This I Believe

Frans - New York
Entered on November 3, 2006
Age Group: 65+

I believe that social and ecological conditions in the world will get worse before they are getting better. Notwithstanding valiant efforts of individuals and social movements the present economic system of market fundamentalism and its associated Washington Consensus with its World Bank and IMF components will continue to enrich the few, impoverish the many and endanger the planet. I believe that the present process of corporate economic globalization that is based upon this system will aggravate this socially and ecologically deplorable situation.

I believe that people and their social movements, international, national and local are able to counter this unacceptable situation and process by resisting it and by building up a common value base, particularly as proposed by the democratically and efficiently developed Earth Charter which integrates social and ecological values by bringing it to a higher and more inclusive level by extending the human community to the community of life.

I believe that this common value basis of the Earth Charter can be an essential component of the emerging scientific discipline of sustainability science that not only includes the natural but also the social sciences. As a sustainability sociologist I believe that environmental sociology is to transition to sociology of sustainability and unsustainability that would lead social sciences to give societal direction to natural sciences.

I believe that the real guides for the future path of humanity are those individuals and organizations that have integrated Earth Charter values in all their activities. For me individuals as Thomas Berry, Jeremy Rifkin, Herman Daly, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and organizations such as American Friends and Unitarian Universalist Service Committees, Third World Network and others represent the future of social and ecological well-being for the whole community of life or Earth Community.

I believe that making people take responsibility to an ever widening circle of concern is the way for innovation, reform and transformation on local, national and international levels. This belief is based upon Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s insight: “Action does not spring from thought, but a readiness for responsibility.”

I also believe that what is most needed is not only persistence, but boldness, remembering the words of Goethe: “Whatever you can do or think you can, do it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”