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What is good governance? Wouldn’t it be participatory, transparent, responsive, and tolerant of different views? And in using its power and authority to shape the institutions that regulate societies, wouldn’t extreme economic disparity be seen as a disadvantage?
Maybe questions like these seem naïve. Do we even ask them anymore? It seems increasingly clear that if we want to live more fair peaceful lives, with compassion and respect for one another and the Earth, we need to take matters into our own hands. The future of power lives in us, the people.
A vibrant civil society models the changes it wishes to see. It creates incentives for change, impacts policy-making, gives voice to the marginalized, and holds leaders accountable.
Igniting civic engagement around issues that affect everyone – climate, education, and justice among them, is a priority at Kosmos. Since the start of the year, we received two generous gifts in support of that goal and we are deeply grateful. One is a grant from the Fenwick Foundation to advance a new Kosmos initiative. Power of 3 leverages the self-organizing power of people, through groups of three, to come together around a shared concern and a simple practical goal in order to take one specific Action in their community. We will share more about Power of 3 in the Spring.
The other gift came ‘out of the blue’. Through the generosity of a couple from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kosmos is now able to offer a third $2500 Seed Grant promoting civic engagement. We are thrilled by this beautiful gesture and wonder if anyone else feels similarly moved to ‘adopt’ a Seed Grant!
Civic engagement, global citizenship, transpartisanism – all are explored in this edition of Kosmos Online. We know that communities thrive when basic needs are met from within, and that strong, peaceful communities are the spine of a healthy resilient society, and indeed the world.
To this vision, we at Kosmos dedicate our service in 2016.
Your Kosmos Team
by Kosmos Editor, Nancy Roof
The only way I can deal with stories of atrocity is to try to understand the larger context—the state of the world today. Without an understanding of the unfolding evolutionary nature of reality I am lost in uncertainty and fear. The world is going through a systemic transformation from an empire to a planetary era as we create history by the life choices that we are making every day. As a citizen of the world, my care and concern has been for all human beings. Why would I limit my caring, concern, and responsibility for only Americans when my heart beats for friends in many countries—known and unknown.
If we are truly transforming and not just reforming it means achieving a delicate balance. It is, indeed, an art to let go of old personal habits, old institutional structures, and old stories that inhibit the growth of life that wants to flow freely and create anew. It requires skills we are just beginning to learn.
by John Foran, via Common Dreams
OK, here’s the idea. We’re in a crisis so deep, so knotted, so unprecedented, and so urgent that, well, we have to change everything, pretty much. Or else.
And there’s no one to do it for us. There’s just us. Just-us. Justice.
And who are we? We are everyone, everywhere, who wants to do this. Everyone, everywhere, who cares what happens to everything—each other, humanity, Mother Earth, nature, the planet, the future creatures for whom what we do this day—this year—will make a difference. Possibly all the difference.
By Anne-Marie Slaughter and Ben Scott, via Washington Monthly
‘People no longer feel included in self-government. Government is something that happens to citizens, not because of them. The dysfunction in the relationship between politicians and their constituents yields alienation, skepticism of even the best-intended Washington solutions, and a poisonous irrationalism in the political culture. We need a new process of public problem solving that can reconnect government to citizens by getting outside the Beltway, engaging with the problems of communities in those communities, and working to develop ideas together and turn them into action.’
via Mediator’s Foundation
Partisan: adopting as one’s own a single political party’s point of view on virtually all public policy issues and aggressively defending it
Bipartisan: oriented towards finding consensus or agreement between two major political parties (e.g., in the USA, the Democratic and Republican Parties) with little or no interest in other perspectives
Transpartisan: valuing inclusive solutions that transcend and include all political party positions and promote cross-spectrum collaboration for the benefit of all
by Philip Alston, via Open Democracy
‘Even in the realm of civil and political rights, there is a growing realization that the capture of the political process by the extreme rich, a trend that has long been frowned upon when it occurs blatantly in developing countries, is now a very real threat in developed countries, including the United States itself.’
by Mark Gerzon
an excerpt from Kosmos Journal
The truth is: we were already global citizens before we were born. It began with our own DNA. The genes that provide the blueprint for our bodies are more than 99% identical to the genes of all other humans. Genomic research has now established exactly who our ancestors are and where they came from. Our genes are, in fact, an evolutionary “Global Positioning System” because they establish with uncanny accuracy our family tree going all the way back to the beginning of Homo sapiens.
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