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I am talking about the ideas that deal with the reshaping of our identities, as both individuals and communities, given what we now know about the changing living conditions on our planet, and of a new sense of identification with, and commitment to, those who will be affected in the future by the way we live right now, by both what we are doing and what we are not doing yet. I am talking about a new notion of citizenship that is called for by the demands of the ecological crisis, an “ecological citizenship” of a global scope, that can best be promoted by, well, the one global body of nations we have. -- Ilan Safit
A sustainable role to play as citizens of the earth, considering the impact of our behaviors and new means of participating with our local communities.
As David Bornstein claims, we are riding the verge of a social change enlightenment.
Successful social change programs are targeting the heart as well as the head, effecting change by appealing to ‘non-rational’ factors such as emotion, group identity, and relationships. (...)
At the heart of the social change enlightenment, there is a new emphasis on data and facts to evaluate the impact of social change programs. Where the historical exponents of Enlightenment used scientific experiments and logical arguments to explain the world, we are drawing on the infinite capacities of online data clouds and innovative data visualization tools to make social change challenges and solutions apparent to all. This is radically reducing costs and exponentially boosting the effectiveness of social change programs. (...)
Smart data can feed into social change in three main ways:
1. Data visualization. Visualizing problems makes it easier to respond to them. We see this in the world of crisis mapping. In the 2010 Haitian earthquake, Ushahidi’s crisis mapping tools were hailed as a breakthrough innovation.
2. ‘Socialize’ the process of systems change with smart interactive campaigns. Smart data doesn’t just enable us to visualize problems, it opens up new ways of mobilizing crowds to engage with them too. We can take inspiration here from flashmob culture and groups like ImprovEverywhere, who seek to create ‘scenes of chaos and joy in public places’.
3. Empower entrepreneurs to engage with social change initiatives. The most talented people in the world are not necessarily working for social change organizations. This doesn’t mean that they are not willing to pitch in and get involved. (...)
Our collective capacity today is truly miraculous. All that we need are tools to transform this capacity into millions of enlightened actions.
read more here.
OCTOBER 31, 2012
Is it enough for our lives, our economy, our cities to become “sustainable”? If being sustainable means no more than being able to maintain the status quo of strife and never having enough, of contests over who gets the most of the scarce resources available, then aiming for sustainability is not enough. We should instead aim for abundance.
What’s abundance? Abundance, by my definition, is the condition when all people, regardless of their backgrounds, now and in the future, are enabled to live life as art.
Art is self-expression to others – and just like a painting, a hand-made basket, a dance performance, a dinner, or a garden express something about their makers and take on added value when they are shared with others, so also life’s activities only become meaningful if they express something about the person’s self and values to others in that person’s life.
Our homes do not have to offer us permanent occupancy or store our clothes to merit the name. Home can be an airport or a library, a garden or a hotel. Our love of home is in turn an acknowledgement of the degree to which our identity is not self-determined. We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability. We need a refuge to shore up our states of mind, because so much of the world is opposed to our allegiances. We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us.
"As the philosopher Peter Singer has put it, the communications revolution has spawned a “global audience” that creates the basis for a “global ethics.” If we identify ourselves with the nation, our morality remains national. But, if we increasingly associate ourselves with the world at large, our loyalties will expand, too. Similarly, the Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen speaks of our “multiple identities” – ethnic, religious, national, local, professional, and political – many of which cross national boundaries.
The same surveys indicate that younger people, the highly educated, and those who identify themselves as upper class, are more likely to associate themselves with the world. Nevertheless, it is difficult to identify any demographic segment in which attachment to the global community outweighs attachment to the country."
Dani Rodrik is a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a leading scholar of globalization and economic development.
The author finds it particularly problematic that cultural identity is commonly conceived as a fixed and exclusive entity with an inherently positive moral imperative. An alternative, dynamic view is thus presented emphasizing continuing development beyond the perimeters of one's ascribed or primary cultural identity. In this approach, the concept of "intercultural identity" is employed as an extension of, and a counterpoint to, cultural identity. Grounded in an open systems perspective, the identity development beyond one's primary culture is explained in terms of the internal stress-adaptation growth dynamic, a psychological response to the challenges of interfacing with differing cultural identities. Such intercultural challenges are described as the very force that "pushes" an individual in the direction of greater intercultural learning, perceptual refinement, and a self-other orientation that is at once individuated and universalized.
The space in which we live can be a very important determinant of cultural practices which shape our personal identities.
How has your life been influenced by those around you? Have you got a good sense of your urban or rural spatial environment? How has this shaped your identity as an individual? These are some of the questions that we need to answer to understand the space in which we live in. So in order to understand our own identity we need to think spatially.
“Really, thinking spatially means looking beyond ourselves, a recognition of others” states Doreen Massey. Space is outward bound. Identity is inward bound. It is this connection between the outward shaping the inward that is crucial in determining our own spatial identity. (...)
Spatial identity is not stagnant. As humans are moving beings, we can migrate or travel to different spaces which in turn also shape a part of our identity. For instance, I’ve lived in two different countries and traveled extensively to other parts of the globe, so my identity is somewhat cross-cultural. As space changes, so can personal identities. Personal identity can also be a choice with the place people identify most with, as opposed to those that had minimal effects on their life.
IN his early life, before he left the violent projects of Strasbourg, before he was acclaimed as a rapper and a poet, Abd Al Malik was a confusion of identities — “schizophrenic,” he says. A Catholic altar boy turned Muslim proselyte, he was at once thug and scholar, dealing hashish and reading philosophy, picking pockets after Sunday Mass.
As a teenager, he lost friends to heroin, murder and suicide; rattled and angry, he sought explanations in “On the Shortness of Life,” by the Greek thinker Seneca. At 16, Mr. Malik says, he renounced crime, burned everything he had bought with “dirty money” and fell in with a rigid Muslim sect. Later he gravitated to Sufism, the mystical strain of Islam.
“There’s really a lag between how France sees itself and what France really is,” he said, speaking with the same precise syllables and crisp consonants that distinguish his music. “So long as we haven’t realized that diversity is part of French identity, at a certain point we’re telling ourselves that a Frenchman, after all, is a white man, Christian, who’s between 25 and 45. And everything that doesn’t fit that description is tossed aside.”
France is “not capable of recognizing, directly, her own children,” he said. “From my point of view, this is our country’s major problem.”
Earlier this month, our publisher released a report, “Don’t Call Them Post-Racial,” which surveyed attitudes about race in key systems in U.S. society among young adults 18-25. Dom Apollon’s research team conducted focus groups with dozens of young people in the Los Angeles area, and learned that their thoughts on race are far more nuanced than most polling and commentary has suggested. Theirs is the most diverse generation in U.S. history, but that doesn’t make them post-race. Rather, the young people in the focus groups made clear that they believed race still matters today.
Activists in the United States are watching closely as El Salvador works to address the root causes of gang violence.
In mid-June members of rival gangs Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, and Barrio 18 in El Salvador marked 100 days of an historic gang truce.
Rodriguez, the longtime writer, adds that restorative justice is about asking perpetrators and victims to restore what was taken away.
“You can’t restore lives or property damage, but you can restore trust,” Rodriguez says. “One of the ways you can do that is by getting gang members themselves to commit to community and to change. We’re not just talking about the least violent. It’s a very important concept. It has worked when we’ve done it in different parts of the US with people who were once some of the most violent. It works to restore trust within civil society and those that are on the margins of society. We want to get them back in. It’s another way to go, rather than just punishing people.”
This video, animated by Warren Lehrer with Brandon Campbell, features the words of Eugene Hütz–leader of the gypsy-punk-cabaret band Gogol Bordello—sharing his views on ‘globalization’ and putting forward an alternative vision of what he calls “multi-kontra culture.” This video with sound production and arrangement by Judith Sloan is the newest manifestation of Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan’s multi-media project, Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America, which documents and portrays new immigrants and refugees in the United States.