Thanks and looking ahead...

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Nov 4, 2008

Dear friends,

As I said at the meeting, this was a pretty good gathering. While we should be kind to bad meetings we should be much more critical of good ones such as this. While most of the “program goals” were more or less met, what I found we must improve on are mechanics that would ensure that we are more clearly driven by a “solution oriented” mindset that engages, collectivizes and formulates clean and practical systems for moving ahead.

As we are all probably very clearly aware, this world does not have too much time. We, as spokes people for this peopled earth cannot afford the luxury of self indulgence or sloth. At the end of every gathering we must be in a position to justify the reasons why we removed ourselves from our work with those who matter most - the people. I am sure that you all agree with me that when we return to our respective countries, we need to be able to tell the people that our high cost jaunt overseas brought them this or that specific positive for the future. Did we achieve that? To some extent, yes, of course. But we need to improve.

Perhaps we need to set in place a system of conferring that clearly denotes what we are trying to achieve and prevents any of us from leaving the room until consensus is reached. Maybe we ought to setup better road maps and/or milestones and engage the gears more cleaning and more in accord with collective thinking. To beg to differ or agree to disagree are good democratic values but with the world rapidly going down the kitchen sink the time for such niceties are long gone. We need to plan together, work together and deliver together. Let us do just that says I to my extended family of sisters and brothers from around the world who I met at Sligeagh.

Sure, we have “other” work. But isn’t ALL our work intrinsically interconnected? Can we stop working in parallel on all fronts at ALL times? Giving each action the 110% of our time, energy and love that they all surely deserve? Shouldn’t we go that extra mile on every situational phenomenon that we agree to take on? As Lalanath noted, will 50% of us never post a single thought to the blog in the future? Is that what this is all about? I don’t think so. I really really don’t thing so. If that is so, the “we might as well go chasing after moonbeams or light a penny candle to a star” as the Irish songstress Ruby Murray so aptly sang fifty years ago. Or confer two years down the road with nothing much to show but many things to “plan”. I think we are a better set of people than that. The individual conversation, the social gatherings, the personal testimonials bear witness to that. But we need to MOVE in clear directions. I saw great energy but I didn’t see that energy channeled, broadcast, telescoped or narrow cast through the leveraging of collective synergies.

So…

Let us set ourselves clear tasks for the next two years and circulate our thoughts through this forum. Let us bring our collective energies together to work for the planet in general while we work for our countries in the specific. Let us deliver practical results to the people.

That, and that alone will justify why we bummed around in airport terminals for four days to engage conference for the same number of days with a rather large carbon deficit to boot. That will justify why we breath. That will justify our common dreams. That will make the people that we represented at Sligeagh happy.

LETS GO!

Thanks to all for the time and the sharing. Arther, George, Micheal, Lalanath, Maria, Teresa, Patricia, Joe McGowan, Jeremy, Csaba, Carlos, Monika, Joe and the outspoken young lady from Uganda whose name evades me come particularly to mind.

Arjuna

Advocacy
2 Comments
SLIGO meeting
4:44pm - Nov 7, 2008

Dear friends I find it hard to disagree with Arjuna considering how eloquent he is and indeed i agree that our recent Glonal meeting was a huge success compared with other meetings/conferences that i have attended recently. I met people in the TAI family, heard their experiences and stories, absorbed their testimonies about their own struggles and successes in all those corners,shared light moments with many of the people but above all, I saw a clear plan on taking our work forward individually and as a collective, and the refinement of the toolkit so that it can be applied to certain sectors. I was particularly pleased with the development of the initiative on building communities of practice as these will be very useful to practitioners on the ground. In each one of us lies vast wealth which someone somewhere can utilise or be inspired by. I certainly hope that more than 50% of the participants, and our partners who could not be in Sligo, contribute substantively to the blogs and COPS. Failure to achieve that will be a letdown on the momentum built in Sligo.

Change is in the air....
3:38pm - Nov 9, 2008

When we left Sligo on November 2…we did not know. But since then many things have happened. Obama was elected the next president of the US. Many could not believe their eyes. People rejoiced and danced all over the world. Many wept tears of joy. That is simply because something changed - clearly something historic happened.

Change is in the air…. we all know it. How can each and every one of us contribute constructively to that change? Arjuna makes a valid point: what can we do for folk on the ground. In five years time can we look back and say that there is more access to information in environmental decision-making in each of our countries or at least in a State or region of our country? Can we say that 25% of environmental victims have access to justice? Those are the results by which we will be judged. The bottom line is this: each of us needs to think through how we will make these things happen - and then put our shoulder to the wheel and make it happen.

So what can we do at an individual and organizational level? Here are some things we can do-

  1. Look ahead to the next year and ask ourselves what opportunities there are to change laws and practices?

  2. Identify one or two critical processes that need to change and see if their might be an opportunity to change for the better.

  3. Focus on that one thing - and design with others how best to change that one item - one law - perhaps just one word in a law. Or train a bunch of Government officers in good practices and offer an incentive to practice the new thinking.

  4. Then ask others on the network if they can help? Share experiences on how to do get this done?

  5. Finally, implement the decisions you made.

  6. In six months evaluate how things have gone and change track, if there is a need to sharpen what you are doing.

Lalanath

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