The “Happy New Year” greeting today rings hollow in my ears.
The world is a difficult home for far too many people. Many of the achievements in the past few years, according to The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012, have been unequally distributed across and within countries and regions in the world.
Gender inequality and violence against women are realities for many, many of my sisters; hunger persists (I’ve seen it in the eyes of some Egyptian children this week); maternal health and mortality are distressing; unemployment and underemployment are robbing millions of a secure future; and access to clean water (which damn well should be a basic right of everyone in the 21st century) is nonexistent in many communities!
Closer to home (. . . this year Gaza is my home . . .), the United Nations reported this summer that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020. An international association of democratic lawyers called for an end to the illegal occupation, acts of aggression and war crimes.
Having witnessed firsthand the 8 days of bombs raining down on Gaza in November, I now have a better appreciation for “acts of aggression.” Read the lawyers’ September resolution here.
On the climate change front, world leaders continue to act irresponsibly. Rather than moving aggressively towards a fossil-free world, most are burying their heads in the sand. They know better, but are tied at the hip to the Exxons and Chevrons of the world.
Today’s CO2 in the atmosphere is nearly 393 ppm, much higher than what scientists consider safe at 350 ppm, and it is rising rapidly to dangerous levels. Watch this 17 minute video with David Roberts explaining climate change in simple terms, and then pass it on to everyone you know. Make sure your Representative in Congress watches it.
Clearly, we don’t need more platitudes and fake greetings and holiday cheer in the world. We need action! Strong, decisive, meaningful action from people . . . lots and lots of people. We need to create the unstoppable parade that world leaders will find impossible to ignore.
And what does this parade look like? A doughnut.
My New Year’s resolution is to build the parade everywhere and anywhere I can . . . . . a parade of people demanding that we live within this DOUGHNUT.
A senior researcher at Oxfam, Kate Raworth, created this eloquent diagram that says it all. Watch her explanation here. The inner ring represents the minimum necessities of life that everyone deserves, or in other words the social foundation, below which we cannot have a just and peaceful world. The outer ring represents the limits, or the ceiling, above which we must not exceed for a sustainable, livable planet. Raworth’s idea is explained more fully here.
Everyone who is living above the social foundation today . . . that means you and me and nearly everyone else I know . . . must focus our efforts in 2013 on this doughnut. I know we can do it.