Tag Archive for: Books

Democracy in a Hotter Time: navigating the challenges of climate change

In a world where climate change is no longer a distant threat but a harsh reality, the pages of the book “Democracy in a Hotter Time” edited by David W. Orr beckon us to contemplate the nexus between democracy and the climate crisis. Let us embark on a journey to understand the vital role democracy plays in shaping our response to the greatest challenge of our era.

The crisis at hand

The year 2023 has already witnessed extreme heatwaves and devastating wildfires. These climate-related catastrophes are not isolated incidents but symptoms of a broader crisis—a political crisis that has gripped democracies worldwide for the past half-century. As David W. Orr reminds us, this crisis has contributed to the Earth being hotter now than it has been in millennia, threatening the very fabric of our existence. It is a crisis that demands our attention and action.

Democracy versus autocracy

In a world struggling to confront climate change, we find ourselves at a crossroads. On one side, there are growing anti-democracy movements that advocate for authoritarian rule, believing it to be more efficient in addressing complex issues. However, history reveals a different truth. Autocratic leaders often rely on corruption, fear, and division to maintain power, failing to tackle long-term problems like climate change effectively. In contrast, democracy rests on the foundation that people have an inherent right to participate in decisions that impact their lives. The climate crisis adds a new dimension to this, emphasizing that everyone must be engaged, informed, and involved because climate change affects us all. The creativity, energy, and knowledge of the broader public are indispensable in the battle against a destabilizing climate, as history has shown during times of crisis, such as World War II.

Evolution of democracy

David W. Orr takes us on a historical journey through the evolution of democracy, from its inception around tribal campfires (democracy 1.0) to the public dialogue and reasoned arguments of Ancient Greece (democracy 2.0), and the ideals of the American Revolution (democracy 3.0). Yet, today, we face the challenge of envisioning democracy 4.0, a democracy that must adapt governance, law, politics, and economies to the complex reality of our Earth as a biophysical system.

The vision of democracy 4.0

Democracy 4.0 demands more than just minor improvements to our present systems. It requires us to reorient our values, prioritize the rights of people over money, uphold the rights of future generations and the natural world, and ensure an equitable distribution of costs, risks, and benefits within and between generations. At its core, democracy 4.0 is founded on a moral imperative—a belief in our collective responsibility to protect the planet and each other. It calls for a shift from individualistic pronouns like “I” and “me” to inclusive pronouns like “we” and “us.” This transformation will manifest differently across cultures, but its essence remains the same: the rejection of domination, oligarchy, technical shortcuts, and above all, violence.

While democracy 4.0 may seem like a distant goal, history has taught us that ideas can spread rapidly in our interconnected world. We must work diligently to educate and mobilize citizens who are both ecologically competent and civically aware. Environmental literacy, civic principles, and the understanding of Earth systems science should be integral to every student’s education. As we move forward, let us remember that the “Great Work” of our rising generation is to build an inclusive movement—one that values clean water, clean air, a stable climate, a fair economy, and the collective voice of people. This movement acknowledges that our future is inherently political, focusing on the fundamental question of “who gets what, when, and how.” In closing, “Democracy in a Hotter Time” serves as a profound call to action. It challenges us to reimagine and reinvent democracy for the age of climate crisis. While the path to democracy 4.0 is fraught with challenges, it is not an impossible endeavor. As we face a world where time is of the essence, let us draw inspiration from the pages of this book and work tirelessly toward a future where democracy and sustainability are not mere aspirations but the bedrock of our existence.

100 Questions in 100 Pages, a free book from Gunter Pauli

Gunter Pauli, the founder of ZERI (Zero Emission Research and Initiatives) and the Blue Economy, invites everyone to reflect and ask questions, starting with those of his book “100 Questions in 100 Pages”. An invitation to question the origins and implications of this virus and to understand how to overcome the crisis, together, by using confrontation. A declaration of love to stimulate debates and change. The book is freely downloadable from the site in English, French, Italian, Spanish.
Written in less than a month to launch a challenge to all humanity, Gunter Pauli’s book invites you to think, ask questions and reflect, to be able to build a truly better world together, and try to understand how to evolve, how to get out of this crisis and what to do next.
Can radio frequencies wake up viruses that nearly 40% of all adults in the world have in their bodies? Should we cure symptoms or build up defense mechanisms? And why does simply asking questions generate such aggressive attacks? Additionally, what does freedom of speech have to do with health-care policies? How can we use the greatest infrastructure available on earth to reach everyone? What if all that is required is a light bulb? And is there a chance to transform the economy into a happier and healthier one? Here are some of the questions that Pauli asks himself in the book and how to get out of the chaos in which we are.

Survival: One Health, One Planet, One Future

Planet Earth has been here for over 4.5 billion years but in just two human generations we have managed to place our only ‘home’ at great risk. Complicating things further, the author observes, we may be on a path where information or data is becoming more important than feelings – reality vs science fiction? Many lessons from history have not yet been learned and new lessons may prove equally, if not more, difficult to take on board as we head deeper into the twenty-first century.

This book highlights two of our greatest social problems: changing the way we relate to the planet and to one another, and confronting how we use technology for the benefit of both humankind and the planet.
Covering a wide range of key topics, including environmental degradation, modern life, capitalism, robotics, financing of war (vs peace) and the pressing need to re-orient society towards a sustainable future, the book contends that lifelong learning for sustainability is key to our survival.
The author argues that One Health – recognising the fundamental interconnections between people, animals, plants, the environment – needs to inform the UN-2030 Sustainable Development Goals and that working towards the adoption of a new mindset is essential.
We need to replace our current view of limitless resources, exploitation, competition and conflict with one that respects the sanctity of life and strives towards well-being for all, shared prosperity and social stability.

Toward a new worldview

There are no easy answers but, given the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two fundamental changes are necessary if we are to survive in the coming decades: first, recognise the need to value and respect the interdependencies between people, animals, plants, and the environment (i.e., the One Health and Well-Being concept); and, second, shape through lifelong learning a new mindset – – transforming human attitudes: replacing our current view of limitless resources, exploitation, competition and conflict with one that respects the sanctity of life and strives towards well-being for all, shared prosperity and social stability.

Summarised in the Ten Propositions for Global Sustainability, the author challenges decision-makers at all levels – especially political and corporate – to take universal responsibility for the health and well-being of all people and planet – highlighting the criticality of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – ‘to leave no one behind’ and to evolve institutions to serve human, ecological and future needs, much sooner than later.

Evidence based and transdisciplinary – and including contributions from the World Bank, InterAction Council, Chatham House, UNESCO, World Economic Forum, the Tripartite One Health collaboration (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organisation for Animal Health and World Health Organization), One Health Commission and more – this book cuts across sociopolitical, economic and environmental lines. It will be of interest to practitioners, academics, policy-makers, students, nongovernment agencies and the public at large in both developed and developing nations.

George R. Lueddeke MEd PhD is an educational advisor in higher and medical education and chairs the global One Health Education Task Force for the One Health Commission and the One Health Initiative. He has published widely on educational transformation, innovation and leadership and been invited as a plenary speaker to different corners of the world.

Faces do humano

The term “human” comes from the Latin: humus, “fertile soil”: the very same root of the word “humilty”. The technological and trans-human “saga” that we live today, plunges us in an alienated world and in a virtual time, where a paradoxical narcissism reigns, cause in the Market Matrix there are no more “faces” but only trademarks, codes, consumption and exclusion. Recovering the sense of being human is the philosophical task of our time. Fulfilling this task means to deliver the human being from the slavery of money and power and from its counterfeit identities which give us only false happiness. It means to take consciousness of the diversity and freedom of the human being and of the values which teach us how to live together and how to love.

Link: www.ufpe.br


Educação ambiental, utopia e praxis

School teachers and rural extensionists from two different regions of Brazil – the Northern State of Amapá, in the Amazon and the Southern State of Rio Grande do Sul tell about their daily life, successes and limits of their personal and professional engagement, as environmental educators, for the construction of a more fair, democratic and sustainable society.

Link: www.lojacortezeditora.com.br


Sostenibilidad, valores y cultura ambiental

Researchers and professors from different countries and scientific fields attempt to make a conceptualization of “sustainability” from different disciplinary approaches: social psychology, sociology, education and economy, with the intention of highlighting the interpretative parameters which facilitate the understanding of sustainability and its practical political applications.


Educación ambiental y manejo de ecosistemas en México

In the book Environmental education and ecosystem management in Mexico, the authors reflect about the space given to Environmental Education in the Sector of Educacional Policies – where it appears as marginal – as well as in the Environmental Sector, where it is used as a mere instrument for environmental management, lessening its potencial role in promoting values and attitudes.

Link: www2.ine.gob.mx