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

Vol. 4, No. 7, July 2008
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

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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 the July 2008 Issue

Nuptial Dimension of Sustainable Development
Part 3


This issue is Part 3 of the series "Nuptial Dimension of Sustainable Development." To see Part 1, click HERE. To see Part 2, click HERE. The fundamental theme of this series is that families constitute the basic cell of society and the foundation for sustainable human development. In today's world, the family is in crisis, and it seems reasonable to think that the root cause of the problem is that the institution of marriage is in crisis. This "nuptial crisis" is worldwide, even though the superficial symptoms may be different in different regions of the world.

This issue starts with brief summaries on the sustainability of humankind and the sustainability of the human habitat. This paves the way for definition and analysis of the "web of love" and the "web of life" that emerge as the fruit of sharing the fundamental nuptial gifts: the "gift of love" and the "gift of life." Then we analyze the global "geography of the nuptial crisis." Two indicatores of the nuptial crisis are the percentage of the adult population that formally enter the marriage covenant, and the percentage of married couples that stay together for life. Both indicators are steadily decreasing all over the world. Some possible causes are noted, as well as the social and environmental repercussions of this trend.

The etiology of this crisis cannot be understood without first having some understanding of heterosexuality and homosexuality. Current trends are reviewed for both heterosexual and homosexual nuptial covenants. It is concluded that both can share, albeit in different ways, the gifts of love and life; and both can contribute in many diverse ways to build the webs of love and life. Sexual promiscuity, high divorce rates, and same-sex marriages should not be used as scapegoats and made responsible for the worldwide nuptial crisis. Rather, it is the increasingly increasing addiction to wealth accumulation, use and abuse of power, and gathering worldly honors that is the root cause of the nuptial crisis. Excessive consumerism is sabotaging family life and, in particular, married life. It is hard for husband and wife to concentrate on their nuptial duties - toward each other and toward the children - when they are running around buying more than they need.

In this dimension of sustainable development, there are plenty of opportunities for prayer, study, and action. Sustainable human development is where the action really is: the integral development of each human person, in each family, as a responsible member of a human community that abides in sustained nuptial covenant with the human habitat. Several options are listed for couples who are up to praying, studying, and working for sustainable human development - starting at home.

The SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy has been updated. At the moment, it provides links to 2000+ web sites that contain evidentiary data and knowledge content that is relevant to global issues of human solidarity and nonviolence, environmental sustainability, and sustainable human development. Currently, the database is sorted by mega-disciplines, disciplines, and specialties. The sub-specialties field is temporarily being used for knowledge source (often using institutional or facility acronyms). Many resources are applicable to two or more of the MDGs. This is work in progress, and both the taxonomies and the links will continue to evolve, but the reader may find something useful by clicking HERE.

INVITED PAPER: The invited paper this month is A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform, by Robley E. George, Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. A continuation of this article is scheduled to be the invited paper of the August issue.


  1. Sustainability of Humankind
  2. Sustainability of the Human Habitat
  3. The Web of Love and the Web of Life
  4. Geography of the Nuptial Crisis
  5. Heterosexuality and Homosexuality
  6. The Heterosexual Nuptial Covenant
  7. The Homosexual Nuptial Covenant
  8. Sustainable Human Development
  9. Prayer, Study, and Action

A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform,
by Robley E. George, Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

The Pelican Symbol
Human Nature
Nuptial Covenant
Religious Traditions
Global News/Issues
Global Citizen
Sign of the Times
Hillary Clinton
MDG Pubs & Data
SSNV Links
WordsEx Tool
Web for Kids
Evidence Base
Free Downloads
SSNV Archive

1. The Sustainability of Humankind

"Nuptial love makes mankind;
friendly love perfects it;
but wanton love corrupts and debases it."
~ Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

If Francis Bacon were writing today, he might have written, "nuptial love sustains humankind." This is the reason that the gift of love and the gift of life go together: generation after generation, the gift of love and the gift of life ensure the survivability of homo sapiens. Too much of a good thing can become a problem, and at this point in history we are confronted with the issue of exponential population growth. When too many people consume too many natural resources, the survivability of the human habitat is compromised; which means that the survivability of humankind itself is compromised since, in order to survive, we need clean water to drink, some food to eat, clean air to breathe, etc. Thankfully, we now have methods of family planning that make it possible to manage the "population explosion" when used in a morally responsible manner. But the problem is compounded by the fact that most of the natural resources being consumed, and pollution being produced, are consumed/produced for the comfort of a very small fraction of the world population (those who are very rich) and the discomfort of a very large fraction (those who are very poor).

2. The Sustainability of the Human Habitat

"It is a wholesome and necessary thing
for us to turn again to the earth and in
the contemplation of her beauties
to know of wonder and humility."
~ Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

Global warming has been in the news recently. There is legitimate concern that changes in climate may induce dislocation in, among other things, the production of food, the frequency and intensity of destructive weather events, and the preservation of biodiversity. The world financial system is becoming unstable, but growth in the consumption of material resources continues unabated. Consumption growth is like a sacred cow, an untouchable idol that will not tolerate the slightest moderation. Figure 1 represents the deterioration of the human habitat driven by relentless population growth and consumption per capita.

[wpcgdp117x175] [ecocosmparadox239x157] [worldpopulation115x180]
Figure 1 - Outlook on the Sustainability of the Human Habitat
Figure 1 shows three images. Click on each image to view a larger image. The central image (black background) shows the natural resource flows and the feedback loops driving population growth and growth in consumption per capita. This visualization was developed by Willard R. Fey and Ann C. Lam, Ecocosm Dynamics Ltd. It is reproduced with permission. The left-hand and right-hand data charts (adapted from Wikipedia, World GDP per Capita (1950-2003) and World Human Population (500-2000)) show the familiar growth curves for population and consumption growth. Notice that PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION (consumption per person per unit time) and WORLD POPULATION (persons) combine to determine the WORLD HUMAN CONSUMPTION rate (consumption per unit time) of natural resources. The basic math is very simple:


Examples of WORLD HUMAN CONSUMPTION include 100 million tons of fish harvested from the oceans per year, 83 million barrels of nonrenewable oil and equivalent liquid fuels per day, and 360 million metric tons of forest products per year. Fey & Lam articulate the ecocosm paradox as follows: "If human consumption growth continues, the planetary life support system will be disabled and humanity will itself become endangered. If consumption growth is stopped, the viability of the world's economic and financial systems will be threatened, and the stability of governments and society will deteriorate."

It is self-evident that continued growth of population and material consumption per capita is not sustainable. But there is a sign of hope: the enormous cost of reducing air and water pollution, managing solid waste, and fixing landfills that sooner or later start leaking, is bound to start hitting people where it hurts: in their pocketbooks. This may prevent getting to the point is which drinking contaminated water, eating food produced by unnatural means, and breathing polluted air become the three top health hazards for humans.

3. The Web of Love and the Web of Life

"This we know.
All things are connected
like the blood
which unites one family.
Whatever befalls the earth,
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life;
he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
he does to himself."
~ Attributed to Chief Seattle (1786-1866)

The gift of love and the gift of life, when properly used taking into account both self-gratification and the common good, create and nurture the web of love and the web of life that leads to a nuptial marriage between humanity and the human habitat. Nothing can be accomplished unless we think and act as team players willing to collaborate with both people and nature. Among people, ancient mindsets of racism and sexism must be given up, and sooner rather than later. Unnecessary wars become increasingly ridiculous as we recognize that nature has weapons of mass destruction that will be triggered into action unless we stop patterns of consumption that lead to environmental abuse. Else, there may be many Katrinas and Tsunamis, and many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, just waiting to happen at the appointed time. The only sensible thing to do is to change post-disaster recovery practices into disaster prevention practices. Enough is already known about climate and geology to get started in this direction. The political will, however, is lacking.

4. Global Geography of the Nuptial Crisis

"Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage."
~ Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

There is a nuptial crisis that appears to be worldwide. The crisis is not happening mainly because many people no longer take seriously the institution of marriage. The crisis is happening mostly because the relentless pursuit of wealth, power, and honors has become an idol that is taken even more seriously that the institution of marriage. The indispensable "time to be with each other" is sacrificed to gods made by human hands. A lot of time is spent playing with iPods and other widgets, but there is seldom time for husband and wife to be present to each other. This brings to mind the wise nuptial warnings of André Maurois: "A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day .... A marriage without conflicts is almost as inconceivable as a nation without crises .... A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short". Rebuilding takes time. Resolving conflicts takes time. Having long conversations (or "nuptial dialogue" as it is designated in the Marriage Encounter movement) takes time. If adequate time is not taken, even the best marriages are bound to deteriorate.

In the nuptial context, the relentless competition for wealth, power, and honors often induces, or intensifies, domestic violence. The pressures and frustrations of daily life must be repressed in the work place and other settings, only to explode at home. The violence can be physical and/or psychological. The victims are mostly women, although there are also cases of wives abusing husbands. The children are always victims, either directly by being abused or indirectly by the lasting trauma caused by witnessing the violence.

Domestic violence is also execerbated by a phallogocentric mixture of religion and patriarchy. In fact, such as mixture exacerbates violence everywhere, but it is especially pernicious when the humiliation happens at home and impairs the physical and mental health of children. The atrocity of 11 September 2001, which las led to many other atrocities, confirms that mixing religion and patriarchy is a recipe for violence. In passing, it should be mentioned that the detrimental effects of patriarchal religions on human health and social justice confirms, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that excluding women from roles of religious authority cannot possibly be what God desires, since God only desires what is good for us.

The fact is that, in many countries worldwide, the fraction of the population that has chosen to marry and remain married has decreased significantly between 1990 and 1999. See Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Crude Marriage Rate for Selected Countries, 1990 and 1999
Data source: Infoplease World Statistics

In this sample, the surprising exceptions are Denmark, Greece, and Japan. It was not possible to integrate a database of total population, number of married persons, number of married couples with children, and number of divorced persons, and other social indicators such as GDP per capita, levels of education, age distribution of married couples, etc. This remains to be done when data is found and time permits. But the fact that people - especially young people - are increasingly choosing free sex or cohabitation without a nuptial commitment is worrisome. The use of contraceptives encourages immediate gratification but is not conducive to responsible use of the gift of love and the gift of life. The increased use of contraceptives should reduce the number of abortions, but the number of abortions keeps increasing worldwide. Divorce rates are also increasing, with ramifications that are both socially and environmentally detrimental.

5. Heterosexuality and Homosexuality

"There is neither Jew nor Greek,
slave nor free, male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
~ Galatians 3:28 (1st century CE)

At this point in human history, one of the most vexing issues confronting many institutions (and, in particular, religious institutions) is the realization of how little we know about human sexuality. Old understandings are succumbing to the test of time as we learn more about biology, psychology, and other human sciences. New understandings are not yet fully understood, and sometimes generate visceral reactions from many who think they are "experts on humanity." The traditional mindset has been limited to a simple duality - male or female, man or woman, vir or mulier. Indeed, the human body most often seems to be one or the other. There are, however, factors that go deeper than genital and urinary plumbing. Starting with Carl Jung, new horizons become visible: there is a feminine dimension in men (the anima) and there is a masculine dimension in women (the animus). This insight, which scientifically emerged rather recently in psychoanalytic theory and practice, actually has a venerable history as a human intuition, such as the ancient Chinese Yin-Yang symbol that shows Yin (femininity) and Yang (masculinity) in both unity and diversity. Other examples are the masculine-feminine balance in the composition of the Zodiacal constellations, androgynous symbols that suggest most of the human body being neither male nor female and, of course, the well know Genesis accounts about the creation of the human being, male and female (not male or female) in the image of God.

More recently, a number of diagrams have been proposed to convey the idea that, while the masculine-feminine polarities do exist, they do not exclude each other and each human being is at some point in the continuum between them. In fact, there is no such thing as a human being that is 100% male or 100% female. This brings to mind the concepts of heterosexuality and homosexuality. The mix of physical, biological, psychological, and cultural factors that determine "sexual orientation" is complex and controversial. We are still at the point in which emotion and prejudice (especially in some religious quarters) keep blocking a scientific elucidation of this issue. Gay men and lesbian women are barely starting to come "out of the closet" and insist that they are what they are by nature, not by choice. This will take time and, during this time, the only sensible thing to do is to avoid any animosities and humiliating words and actions (such as the condescending characterization of homosexuality as "an objective disorder") and be open to any new understandings that would be conducive to sustainable human development.

As new ground continues to be broken in understanding human sexuality, it seems reasonable to anticipate significant nuptial, social, and ecclesial repercussions. The book Becoming More Human: Exploring the Interface of Spirituality, Discipleship and Therapeutic Faith Community, by Peter R. Holmes, Paternoster, 2005, 322 pages, is recommended as a good starting point for further study. Specifically, see his discussion on gender and marriage, pages 159-160; and especially his concept of a Gender Continuum in page 159, footnote 135.

6. The Heterosexual Nuptial Covenant

"Marriage is not just spiritual communion;
it is also remembering to take out the trash."
~ Joyce Brothers (b. 1929)

The nuptial covenant between a man and a woman is the most common path toward married life. Theories abound as to whether this should or should not be the case, but the fact is that sexual attraction occurs most frequently between a man and a woman. The consummation of the nuptial vows entails the man and the woman becoming one flesh, and in becoming one flesh the miracle of engendering new life often happens. In addition to such moments of marital bliss, there are lots of things that must be taken care of, including taking out the trash and a never ending cacophony of minutiae claiming for attention. The noise level increases after children are born. This is the reason why the number of children should be carefully planned, seeking divine guidance and human counseling. For those couples who can handle the decibels, a large family is a blessing. But attempts to overachieve by intentionally having a large family without adequate family resources often backfire. If having too many children compromises the nuptial covenant itself, then it is hard to imagine that having too many children if for the glory of God and the good of the couple and the children, let alone the common good of the social community in which the family abides. Likewise, if having too many children becomes such a burden that their human development will be compromised, then it is equally hard to imagine that having too many children is what God desires. These decisions must be made together by husband and wife, and the supremacy of conscience if key. Both must agree, without any form of coercion, that having a certain number of children is what they want to do, for each other and for the children. And the uncertainty as to whether or not what they plan will actually come to pass also must be freely accepted by both, always keeping in mind that fidelity to the nuptial vows can withstand the test of time if, and only if, husband and wife submit to each other (Ephesians 5:21). The best way to ensure this continued submission to each other is by daily prayer and nuptial dialogue. Good guidance on nuptial dialogue is available via the Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

7. The Homosexual Nuptial Covenant

"The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right."
~ Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)
"Each individual's journey through life is unique. Some will make this journey alone, others in loving relationships - maybe in marriage or other forms of commitment. We need to ponder our own choices and try to understand the choices of others. Love has many shapes and colors and is not finite. It can not be measured or defined in terms of sexual orientation."
~ Statement of Affirmation and Reconciliation
Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers),
Aotearoa, New Zealand, 1999

It has been said that wisdom includes being silent when you don't know what to say. The reader is cautioned that what follows is an exercise in ignorance or, at best, a crude example of thinking aloud to express some general impressions, concerns, and hopes.

It seems reasonable to assume that either partner can remember to take out the trash in gay and lesbian couples. It also seems reasonable to imagine that same-sex marriages do not suffer from gender inequities, which is a plus. And there is evidence that many same-sex couples are permanent covenants "until death do us apart." But the fundamental question is whether or not a same-sex marriage is "nuptial". In several online dictionaries, "nuptial" is defined as an adjective of "wedding" and always refers to a wedding or marriage covenant but there is no indication that the two human persons entering the covenant must be of the opposite sex. There is reference to the "nuptial flight" of some species of ants and bees during the mating season, but this reflection is limited to humans. The dictionary meaning of "wedding" and "marriage" is a bit more confusing. The definition of the noun "wedding" makes no reference to sex or sexual orientation. The definition of the noun "marriage" is ambiguous; it does make reference to sex, but the two persons getting married can be of the opposite sex or the same sex. It follows that the historical understanding of marriage as the nuptial union of a man and a woman is culturally dependent rather than intrinsic to a marriage being nuptial.

What about sharing the gift of love and the gift of life? As the Quakers have pointed out, there are many manifestations of authentic love. Even with regard to sexual love, it is hard to conceive of any reason for heterosexual sex to be physically or morally superior to homosexual sex. Some religious zealots still insist that the Bible and other sacred scriptures consider homosexual sex to be immoral; but this reflects a literalist reading of texts that contain divine revelation in culturally conditioned gift wrappings. Each human person is unique and, therefore, each nuptial covenant is unique. The gift of love cannot be monopolized by heterosexuals anymore than by people from any given culture, nationality, or race. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently gave a lecture at Columbia University. Afterwards, one of the questions from the audience was about the harsh treatment of women and homosexuals in Iran. After a bit of hesitation, his answer was that "women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedom" and that "in Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country" (see, for example, the CNN report dated 24 September 2007. The audience exploded in laughter and boos. The fact is that gays, lesbians, and same-sex couples are harshly treated, persecuted, and often executed (see the Fox News report dated 13 November 2007). This in a country in which the ayatollahs have declared that nine-year-old girls are mature and ready for sex and marriage (see the blog report dated 12 February 2007).

What about the gift of life? Indeed, same-sex couples cannot have children. But conceiving a child is not the only way to bestow life. Adoption is a possibility, even though there is as yet no significant amount of data on the human development of children growing up with same-sex parents. Other options are available, such as doing voluntary work for poor and hungry children (MDG1), helping poor boys and girls to get a good education (MDG2), working to decrease infant mortality (MDG4) and maternal mortality (MDG5), helping in some way to mitigate epidemics such as malaria and HIV/AIDS (MDG6), etc. Indeed, there are many ways to bestow life, and there are many ways to abort life. Life is bestowed by contributing to the integral development of human persons, and life is diminished by erecting obstacles to such integral development. What about heterosexual couples that cannot have children for some medical reason? Is their nuptial covenant invalidated by not being able to conceive children? Not so, and these couples have the same life-giving alternatives as same-sex couples.

In brief, it seems reasonable to conclude that same-sex couples can share both the gift of love and the gift of life, thereby enriching both the web of love and the web of life in this world. Therefore, it would seem that same-sex marriages have as much nuptial meaning as opposite-sex marriages, even though the body language that conveys the nuptial meaning of same-sex marriages is not the same as the body language that conveys the same nuptial meaning of opposite-sex marriages.

In his Letter to a young gay Catholic, James Allison shows the absurdity of humiliating people who are gay, and encourages gay people not to let such humiliations diminish their faith in God and humanity. Our understanding of human sexuality is still rudimentary. But our understanding of the love of God is enough to know that God doesn't make garbage. Pending further elucidation of the "gender continuum," the wise thing to do is to keep praying and working in solidarity with all human beings, renounce violence, and foster sustainable human development.

8. Sustainable Human Development

"Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development."
~ Kofi Annan (b. 1938)

"What is virtue?
It is to hold yourself to your fullest development as a person
and as a responsible member of the human community."
~ Arthur Dobrin (b. 1943)

The previous section is painfully long, so this section is mercifully short. Sustainable human development is where the action is. Action for sustainable human development starts at home. The parents must have, and foster in their children, a concept of nuptial covenant between humanity and the human habitat. This requires awareness of the web of love and the web of life. Acting on this awareness requires the gift of love and the gift of life. These are gifts that God will not deny to anyone. But they are gifts that must be shared and exercised; else, they become weaker and weaker, and eventually degenerate into urgings for wealth, power, and honors. They become like pesticides that degrade the webs of love and life, often disguised as agents of productivity and social progress. Again, sustainable human development is where the action really is: the integral development of each human person as a responsible member of a human community that abides in sustained nuptial covenant with the human habitat.

9. Prayer, Study, and Action

"Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky,
are best relieved by the letting of a little water."
~ Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

It is inevitable that difficulties, and even tragedies, will emerge along the path of married life. The road that goes from the wedding feast to the burial at a cemetery invariably passes through Calvary. The following poem (author unknown) is worthy of memorization, and relevant to perseverance in sharing the gift of love and the gift of life.

Don't Quit
Author Unknown

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road your trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and its turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When they might have won, had they stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victors cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when your hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit!


Praying together for peace and justice:


Growing together in understanding of each other. Basically, nuptial dialogue requires mutual openness of heart and mind between husband and wife:

Nuptial Dialogue
Growing together in understanding of each other requires nuptial dialogue, i.e., open channels of communication between husband and wife. The marriage encounter movement, active in many Christian churches, helps couples in the process of opening their hearts and minds to each other. Daily nuptial dialogue is indispensable to sustain good relations between husband and wife. It is also indispensable to sustain good relations between parents and children and, in general, to foster sustainable human development. Gender inequality is the greatest obstacle to nuptial dialogue, which deteriorates as soon as the nuptial covenant breaks down and degenerates in either patriarchy or matriarchy. Revisit the nuptial resources page to find links to resources on nuptial dialogue.

Working together to promote dialogue for nonviolence and peace. Dialogue for political conflict resolution, especially between enemies, may require more strict rules but is never impossible:

"Framed in a night dream - all is possible in a dream - President George W. Bush and Sheikh Osama bin Laden sit down and talk like two human beings. In their conversation they discover that they have quite a bit in common. At the end they decide to work together to bring justice to the world. The fictitious conversation, structured as if professionally facilitated, advances a possibility, a vision. Its aim is to provoke and to trigger something in the minds of people who grapple with the question: What could we do other than to resort to war, terror, and violence because of ideological differences? How can we construct a new reality - peacefully? The dialogue revolves around one of the most pressing and serious issues of our times. Yet, the material is presented as a satire. The text is addressed to persons interested in politics, conflict management, and peace building. It can well be used as a teaching tool. It will also contribute to many spirited conversations."
Source: I have a Dream: A Conversation between President George W. Bush and Sheikh Osama bin Laden, by Noa Zanolli, iUniverse, Switzerland, April 2008.

Becoming familiar with good resources on marriage, family, and society:

Social Science Research on
Family, Society, and Religion
Research on Families & Relationships

Family & Marriage Society
South Africa

International Petition to Defend
Marriage and the Family

Selecting together the best web sites for children:

Ages 9 to 16
UN International Strategy for
Disaster Reduction

Ages 9 to 99
Union of Concerned Scientists

Those who want to be challenged, see the following: Serious games: online games for learning, by Anne Derryberry, I'm ~ Serious Thoughts About Serious Games

Doing something together for the MDGs:

Source: UNDP
View status & trend data on:
Progress toward MDG1
Progress toward MDG2
Progress toward MDG3
Progress toward MDG4
Progress toward MDG5
Progress toward MDG6
Progress toward MDG7
Progress toward MDG8
Source: PARIS21

Studying and working together in any dimension of sustainable development:

UNDP Human Development Report 2008

UN Division of Sustainable Development
Trends in Sustainable Development 2008

IEA Energy Technology Projections 2008
Table of Contents
Executive Summary

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|Link to Newsletter Home Page|


A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform,
by Robley E. George, Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

SSNV Archive

Links to archived newsletters:

V1 N1 May 2005
V1 N2 June 2005
V1 N3 July 2005
V1 N4 August 2005
V1 N5 September 2005
V1 N6 October 2005
V1 N7 November 2005
V1 N8 December 2005
V2 N1 January 2006
V2 N2 February 2006
V2 N3 March 2006
V2 N4 April 2006
V2 N5 May 2006
V2 N6 June 2006
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V2 N8 August 2006
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V3 N01 January 2007
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V3 N10 October 2007
V3 N11 November 2007
V3 N12 December 2007
V4 N01 January 2008
V4 N02 February 2008
V4 N03 March 2008
V4 N04 April 2008
V4 N05 May 2008
V4 N06 June 2008
V4 N07 July 2008
Cross-Gender Solidarity
The Phallocentric Syndrome
From Patriarchy to Solidarity
Patriarchy and Solidarity
From Solidarity to Sustainability
Dimensions of Sustainability
Analysis of Objective Evidence
Solidarity and Subsidiarity
Solidarity and Sustainability
Sustainable Human Development
Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
Violence in Patriarchal Religions
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-2
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-3
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-4
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-5
Sabbatical Activity~September-06
Sabbatical Activity~October-06
Sabbatical Activity~November-06
Sabbatical Activity~December-06
MDG1-Reduce Extreme Poverty
MDG2-Ensure Universal Education
MDG3-Promote Gender Equality
MDG4-Reduce Child Mortality
MDG5-Improve Maternal Care
MDG6-Mitigate HIV/AIDS Epidemic
MDG7-Environmental Sustainability
MDG8-Develop Global Partnership
Integrated Analysis of the MDGs
Analysis of the 2015 MDG Targets
If Not the MDGs, Then What?
2007 State of the Future Review
Religious Dimension of Sustainability
Spiritual Dimension of Sustainability
Human Dimension of Sustainability
Gender Dimension of Sustainability
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 1
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 2 Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability 3

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
Theology of the Body, John Paul II
Two Wings of a Bird, Baha'is

Adam & Eve, 1984
Bruno Pasqualini
b. Bologna, Italy, 1942
Source: The Art of Bruno Pasqualini
Melbourne, Australia

Nuptial Covenant

Sexual Love in the Nuptial Covenant
Art by Farid de la Ossa, Colombia
Source: Australian Catholic University

Marriage, Wikipedia
Wedding, Wikipedia
Muslim Nuptials, MMG
Jewish Nuptials, CHABAD
Marital Love, Song of Solomon
Marital Sex, MFA
Chastity, Wikipedia
Marital Spirituality, INTAMS
Spiritual Marriage, Wikipedia
Evangelical Counsels, Wikipedia
Child Care Quality, ERIC
Family Matters, Ronit Baras
Theology of the Body, John Paul II
Phallogocentrism, Jacques Derrida
Domestic Violence, Wikipedia
Marriage Encounter, WWME
Nuptial Dialogue, Doug+Diana Konz
Married Dialogue, Sheri+Bob Stritof
The Dialogue, Catherine of Siena

Incontro Matrimoniale, Italia

World Religions

Symbols of the major religions.
Top to bottom, left to right:
Christian Jewish Hindu
Muslim Buddhist Shintoist
Sikh Baha'i Jain
Source: Wikipedia

For more information, see World Religions, which provides global maps and numerical tabulations showing religious distributions (as of 2005) by number of adherents, percentage of the world population, and geographic dispersion by regions and countries.

Global News/Issues

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

A $10 Mosquito Net
Is Making Charity Cool

Ten Million Children Die annually
before 5th birthday

Ensuring a Wide Range
of Family Planning Options

Globalization, its discontents,
and its upside

Debunking the food crisis

History shows the church can change,
and it will survive

On violence and violation

ISO14001 Management Systems
for Sustainability

Fast Facts and Quick Action

Nigeria: Country Loses
N3.5 Trillion to Corruption

How the internet economy
is under threat

Multi-religious Cooperation

What Is the World Coming To?

Pro-Growth Tax Policy

Effectiveness of antidepressants:
an evidence myth constructed from
a thousand randomized trials?

Constant global population
with demographic heterogeneity

Commission on Growth and Development - The Growth Report

Ahmadinejad, Mugabe blame West
for food crisis

Papua New Guinea's forests
all but gone in 13 years

'100,000 girls fighting
in global conflicts'

Union of priests rattle Orthodox Church

Religious Killing Threatens Religion

Development goals still a long way off

Unsustainable Inequities

Life Beyond Google

Information, Globalization
and Democracy

Sexist churches not Jesus' doing

The Future of the Middle East

UN food summit hammers out
plan for world's hungry

Words must be put into action
to fight human trafficking

Fuel Prices Putting
Globalization in Reverse?

Ecosystem damage costs
trillions per year

Economics of Ecosystems
and Biodiversity

Giving out their daughters
for their survival

Poverty Trap

"Living Well,"
a development alternative

Inflation threatens
attainment of the MDGs

The globalization of inequality

Globalization at heart of crisis

Financial Market Cycles,
Globalization, and the
Recent Sub-Prime Crisis

$13 Billion Pledged to Feed
the World's Hungry

When the sustainability they want
is just unsustainable

ILO launches global campaign
for gender equality

From Younger Tutu,
Thoughts on Politics
and Gender Equality

Energy ministers focus on
oil prices and global warming

Humanization of Education

Social movement to remove
gender discrimination

A rugged road to gender equality

A rabbi, an imam and a priest
discuss their 'painful verses'

Caribbean Monk Seal Declared Extinct

The Meanings of Goddess - Part 1
The Meanings of Goddess - Part 2
The Meanings of Goddess - Part 3

Islamist rejects Somali peace deal

Global Food Crisis
Could Undermine All MDGs

World must tackle ‘globalization
without social justice’

Strategy for human development

Marine Reserves

Global marine biodiversity trends

Gender and Climate Change

Political Islam and Democracy

Nature laid waste:
The destruction of Africa

HIV/AIDS Reduces
Children’s Education Chances

Children in the Path of the Pandemic

Girls Should Go to School, Stay There

Food Crisis:
An Opportunity For Change?

Global Woes Hit Developing Countries

IEA calls for energy technology revolution

As energy costs soar,
America looks to solar

Global Economic Gloom -
China and India Notable Exceptions

Oil and Development in Africa

"Don't Leave It Unmanaged"

Muslim, Jew and Catholic share pain

Violence damaging Zimbabwe's children

Diversity & the Incoherence
of Journalism's Ideology

In Nigeria, Oil Wealth Delivers Grief

This Global Show Must Go On

Interfaith initiative boost
for MDG effort

Globalization and the development of
underdevelopment of the third world

Fatherhood and the Future
of Civilization

Immoral Mirrors

Rich Nations Face 'Credibility Crunch'

Why the US Will Still be
the Only Superpower in 2030

The Economics and Politics of Trade

The New World Energy Order

When religions talk

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)

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 Citizen

Fethullah Gülen (b. 1938, Turkey)
He is an authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who is for interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and against violence and turning religion into a political ideology. Gülen promotes cooperation of civilizations toward a peaceful world, as opposed to a clash.

Sample quote:

"Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned." Criteria or Lights of the Way, London: Truestar, 1996.


About Fethullah Gülen
A Life Dedicated to Peace and Humanity
The Institute of Interfaith Dialogue
The Gülen Institute
Fethullah Gülen - Wikipedia
Fethullah Gülen - IHT
Links to Gülen's Writings
The Gülen Movement

MDGs + 1


mdggoals PLUS GOAL 9:
Universal Religious Freedom

Global MDG resources:
U.N. MDGs Home Page
MDG Core Documents
MDG Basic Indicators
U.N. Millennium Project
MDG Targets & Indicators
Human Rights and the MDGs
Governance and the MDGs
MDG Atlas
MDG Dashboard
MDG Monitor
MDG Slideshow
MDG GMR 2008
GEO Report 2007
HDR Report 2007-2008
Earth Charter
Youth and the MDGs
Health and the MDGs
State of the World Children 2008
State of the World Girls 2007
Gender Equity Index 2008
UNESCO Yearbook 2008
World Energy Outlook 2008
World Disasters Report 2007
World Health Statistics 2008
MDG-Net and DGP-Net

National MDG resources:


Local MDG resources:


Sign of the Times

Anglican Bishop Jane Alexander
Consecrated March 2008
Edmonton, Canada

Hillary Clinton

Wife, Mother, Lawyer, Stateswoman
Senator from New York
Probably not the Next
President of the USA
but a Major Contributor
to the Advancement of Women

Visit the official web site: [hillaryforpresident2008]


She fought the good fight. Both racism and sexism raised their ugly heads during this campaign. It is good that nobody wants to be called racist. But the sexism of the media was so obvious as to be repulsive. Perhaps, by losing politically, she won another battle toward the day when nobody wants to be called sexist. See the following:

Clinton started a new
political movement

Best woman for the job
could be a man

Subscribe to Draft_Hillary
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SSNV Links

Resources worth visiting:

Platform for Sharing Information
on Gender Equity


Mimetic Theory of René Girard

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





See the Official Trailer

Consumer Choice and the Environment
A Worldwide Tracking Survey
by National Geographic and GlobeScan

Green Index of Sustainable Consumption
Greendex Map of the World
Greendex Calculator
Greendex Report 2008 Full Report (50MG)

State of the World 2009:
Into a Warming World
Forthcoming January 2009
Worldwatch Institute

Global Footprint Network

Facing the Future
Grades 5-12

Table of Contents

Bears in the Air
Biodiversity Connections
Creating Our Future
Crossword Puzzles
Every Drop Counts!
Farming for the Future
Fishing for the Future
From Issue to Opportunity
Fueling the Future
Global Issues Trivia
How Big is a Billion?
Is It Sustainable?
Livin’ the Good Life?
Making Global Connections
Metaphors for the Future
Sustainable Development
Partners for Health
Seeking Asylum
Shop Till You Drop?
Systems Are Dynamic
Taxes: Choices and Trade-offs
Three Faces of Governance
To Fight or Not to Fight?
Watch Where You Step!
What’s In The News?

WordsEx Tool


The developer of this freeware is Glenn Scheper. The following abbreviated description is adapted from his web site:

Words Extended (WordsEx) is a powerful Internet text information discovery, retrieval, extraction, and display tool. It includes ranking heuristics that speed you to the choicest information. Minimal motion right hand operation, smooth scrolling and big fonts make it easy. This version is the first release on CNET

Windows 2000, XP, or Vista users can try WordsEx immediately by clicking HERE. It comes with a concise but clearly written user's guide as well as some additional software documentation. The tool can be used to find, retrieve, and rank online information on any subject matter, but several sample analyses supported by WordsEx are provided in Glenn's page.


Will take place 1-5 December 2008, Mérida, México. See the conference website. The conference coordinator is Jaime Grace Engel .

Scheduled for 15-19 February 2009, New York City. Theme: "Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future." See the conference website. The conference co-chairs are Sabine Carey and Gerald Schneider.

Sponsored by the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). March 5-7, 2009, York University, Toronto. Sub-theme: "Regulation, Dispossession, and Emerging Claims." Organizing committee: CERLAC.

Managing the Social Impacts of Change from a Risk Perspective, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 15-17 April 2009. See the SCARR web site. For details contact Jens Zinn or Peter Taylor-Gooby.


International conference on ecology and professional helping, with interdisciplinary dialogues on person, planet, and professional helping. University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 7-9 May 2009. Abstracts (in English or French) due 12 September 2008); submit via email to John Coates. For more information visit the conference web site. Additional points of contact: Fred Besthorn or Mishka Lysack.

Gendered Cultures at the Crossroads of Imagination, Knowledge and Politics, 4-7 June 2009 Utrecht, The Netherlands. Visit the conference web site. For more information: 7thfeminist

ISSR Conference, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 27-31 July 2009. Theme: Challenges of Religious Pluralism. See the list of ISSR Contacts.

The first World Resources Forum will be held in Davos, Switzerland, 16 September 2009. Theme: From the Natural Sciences to Economics. See the WRF Planning Poster. Contact: Dr. Lorenz M. Hilty.

The International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) announces the XXVI International Population Conference, 27 September - 2 October 2009, Marrakech, Morocco. For the CFP and paper submissions visit the marrakech2009.

Evidence Base

The SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy has been updated. As of 20 May 2008, it provides links to 2131 web sites that contain evidentiary data and knowledge content that is relevant to global issues of human solidarity and nonviolence, environmental sustainability, and sustainable human development.

Each link is classified by the following categories:

  • Mega-Disciplines
    • Divine Wisdom
    • Empirical Knowledge
    • Expert Knowledge
    • General Knowledge
    • Human Habitat
    • Human Sciences
    • Integrated Information
    • Science & Technology
    • Teamwork Information
    • Tools Information
  • Disciplines
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Etc.
  • Specialties
    • Calculus
    • Inorganic Chemistry
    • Biochemistry
    • Etc.
  • Sub-Specialties
    • Integral Calculus
    • Chemical Elements
    • Biofuels
    • Etc.
  • UN MDGs
    • MDG 1
    • MDG 2
    • MDG 3
    • Etc.

Currently, the database is sorted by mega-disciplines, disciplines, and specialties. The sub-specialties field is temporarily being used for knowledge source (often using institutional or facility acronyms). Many resources are applicable to two or more of the MDGs. This is work in progress, and both the taxonomies and the links will continue to evolve, but the reader may find something useful by clicking HERE.


Integrating the Human Sciences

According to the home page, "the purpose of IMITATIO is to promote recognition of René Girard's mimetic hypothesis and to further research in human mimetic behavior in the humanities, behavioral and biological sciences." Links are provided to videos in which Girard himself explains the foundations and applications of mimetic theory to human development. To see one of them, click HERE. Related links:

Colloquium on Violence and Religion
Directory of Mimetic Theory Websites
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary
Nonviolence and the Christian Faith
James Alison Theology Website


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

"Facts do not cease to exist
because they are ignored."

Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)


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Copyright © 2008 by Luis T. Gutierrez


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