Friday, October 27, 2006

Nobel Intentions.

Back in May, I took part in an international gathering of writers on the Greek island of Paros.

The New Symposium – convened by the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (whose alumni include this year’s Nobel winner, Orhan Pamuk) and the Fulbright office in Athens – concluded four days of deliberations on the Greek island of Paros with a shared cry of alarm over the state of the planet.

The subject of this year’s symposium was ‘the Commons’, defined by the author and entrepreneur Peter Barnes as what we inherit and must pass on undiminished to our heirs – the sky, water, public lands, culture, science, customs and laws, rituals and rites, the airwaves, seedbeds of creativity, and so on.

Sixteen writers from ten different countries found common ground on the subject of global climate change and other planet-threatening issues. As a result, they have issued an open letter to the Nobel Foundation calling for the setting up of an annual prize for services to the environment. Signatories to the letter will be publishing it in their own countries – contributing to a truly international call for action.

Here is the letter:

Open letter from the New Symposium to the NOBEL FOUNDATION

calling for the foundation of an annual prize for services to the environment

WE, a colloquy of writers and thinkers from around the world, have gathered on the Greek island of Paros to discuss the commons: those things, natural and cultural, that human beings hold in common and upon which we all depend. Though our deliberations have revealed differences on some issues, we have found common ground with regards to the global environment.

Our climate is being dangerously destabilised; population growth and development threaten the very resources upon which populations depend; the rate of species extinctions is one thousand times the natural rate. Collectively, we are failing to live up to the principles of sustainability as set out nearly twenty years ago by the UN’s Brundtland Report which calls for ‘development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

We have a duty of care to preserve the biosphere and to pass it on undiminished to future generations. The Nobel Foundation has already recognised this ethical imperative, most notably in its decision to award the 2004 Peace Prize to Wangari Mathaai for her work with the Green Belt Foundation. Ms. Mathaai understands that environmental destruction leads to scarcity, and that scarcity leads to conflict. The formula applies beyond east Africa: as the world’s resources dwindle, the dangers of regional, even international, conflicts over what remains intensify.

While we applaud the awarding of the Peace Prize to Wangari Mathaai, we believe that our environmental crisis needs particular recognition: for conflict is not its only consequence. Increasingly severe droughts, famine, hurricanes and floods are claiming more lives every year. The number of species facing extinction is rapidly rising. The grounds of all our achievements – in international law, science, the arts and commerce – will give way if we cannot save the global commons. We believe that the Nobel Foundation can assist environmental protection and inspire in the world’s citizens a global environmental conscience by founding an annual prize for services to the environment. Such a prize might be open to researchers and thinkers, to activist individuals and organisations, and to corporations that are at the forefront of green technologies and sustainable development.

The New Symposium has been assembled from many nationalities. In like manner, a Nobel Prize for the Environment ought to draw attention to the many ways in which different societies attend to a diversity of ecological problems. At the same time, the prize must be universal in its resonance, asserting that, whatever else may divide us, we are united in our duties towards the only home we all share.

The New Symposium

Paros, Greece, May 2006

(From the United States: Diana Cates, Lewis Hyde, Ruth Margraff, Barry Sanders, Scott Russell Sanders. From Greece: Stratis Haviaras, Alexis Stamatis, Anastassis Vistonitis. From Brazil: Giselle Beiguelman. From the United Kingdom: Gregory Norminton. From India: Rustom Bharucha. From Indonesia: Ayu Utami. From Israel: Amir Or. From Kenya: Yvonne Owour. From Romania: Magda Carneci. From Sri Lanka: Ameena Hussein.)


Blogger sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





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6:07 AM  

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