TERMS OF REFERENCE
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM 2016
9-15 AUGUST 2016
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY, INDONESIA
Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s encyclical released on 18 June 2016 invites all concerned to be aware of the church’s call to promote a better, ecologically fair life. In the face of ecological issues, the awareness of changing one’s view of life, lifestyle, method of production and consumption in the modern world is promoted. The emphasis on the ecocentric ideas instead of anthropocentric ones insists that humans should place themselves back as creations and a part of the whole earth’s ecosystem rather than as rulers and the center of the creations.
Modernity promoted in the cultures of humanity has impacted on the depletion of natural resources and the emergence ecological hazard, which affects the entire earth and positions the poor as the primary victim. Furthermore, the modernity has also brought behavioral implications that lead to the attitude of a waster, including that of the values of humanity. A modern lifestyle driven by consumeristic behavior that prioritizes materialism and the spirit of ‘obsoleteness’ generates a lifestyle of throwing away what are considered to be obsolete (throwaway society). The same lifestyle will also apply when a person is treating another. Nowadays, it is very easy for one to be dismissed from their job as they are considered to be not productive any longer, replaceable by those whom are more productive and ‘cheaper’. At the same time, this lifestyle also shows the signs of throwing away people’s humanity, which is the abandonment of values other than economical ones profitable to themselves.
Capitalism as the dominant ideology has a huge influence on the means of human’s producing and consuming. In this era of capitalism, production is measured by the ability of acquiring money as the means of exchange. This capitalism, riding on globalization’s surges, has also managed to change the perception about human’s prosperity. As stated by Vance Packard, through various media, human is unconsciously encouraged to follow the desire to consume what the capital has dictated. People reduce the basic aspects of welfare to money and consumption (James Peterson). The world’s economy today will collapse if people stop consuming in this greedy manner. It is very simple for an economic upheaval to happen to us when consumption rate decreases. Quantitave easing strategy by the US to resist this economic upheaval in 2008 is a clear example.
At this rate, the means of producing and consuming results in the depletion of resources. Consequently, the next generation will lose the chance to benefit the resources. In fact, the depletion has also yielded deadly inheritance in the form of land unable to grow food as it is infertile in consequence of mining and intensive monoculture farming. At the same time, local food is ousted thanks to the conceptual science spread by the waves of globalization. Also, the local wisdom is pushed aside and forgotten along with the spread of the waves of science globalization.
The situation of ecological crisis that has become the context for the modern humans today has at the same time raised the hope of rectification to a better world. Information and ecological knowledge can be distributed and shared through social media. Ecological awareness has evoked movements that encourage living a more humane, fair life. The youth growing up as the net generation easily adopts the concepts of equality and connectedness, raising new creativity to save the earth. In a slightly different way, a new form of awareness to revitalize humanity values is also promoted.
Proposed subthemes include:
- Justice and ecological perspective
This part would like to observe the problems of social justice from the perspective of ecology. Social injustice always leads to damages and threats to ecology. In a local context, the portrait of ecology may be easily the tools of the mapping of injustice. Where there is ecological destruction, there arises injustice. In a place with degraded ecology, such as slum areas in cities, there will always be problems of injustice in the social structures. Destroyed ecology in an urban area will reflect the neglect towards the basic values of life. Hence, it can be confirmed that justice is not present there.
On a global level, the process of manufacturing production is moved from developed countries to poorer nations for cheaper price. At the same time, this movement, which is economically beneficial to increase economic capacity (characterized by the large amount of goods and service used), moves the ecological problems of industrial revolution from developing countries to underdeveloped ones. The process of manufacturing production is usually a labor-intensive production employing a large number of workers, large amount of raw material, conducted in a large industrial complex that uses up large amount of energy. The concentration of human resources in a big number, the excessive consumption of natural resources combined with the vast amount of energy required brings a serious effect on ecology in the form of bad living environment and decreased carrying capacity. This tendency results in ecological damages brought upon these underdeveloped countries.
Ecological view towards justice is based on the basic idea that ecological carrying capacity has limits and that there is interdependence among elements in it. The centralization of resources to one element will result in a disparity and it will lead to the destruction of the system. In the system of ecology, there applies an optimum balance that occurs when all parts of the system support each other. The consumerist culture driven by modernity has resulted in the decrease of the ability of the earth to support lives, so that all organisms are in a real crisis. Naturally, the nature responds to reach a balance through the mechanism of changing seasons. This is characterized by the more extreme the el-nino, la nina, and storms have become. Accumulatively, modern humans have left the world in the state of more vulnerable for the next generation to live in. This can be interpreted that injustice among generations has occurred.
- Ecological education
Ecological education is a strategy to develop humanity that bases themselves on ecological values. This education positions humans as a part of the whole creation, holding the role of the dynamist able to develop empathy towards other creatures and to knowingly sought restoration of the environment, which is an effort to create a decent environment for humanity and to give other creatures more, better prospect for their development.
The education of ecology includes efforts to understand relations among the creations and the activities of human, as well as the impact and the interpretation of those activities. Ecological education also encourages humans to grow the ability to express solidarity and be responsible in the relations with other humans as well as the creations. This kind of ecological education is not only about the efforts to convey information, but also to practically produce habits and signification over actions.
The biggest challenge in ecological education is the context of the times that is not fully supportive towards the education itself. Technological advances and consumptive modern lifestyles are traps that easily blur the values embodied in the ecological education because of human’s fundamental characters.
- New Manifestation of the Local Wisdom
Local wisdom contains knowledge which is passed down from one generation to another by various means. Usually, the methods employed are non-liberal (very symbolic) and practical. The process of passing down the knowledge is often biased by other aspects that have grown in the society. Even so, this process might be seen as the process of transferring cultures passed down by means and methods delighting for the society at the time.
Examples of local wisdom evolving in the society are folklores, traditions and various rites. For instance, there is a fable about a mouse deer. Fables about mouse deer are usually told by parents to their children. The structure of this mouse deer fables will always follow the ingenuity, which is none other than the form of teaching unyielding spirit and survival. At the same time, the format of the fable is often an opportunity for an ecological reflection that is passed down. The story of the mouse deer stealing cucumber, which is often simplified as a story of the mouse deer’s mischief, is an allegory about the knowledge of farming. According to a research, mouse deer are animals that do not feed on cucumber. Stories of the mouse deer are easy to use to exchange experiences of farming and agriculture. A further reflection over the fable is that when a mouse deer has to feed on something that is not its food, there must be something wrong in the ecology, which basically reveals the destruction in the ecosystem.
Wisdom based on science and knowledge of the past would have to be re-documented and re-realized in a different way. New manifestation of the local wisdom would only be understood by people diligently studying the matter. For example, the understanding about the mouse deer becomes the means for the academics to comprehend how much knowledge the farmers from the past have learned. Those who were not familiar with mouse deer (in other words, not working in the farm diligently) would not understand the allegory behind the fable. Still, they would be delighted by it.
The process of understanding local wisdom and manifesting it in a new form is one of solutions for the process of rigid communities. Local wisdom requires flexibility to understand problems and courage to see from a very different perspective as well as to find creative alternatives. In a different way, local wisdom is often the mean for people to laugh at themselves.
According to Robertson, one of the transformations required for a healthy, humane, and ecological life is the change of paradigm from scientifically rational to intuitive, from formal institution to personal one (Robertson, J. 1978,2008). This fact is obvious in the net generation that places technology as its habitat (Tapscott, D. 2009). The net generation has also presented a strong collaborative culture. These can be used to realize basic strategies offered according to Laudato Si yi: straight, honest conversations in developing partnership, education and ecological spirituality, global regulation, ecological repentance (change in lifestyle).
The vision of justice is utilized to encourage the occurrence of ecological repentance, to promote compassion for the weak, to be aware of the dependence and being not greedy. Ecological justice results in a new, ecological view.
The experience of ecological education is utilized to undergo the contact with ecological principles that are dependent and mutually developing. Ecological education is successful when ecological habitus appears that is based on profound interpretation.
Re-manifestation of local wisdom is offered to help to become wise as well as creative in facing global challenges and to experience delight because of it. The transformation that impacts occurs when a new, refreshing local wisdom is produced.
Ecological, empowering leadership (in visions, behaviors, and actions)
Robertson, James , 1978 , The Sane Alternatives
Robertson, James, 2008, The Sane Alternatives (revision ed),http://www.jamesrobertson.com/book/thesanealternative.pdf
Social Justice in Open World, http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/ifsd/SocialJustice.pdf
What is ecological justice? https://www.devp.org/sites/www.devp.org/files/documents/materials/devpeace_backgrounder_2011-2016_ecological_justice.pdf
Justice and Ecological Perspective
Justice and ecology are closely related. Problems in ecology usually cause the absence of injustice. It happens as for indigenous people in a mining area who usually be forgotten from the exploitation. They lose their living sources while at the same time cannot enjoy the natural sources. Ecological damage usually represents the absence of injustice directly.
- Global warming: climate change and extreme phenomena
- Mining: energy and welfare
- Food and water distribution and availability
- Capital: economic system and consumerism
- Dialogue between states, carbon trade, retributive and restorative justices.
- War and refugees
- Poverty and bad living environment
Those issues can be used as bases to understand the context on how an ecological vision is important.
Analysis on these issues can be done by looking at the phenomena carefully and analyze facts to see the injustice pattern and ecological problems.
Education about Ecology
Education in this field is a method to nurture the creature which is called human. Education is a series of acts which is consciously be done to help younger human be more humanist. Moreover, education about ecology encourages men to put them as a balancer of ecology.
Issues under this topic are:
- Modernity and green lifestyle
- Reflective and habituate pedagogy
- Science, technology, and environment
- Biological and engineering ethics
Knowledge to this issue is very useful to understand the education problems in creating harmony between men and nature.
New implementation of Local Wisdoms
Local wisdoms which are inherited as tradition and culture usually contain profound knowledge. The act of these wisdoms is usually performed aesthetically and cheerfully. The wisdoms are usually covered under myths, taboos or just plain stories. The implementation of these wisdoms becomes the only source of inspiration to create more sustainable ecology.
Local wisdoms can be understood from:
- Integrated agriculture
- Various local traditions, religions, and cultures
- Language and semiotics
- Dialogue between generations
- Local food and various hers
- Seasons and calendar system
- Community – those who are marginalized from the native
- Alternative energy
Those issues are very good to pass a better knowledge for descents.