The E-Newsletter of
A Monthly Digest of Current Research, Emerging Issues, and New Initiatives

Vol. 4, No. 3, March 2008
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Newsletter Home Page


Violence is the main obstacle to human development. There is an intrinsic link between violence and religion, patriarchal gender violence being the most pervasive expression of religious violence. Mitigating violence therefore requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset, especially in religious institutions. The mission of this independent newsletter is to provide a commented digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both religious and secular non-violence. The U.N. "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) are used as a point of reference.

Theme of this Issue
Human Dimension of Sustainable Development


The newsletter this month is focused on the human dimension of sustainable development. The basic hypothesis is that, for development to be truly sustainable, what really matters is human development at all levels: biophysical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Sustainable development must be rooted in human needs, and all development initiatives must be validated in terms of how human needs are satisfied; not only at the level of basic physical needs such as food and shelter, but also education and vocational guidance, and the opportunity to eventually make free decisions regarding the spiritual journey.

In order to articulate the progressive (but not necessarily sequential) steps of human development, four stages are considered:

  • Homo sapiens, the rational human being with social behavior driven by basic human needs
  • Homo economicus, the rational human being driven by self-interest as top priority
  • Homo solidarius, the rational human being willing to balance self-interest with the common good
  • Homo eucharisticus, the rational human being willing to forsake self-interest for the common good

Homo sapiens is a constant, and will remain so in the foreseeable future of human evolution. Homo eucharisticus is the "top of the mountain" in human development; but the top of the mountain is a lonely place, and few are ready to even consider the price that must be paid. At this point in human history, the sensible options are to continue the age of Homo economicus or pave the way for a transition from Homo economicus to Homo solidarius. Given that sustainability is a requirement for the long term survival of humanity, and given that sustainability is unattainable without global solidarity and nonviolence, it seems that Homo economicus should be allowed to rest in peace. It follows, then, that Homo solidarius should become the new model for human behavior. This is not the trend that the daily news convey at the moment, and correcting the trend is becoming increasingly urgent. It can be done. The trend can be corrected. But people must be willing to give up the "me, myself, and I" mindset and embrace the alternative and much better mindset of "us, ourselves, and we."

Updates of the SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database continue as time permits. Links to marginal research resources are being deleted, and links to "best of the web" resources continue to be collected. This is a never ending task, and the reader is cordially invited to take a look at this resource, grab anything of interest, and download it (free) for your own use (two options: HTML Web Page or EXCEL Spreadsheet with tailorable HTML code).

To further amplify on the theme of the month, the invited paper is What Does It Mean to be Human? It is written by Therese F. Hicks, and Irish psychotherapist, and offers significant insights on human nature and human behavior. At the end of the day, it is all about "know thyself" and the realization that growing in self-knowledge requires help, both from within and from the communities in which we live. Both are readily available, and both require our cooperation: "no pain, no gain."


  1. The MDGs and Human Development
  2. The Age of Homo sapiens
  3. The Age of Homo economicus
  4. The Age of Homo solidarius
  5. The Age of Homo eucharisticus
  6. SSNV and Human Development
  7. Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom
  8. Prayer, Study, and Action
  9. Links to Archived Newsletters

What Does It Mean to Be Human?
by Therese F. Hicks, Psychotherapist,
Health Service Executive, Ireland, 2008

The Pelican Symbol
Human Nature
Religious Traditions
Global News/Issues
Global Citizens
Sign of the Times
Hillary for President
MDG Pubs & Data
Resource Links
Global Dialogue 2008
SSNV Call for Papers
Free Download

1. The MDGs and Human Development

Human development, both individual and communitarian, entails the concrete totality of human life -- biologically, psychologically, and spiritually. Therefore, sustainable development should be "understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence". The so-called three pillars of sustainable development are social development, economic development, and environmental protection:

Figure 1 - The Three Pillars of Sustainable Development
Source: Wikipedia and UNESCO

But human development is the cornerstone on which the three pillars are built. In particular, it is the cornerstone of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The U.N. Human Development Report (HDR) 2007-2008 makes this clear. The subtitle of the report is Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, but fighting uncontrolled climate change is essential because such change is anticipated to become a barrier for human development:

"Climate change is the defining human development issue of our generation. All development is ultimately about expanding human potential and enlarging human freedom. It is about people developing the capabilities that empower them to make choices and to lead lives that they value. Climate change threatens to erode human freedoms and limit choice. It calls into question the Enlightenment principle that human progress will make the future look better than the past" (Executive Summary, page 7).

It is noteworthy that, even though the U.N. is a secular institution, it is explicitly recognized that human development includes not only biophysical development but also "intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual" development. The "higher" phases of human development generally build on the "lower" ones (it is hard to undertake the inner journey while lacking the basic necessities such as water, food, clothing, housing) but there is no fixed order. Some poor people develop to moral and spiritual maturity. Some rich people remain morally and spiritually underdeveloped.

Historically, the general expectation is that the average quality of life improves over time. This may be true, but it is also a fact that the gap between the very rich and the very poor is widening worldwide, in which case averages are meaningless. One rule seems to be universally valid: "it is better to give than to receive"; and, for human development, the most salutary mode of giving is self-giving. In the following sections, we consider the historical context for four stages of human development as manifested by self-giving:

  • Homo sapiens, the rational human being with social behavior driven by basic human needs
  • Homo economicus, the rational human being driven by self-interest as top priority
  • Homo solidarius, the rational human being willing to balance self-interest with the common good
  • Homo eucharisticus, the rational human being willing to forsake self-interest for the common good

2. The Age of Homo sapiens

"I believe I found the missing link
between animal and civilized man.
It is us."
Studies in Animal and Human Behavior
Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989)

The term Homo sapiens refers to the rational human being with social behavior driven by basic human needs. The emergence of Homo sapiens may go as far back to 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa. No attempt is made here to elaborate on the origins of humankind, as our concern is more about the present and the future. The following online resources provide a good starting point for readers who want to explore the origins and subsequent history of humanity:

Homo sapiens, Human Nature, and Human Sexuality, Wikipedia
History of Homo sapiens, History World
Human Nature and the Power of Culture, Margaret Mead
Human Nature in the Bible, William Phelps
The Human Mind & Human Art, Trevor Pateman
Psychoanalysis: Anima and Animus, Carl Jung
The Original Unity of Man and Woman, John Paul II
Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men, Baha'is
The book of Genesis was written as recently as 4,000 years ago. By then, social behavior had become patriarchal. Again, how the patriarchal model became dominant (about 10,000 years ago?) is beyond the scope of this essay. But it is a fact of life that patriarchy has determined the most basic of human relations (i.e., male-female relations) since the inception of recorded history. Genesis 1.1 to 3:16 is basically a story about this process, in which (for those in the Judeo-Christian tradition) the will of God for humankind is revealed albeit mediated by all the limitations of the human condition.

Patriarchy is a corruption of the original unity of man and woman, and to this day persists as the greatest barrier to human development. But the voice of God continues to resound in the events of history, and perhaps we are reaching the point where patriarchal domination is replaced by authentic communion between men and women. One important factor to consider at this point is the explosive population growth that started just a few centuries ago, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2 - World Human Population Growth, 10000 BCE - 2007 CE
Source: Population Growth Data ~ Wikipedia

The following is a mini-summary of the age of Homo sapiens, 10,000 BCE to 2000 CE:

  • Individual behavior driven by basic human needs, one day at a time
  • Social behavior driven by self-interest, with little or no concept of the common good
  • Evolution of male-female relations from egalitarian (with a matriarchal phase?) to patriarchal
  • Evolution to increasingly complex patriarchal systems of political domination (empires, monarchies, republics)
  • Evolution from primitive religious thinking to beliefs in God(s) based on prophecies or revelations
  • Little or no awareness of the symbiosis between humanity and the human habitat
  • General propensity to the use of violence (religious and otherwise) for conflict resolution

3. The Age of Homo economicus

"The first step is to desire money.
The second step, to seek power.
The third step, to demand honors.
From these, all other vices follow."
Spiritual Exercises, 142,
St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

The term Homo economicus refers to the rational human being who applies science and technology with self-interest as top priority. Homo sapiens remains Homo sapiens, but now humans acquire much greater power to produce, use, and abuse goods and services in massive quantities. This transition to augment human physical power with the power of nature (such as chemical reactions) and the power of machinery (such as the Watt steam engine) is generally known as the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution is one of the decisive bifurcation points in the history of humanity. It was not an instantaneous event, but rather a process that took place in England during approximately one hundred years (1760-1860). The worldwide repercussions continue unfolding to this day. For more information on the industrial revolution and Homo economicus:

Definition of Homo economicus, Investopedia
Homo economicus, Wikipedia
Industrial Revolution, Internet Modern History Sourcebook
Industrial Revolution and the Standard of Living, Clark Nardinelli
Rationality and Self-Interest, Roger McCain
Capitalism and Human Nature, CATO Institute
The Prospects for Homo economicus, Michael Shermer
From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens, Richard Thaler
Homo Economicus Evolves, Steven Levitt et al
Advances in the manipulation of physical and chemical elements, and the advent of machinery, became commercialized rather quickly, with enormous financial gain for those who controlled the "factors of production." Homo sapiens was no longer restricted to farming and trading at the local level. Homo economicus then emerged as a human with an insatiable appetite for financial gain and wealth accumulation. Money became the new idol. The monetary value of annual production became a measure of annual progress for a nation, a region, and the entire world. This measure was gradually refined and became the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And this monetary value, divided by population, became "GDP per capita". For Homo economicus, this is the ultimate measure of the quality of life for humans. Consider Table 1.

Homo economicus

"It is not from
the benevolence
of the butcher,
the brewer,
or the baker
that we expect our dinner,
but from their regard
to their own interest."
The Wealth of Nations,
Adam Smith (1723-1790)

"Political economy
does not treat the whole
of man’s nature
as modified by the social state,
nor of the whole conduct
of man in society.
It is concerned with him
solely as a being who desires
to possess wealth,
and who is capable of judging
the comparative efficacy
of means for obtaining that end."
Principles of Political Economy,
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

Table 1 - Exponential Growth in Regional and World GDP Per Capita, 1500-2000
Source: Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Wikipedia

Money buys power, and power leads to violence. Consider Figure 4.

Figure 4 - Pattern of News about Violence, 1910-2000
Data Source: Google Advanced News Search
Note: This graph was obtained from Google Advanced News Search by simply running the query "violence" for each decade, 1900 to 2000, and recording (at the end of each decade) the approximate number of news found containing the word "violence." The numbers have not been adjusted to take into account population growth and the total number of news posted and captured by the search engine. This is just a visualization exercise. However, it would seem to support the widespread impression that violence has been increasing during the age of Homo economicus, especially in recent years.

There are many forms of physical and psychological violence. Consider Table 2.

Theatrical distribution by Titan View
Perhaps the most repulsive byproduct of the money-driven society is human trafficking. This abomination entails removing women and children from society and reducing them to sexual slavery. The slightest protestation is brutally suppressed, for these human beings become valuable commodities and their sexual services are extremely profitable. Some are tricked into this calamity by promises of a better life. Some children are sold by their own destitute parents acting in desperation. Many are kidnapped at gun point in cities and villages worldwide. In Australia, the city of Melbourne is becoming an important center for this "business." Brazil, Eastern Europe, and S.E. Asia are favorite hunting grounds for the traffickers. Shame on both sellers and buyers of slave sex.
Table 2 - See the Australian movie The Jammed by The Picture Tank, 2008.

At the inception of the third millennium of the common era, we must face the wisdom of St. Ignatius dictum, as stated at the beginning of this section. We must overcome the mindset of Homo economicus for Homo sapiens to become more human. Actually, the human use and abuse of human beings, and the human use and abuse of the human habitat, have reached the point of compromising human well-being worldwide; and, as usual, the poor are the ones who suffer the most.

The following is a mini-summary of the age of Homo economicus, approximately 1750 to 2000+ CE:

  • The industrial revolution made possible the commercialization of many advances in science and technology
  • Further advances in science and technology were in turn motivated by economic incentives
  • The American (1776) and French (1789) revolutions were political breakthroughs for freedom and democracy, but succumbed to the idol of financial gain and wealth accumulation
  • Growth in production/consumption per capita has been unevenly distributed
  • The human habitat is deteriorating due to irresponsible growth in production/consumption per capita
  • The Fascist "solutions" to the evils of liberal capitalism were doomed by nationalistic arrogance, imperialist incentives, and reliance in the use of violence leading to horrors such as the "holocaust"
  • The Marxist "solutions" to the evils of liberal capitalism failed to take into account the subjective dimensions of Homo sapiens and brought about even more violence in both hot and cold wars
  • The Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the MDGs (2000) are signs of hope that the human spirit is ready for a new age
  • A new myth has been created, to the effect that "technological fixes" can provide solutions to all socio-ecological problems

For instance, the National Academy of Engineering states that "throughout human history, engineering has driven the advance of civilization" (see Grand Challenges for Engineering). The NAE has defined the following as the current key technological developments needed by humanity:

Make solar energy economical
Provide energy from fusion
Develop carbon sequestration methods
Manage the nitrogen cycle
Provide access to clean water
Restore and improve urban infrastructure
Advance health informatics
Engineer better medicines
Reverse-engineer the brain
Prevent nuclear terror
Secure cyberspace
Enhance virtual reality
Advance personalized learning
Engineer the tools of scientific discovery

Granted that these technical advances would be good (if used well) for the advance of human civilization, and some may even be necessary to clean the current socio-ecological mess, they do not provide a long term corrective to the individual and collective misbehavior of Homo economicus. Where do we go from here?

4. The Age of Homo solidarius

"The 'control of nature' is a phrase conceived in arrogance,
born of the Neanderthal age of biology
and the convenience of man."
Silent Spring,
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

In section 1, Homo economicus was defined as the rational human being driven by self-interest as top priority, and Homo solidarius, was defined as the rational human being willing to balance self-interest with the common good. Consider the following definitions:

Definition of solidarity, Merriam-Webster
Definition of sustainability, Merriam-Webster
Definition of violence, Merriam-Webster
Definition of nonviolence, Merriam-Webster

It seems clear that Homo solidarius will always attempt to balance self-interest and the common good. It follows that this kind of person will behave according to the principles of sustainability and sustainable development, since both human development and taking good care of the human habitat are intrinsic to the common good; and will always refuse to use violence, which is never in the best interest of either the violent or the victims of violence.

"I object to violence because
when it appears to do good,
the good is only temporary;
the evil it does is permanent."
Mohandas Gandhi(1869-1948)

"An individual has not started living
until he can rise above the narrow confines
of his individualistic concerns
to the broader concerns of all humanity."
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).

Global warming is a case in point. Homo economicus will ignore the issue until it hits painfully in the pocketbook. Homo solidarius will start asking what can be done about it, and acting accordingly. Figure 4 shows a simulation of the reductions of emissions per capita by region (2000 to 2200) that are required to reverse the warming trend before irreversible damage is done to the planet's atmospheric and climate systems. It is evident that most of the reductions will have to come from North America, Oceania, and Western Europe. It is possible that China, India, and Russia may become, by the end of this century, part of the exclusive club of super-CO2 polluters. This scenario leads to many interesting questions: What will happen to the American well-known addiction to the automobile? How will life change for the Middle-East aristocracies (and many others) as the flow of oil dwindles due to impending scarcity (Hubbert's peak)? And the most important question is this: Will this be another global transition in which the gap between the very poor and the very rich widens even more?

Figure 4 - Required Reduction of Emissions Per Capita by Region, 2000-2200
Source: Global Commons Institute (GCI) Contraction & Convergence Model

This scenario shows why sustainability cannot possibly be accomplished without a significant increase in human solidarity. Lack of human solidarity in the years and centuries ahead will inevitably lead to impaired sustainability, lowering priority for human development, and more violence. Significant amounts of resources are already being allocated to find technological fixes to avoid unsustainability, but the most important agent to attain sustainability is Homo solidarius, not computers or cell phones or any other widget; and there is a paucity of research efforts pursuant to understanding how the transition from Homo economicus to Homo solidarius could come to pass, and how to mitigate human suffering during this "post-industrial revolution." Some links to existing online resources are listed below:

Politics and Justice Without Borders, GIM
Those That Live to Help, Marina Gambier
Harmonisation between Human Civilisation and Nature , Georg Winter
Humiliation and International Conflict, Evelin Lindner
Mimetic Theory, René Girard
Socioeconomic Democracy, Robley E. George
Do No Harm: The Global Health Challenge

To be Homo solidarius may require financial aid from the rich to the poor, but this is not enough. It may require technology transfer, but this is not enough. We all know about Brazil getting technical assistance to convert the Amazon rainforest to farmlands. In a tropical rainforest, at any given time, most of the nutrients reside in the trees, not in the soil. When the trees are removed, most of the nutrients are removed and what happens is that the "farmlands" produce meager crops for a few years, and then support no further cultivation.

Financial assistance is not an unmixed blessing either. Even assuming total absence of corruption so that the funds get to those in need, only the locals really know how to use it wisely. A case in point pertains to global health: "Less than a decade ago, the biggest problem in global health seemed to be the lack of resources available to combat the multiple scourges ravaging the world's poor and sick. Today, thanks to a recent extraordinary and unprecedented rise in public and private giving, more money is being directed toward pressing heath challenges than ever before. But because the efforts this money is paying for are largely uncoordinated and directed mostly at specific high-profile diseases -- rather than at public health in general -- there is a grave danger that the current age of generosity could not only fall short of expectations but actually make things worse on the ground." (Do No Harm: The Global Health Challenge, Laurie Garrett, 2007). The wise Homo solidarius makes it possible for development to happen inside-out, not outside-in. Indeed, sustainable development, like individual human development, always happens inside-out; it never happens outside-in.

5. The Age of Homo eucharisticus

"I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We're here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don't have time to carry grudges; you don't have time to cling to the need to be right."
Anne Lamott (b. 1954)
Source: The Washington Times, 5 March 2008

The term Homo eucharisticus refers to the climax of human development: the person who willingly gives top priority to the good of others, and acts accordingly. Jesus of Nazareth is probably the best example of Homo eucharisticus in human history. The logo of this research project is a symbol of Homo eucharisticus:

The pelican is an ancient symbol of commitment to service at all levels -- physical, mental, and spiritual. The following excerpt from the Physiologus (author unknown, circa fourth 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 Symbol of the Eucharist
"Pelican in Her Piety"
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 Physiologus found the action of the pelican, interpreted in this manner, to be a symbol of sacrificial service and a particularly apt symbol of Christ as priest-victim, and also a symbol the eucharist, sacrament of the body and blood of Christ.
Table 3 - The Pelican as a Symbol of Homo eucharisticus

Homo solidarius does not exhaust the potential for human development. There is more, much more. Dr. Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury and a formidable theologian, has written and lectured extensively on horizons of human development that clearly go beyond Homo solidarius, even to the point where the human being becomes Homo eucharisticus. Even if we can barely see at such great distance, let us be aware that humans are called to greatness of mind and heart. The following are some relevant links:

Pelican Symbolism and Culture, Wikipedia
"Changing The Myths We Live By", Rowan Williams
Sacramental Living, Rowan Williams
Address to the Chelmsford Clergy Synod, Rowan Williams
Benchmarks for a dogmatic and social eco-theology, Dan Sandu
Ecology Lecture by Rowan Williams, Global Commons Institute (GCI)
The Pelican Symbol, Compass News
The Symbolism of the Pelican, Catholic Herald

At the very least, let us try to become more human. Let us be more willing to grow in truth, freedom, and care. Homo economicus belongs to the past. For most of us, Homo eucharisticus may not yet be visible in the horizon. But Homo solidarius is already visible to anyone with eyes to see. The present and the future are in the hands of Homo solidarius. If we are not there yet, our children and grandchildren will pay for it.

6. SSNV and Human Development

Given that most people are not yet ready to become Homo eucharisticus, the next best thing is to become Homo solidarius. Indeed, this would be a quantum jump forward in the history of human civilization. Homo economicus was a jump forward in terms of technological development and material standard of living (at least for a few), but it was a regression in terms of inner human development and spiritual growth. This is the reason that human relations, among humans and between humans and the biosphere, continues to deteriorate. We can go to the moon, but we cannot have a civilized dialogue among people of different nationalities, ethnicities, and religions. God is in heaven. Camelot is on the moon. Most humans are miserable.

Where do we go from here?

Professor Hilde Nafstad and her collaborators at the University of Oslo, Norway, have been analyzing social trends by tracking the frequency of keywords that appear in newspapers. The sampling procedure is nontrivial, because it entails adjusting the counts per unit time by the total number of similar publications during the same time intervals. What about mining the same kind of information out of Google News and other online services? Surely, the resulting time histories may be shorter, seldom going back further than the inception of the internet in the early 1990s. But digitization of old newspapers and other information continues, so it may be possible to retrieve longer time histories in the not so distant future. To investigate this possibility, we used the Advanced Google News search engine to see if there are any discernable patterns in the frequency of occurrence of the words "solidarity" and "sustainability." The results of this exercise are presented in Figure 5.

Figure 5 - Patterns of Solidarity and Sustainability News, 1940-2005
Data Source: Google Advanced News Search
Note: This graph was obtained from Google Advanced News Search by simply running the queries "solidarity" and "sustainability" for each five year period, 1940-2005, and recording (at the end of each five year period) the approximate number of news found containing the words "solidarity" and "sustainability." The numbers have not been adjusted to take into account population growth and the total number of news posted and captured by the search engine. This is just a visualization exercise. The peaks in "solidarity" news correspond to the activity of the solidarity movement in Poland (early 1980s) and the disintegration of the Soviet Union (late 1980s). By 2005 it seems to be increasing again, as the term "solidarity" is gradually becoming more frequent in human discourse. With regard to sustainability, the concept acquires meaning with the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962) and becomes a widespread concern after the 1987 publication of the "Brundtland Report," Our Common Future.

The numbers were not adjusted to take into account population growth and the total number of news posted and captured by the search engine. This is just a crude visualization exercise. But is seems that, while "sustainability" is an increasing topic in the news, "solidarity" is not. The first peak in "solidarity news" corresponds to the emergence of the Solidarity Movement in Gdansk, Poland. The second peak corresponds to the events leading to the election of Lech Walesa in Poland (1989) and the disintegration of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe (1989), followed shortly thereafter by the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991). The trend, however, decreases significantly during the 1990s and is not showing signs of resurgence after the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001. Globalization, trade inequities, and the widening gap between rich and poor worldwide seem to indicate that Homo economicus is back in charge. The many difficulties being encountered to deploy the U.N. MDGs is another indication that Homo economicus remains in control.

During the same timeframe, however, "sustainability news" have been increasing increasingly. It is noteworthy that the first jump in awareness follows the publication of Silent Spring (1962), and the second impulse follows the publication of Our Common Future (1987). However, the increasing awareness about the sustainability issue, which recently has been reinforced by observable increases in water, air, and solid waste, in and of itself is not enough to change the behavior of Homo economicus. The behavior of Homo economicus will change if, and only if, the rich people of the world begin to see their fortunes evaporating. Then, perhaps, Homo solidarius will have a chance.

7. Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom

The reader is reminded about the following free resources:

Updates of the SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database continue as time permits. This is work in progress and will continue to evolve as the research unfolds. The best resource on the web that includes both a knowledge taxonomy and links to URLs with knowledge content is the Knowledge 2008: Map of Human Knowledge by Chaim Zins. It provides:

Other possibilities include:

8. Prayer, Study, and Action


The Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.



Read a good book that will help you think "outside the box." For example, if you want to learn how religious institutions exclude women from certain ministerial roles, this one is fascinating: The Hidden History of Women's Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West, by Gary Macy, Santa Clara University, Oxford University Press, 2008, 260 pages.


Write a letter to your secular and/or religious leaders, or perhaps to the editor of your local newspaper. Express your concerns. Ask honest questions. Request an answer. Be positive and respectful. Offer volunteer help. You can use a regular letter, or an e-mail, or any other media; but we are all responsible for communicating our concerns and insights to those in authority.

9. Links to Archived Newsletters

The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:

V1 N1 May 2005: Cross-Gender Solidarity
V1 N2 June 2005: The Phallocentric Syndrome
V1 N3 July 2005: From Patriarchy to Solidarity
V1 N4 August 2005: Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity
V1 N5 September 2005: From Solidarity to Sustainability
V1 N6 October 2005: Dimensions of Sustainability
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability
V2 N2 February 2006: Sustainable Human Development
V2 N3 March 2006: Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
V2 N4 April 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions
V2 N5 May 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 2
V2 N6 June 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 3
V2 N7 July 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 4
V2 N8 August 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 5
V2 N9 September 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ September 2006
V2 N10 October 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ October 2006
V2 N11 November 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ November 2006
V2 N12 December 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ December 2006
V3 N01 January 2007: MDG1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty
V3 N02 February 2007: MDG2: Universal Primary Education
V3 N03 March 2007: MDG3: Promotion of Gender Equality
V3 N04 April 2007: MDG4: Reduction of Child Mortality
V3 N05 May 2007: MDG5: Maternal Care Improvement
V3 N06 June 2007: MDG6: Contain the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
V3 N07 July 2007: MDG7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
V3 N08 August 2007: MDG8: Global Partnership for Development
V3 N09 September 2007: Integrated Analysis of the U.N. MDGs
V3 N10 October 2007: Feasibility of the 2015 MDG Targets
V3 N11 November 2007: If Not the MDGs, Then What?
V3 N12 December 2007: Review of the 2007 State of the Future Report
V4 N01 January 2008: Religious Dimension of Sustainable Development
V4 N02 February 2008: Spiritual Dimension of Sustainable Development
V4 N03 March 2008: Human Dimension of Sustainable Development

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The Pelican Symbol


The pelican is a legendary symbol of commitment to the service of others, especially those who are weak and most vulnerable to physical and/or psychological violence.

Pelican Symbol (Physiologus)
Poem (Thomas Aquinas)
Priesthood (Gertrud of Helfta)
Sermon (Rev. Sylvia Roberts)
History (Rev. William Saunders)
Eucharist (Patricia Kasten)

Human Nature


Human Beings ~ Man and Woman
(Plaque in the Pioneer Spacecraft)
Sources: Wikipedia and NASA

Human nature, Wikipedia
Homo sapiens, Wikipedia
Homo sapiens, Smithsonian
Human Nature - Bible, Phelps
Human Nature - Culture, Mead
Human Development, ICHD
Human Sexuality, Wikipedia
Anima and Animus, Jung
Original Unity, John Paul II
Two Wings of a Bird, Baha'is

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

World Religions

Unity in Diversity

The following are links to information about some of the major religious traditions and approximate numbers of adherents:

Christianity (2.5 billion)
Islam (1.4 billion)
Hinduism (1 billion)
Buddhism (375 million)
Sikhism (23 million)
Judaism (14 million)
Bahá'í (7 million)

For more information, see World Religions, which includes global maps showing geographic religious distributions.

Global News/Issues

The following are links to recent global news and emerging issues, in no particular order:

''The African Green Revolution''

'Human development key to fighting terrorism'

21 Century's Grand Engineering Challenges Unveiled

Achieving Corporate Sustainability - Beyond the Green Corporation

Africa - New Poverty Model to Empower Poor Farmers

Bill Gates - Creative Capitalism

Bishop helps open door to democracy in Congo

Breaking Down the Barriers for a Green Economy

Global storms require quick fixes that do not block long-term targets

Climate change - the most recent critical global challenge

Climate Change Guide

Global Scientific Partnership to Safeguard World's Biodiversity

Conserving Biodiversity - International Efforts

Corporate Globalization Standing at the End of the Road

Divine Guidance for Faith Based Justice

Engineering Education in a Global Context

Eyes on Trade Globalization of Higher Education

Fidel Castro Resigns as Cuba’s President

Filipina, 18, addresses UN meet on global development

Finding the golden mean - globalization still too new

Globalization and Democracy

Globetrotters circle the world looking for new opportunities

God, Gays and the Church

Google Delists News From Journalist Who Exposes UN Corruption

Gorilla project unites Uganda, Rwanda and Congo

Delicate balance between development and ecology

Human development dismal - urgent need for correctives

Humanitarian Studies Conference 2009

Interdisciplinary Environmental Conference

Jospin calls for new social democracy

Journalist who exposes U.N. Corruption disappears from Google

Gender Stereotypes Still Firmly Entrenched, Despite Progress

Life cycle assessment of farming systems

Moratorium on Abortion - Letter to the United Nation Secretary General

More NGOs help needed to end illiteracy

Multicultural citizenship
and the anti-sharia storm

No change in Cuba policy, U.S. says

One more step in the climate debate

Poverty reduction - What we know and don’t know

Queen Defends Archbishop of Canterbury

Realigning America's grand strategy to a world transforming

Russian teacher takes on global software giants

Situation in Darfur is Deteriorating - More Peacekeepers Needed

St. Olaf to host conference on globalization and social responsibility

Structure blends spirituality and sustainability

The God Who Revels in Diversity

The road to sustainability

Time to End the Slavery of Traditional Publishing Public Library of Science

Wealth 'may not lead to health'

Women bishops ‘highly unlikely’ for another five years

World's Environment Ministers Meet to Facilitate Global Green Economy

Zero tolerance to domestic violence urged

Sustainable development impossible without safe industrial production methods

Millennium Goals' progress disputed

Beyond Promises: A Crisis of Legitimacy?

UN environmental group sets up climate neutral forum

Twelve Norwegian firms face closure over gender equality law

The Threat to Secular Democracy in Malaysia

The city that never sleeps ... nor stops talking

World Bank should fund disaster prevention projects

Trio delivers 'Messages from Women'

The near nullity of Nollywood

Leading the Way on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Asia-Pacific for Women in Humanitarian Crises

Energy Execs: Sustainability Is Critical

'Most important struggle' is gender equality

Geo-Politics, Economics, and Globalization

U.N. campaign takes on violence against women

Blessings and Blood:
The Roots of Violence in
Judaism, Christianity, ans Islam

MIT Study Quantifies Globalization Trends

The World as it is

How to Boost Development under Globalization?

U.N. Takes Lead on Ending Gender Violence

IPS Coverage of the Millennium Development Goals

Money Is Just Paper

Vatican’s Inquisition Exhibit

“Confronting Power and Sex
in the Catholic Church”

World's Coastal Waters Riddled with Invasive Species

The new business buzzword is: Sustainability

Global perspectives on gender equality: reversing the gaze

The natural resource curse is such a bitch

'What a Billion Muslims Really Think'

Human trafficking is slavery and must be battled

Patriarchal feminism

The Launch of the Iranian Kavoshgar Rocket

Education and Economic Growth

International Women's Day - March 8

Women call for greater role in conflict resolution

Growing into grace

“Advancing the Cause of Peace”

Invasive Alien Species - A European Concern

Unveiling the 'women question'

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Editor's Note: For more news sources, visit the SSNV News Sources and RSS Feeds Page. See also the SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy & Links Database and the SSNV Tools Directory.

Global Citizens

U.N. Peace keepers in the
Darfur region of Sudan

MDGs + 1

MDG Pubs and Data

Millennium Development Goals:
mdggoals PLUS GOAL 9:
Universal Religious Freedom

Links to key MDG resources:

U.N. MDGs Home Page
MDG Core Documents
MDG Basic Indicators
U.N. Millennium Project
MDG Targets & Indicators
MDG Atlas
MDG Dashboard
MDG Monitor
MDG Slideshow
MDG Report 2007
GEO Report 2007
HDR Report 2007-2008
Youth and the MDGs
Health and the MDGs
State of the World Children 2008
State of the World's Girls 2007

HDR Report 2007/2008
Fighting climate change:
Human solidarity in a divided world

UNDP November 2007

State of the World Children 2008
Child Survival
UNICEF December 2007

Gender Equity Index 2008
Social Watch & UNESCO, 2008

Signs of the Times

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi
Professor of Bible
Hebrew Union College &
Jewish Institute of Religion

Los Angeles
For more information:
Women Take on the Torah
Christian Science Monitor, 21 February 2008

Hillary for President

Wife, Mother, Lawyer, Stateswoman
Senator from New York
Next President of the USA

Voters must choose
between experience and change.
But, change .... to what?
The pasture always looks greener
on the other side of the fence.
Change for the sake of change
is a way of coping out.
Changing to what might be best
is often the enemy of what is good.
We know this for sure:
She has been tested
in the furnace of humiliation.
May God help the voters
to choose wisely.


Selected Links

Resources worth visiting:

Breaking Down the Barriers
to a Green Economy
UNESCO, February 2008

Education for All
UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2008

Global Gender Gap Report
WEF, 8 November 2007

General Environmental Outlook 4 (UNEP)

World Economic Outlook:
Globalization and Inequality
IMF, October 2007

World Development Report:
Agriculture for Development
World Bank, October 2007


Mimetic Theory of René Girard

Socioeconomic Democracy
Robley E. George, Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Societies

International Energy Agency

Climate change:
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation
in developing countries
UNFCCC, 2007






Bible & Koran
Search Side by Side

Men, Masculinities,
and Gender Politics
(600+ links on male-female politics)



Earth Charter

Global Dialogue

Dialogue is the engine that brings to life the human dimension of sustainable development. A very significant initiative in this regard is the Human Dialogue 2008 on the theme The planet-Life-Soul of Humanity symbiotical relationship. This global dialogue is sponsored by Global Community WebNet, and includes the following 64 categories:

Global Justice
Global Politics
Vision of Earth
Earth Governance
Global Sustainability
Current News
Press Briefings
Global Communities
Global Health
Global Economy
Global Environment
Global Business & Trade
Global R&D
Global Dialogue
Global Peace Movement
World Cultures
Religion & Spirituality
Education & Training
Social Justice
The Arts
The Sciences
Peak Oil Movement
Societal Family Image
Global Food Production
Global Poverty
Sustainable Agriculture
Global Mining
Global Civilization
Global Pollution
Global Manufacturing
Earth Resources
Global Law
Earth & Human Rights
Drinking Water
Global Warming
Climate Change
Planet Overpopulation
Global Finance
Global Development
Ocean Conservation
Green Tax
Forest Protection
Soil Loss Prevention
Water Conservation
Renewable Energy
Corporate Accountability
Clean Air
Marine Ecosystems
Sustainable Cities
Gender Equality
Human Trafficking
Soul of Humanity
Peak Oil
Global Data
Global Leaders
Social Harmony

SSNV Call for Papers
Short articles about the impacts of all forms of secular and religious violence on
  • social solidarity
  • ecological sustainability
  • human development

During 2008, articles are especially desired on incentives for solidarity and sustainability and all dimensions of sustainable development. How can people be motivated to collaborate in the transition from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and human development? What is the proper role of secular institutions? What is the proper role of religious institutions?

Accepted papers will be published when time and space allows. Email your submission to SSNV.


World Heritage and Sustainable Development International Conference, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal, 8-9 May 2008. Contact: HERITAGE 2008.

Boothbay Harbor, Maine, 10-13 June 2008. Contact: new-cue. Visit the conference website.

At the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, Abo, Finland, 11-13 June 2008. Point of contact: Donner Institute

"Gender and Well Being: The Role of Institutions from Past to Present." Madrid, Spain, 25-27 June 2008. Contacts: Paloma de Villota.

WWMM 2808
Women's Worlds 2008, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 3-9 July 2008. Contacts: Dr. Claudia Malacrida, Dr. Leslie Roman, Conference Secretariat.

Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Date: 6-11 July 2008. Place: Auckland, NZ. Conference convenor: Kathleen McPhillips

Accra, Ghana, 7-9 July 2008. Please visit the conference website.

Second World Congress in Social Simulation (WCSS'08), 14-16 July 2008, George Mason University, Washington DC. Contact: Professor Claudio Cioffi-Revilla.

"The Biology of Religious Behavior: A Human Ethology Perspective on Religion." Sponsored by the Society of Human Ethology. Bologna, Italy, 14 – 18 July, 2008. Website: ISHE2008. Contacts: Marco Costa, University of Bologna, Italy and Luca Tommasi, University of Chieti, Italy.

ICAES 2008
"Humanity, Development, and Cultural Diversity," Kumming, China, 15-23 July 2008. Contacts: Prof. Zhang Haiyang and Prof. Zhang Jijiao. Visit conference website.

Second Global International Studies Conference, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 23-26 July 2008. Contact: Jeff Haynes.


International Sociological Association (ISA), Barcelona, Spain, September 5-8, 2008. Abstracts should be sent to Roberto Blancarte and Olga Odgers.

ECREA 2008
CFP, ECREA's 2nd European Communication Conference. Barcelona, 25-28 November 2008. Hosted by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Visit the conference website.

Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), University of Hull, UK, 27-28 November 2008. Contact: Jane Ellison.


Knowledge Taxonomy
Links Directory

The SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database can be downloaded as either an HTML web page or an EXCEL spreadsheet with embedded table-building HTML code that can be modified to fit the user needs.

Download the
HTML Web Page

Download the
EXCEL File with URLs and HTML Code


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