Friday, 11 April 2008

Global Warming

We are now holding our meeting on Global Warming on Tuesday, April 29th 2008 at 6.30pm. It will be held at the premises of EnlightenNext in Islington where we held our successful meeting in January this year. Those of you who attended will know what excellent premises they have there and how welcoming they were.

We are all aware that climate change is here. Everyone can choose to make a difference just by considering the options they have in every day life. What should we be doing? What should we not be doing?

We have an impressive array of speakers lined up to join us and these include,

  • Nathan Allen who will speak about his experience as a scientist and an artic explorer of the impact of global warming on the artic.
  • Mike Granville will then talk what can be done about it at city and regional levels and he will site the transitional village initiative
  • Bremley Lyngdoh Founder and CEO Worldview Impact, a social enterprise working to mitigate climate change and flighting poverty.
  • Suzy Edwards a Sustainability Consultant who Chairs Camden Climate Action

UK Aware will also be there and will have information about their LondonAware08 Expo on Saturday and Sunday May 10th and 11th 2008 and to be held at the Barbican. They say of it,

Join us on April 29th to discuss one of the most important issues of our century. You can register here .........

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Humanism In Guyana

One of the new members of 21st Century Network, Gareth has written asking if we would be interested in the work he and others are doing in developing humanism in Guyana. I said that is something we would be keen to discuss and help with as the problems facing Guyana are huge and humanistic principles all important.

Guyana is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labour and a deficient infrastructure. Until recently the government was juggling a sizable external debt against the urgent need for expanded public investment.

Gareth tell us - There's a huge and untapped constituency for humanists, plus people who probably are humanists but just don't know it yet, to do great things. The likes of CAFOD, Christian Aid etc do some terrific work - but we could do better. Environmental Humanism Guyana is an opportunity for humanists to actually do something, and bind us together whilst we're at it.

The organisation Gareth is involved with - Environmental Humanism Guyana - seeks to apply common sense, proactive environmental concern and a Rationalist approach for Guyana. This includes,
  • Acceptance of moral responsibility - where it becomes difficult to agree the correct way forward, then agreement that common sense plus a humanist instinct should guide us forward. Ideals are a good thing - inflexible dogma is not.
  • Realisation that fighting back from the precipice of environmental catastrophe is a priority.
    Nurture environmental initiatives in Guyana.
  • The recognition that natural resources cannot be separated from the economy, is key to the reduction of poverty, and the establishment of a sustainable economy.
  • Society needs to cross racial lines, whichever cricket team one chooses to support.
  • Protecting the secular nature of society.
  • Respect for religion, whilst being freed from its demands.
  • Evolution over revolution.Humanism is a worldwide movement, based on Rationalist thought.

Guyana is a unique country with its particular strengths and weaknesses, and Env Hum Guyana is tailored to its needs. It is time to try something new.

Gareth tell us - We seek to create a group of people who understand and believe in environmental humanism as a way forward for the people of Guyana.?

They have developed a website which you can visit here ...

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Climate Change & Human Values

The G8 Summit is coming up in Germany on June 6th to 8th. That has direct relevance to the ideas of 21st Century Network because that summit will be discussing climate change and all the signs are that president Bush will oppose measure to halt CO2 emissions that is wanted by many others and required to slow down global warming. President Bush's links to the oil industry and the fundamental Christian right in the US is a major problem for humanists who want human and planetary values placed ahead of dogma and commercial interest.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the G8 summit of the world's top industrialised nations to take measures to combat climate change, warning that inaction would be costly. In a statement before the G8 summit in June at Heiligendamm in Germany, Ban said the eight participating nations should "devise and implement a long-term global framework to tackle climate change that addresses the needs of all countries".

There will be major demonstrations at that Summit and information can be found here ?

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Power Of The Internet & Meet Up

One man to use the Internet as a method of political and social action was one of the democrat runners for the democratic presidential candiadte in the 2002 elections. Dean never became the candidate but was for a time its front runner. His campaign slowly gained steam, and by autumn of 2003, Dean had become the apparent frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, performing strongly in most polls and outpacing his rivals in fundraising.

Dean achieved this with the help of and hundreds of bloggers,

"We fell into this by accident," Dean admits. "I wish I could tell you we were smart enough to figure this out. But the community taught us. They seized the initiative through Meetup. They built our organization for us before we had an organization."

Meetup is a Web tool for forming social groups. In early 2003, Dean himself was lured to an early New York City meetup where he found more than 300 enthusiastic supporters waiting to greet him. Meetup quickly became the engine of Dean's Internet campaign.

21st Century network is also using meet up because of its powerful networking capability.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Is Fundamentalism New?

Here is one message I received as a result of us starting up 21st Century Network. I have also added my reply. An interesting debate!

What do you mean, the "growth" of religious fundamentalism? Hasn't it always been a force to be reckoned with throughout the centuries? The Cathars, the Huguenots, whole Latin American tribes, the Armenians, were slaughtered in the name of some belief or other. It is just that we are more informed than ever, and react quicker, but this is nothing new! The lethal combination of ignorance & intolerance unfortunately rules a large part of the world, Eastern and Western bigots are brainwashed by politicians dressed in robes...

You are right religious intolerance has always existed. The Cathars suffered terribly at the hands of a Church using power to maintain the status quo. I think what is different now as Karen Armstong argues in her book "The Battle For God" is that fundamentalism today uses the concept of "reason" to argue their traditional case. Before the enlightenment then belief was based on custom and myth. Today people use reason in a way that creates irrational intolerance. It is this that we oppose - and this goes for the secular extremists too - the free market international gloablisers who impose an economic religion on people in the name of reason

Most of this reason is suspect and is often no more than a projection of fear or self-interest. What we hope to do is encourage those who believe in tolerance, with any religion or none, to come together as a cultural force to act as an overwhelming counter force to this because if we do not then our freedoms are in danger and our life diminished.

Monday, 21 May 2007

First Meeting

21st Century Network held its first meet up last week. It turned out to be very successful. People there got to know each other and everyone was keen to see the group develop and expand.

One member volunteered to help make contact with possible new members and we also agreed to draft out a set of principles and objectives for the group. We also agreed that we would like to see 21st Network groups start in other cities in the UK and internationally as well. So all in all it was a great outcome.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

21st Century Network now has a group on the Meet Up web site with over 70 members to date. We would love you to join us if you believe in these principles and wish to strengthen the humanist philosophy contained here. At the moment we have started a London group but hope to start others both in the UK and internationally. We want to bring those together who want to start a new world where diversity is valued.

We hope to hold regular meetings and events and also through the calendar give you information about other events going on in London as well. Our next Meetup will be on June 14th where we hope to further discuss the activities of the group and how we can expand and have an influence. It would be great if you could join us there but your support online is also valuable to us.