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Society & Ecology
Saturday, November 01, 2003  
Cultural Change Strategies

Three Dimensions

Joanna Macy outlines three dimensions to The Great Turning - our shift from an industrial growth society to a life-sustainaing and life-centered civilization.

1. Holding actions - stopping the current destruction.
2. Analysis - of causes, processes.
3. Shift in consciousness - to a more systemic, life-centered view, and solutions emerging from this view.

Perceived Substance

In our current society, especially as reflected in media, the focus is typically on problems, mostly from a limited and mainstream view. There seems to be a perception that problems are more substantial than solutions, and that problem focus is a reflection of a more serious mind than solution focus.

This attitude seems to be an integral part of the industrial growth society, and is ironically enough adopted by many who see some of the problems of this society.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), it is less effective - and far less enjoyable - than a solution focus. Problem focus tells us what is wrong (as if we don't know!), makes the change effort appear dreary (which it is when a problem focus is adopted), and leads to burnout (wisdom of nature). Solution focus helps us see beyond the (often familiar) problems, gives us a direction and longer view (visions), appears more meaningful and joyful (it is), and gives us the energy and joy to keep going.

Some Examples - Democracy [in progress]

Here are some examples of problems and applied solution focus. All related to democracy:

Problem: Diebold and voting machines

Diebold is a company (ultra-conservative) given the lucrative task of providing the US with voting machines. These voting machines are proprietary "black boxes". There is no paper trail, and no-one is allowed to look at the source code etc. to control that the results are accurate. There have been several instances that seriously questions how reliable these uncontrollable machines are, and Diebold happily sues anyone who questions the wisdom of using their machines. (Strikingly Orwellian).

Verified Voting
Black Box Voting Blues - Newsweek
All the President's Votes - Independent/UK
Visualize a Fair Election in 2004 - Greg Palast/Yes!
Safeguarding the Vote - Doug Pibel.Yes!

Solution: The solution is Open Source technology. Software with source code open to anyone, and developed and checked by a large number of people around the world.

E-Voting Done Right - article from Wired about e-voting in Australia (open source)
Open Source Everywhere - Wired Magazine
Open Source Initiative
Linux / Open Source (Google News Search)
History of the Open Source Movement
Linux Journal

Problem: Marginal democracy between nations

There is an obvious lack of true democracy on an international level. The United Nations is an excellent beginning, but also in need of reform. Currently, the permanent members of the security council have a veto power which takes power away from the general assembly - where it belongs.

Solution: Reform of the United Nations to make it more truly democratic, and giving more power to the United Nations.

Problem: Marginal democracy within nations
There is much room for improvement in democracies around the world. Some of the problem areas are lack of citizen participation, corporate donations to candidates and politicians (in the US, a politician is dependent on corporate sponsorship to have any chance to be elected, even on a local level), corporate media that sets the agenda and content for public concerns and debate, and multinational corporations and their organizations (WTO etc) creating international laws and regulations that undermines national and regional laws (laws protecting workers and ecosystems).

Solution: Increased citizen participation (citizen councils), multiparty system (in the US), better voting systems (instant runoff voting), crassroots globalization.

Co-Intelligence Institute - techniques for citizen participation
Instant Runoff Voting - info from Center for Voting and Democracy
Instant Runoff Voting

Problem: Neoliberal gloablization

Neo-liberal globalization is a code word for removing obstacles for multinational corporations to amass more wealth and power. In the vast majority of cases, it is not in the interest of people, ecosystems, and future generations.

Solution: Local economies

Problem: Corporate media

Corporate media (which is more than 90% of the media these days) align their views with the interest of corporations, and increasingly sets the agenda for politics and society.

CorpWatch - watchdog
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Media Transparency
Who Owns What - Columbia Journalism Review
Media Reform Information Center - resource list

Solution: One solution is citizen media (online).
Guerilla News Network
Common Dreams

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