ALBERTA YOUTH WORKSHOP 2003

A WORLD FIT FOR CHILDREN AND THE 15 GLOBAL CHALLENGES

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2003

 

The following is a summary of 16 flip charts filled with suggestions and comments provided during our Youth Workshop at the University of Calgary .  The first 15 flip charts followed the themes of the Millennium Project’s 15 Global Challenges (go to http://www.acunu.org/ for the Millennium project generally, and http://www.acunu.org/millennium/chal-prot.html#15%20Global specifically for the 15 Global Challenges).  The 16th flip chart was for “Free Thinking”.  It is notable that the final recommendation/comment reads, “This involves long-term thinking and problem solving.  Although there is no apparent solution, we need to have hope and breed a new generation of peacemakers.  Eventually.”

   


1. How can sustainable development be achieved for all?

-         one cannot truly understand who we are and what we are doing until we look at ourselves from another point of view

-         need to develop healthy economies worldwide that respect employees

-         better understand our connections to nature

-         stop thinking of humanity as separate, superior and independent of the environment

-         find alternate energy resources in order to allow natural resources to replenish themselves

-         join the Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNET)

-         “live simply so that others may simply live”

 


2. How can everyone have sufficient clean water without conflict?

-         public water availability

-         think about our consumption (don’t be wasteful)

-         look at water conservation strategies

-         waste not, want not

-         by adapting the business cycle to respect the limits of the water cycle

-         local efforts to learn about water purification and conservation

-         use phyto-remediation greenhouses to remove pathogens and toxic metals from wastewater ( prosci@ecn.ab.ca )

 


3. How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?

-         quality of life – what defines a family?

-         Quality of education and teachers

-         Growing population with relation to curing disease: “survival of the fittest”; is disease required to control the population?

-         Maybe everyone doesn’t have to procreate, especially as (over)educated western worlders – ADOPT!

 


4. How can genuine democracy emerge from authoritarian regimes?

-         education, truthful and from different perspectives

-         political change has to come from the people to be truly “democratic”; outside governments can’t be the ones to inflict change

-         democracy doesn’t work for everyone; doesn’t mean it’s the best

-         we cannot be so ethnocentric: countries must do what is appropriate for their own people

-         it is almost impossible unless there is a radical shift of power, or else the U.S. or another external government interferes

-         no outside intervention unless it is asked for!  - must come from within/internally (How did we do it?)

-         Coup d’etat by the people

-         Communism works for Cuba – why impose our values on a nation that has its own different values

-         Why is it assumed that democracy is the right thing?

-         Once Russia began to use democracy over communism, the country was torn apart.  So democracy does not work for everybody.

-         Is democracy the best option for a country with an authoritarian history?

-         What if democracy doesn’t work for that country?  - just because democracy works for us doesn’t mean it works for other countries

-         By understanding the historical political cycles of such a country (eg. Does the country have a tendency of dictatorship?) and working with the people to develop (peacefully) a government that promotes equality but also works

-         A good antidote to bullying is getting all people to understand and internalize Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human  Rights.  It enforces the right of every person to uphold the rights of others

-         As in the case of Alberta , documenting false premises that underlay public policy decisions – then sending demand notices with time specific reply periods will help clarify political values that lack public merit

 


5. How can policy making be made more sensitive to global long-term perspectives?

-         establish decisive analytical standards on how to deal with long term crises (eg. Rising oceans)

-         what is a long term perspective?  Challenges (i.e. AIDS)

-         what policies now are insensitive to global long-term perspectives?

-         Take the power to make policies away from rich minorities who are only concerned with their own material wealth.  Empower the people and the youth.

 


6. How can the global convergence of information and communications technologies work for everyone?

 

-         Internet as an awareness tool

-         Using Internet to ensure spread of information for third-world nations

-         Providing information without government censorship to prevent infringement of human rights worldwide

-         Why don’t we start with literacy?  Critical thinking?

-         Access to information is a human right, however Internet is not a fundamental right in that it is not the only way to access information

-         E-peace (eg. http://www.peace.ca )

 


7. How can ethical market economies be encouraged to help reduce the gap between the rich and poor?

-         combined revenue of Ford and General Motors is greater than the GDP of sub-Sahara Africa

-         question corporate America/Canada

-         how can people support themselves on $1 to $2 per day?

-         People can support themselves on $1 to $2 per day because money is not important, since it really only causes problems

-         Encourage small business growth

-         Get foreign investment into local enterprise

-         People need to understand how businesses work

-         Education so that people can survive/fend for themselves in market economy

-         Why does it all come down to money?  Why should how we live our lives be based on how much we make?

-         How can governments introduce regulations in market economies to reduce the gap between the rich and poor?

-         Read Karl Polanyi on socially responsible market mechanism

-         Read “All You Can Eat: Lust and Greed in the New Capitalism” by Linda McQuaig

 


8. How can the threat of new and re-emerging diseases and immune micro-organisms be reduced?

-         disease of loneliness as related to ignorance and isolation

-         raise awareness in third world countries

-         re-mineralize soils; use non-till methods of growing crops; no “animal by-products” in feeds

-         make medicines and health care available to all

-         disease education

-         don’t overuse antibiotics

-         explore and use natural and traditional remedies

-         teach medicine and disease prevention according to the culture of the people and not the scientific methods of the medicine providers

-         keep medical developments public knowledge

-         non-profit public organization to keep medicinal cures available to people who can not necessarily afford it

 


9. How can the capacity to decide be improved as the nature of work and institutions change?

-         by understanding the sphere of influence of the decision making process on those who participate in institutions

-         horizontal decision-making

-         United Nations reform to make the words of all countries equally heard

-         How can the United States go over the United Nations? (eg. War on Iraq )

-         U.S. veto power is not allowing the world to progress

-         Multilateral communications

-         Round table coalition of specialized people all willing to accept common decisions

-         Set up a study of democratic self-determination and how to create a deeper democratic culture

 


10. How can shared values and new security strategies reduce ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and the use of weapons of mass destruction?

-         example, people support groups which support them (such as Hamas that provides healthcare, education, safety net on the West Bank )

-         marginalized people are drawn to those who welcome/support them

-         reduce conflict by objective education of others’ history and culture

-         address root problems and cover peoples’ basic needs

-         intercultural acceptance and understanding

-         promote research on multiple sovereignties (eg. Hong Kong , Vatican City , Treaties in Canada )

 


11. How can the changing status of women help improve the human condition?

-         accept differences of gender

-         the education of women in third world countries is an important aspect in the making of peace!

-         Microcredit loans to women of third world countries (elevates status of women; promotes grassroots economy)

-         Over half the population is discriminated against – is that not a problem?  Once we get gender on par it will be much easier to deal with other discrimination.

-         In many countries around the world, women and children are forced to walk ahead of an army into a field filled with landmines.  By doing so, the women/children are killed, but create a safe path for the army, since the mines have already been set off.

-         We must respect other countries’ cultures while advocating women’s rights.  We can’t impose our values on women of other cultures.  What says our view of life is correct?

-         Women’s status has barely changed.  We still need more rights.  The media thinks we are something we are not, and then we are supposed to be that way.

-         Communication is key to women’s rights development

-         Intergenerational communication

-         Men should help with the roles of women because our (women’s) roles are way more important (eg. Chores, care for children, etc.)

-         If women were not undervalued and oppressed in some societies, the economy of the world would be better off.  There is an untapped resource that could make our world a better place by just allowing women equal rights and an equal opportunity in the workplace.  (It was noted that some values which we believe is wrong doesn’t necessarily mean that they (women) are oppressed.)

-         Education, awareness, women’s discussion groups, women sometimes exclude themselves

-         Education about sex is key to cutting down the problem at the roots

 


12. How can transnational organized crime be stopped from becoming more powerful and sophisticated global enterprises?

-         make corruption visible

-         organized crime is often used by countries to pay for necessities (eg. Schools, healthcare)

-         many countries depend on organized crime to fund their countries’ necessities (eg. Colombia depends on its drug trade to give the people health care, etc.)

-         bias affects the understanding of cultural/international issues

-         refer to Mike Ruppert’s website http://www.copvcia.com/  dealing with CIA and Wall Street involvement in international drug peddling as source of laundered money for U.S. industry ($500 billion per year)

 


13. How can growing energy demand be met safely and efficiently?

 

-         change the way that energy is produced.  Stop using dirty energy like coal.  Use “clean” forms of energy like hydroelectric and wind power.

-         What are the most efficient uses of energy that our communities can use?  Do we really need oil from Iraq ?  If our ancestors before us survived with what they had why can’t we?

-         Save our non-renewable resources.  Use more safety/health based energy sources.

-         Give up on oil and gas.  Wind, solar, water should take over.  We will have less, but we need less.

-         Change how energy is used (eg. Every home does not need air conditioning)

-         Use the earth, don’t kill it

-         Waste not, want not

-         Environmentally friendly is the way to go

 


14. How can scientific and technological breakthroughs be accelerated to improve the human condition?

-         science is good to an extent, but when it comes to destroying the lives of others there has to be limitations (like cloning)

-         human condition should not be based on science – should be based on nature and values (corollary: science should be based on the human condition)

-         reducing the general fear of science – it is all part of nature

-         funding to the right places

 


15. How can ethical considerations become more routinely incorporated into global decisions?

-         deal with systemic violence at local level (eg. Anti-oppression network)

-         morality issues – same in most religions

-         reverse discrimination is not the answer

-         Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s decision for allowing homosexual marriages and not basing it on religion was a good move as a politician.  If he based it on Catholicism it would no longer be a national decision, but a moral one.

-         By creating an international identity (as it will help promote awareness of other cultures)

 


16. Free thinking:

-         changes need to be implemented directly to the people so that they actually benefit

-         cultural rather than scientific approaches to global change (cases:  AIDS/HIV, malaria)

-         we need a Global Education System!!

-         Throwing money at the problem wont help (i.e. government corruption, will only go to unsustainable things, cultural approach)

-         Why go to other places (eg. Third world countries) and help them make peace when North America needs it more?  If anything, we need our values helped.  Living where money and corporations rule all.  Third World Countries at least have a sense of happiness and community.  To me – they have peace, not us.

-         World population would be larger if certain countries did not have laws against having more than a pre-set number of children.  These laws may force families to kill unwanted babies and children.  Also laws of “no female/male babies”.

-         What happens when we achieve world peace?  Can we sustain it?  What will happen next?

-         Eliminating prejudice regarding religion and educating others about past/present discriminations of religious minorities

-         Racism – how can we promote understanding re racism?

-         How do we get countries and people see goodness in each other?  What can make countries view one another as brothers and sisters?

-         Breaking down corporations! And money – too focused on these

-         Money is useless.  People shouldn’t be dependant of it.  If we actually helped each other instead of only helping for money, we would have that much more peace.

-         What is peace?  Does it mean no more conflict or just no war?  If there is no war are we at peace or just not fighting about our problems?

-         The world spends too much money on military.  For example, the United States spends $1.1 billion on its military every day.  More money needs to be spent on peace, not war.

-         Stop allowing intimidation to be used as management tool.  It is a form of extortion and musts be replaced with persuasion based on reason.

 

-         This involves long-term thinking and problem solving.  Although there is no apparent solution, we need to have hope and breed a new generation of peacemakers.  Eventually.