Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
Current Issue


Welcome to Mother Pelican's Home Page


The mission of this web site is to collect and curate emerging research on global social/ecological justice issues, with especial focus on fostering integral human development in an integral ecology; and to publish monthly updates via the Mother Pelican Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability.


Integral human development includes all dimensions in the life of each person, including the physical, intellectual, pyschological, ethical, and spiritual dimensions. In particular, the spiritual development of each and every human person is crucial for sustainable development. It is recognized that spiritual growth is impossible for people living in misery. However, the extreme poverty of many is mostly a consequence of the spiritual underdevelopment of people living in abundance. Therefore, the mission of Mother Pelican encompasses the full range of social and ecological justice issues, but is specifically focused on how they relate to spirituality and the practices of various religious traditions. Gender inequalities that emerge from religious patriarchy are explored as major obstacles to integral human development, solidarity, and sustainability.


The patriarchal culture of control and domination is the root of all social and ecological violence. It corrupted the original unity of man and woman (cf. Genesis 3:16) and is now disrupting the harmony between humanity and the human habitat. Just as we are now aware that slavery and racism are moral evils, we must become aware that gender discrimination is a moral evil that must be eradicated if solidarity and sustainability are to be attained.

The need to reform patriarchal structures applies to both secular and religious institutions. Overcoming patriarchy is a "sign of the times" to the extent that it fosters authentic gender solidarity and nonviolence for the good of humanity and the glory of God. Given the enormous influence of religious traditions, it is especially critical for religious institutions to extirpate any semblance of male hegemony in matters of doctrine and religious practices.


Monthly updates of Mother Pelican are distributed free of charge via the Solidarity-Sustainability distribution list. The monthly updates currently include the following:

  • A feature article on current solidarity-sustainability issues.
  • Several one-page articles on recently emerging research.
  • Recurring articles currently cover the following themes:
  • 1. Advances in Sustainable Development
    2. Sustainable Development Resources
    3. Strategies for Solidarity and Sustainability
    4. Best Practices for Solidarity and Sustainability
    5. Fostering Integral Human Development
    6. Enhancing Gender Relations in Society & Religion
    7. Cultural Evolution for Social & Ecological Justice

    To view the first page of the current issue, click here.


    The current research agenda is to examine all the significant dimensions of sustainable development in order to integrate the resulting multi-dimensional knowledge and make it available in a form suitable for use by leaders of sustainable development initiatives. The following modes of research are being used:

  • Review and analysis of current sustainable development concepts, policies, and best practices.
  • Review and analysis of patriarchal structures of control and domination in secular and religious institutions.
  • Review and analysis of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) projects and trends.
  • Review and analysis of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) projects and trends.
  • Review and analysis of human behavior in response to economic growth-human development trade offs.
  • Use of System Dynamics (system behavior simulation) to analyze sustainable development scenarios.
  • Use of Girardian analysis (mimetic theory) to analyze scapegoating behavior.
  • Use of NxN inter-dependency matrices to analyze precedence relations.
  • Sacred scriptures from various religious traditions are used as a point of reference.
  • The following are being explored as crucial ingredients for a civilized transition to a better future for humanity and the biosphere:

  • Governance guided by solidarity, subsidiarity, and sustainability
  • Transition from consumerist growth to a steady-state economy
  • Transition from population growth to demographic stability
  • Energy usage and climate change mitigation/adaptation projects
  • Net energy analysis and energy return on energy investment
  • Implementation of financial transaction/speculation taxes
  • Shift from income/property taxes to land/resource value taxes
  • Guaranteed basic personal income (conditional or unconditional)
  • Corporate social responsibility and triple bottom-line accounting
  • Transferring subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy
  • Fostering gender solidarity/communion in society and religion

    The knowledge organization model that has been chosen for this web site is the Knowledge Map of Chaim Zins:



    This package contains a college-level powerpoint presentation on ecological sustainability. The presentation is about the transition from the consumerist society to ecological sustainability. After definitions of ecology, sustainability, ecological sustainability, and sustainable development, the presentation unfolds as a series of questions and answers centered around the "sustainable development paradox" (i.e., the paradox of infinite growth in a finite planet).

    This is the essence of the sustainable development paradox:

  • If consumption continues to grow indefinitely, natural resources will be depleted, pollution will reach saturation levels, and the human habitat will degrade so much that it will not support human civilization.
  • If consumption growth comes to an end, the worldwide economic-financial system will become disfunctional and eventually may collapse with severe social repercussions.
  • In other words:

  • Increasing consumption will eventually destroy the human habitat
  • Stabilizing consumption would stagnate materialistic economic growth
  • The purpose of this presentation is not to resolve the paradox, but to show the relevance of "Ecological Sustainability" for engineers and other professionals. Due to the ubiquity of sustainability issues (all locations, all industries, all human activities), at least one course in "Ecological Sustainability" should be required in all professional programs (undergraduate and graduate levels), as well as continuing education programs. For some good educational resources, see the following:

  • Teaching Stewardship and Sustainability
  • US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
  • Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit
  • UN Education for Sustainable Development Program
  • International Jesuit Ecology Project
  • Gaia Education: Best Climate Practices
  • A Readers’ Guide to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’
  • To download the information package, click here.


    SDSIM 2.0

    The objective of the Sustainable Development Simulation (SDSIM) is to analyze trade-offs between human development and economic development priorities. It is a global model, in the tradition of Limits to Growth and other similar projects. However, it attempts to take into account both material resources, which are limited, and human resources such as wisdom and the human capacity for adaptation, which are not physically limited. The time window is 1900-2100, and the transition from consumerism to sustainability is expected to begin happening during this century; in fact, empirical data suggests that it may have started already.

    For more information on SDSIM 1.5, click here.

    To explore the SDSIM 1.5 web-based interface, click here.

    Further development of SDSIM 2.0 is pending.

    The horizontal and vertical scales are not shown in order to avoid giving the impression that this is a prediction. This is a simulated scenario, not a prediction. It portrays dynamic modes of behavior that can be expected during the transition from consumerism to sustainability, as follows:

  • Population peaking, then oscillating and finally decreasing to a long-term sustainable level. Note time-phasing with GDP and per capita consumption of material goods and services.
  • The peak in energy availability is followed by a long decline until it settles to the steady-state flow that is allowed by solar (and perhaps other cosmic) sources of energy. The "long-tail" is the result technological developments with gradually decreasing return on energy invested.
  • The solidarity index is currently formulated as a nonlinear function of human population, material consumption, and energy flows. It is an indicator of social cohesion, which is tightly coupled with the sustainability of resource usage. Solidarity reinforces sustainability and vice versa.
  • The general patterns of peaks, oscillations, and eventual settling to steady-state are indicative of turbulence during the transition, with high risk of cultural disruptions and violence. The myth of "infinite growth in a finite planet" will not be easy to overcome.

    This is not intended to be an "alarmist" scenario. However, it would be wise to take the Precautionary Principle into account when formulation sustainable development policies as we enter the Anthropocene Age. Widespread violence is bound to emerge if demographic and consumption adjustments are involuntary. Is this "the future we want" for the entire community of nations?

    NB: The current SDSIM 2.0 is a demo, not a capability.

  • Integral Human Development

    Catholic Relief Services, 17 June 2013

    Humanity's Ecological Footprint

    Global Footprint Network

    The Ecological Citizen

    The Ecological Citizen

    Human Overpopulation Atlas

    Human Overpopulation Atlas, 10 October 2018

    Great Transition Initiative

    Great Transition Initiative, 30 January 2014

    Global Material Resources

    Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, 2019

    Ecological Economics

    Herman Daly, Economics and the Environment, 15 March 2015

    Biophysical Economics

    Charlie Hall, Biophysics and the Economy, 6 October 2015

    Energy Economics

    University of Texas Energy Symposium,
    Carey King, 14 March 2019

    Concordian Economics

    Athens Institute for Education and Research, 29 June 2020

    Global Poverty Data 2020

    Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2020

    How the World Works

    Jack Alpert, How the World Works, 12 August 2020

    Human Development Report 2021-2022

    United Nations Development Program, 8 September 2022

    Bouncing Forward Sustainably

    IIASA/ISC, New Reports and Video, 26 January 2021

    Climate & Biosphere

    Climate change isn't the problem, so what is?
    William Rees, 28 January 2021
    Conference on Changing Climates
    Tel Aviv University, Israel, 27-28 January 2021

    Earth and Humanity: Myth and Reality

    Nate Hagens, Energy and Our Future, 16 May 2021
    This lecture outlines 33 core myths underpinning modern cultural conversations and behaviors.

    Earth Day 2023

    American Museum of Natural History, April 2023

    Mining of Minerals

    Simon P. Michaux, Mining of Minerals, 25 July 2021
    See also The Mining of Minerals and the Limits to Growth

    Sustainable Population

    William Rees,
    World Population Day 2021, 14 July 2021

    Collapse in a Nutshell:
    Understanding Our Predicament

    Collapse in a Nutshell: Understanding Our Predicament
    Michael Dowd, 8 November 2021

    Overshoot in a Nutshell:
    Understanding Our Predicament

    Overshoot in a Nutshell: Understanding Our Predicament
    Michael Dowd, 15 November 2021

    Transitioning from Complexity

    Transitioning from Fossil-fueled Complexity:
    Challenges Posed by the Nature of Culture

    Tom Love, 9 June 2021

    The REAL Green New Deal

    The REAL Green New Deal Project
    Megan Seibert & William Rees

    Limits and Beyond

    Commissioned by the Club of Rome
    Published by Exapt Press, May 2022

    The Blind Spots of the
    Green Energy Transition

    The Blind Spots of the Green Energy Transition
    Olivia Lazard, CEIP, 2 July 2022

    Transcending MTI Civilization

    Ruben Nelson, Transcending Our MTI Form of Civilization:
    Exploring the New Core Work of the 21st Century,
    Canadian Association for the Club of Rome, 22 June 2022

    Earth for All:
    A Survival Guide for Humanity

    Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity
    Club of Rome, September 2022

    Degrowth Defined

    UN Charter for Ecological Justice
    Barbara Williams, 1 December 2022

    Dispelling the Myths of a
    Renewable Energy Transition

    The Gaian Way, April 2023

    "The renewable energy technologies that offer an alternative to fossil fuel dependency are advancing rapidly, but they aren't ushering in the environmentally responsible future we imagined. That's because they are serving the same destructive and unequal economic ends that fossil fuels have cultivated over the past two centuries. Absent a slower and more mindful approach to energy transition, solar panels and EV batteries could simply be the next mass of materials to be irresponsibly and inequitably extracted from the Earth for human benefit (or more accurately some humans' benefit). This panel of sustainability experts discusses this possibility and the science, ecology, and economics behind the energy transition. They compare our hopes for a truly sustainable economy to the reality of the transition, as currently enacted, and discusses alternative visions of sustainability to guide us back on course, including slowing down, degrowing the economy, and rethinking our relationship with the larger Earth system. Speakers include: William E. Rees, ecological economist and co-creator of the eco-footprint indicator; John Mulrow, Professor of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University; and Miriam Stevens, PhD Student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue. Erik Assadourian, director of the Gaian Way, moderates."



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    The pelican is an ancient symbol of unconditional service. To be a "person for others" requires full awareness of the personal self and also requires sacrifice of the one who serves. The following excerpt from The Physiologus (the author is unknown, circa 4th century CE) captures this ideal:

    "The long beak of the white pelican is furnished with a sack which serves as a container for the small fish that it feeds its young. In the process of feeding them, the bird presses the sack against its neck in such a way that it seems to open its breast with its bill. The reddish tinge of its breast plumage and the redness of the tip of its beak fostered the folkloristic notion that it actually drew blood from its own breast."

    The author of The Physiologus found the action of the female pelican, interpreted in this manner, to be a symbol of merciful and sacrificial service and thus an apt symbol of Jesus the Christ (Cf. Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34). While professing no affiliation to any specific religious body, the Mother Pelican journal is committed to the promotion of basic Christian values, human rights, social justice, balanced gender equality, and ecological sustainability.

    "Ubi caritas et amor,
    Deus ibi est."



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    For an annotated list that shows the themes covered and articles published each month, click here.


    For "about" info, click here.


    Articles and news items can be submitted via email to the editor. Please note that this journal is strictly non-commercial and is published under a Creative Commons License.


    "We must end the merciless, relentless,
    senseless war on nature."

    António Guterres, UN Secretary General, 6 Feb 2023


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