GCRI is geographically decentralized, meaning that it has no central headquarters and its affiliates are located in many places. GCRI works with researchers from many academic disciplines and professionals from many sectors. Global catastrophic risks (GCRs) are risks of events that could significantly harm or even destroy human civilization at the global scale. For example, global catastrophes have been defined as events in which more than one quarter of the human population dies [1], events that cause at least 10 million deaths or $10 trillion in damages [2] or events that would permanently eliminate human civilization’s capacity to colonize space and thus sustain human life beyond the existence of Earth [3]. Whatever the specifics, it is clear that global catastrophes are risks of the highest magnitude, the worst-case scenarios for humanity. (GCRI website)

Becker, Christian, et al. Malthus vs. Wordsworth: Perspectives on Humankind, Nature, and Economy. Ecological Economics. 53/3, 2005. . Ecological Economics. 53/3, 2005. From the Interdisciplinary Institute for Environmental Economics at the University of Heidelberg, a clever comparison of rival circa 1800 scenarios. Is the natural world a brute, hostile place from which human effort must wrest the formation of mind and soul, the Malthusian view, or, as Wordsworth poetically lauds, a spontaneously creative abode which brings forth love and beauty. For Malthus, God draws moral human beings out of this harsh winnowing from on high, while Wordsworth’s animate realm is imbued with an immanent Divinity. The authors take from this historic dichotomy the need to examine and think through philosophical and theological foundations for economic and environmental policy, which are mostly absent. Clearly the “great machine” of Malthus is inappropriate. For a truly “ecological” economics, Wordsworth’s Romantic sense of people and planet not apart or in opposition but graced by an organic viability is urgent.

Beddoe, Rachel, et al. Overcoming Systemic Roadblocks to Sustainability: The Evolutionary Redesign of Worldviews, Institutions, and Technologies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106/2483, 2009. A dozen authors, 50/50 women and men we should note, at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont, and the 21st Century School, Oxford University, provide a methodical study which contrasts two phases of human habitation: an empty or full world. While humankind has now covered and filled the finite globe, our life styles go on as if it were still “empty.” Thus an ingrained growth mentality persists. In this regard, a historic societal transition is profiled.

Benkeblia, Noureddine, ed. Sustainable Agriculture and New Biotechnologies. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2011. This volume in the CRC Advances in Agroecology series serves to open novel, fertile pathways beyond factory farms to a local and global organic viability. A respectful, practical sense of flora and fauna systems can now be gained via advances from genome and proteome to metabolome and biome sciences. The editor is a University of West Indies agronomist with doctorates in Agricultural Sciences from the National Agronomic Institute, Algeria, and Plant and Crop Sciences from Kagoshima University, Japan.

Taking a broad and innovative informational approach, Sustainable Agriculture and New Biotechnologies is the first book to apply omic technologies to address issues related to understanding and improving agricultural sustainability in the food production process. The transformation from industrial to sustainable agriculture is discussed within the frameworks of new biotechnologies and global environmental changes. The book covers: 1. The use of new biotechnologies to help in the creation of more sustainable agricultural practices, including methods in molecular biology, genetic engineering, and the new emerging technologies, such as metabolomics, metagenomics, nutrigenomics, and ionomics. 2. The path to reach the goal of the global sustainable agricultural and food production systems in a world of limited natural resources and growing environmental degradation. 3. Principles that regulate the new agricultural and food production systems including breeding programs for more sustainable crops, soil management, and environment preservation. (Publisher)

Dr. N. Benkeblia has been working on food sciences and technologies from 1991. He started his work on crops physiology and biochemistry, preservation technologies such as irradiation, chemicals, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), rare gases and other natural biological compounds (essential oils). From 2000, he focused his research on the postharvest metabolism of carbohydrates, mainly fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and fructans, and their impact on crops qualities. He also introduced new tools of "Metabolomics" in his research to investigate the biochemistry and the biological system of the biosynthesis and metabolism of FOS in fructan-containing plants (using asparagus and onion as models).

Berkes, Firket. Sacred Ecology. 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge, 2008. In this update of his 1999 volume, the Distinguished Professor of Natural Resources at the University of Manitoba adds new chapters on climate change and on how complex systems science can facilitate an ecological cosmology akin to traditional wisdom. At the outset, as cited next, Thomas Berry’s 1988 The Dream of the Earth, along with John Grim’s 2001 edited volume Indigenous Traditions and Ecology, are drawn upon as prime sources. A once and future sense of respectful human habitation within an intentional biosphere homeostasis, as we surely do not have now, can teach, e.g., proper fisheries management, soil fertility, clear skies and a sustainable earth community.

Emerging out of the discourse of ecology is a view of human society as part of a web of life within the ecosystem. Researchers are discovering, in the words of (Thomas) Berry, “…a universe that is dynamically alive: a whole system, fluid and interconnected….Science is discovering a new version of the ‘enchanted’ world that was part of the natural mind for most of human history.” This view is a radical departure from the static, mechanical, disembodied view of the world formulated by Descartes, Newton, and other thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment, and which has dominated our thinking. (2)

According to this analysis, indigenous knowledge systems are characterized by embeddedness of knowledge in the local cultural milieu; boundedness of local knowledge in space and time; the importance of community; lack of separation between nature and culture, and between subject and object: commitment or attachment to the local environment as a unique and irreplaceable place; and a noninstrumental approach to nature. These features contrast, respectively, with Western scientific knowledge systems, which are characterized by disembeddedness; universalism; individualism; nature:culture and subject: object dichotomy; mobility; and an instrumental attitude (nature as commodity) toward nature. (10-11)

Bettencourt, Luis and Christa Breisford. Industrial Ecology: The View from Complex Systems. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 19/2, 2015. In this issue on Advances in Complex Adaptive Systems, Santa Fe Institute scientists emphasize the need to understand and avail nature’s nonlinear, network, self-organization phenomena to inform a viable natural and social sustainability. By this synthesis, such independent, universal organic principles can orient and guide this imperative ecological transition. See also Bettoncourt’s paper The Use of Big Data in Cities in Big Data (2/1, 2014) which makes the same case.

Biermann, Frank. ‘Earth System Governance’ as a Crosscutting Theme of Global Change Research. Global Environmental Change. 17/3-4, 2007. Such terms are often tossed about in discussion and documents without clear, consistent definitions, the author argues. A dedicated worldwide social and political programme to this end is most imperative. Four basic principles are evoked in this regard: credibility, stability, adaptiveness, and inclusiveness. These lead to these five issues: overall management structure, an agency beyond states, realistic implementation, legitimate accountability, and fair allocations.

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