This proposal for an International Bioforum is based on the following tenets:
· The current patterns of human activity on Earth are unsustainable. If they continue unabated, the collapse of civilisation is certain.
· The only hope for the future lies in a radical cultural transformation, leading to a society that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life that underpin our existence.
· This crucial transformation will not take place unless a wave of new understanding sweeps across the cultures of the world – understanding of life on Earth and of the human place in nature.
There is an ever-increasing number of people who agree with these tenets, and who would like to play a part in bringing about the necessary social changes. But they are at a loss to know what they should do. The Bioforum will provide a framework for these people to become actively involved in working for a healthy and sustainable society of the future.
A Bioforum Planning Group should be formed as soon as possible to develop the proposal in detail (including determining a suitable name).
It is suggested that initially Rotary International be used as a model, although the aims and activities of the Bioforum will, of course, be different from those of Rotary.
AN INTERNATIONAL BIOFORUM
It is proposed that a new kind of proactive international organisation be established, dedicated to bringing about the social changes necessary to achieve harmony with nature and the survival of civilisation – Healthy People on a Healthy Planet. Let us provisionally call this organisation the International Bioforum.
The scale, kind and intensity of human activities on Earth today are not sustainable ecologically. Business as usual will certainly mean the collapse of civilisation. Climate change is at present the most critical issue, but there are many other anthropogenic threats to the sustainability of the living systems on which we depend.
The prevailing cultures that are driving human expansion across the globe appear naively unaware of this ecological reality. They have lost sight of our total dependence on the processes of life in and around us, and they have no grasp of the nature, magnitude and seriousness of current human impacts on the ecosystems of our planet.
The survival of civilisation will depend on a radical cultural transformation, leading to societies that are truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life on which we depend, satisfying the health needs of all sections of the human population and of the ecosystems of the biosphere. We refer to societies with these characteristics as biosensitive societies.
The proposal to establish the Bioforum is based on our appreciation that there will be no social transition to biosensitivity unless there are radical changes in the worldviews and priorities of the prevailing cultures across the world. It will not happen until these cultures come to:
· hold profound respect for the processes of life that gave rise to us, and on which we are totally dependent
· see the achievement of harmony with nature as supremely important – to be given the highest priority in human affairs and placed right at the top of political and social agenda
· embrace a vision of a society of the future that is truly sensitive to, in tune with, and respectful of the processes of life within and around us.
In turn, this is new worldview will not come about unless a wave of new understanding sweeps across the cultures of the world – understanding of the story of life on Earth and the human place in nature. We refer to this story as the Bionarrative.
The Bioforum will therefore have two main aims:
1. To promote understanding of life on Earth and the human place in nature across the cultures of the world as rapidly as possible.
2. To generate international dialogue on the social changes necessary to achieve biosensitivity and ecological sustainability, and on how these changes can be brought about.
The activities of the Bioforum will be on two levels
A team of professionals will:
(a) Bring together information from the natural and social sciences on the story of life on Earth and the human place in nature and present it online in a form that is understandable to non-scientists, highlighting aspects of special relevance to the wellbeing of humankind and of the living systems around us.
(b) Orchestrate informed dialogue among leaders from different walks of life on the way forward to a healthy and sustainable society of the future – a society that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life that underpin our existence. It will communicate the outcome of these deliberations online and directly to politicians and governments.
(c) Manage an interactive website.
Members of the Bioforum will arrange regular discussion meetings. focusing on the theme healthy people on a healthy planet, and they will arrange projects aimed at (a) spreading understanding of the human place in the local community and among politicians. (b) exploring visions of a future society that is in tune with nature (c) encouraging local activities consistent with the shift to biosensitivity. Local groups may well also arrange convivial social gatherings celebrating life.
Membership will be open to anyone who cares about the future of humankind and the living environment, and who would like to contribute to the movement to restore harmony with the processes of life that support us. By joining the Bioforum, individuals will add their names the ever-growing body of people who are calling for revolutionary changes that will lead to a society that is in harmony with, and respectful of the processes of life that underpin our existence, and their membership fee will add to the financial resources of the movement. They will also be able to play an active role in the forum’s programs.