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The Work of the Global Issues Project and the Wasan Action Framework

The Global Issues Project of Science for Peace obtained its seed funding in November 2005. Its objective was to create strategies to deal with crucial global issues. Initially we decided to develop the strategies by means of roundtables that would bring together a wide range of people, not merely scholars and experts on the issues. We identified issues as crucial if civilization itself would be threatened by neglecting them. The following is taken from our prospectus:

“Unless the present usage pattern is controlled, global resources and environmental sinks that seem to be stretched well beyond sustainability are:

  1. food and agriculture,

  2. forests,

  3. water,

  4. oceans and fisheries,

  5. energy,

“The other factors or issues that can lead to collapse are:

  1. population,

  2. climate change,

  3. disease,

  4. waste and pollution,

  5. war and military consumption and waste,

  6. inappropriate technologies and inappropriate myths,

  7. faulty social structures.”

We held a Roundtable on Forests (2006) and one on Climate Change and Energy (2007). The processes of the roundtables are roughly as follows. We invite enough international and Canadian experts to be sure of getting the science right. Next we keep things focused on the Big Picture and the interactive aspects between one crucial factor and another. Third, we allow much time for free discussion, and fourth, we form a follow-up team for each roundtable, a group willing to take the results of the roundtable to the next stage, whatever that is. In addition, at our first roundtable, we made extensive use of a model developed by members of the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome. The model is intended to educate the user in what is and is not likely or possible in future. It yields rapidly and in simple graphical representations the results of whatever assumptions you feed into it. Thus, if you feed it only the global average expectation of life and the trends in that average, and the global average birthrate and the trends in that average, you obtain projections of world population. These assumptions lead to a projected a peak in human population about the end of this century, slowly changing to a population decline. But the projected peak is 11 billion people, more or less, a formidable prospect, leading to speculation whether such population growth could in practice occur without causing some disaster along the way. In the model, the onset of a major disaster, generally leads to projections of earlier peaking of population and the onset of population decline rather sooner.

The Prospectus of the Global Issues Project is available from Helmut Burkhardt () or Derek Paul ()

The Wasan Action Framework

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