Empowerment 

Let us all resolve to give Voluntary Simplicity a chance in our lives – look deeply into what we do with time, money, clutter and our choices.  And change.  Then see whether the consequences are peace and happiness.  For more on Voluntary Simplicity check out:
 
 
 

www.simpleliving.net/main/ 
www.gallagherpress.com/pierce/ 
www.google.com/Top/Society/Lifestyle_Choices/Voluntary_Simplicity/ 

Where do we start? Of course we must think globally and be aware of the bigger ecological picture and step beyond the smaller pictures of ourselves created from fear, laziness or disempowerment. Yet we can also act locally with great vigour in our families and communities. Our intentions then spread as ripples from a pebble dropped in still water. In addition to holding officials, politicians and corporate culture to account let us begin with the small things that all of us can do. While at the same time alerting the political and corporate decision makers that we do mean business as voters and consumers deeply concerned about the planet and our location on it. This is very important.  Our leaders are a manifestation of our collective will. When the collective will changes, our leaders will act differently.  Here are a few suggested guidelines - action recipes already created by concerned citizens and groups who have taken the time to create websites so that information, strategies and plans of action are available. There are many more locations than those listed. This is simply a starting gate, somewhere for the reader to begin. 

1.TAKE ACTION
A good place to start is the website for the film “An Inconvenient Truth” about Al Gore’s Global Warming campaign.  Browse:  www.climatecrisis.net - see what registers with your concerns and capabilities.  Click on the TAKE ACTION button and explore what you can do at home, in community, politically in your nation and internationally.  Whatever level you begin with is fine, but ensure that you commit to “beginning.”

The David Suzuki Foundation has a Nature Challenge – the 10 most effective ways to conserve natural ecosystems.  Click the TAKE ACTION button and also check out the Carbon Neutral Program for guidelines to reduce your contribution to polluting emissions: www.davidsuzuki.org

The Small-Is-Beautiful thesis of E.E. Schumacher translates into action by looking at people first, at their skills and needs, so that they can shape and control appropriate technologies: www.itdg.org and www.schumachercollege.org.uk 
The Gaia Foundation empowers local and indigenous communities in critical ecosystems:
www.gaiafoundation.org 

The “Story of Stuff” link has a very smart, pointed video and a menu of 10 ways to deal with our stuff www.storyofstuff.com 
If you are serious about reducing the impact of climate change please check out:
Climate Outreach www.coinet.org.uk
Energy Conservation www.ukace.org
People and Planet www.peopleandplanet.org
A radical proposal to save the planet by reducing meat products by 50%:
Livestock’s Long Shadow www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm 
Also check out: www.goveg.com 

2.UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Global awakening to the emergency facing all of life on planet earth is a highly personal as well as a collective thing.  The websites below bring this home.  Anti-Apathy encourages us all to engage positively with the issues and crises facing the planet, with a particular focus on our patterns of consumption and dubious ethics: www.antiapathy.org

The Web Of Hope offers readily achievable solutions and provides connecting links with individuals and groups – locally and internationally: www.thewebofhope.com 
Common Ground focuses on the local world of care for everyday life and surroundings with an emphasis on celebration and social exploration: www.commonground.org.uk
We Are What We Do continues this theme of action in every-day living while at the same time building bridges across the chasms that divide.  It directly addresses the very important question “How Can I Make A Difference”: www.wearewhatwedo.org 
Reverential Ecology asks us to have a sense of wonder about our natural surroundings and provides extensive links: www.reverentialecology.org 

Check out “The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices”:
www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/ucs/CG-chapter-1.pdf 

3.REDUCE YOUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT
This is a no-brainer.  Vehicle emissions are a very potent pollutant and it is within our power to change this.  Check out any of the websites below, though the Carbon Trust is a good place to start – established by the UK’s Climate Change Program:
www.thecarbontrust.co.uk 
Also sign up for the “No Car One Day A Week” strategy.  Please click the link below to sign the petition and show your support, and invite your friends to sign as well. 
www.deerparkmonastery.org/petition/index.html 
For an interesting calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh download:
http://www.deerparkmonastery.org/images/todayisnocarday_signlarge.jpg 
Further guidelines are provided by:
www.ethicalconsumer.org
www.carbonsense.org
www.oildepletionprotocol.org 
www.zerocarbonbritain.com
Calculate your daily ecological footprint at: www.carbondiet.org 

Furthermore, consider the option of not flying, or at least reduce your air travel to only what may appear to be essential, then try to reduce it further, as airplane emissions create a grossly dangerous ecological footprint.  Draconian measures are required – can we get out of our comfort zones and limited consciousness in order to get it done?  If we do not get it done, then we are done.  It is as simple as that.
www.transport2000.org.uk
www.airportwatch.org.uk
www.roadblock.org.uk 

4.GUIDELINES FOR BUSINESS AND THE WORKPLACE
To establish team-based, environmentally aware co-operation in the corporate sector check out: www.svn.org 
and www.fwbo.org/fwbo/rightlivelihood.html 
For ethics in business practice and new commercial strategies in sync with planetary rhythms go to: 
www.caux.ch/en/ 
www.johnelkington.com
www.paulhawken.com 
www.monbiot.com 

The Carbon Disclosure Project advises financial investors about the emissions of the world’s 500 largest businesses so that investors can create environmentally sound portfolios: www.cdproject.net
Business enterprises that focus on values driven banking and reducing global warming:
www.triodos.co.uk
www.climatecare.org
www.solarcentury.com

5.THE “BIG” PICTURE FOR THE FUTURE
For world governance, corporate responsibility and environmental balance, go to:
www.globalmarshallplan.org
www.forumforthefuture.org.uk
www.neweconomics.org
www.wdm.org.uk
www.princeton.edu/~cmi/

For video streams of global leaders talking about environmental issues, go to:
www.bigpicture.tv
For a global climate policy framework and the impact of globalisation on local communities – with recipes for action - check out:
www.gci.org.uk
www.isec.org.uk

Other useful websites to visit concerning sustainability are:
www.sd-commission.org.uk
www.livingeconomies.org
www.transitionculture.org
http://www.interfacesustainability.com/cont.html 
www.naturalmatters.net 

6.SCIENCE AND DIVERSITY
For (a) countryside restoration, (b) scientific research and (c) children’s education:
a.www.gardenorganic.org.uk
www.livingcountryside.org.uk
www.vshiva.net 

b.www.cat.org.uk
www.cei.group.cam.ac.uk
www.janegoodall.org
www.engj.ulst.ac.uk/CST

c.www.globe.org.uk 

7.JOURNALS
The Ecologist www.theecologist.org
Resurgence www.resurgence.org
Utne   www.utne.com 

8.ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS
Support a local ecology project in your community and one in the developing world by contacting regional environmental organizations or join a national or international environmental campaign.  Consult:

Sierra Club www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming 
Friends Of The Earth www.foe.co.uk
Greenpeace  www.greenpeace.org

9.WARNING TO GOVERNMENTS
The 2007 - 2008 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now leave no room for doubt, as the time scale for effective governmental intervention is narrowed to ten years.  Governments must wake up, particularly as citizens worldwide have clearly designated Global Warming as their No 1 priority.  Lack of government initiative will certainly be punished at election time.  Citizens and governments have to enact a willingness to embrace austerity and co-operation, as was the case during World War II.  Drastic action is needed and it is needed now.  James Lovelock has called for governments to retreat from their ridiculous “Missions Impossible.”  George Monbiot has carefully researched an effective, immediate plan that every political and corporate leader must study and implement:

1.Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.
2.Institute a global emissions cap on a per capita basis.
3.Impose strict energy efficiency standards on all buildings.
4.Ban all wasteful and non-essential technologies.
5.Invest massively in alternative energy, particularly wind, solar and tidal natural resources, and connect them to the grid as well as encouraging local micro grids in communities.
6.Redesign public transport systems to take private vehicles off the road.
7.Eliminate all road building projects.
8.Reduce flying capacity and outlaw all airport expansion.
9.Redesign retail access with an emphasis on home delivery, eliminating car trips.

A massive global citizen response will certainly elicit an equally massive government and corporate response, as the bottom-up movement and top-down strategies for drastic change meet and integrate. There is not room in this Global Ecological Emergency for separating into “US’ and “THEM” categories. We are totally interconnected whether we like it or not.  We will all live together or we will all die together. An intelligent and all encompassing green ideology embedded in everything we produce and market is a means to bridge competing agendas. Our dependence on fossil fuels reduces because we are aware of the deadly consequences of our addiction to oil and coal. The transition to a reasonably carbon neutral global energy system over the next few decades will be costly and require a massive response from government and corporate leaders to initiate the second industrial revolution. This is necessary to blunt the impact of climate change. It is a huge global industrial project that governments and corporations can bring about due to citizen pressure to “Make It So!” On the stock market “eco-tech” is seen as the next big global industrial thing. Global warming has certainly entered public consciousness. It just has to penetrate the corridors of political and corporate power. As global citizens we must find the ways and means to support the shift in consciousness at all levels of global society to make this so.

Glance at the sun
See the moon
And the stars
Gaze at the beauty
Of the earth’s
Greening 

Now Think

Hildergard of Bingen 1098 - 1179