What is your next step?

This is your chance to be a part of the largest movement in history.  The movement for a sustainable, just and fulfilling existence on this planet.  A collective journey of hundreds of millions of individuals taking small steps to change themselves and change the world.

There is still time to act, but no time to waste.

Wherever you are on the planet and whatever your circumstance, now is the time to invigorate your life with a personal journey of transformation.  A better you.  A better planet.

It’s simple.

Start with your daily routine.  Think about what you consume, where it comes from, and where it goes.

Gasoline is an easy one.  We all know the problems with petrol.  It pollutes.  It’s an incentive for war.  It’s a limited resource of stored sunlight made from millions of years of plants.  Now think about fun ways that you could reduce your dependency on gasoline.  Maybe you could bike to work while getting a bit of stress-relieving exercise.  Maybe you could save money by carpooling.

Whatever simple step you take, the important thing is that we all keep taking steps for a sustainable, just, and fulfilling life.

In the first phase of Four Years. Go., we want to start visualizing what people are doing around the world.  We want to see all the little steps that help put humanity on a better path.  All the untold micro stories that when aggregated together paint a picture of the largest movement in history.

You can help by sharing your next step on the FOUR YEARS. GO. map or helping spread FOUR YEARS. GO. online.


  • http://forums.ranotech.com/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=3364 Arnold Welburn
  • http://forums.ranotech.com/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=3364 Arnold Welburn
  • Jacqueline

    I have started my own personal commitment called 365give. I give back to my community, my family, friends and the planet every day and blog about it. It’s easy to do, anyone can give every day big or small. Follow along and be part of the commitment to create the change we need.

    Jacqueline / Founder / http://www.365give.ca

  • Peterbere

    As a new member for my introduction, I wish to submit the following to FOUR YEARS AGO. If we are to process a Structural Reform Plan regarding a more sustainable future, then local cosmetic changes are not the answer, however, a more fundamental change would bring about positive achievement. I am now retired to Monmouth UK and a member of the Permaculture association, having spent over 30 years as an International Aid worker. My work involved environmental health, community development, Renewable Resource Energies/Technologies, Permaculture and lecturing at various schools, universities, and government departments in Africa and Asia. The following extracts are from a pre-feasibility study of which I presented to Asian NGO’s in my attempt to justify the urgent need for sustainability. Although the following presentation was specific to African & Asian organizations, much of the contents are relevant to and show potential for positive sustainability in developed societies.
    10:08:2000 A feasibility study: for the promotion of sustainable communities
    SUSTAINABLE EXISTENCE GLOBAL INTRODUCTION——–
    The characteristics, ramifications, and divaricating processes of politics, religion, nationalism, and commerce, are exponentially fragmentary, divisive, and provocative. Excesses of which destroy the stability of environmental eco-systems and social structures, creating an unsustainable and unstable world.
    For many years, we have witnessed evidence of social and environmental degradation, which should leave us in no doubt that human co-evolution towards global unity and sustainability has a long way to go.
    Our rapidly expanding socioeconomic and unconstrained monetary system imposes massive pressures upon the environment, governments, and of its peoples, forcing 50% of the human population to live in highly dependent cities. These pressures create a serious threat to our ecosphere from the destructive forces of pollution, resource exploitation, and community disintegration caused by our irresponsible consumptive material lifestyles.
    Toxic Lifestyles Our earth is an integrated and interdependent living system of which we are an integral part. However, our addictions to profit, power, and the consumptive lifestyles we sustain are turning the world TOXIC. A cocktail of our pollutants is causing acidification of soil, water, and atmosphere, hence the degradation of all that depend on these elements for their survival. Our illusion is that we exist in a world of unlimited resource exploitation where nature is always giving, but in reality, we are destroying ourselves from our own lack of personal responsibility to life, and to our eco-systems. We can feed clothe and shelter everyone in the world, yet 200 BILLION people have died in the last 20 years from starvation and associated problems, where 10 children die every minute from malnutrition. We live in a world population of 6 Billion, over 1 Billion live in absolute poverty, 841 Million undernourished, and 1.3 Billion have no access to safe drinking water (2000).
    WEATHER OF MASS DESTRUCTION:
    Anthropogenic climate change the ‘new security problem’ Documented reports by the United Nations in Sudan’s “Post –Conflict Environmental Assessment” reported; “Impacts of climate change were closely linked to conflict.” The University of Hong Kong reports that; “It was the oscillations of agricultural production brought about by long-term climate change that drove China’s historical war-peace cycles.” A report by the international NGO “International Alert” identifies forty-six countries at risk of violent conflict and instability because of anthropogenic climate change.
    Climatic change, atmospheric warming, pollution, destruction of rain forests, threats to biodiversity, land degradation and desertification, population resource imbalances, urban decay, bio-piracy, nuclear accidents, toxic waste disposals, global inequalities, regional conflicts, droughts and famine, suppression of minorities and indigenous peoples, foreign debt, hunger, malnutrition.
    Paying the price The poor, our biosphere, eco-systems, earth, and atmosphere are now paying a heavy price for the developed countries greed and their disregard for all life in our global environment.
    We have forgotten, or are too ignorant or mercenary, to consider sustainable lifestyles, with self-regulating agricultural systems supported by renewable resource energies and technologies. We fail to recognize and support the development of local sustainable self-sufficient communities with democratically organized management structures. Such communities serve as a safety net from poverty, and economic system crashes, and provide mutual benefit to local and major economies.
    Trade and environment No long-term strategy to alleviate poverty can succeed if we continue with environmental forces that promote unsustainable erosion of our natural resource bases upon which we all depend.
    No environmental protection programme can succeed if we continue with sustained pressures that promote an invasive socioeconomic system or the poverty that force people to exploit their local environmental resource base for their survival at the expense of their children’s future.
    Today’s luxuries are tomorrow’s disasters, and for national and global security, countries must develop sustainable lifestyle systems that balance their populations with their resources or we ourselves will become humanities final global plague.
    Fair trade — Free trade — or No trade
    While the rich grow richer, six of the ten poorest countries in the world are less prosperous than they were twenty years ago (2000). The main reason is that they have become reliant on exports of basic commodities, such as coffee, cotton and cocoa, where controlled fluctuating pricing has plummeted. Poor countries are being trapped and manipulated into a world trade system where the rules on International commodity pricing are rigged in favour of the rich countries.
    Traditional v Transgenic Agriculture

    INDIGENOUS TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
    Biological diversity encompasses all species of plants, animals, and microorganisms including the variation between them, and the levels of eco-systems of which they form.

    Species level: ——— includes the number and kinds of living organisms.
    Genetic level: ——— includes the genetic variation within a species.
    Eco-system level: — includes the variety of habitats, biological communities, ecological processes, pressures, and evolutions that occur within these habitats.
    Indigenous traditional knowledge with inextricable links between human and natural biodiversity has fed, and clothed the world for thousands of years. India is one of the twelve mega-biodiversity countries of the world, rich in agricultural biodiversity and one of the twelve primary centres, of the origin of cultivated plants, and is equally rich in traditional and indigenous knowledge.
    TRANSGENIC AGRICULTURE
    International patent protected corporate monopoly on food, genes, cells, and grains, to control global food production and the assumption that transgenic (GM) food is essential for global food security, will in effect create global famine.
    Principal academic institutions also play a major role, becoming facilitating conduits in bio piracy.
    The exploitation of sovereign resources and the commercialization of indigenous knowledge from the developing countries by international Bio-prospectors and the practice of patenting and owning bio-resources should be opposed by all global cultures.
    If traditional knowledge and reproductive resources, such as seeds, become obstructed, farmers in the poorer developing countries, who constitute our global food security, will be devastated.
    Transgenic agricultural practices obstruct the implementation of sustainable eco-agriculture practiced by traditional communities through experience and knowledge of their indigenous eco-systems.
    THE CHALLENGE
    It is ethically wrong to use politically deceitful green phrases such as, Eco-towns, Eco-cities, and recycling. Cities and towns by their nature are, polluting centres of externally dependent mass populace. It is also wrong to assume that recycling is an eco-friendly act, in realty, if we are recycling, then we have already caused the ecological damage; we are merely applying a self-polluting band-aid to a self-inflicted wound.
    If we are to challenge the destructive effects of human excesses, we must reassess our global community systems, and to consider the promotion of sustainable alternative global communities. These communities must be recognized, and supported by their governments, aided by university research and development, with multi NGO and school involvement. However, alternative sustainable communities such as Permaculture are less likely to be accepted by developed countries. The misguided reasons are that such communities pose a potential threat to monetary immersed leading economies, in reality; these communities relieve the destructive exponential costly effects that world societies in excess create.
    Application of a sustainable eco-agricultural community
    The application of a community’s program would be established on a progressive introductory scale, dealing firstly with the greatest need, “abject poverty,” (unless introduced to existing communities at other levels who may wish to change to a sustainable eco-system.)
    Following the establishment of the first level, achieved through cooperation, information, and education through practice of basic subsistence agriculture, technology, water and lands management techniques, the community would progress into the transitional level.
    When sustainably is established, such communities would become mutually alternative community systems. These changes can be made in an ethical non-threatening way either to sensitive cultures or to the conventional capitalist based system. Such communities offer people in society a lifestyle choice, reducing the unsustainable destructive pressures ensuing from the socio-economic excess’s upon our global resources.
    These strategies induce personal and regional security, sustainable food, health, and environmental thinking and practices, which inspire positive confidence and independence.
    PROPOSED PROJECT for the economic amalgamation of NGOs
    Most aspects of humanity have expanded into dangerous excesses, and we now witness the threatening global degradation from climate change to terrorism. Therefore, NGOs can no longer waste time, funds, or efforts, by fragmenting their genuine aid efforts into singular issues, (unless concealing covert agendas.)
    India for example has many fragmented NGO’s with similar aims. The amalgamation of various NGOs into an extensive sustainable community project, by pooling of labour, resources, and expertise, etc, would become a more cost effective, economic proposition. The community would encompass various villages and would be an example of a functioning alternative sustainable society, supported by sustainable agriculture, technology, and energies. Universities would be involved in management of research, development, and expertise, whereas, NGOs would be involved in management of community development plus resource control marketing and applications. (It is hoped however that the universities and NGO’s would participate on an ethical and integral basis rather than on personal agendas contrary to the global integrity of the communities aims.)
    Principle aspects
    Sustainable eco-community principles are globally universal; however, additional national adaptations through custom, culture, climate, and environment would ensure its success.
    The project would consist of four core educational modules, contents of which are working successfully (although individually) in various parts of the world. The project would comprise adjunct experts in all fields with support teams for out-reach community problem solving, including buses equipped with mobile staff sleeping facilities information and computers linked to the projects website.
    Although the proposed project would be substantial in size and initial funding, we have no choice but to challenge our precarious unsustainable global existence with a more comprehensive and determined effort.
    SUSTAINABLE ECO-COMMUNITY AIMS:

    The aim of sustainable eco-communities is to challenge and relieve those global pressures outlined above, which pose a serious threat to local regional and global societies, and to our eco-systems and environment.
    To demonstrate and teach the strategies, ethics and resource management practices of sustainable existence, extending aid and education wherever needed.
    To help landless people acquire or have access to land for the above purpose.
    To encourage the methods of sustainable agriculture, technology, and regional land management practices to prevent poverty, impoverishment and natural resource depletions.
    To create decentralized regional democratic non-hierarchical community systems with a basic set of rules and procedures accepted by all communities.
    To demonstrate nature’s compatible eco-system interconnections and evolutions, demonstrating that eco-agriculture is economically viable, sustainable, and is more diversely productive than modern conventional systems.

    The Sustainable eco-community project should consist of two main components apart from its social community structure and the four core educational modules: AGRICULTURE and TECHNOLOGY
    AGRICULTURE: POLY-AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS
    To challenge destructive non-sustainable agriculture, the proposal is that the central feature be a single large evolving “POLY-AQUA-CULTURAL Flow System,” constructed in cascading pond systems with mutually compatible food producing tree and plant eco-systems. This system would embed all the principles of sustainability and would involve livestock, poultry, fish stock, horticulture, fruit, nut, and vegetable farming. Further herb, medicinal, and floral products would be grown including Poly-tree-cultures and eco-garden constructions.
    The aim of this agricultural component is to:
     -Relieve poverty
     -Create sustainable agricultural practices and employment
     -Organize Community development, bioregional management and community structures.
     -Distance our dependence from exponentially expensive and polluting fossil fuel oils.
     -Provide school education and participation
     -Provide teaching facilities and courses on site.
     -Facilitate University research development and analysis (Many faculties could be involved)
     -Produce products for the local and greater economy with products for export.
     -Create a cooperative harmonious environment between human community & environment.

    TECHNOLOGY: ALTERNATIVE RENEWABLE RESOURCE ENERGIES & TECHNOLOGIES. To challenge destructive technologies, a science & technology workshop and research facility would provide for education and activities based on renewable resource material technology & energy systems. This facility would provide technological solutions from low tech do it yourself affordable systems to advanced environmentally compatible high tech systems.
    The aim of this technology project is to:
     -Provide examples of Alternative Renewable Resource Energies and Technologies.-
     -Distance our dependence from exponentially expensive and polluting fossil fuel oils and dangerous technologies.
     -Provide school education and participation.
     -Facilitate University research, development and analysis (Many faculties could be involved)
     -Produce clean environmental engineering products for the markets.
     -Create employment.
     -Provide education courses on site for all.
     -Avoid the need of Re-cycling.
     -Provide our children with a healthier sustainable world.
    Completion of the sustainable eco-agricultural community project

    When established, the community products should self-finance the community, and it is possible for the development of small associated satellite cottage industries.
    The combined universities would be involved in overall management of the Community Project research and development, and the NGOs would be involved in overall management of community development plus resource control marketing and applications.
    An appended section should be added to this feasibility study to include national variations. Following a positive outcome to the feasibility study, a prospectus outlining the basic principles, project illustrations, details, costs, components, plus technical data and information would be designed for presentation to potential supporters.
    Education “A sustainable community projects overall principle aim”
    The proposed project would be a visitor’s centre for all grade level schools, student groups, village representatives, farmers, and technologists, who would come for experience and training in a sustainable working community.
    The principle aim of this community project is for the education of children, employing “out of classroom” applied natural real life based educational methodologies, to induce awareness for their more sustainable future world. All syllabi within the national school’s curriculum correlate to the projects modules, and therefore, can be taught in real life situations, rather than in the alien closed environment of the school classroom.
    SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS: Primary Systems
    Expanding global pressures
    Our rapidly expanding socioeconomic global system imposes massive pressures upon the environment, governments, and to its peoples. Poor rural communities are often seen as unproductive or drain upon the national economy rather than an asset.
    Many villages around the world become abandoned because of economic pressures imposed by large national and international producers. Rural young generations see no future hope, becoming city migrants where 50% of the world’s populations live. Non-monetary based rural sustainable eco-community systems offer the first step of purposeful hope, of people based cooperation, with land, crop, and water, management, and local economic trading systems. These Bioregional eco-community systems, with non-hierarchical management structures, create sustainable alternative wealth with long-term investments and security. These alternative eco- communities are unaffected by national or world market recessions, fluctuating economies, or restrictive unreal commodity pricing. Such community systems revitalize rural economies, ease city migrations and the tensions of social disorders, derived from poverty and unemployment. They also ameliorate poor soils and environments degraded by mono-crop and poor agricultural practices; improve natural bio-diversity, improving the health of rural environments, reducing food miles and dependency budgets for NGOs and governments,
    PROTECTION OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE and BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES
    Sustainable communities must support the “Peoples Biodiversity Registers,” “Biodiversity Conservation Orders”, “Community Biodiversity Registers” and contribute to Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions based in Biodiversity Register Programs.
    REGENERATING AGRICULTURE
    The transitional changes involved from a conventional agricultural system to a sustainable agro-ecological system are complex; demanding new ways of universal thinking, and working practices. Sustainable ecological systems are multidisciplinary, and based upon structured communal cooperation and participatory research, development, skills, and activities.
    PERMACULTURE
    PERMACULTURE is an alternative existential system, which embodies permanent solutions for most of the global problems outlined above. Permaculture is the solution for permanent sustainable agriculture, a sustainability based on values, and ethics, which demands our own personal responsibility for earth care. Permaculture promotes care for our human society, and setting limits to our population and consumption. It presents the strategies for an alternative nation, alternatives to political systems, village development and trusts, and much more. The Permaculture system for human existence is our only chance of returning from the brink of human ecological and social disaster, and the responsibility for that decision is in our own interdependent hands.
    THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES OF A NEW SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY
    The majority of our global nation seeks peace, an un-eroded and forested earth, cessation of torture, malnutrition, and oppression. Such changes require that individuals, groups, and societies for social responsibility bring shared resources in a humane alliance through cooperation, information, and education for a sustainable world. The organizational structures of a new sustainable community are complex, involving: developmental structures, ethical trading, investment, property trust structures, and legal strategies. The informal economy involves L.E.Ts, S.H.A.R.E, and C.E.L.T systems, in addition to cooperatives, credit unions, revolving loan funds, levies, local currencies, community barter accreditations, and ethical investments.
    Politics
    Political awareness should be considered when presenting a proposition for the establishment of independent self-sufficient eco-community projects to political or planning authorities. Established systems of modern society are based upon the principles of a capitalist and profit motivated system. For people to sustain their needs by non-monetarist communal customs within an alternative community system independent of the prevailing society would be seen as a threat to that society and their way of life. This fear is unjustified as such communities even in global abundance, could only partly relieve the pressures of human excesses, unemployment, pollution, ecological damage, diminishing global resources, etc. Modern societies seem not to be aware of the existential threat from living their precarious unsustainable lifestyle.
    Neutrality
    It is important to stress that the foundations of such sustainable community projects should not be created nor function based upon any political or religious principles. Therefore, the fundamental principles should remain distant from the divisive natures of politics, religion, monetarism, and nationalism, and must remain always globally neutral.
    Education “A sustainable community projects overall principle aim”
    Children are the root source of humanities future, and so humanities greatest resource.
    The principle aim of any sustainable eco-community project is to educate children of all social and economic classes, to the awareness of their unsustainable society, and to the awareness of their options for pursuing a more safe, co-evolutionary, sustainable and secure future world for them. Influences would also need to be asserted upon educators to effect changes to national curriculums.
    CONCLUSIONS
    The minimal cost to any national authority would be for their understanding regarding the vital need for global sustainability (and the economic costs of not doing so,) and for their educational school curriculum support. It is a small price to pay for a community program that seriously challenges diminishing ecological resources, sociological degeneration, environmental degradation, all of which contribute toward global insecurity.

    Contact:
    Author and feasibility study project designer: peterbere@yahoo.com

  • Eric

    My method is active blogging on the Tumblr platform. I have a few pages. My main page is onepagemanifesto.tumblr.com. On this page I invite participation in the form of short essay submissions. Users of tumblr are, I believe, very demographically similar to users of facebook et alia. I wish to inspire readers to become writers, as I see this as a very helpful and therapeutic step in the reflection and awareness process. I try to make it friendly and inviting with low pressure so that people can read, write, and submit at their own pace.

    So far the pace is slow and I am considering another (additional) approach soon, such as with a list of questions to be answered in short paragraphs. Your participation is welcome.

  • Anonymous

    I’m working on helping people with the eat fewer chemicals part at http://RebelWithaFork.com. There is so much needless suffering. We could put a stop to obesity and cut the occurance of so many diseases if people would just eat real food. Its not hard and it tastes so much better than the chemical garbage.

    I’ve always been the queen of reuse and recycle – even before it was a popular notion. I use things to death. Something I got from my grandfather. I’m not much of a consumer.

    My first personal goal is to be better about tithing. Imagine how the world would change if everyone did that.

    My second personal goal is to live off the grid as much as possible. That one will take a little time – and a lot of money – at least upfront. But that is the goal.

    The world would change pretty quickly if people would just start living consciously and quit financially supporting the companies and products that are destroying us.

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