A quick word about the Democracy and Global Sustainability Course

This course is an experimental international collaboration with academic credit awarded through Flinders University. The course is intended to build capacity for collectively understanding complex problems, and to affirm individual membership in the global community of humanity. This wiki is a resource for the asynchronous activities of this course.


A quick word about The Club of Rome


The Club of Rome persists today as a venerable organization of world class talent. Our course reaches to the very foundations of this tradition, yet it does not speak to the current institution directly. The Predicament of Mankind was the first collective expression of the group, and it was intended as an internal statement which would foreshadow the activities of the group. The document we will examine was generated in 1970, and preceded the first external report of the Club of Rome: "The Limits to Growth" (1972). You may appreciate that this external report provided scenarios developed by experts in systems dynamics. The scenario plans led to recommendations which were and are still referred to as the only "choices open to society to reconcile sustainable progress within environmental constraints."

To avoid confusion with the distinct intentions and impacts of the two profound documents, we are not asking students to reconsider the wisdom of experts of that era. In truth, we will concede that much of the understandings that were obvious then are still true today. The options which were missing in The Limits to Growth were the social options based upon the intentions of the people of the world to begin making changes in their own spheres of social influence. It can be argued that because the power of social movement did not effectively engage grassroots activism 40 years ago, this is where we have begun starting over the past decade. In this class, the core assignment is to develop a collective understanding of our situation today. Sharing such a core understanding of the essence of the problem that we face is essential for us to take large-scale, collaborative action in response.