Call for greater civil society engagement
Von Uexkull described the manifesto of the World Future Council as a “new brand” to save civilisation.Von: NNA correspondent Edith Willer-Kurtz
BERLIN (NNA) – Civil society is showing insufficient engagement and is thereby endangering the future of following generations. But each individual person can also make the decision whether he or she is part of a development or of a problem. These challenging ideas were put forward by the founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, Jakob von Uexkull, at a conference of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany earlier this year. Von Uexkull was speaking as the chairman of the management board of the World Future Council (WFC) which sees itself as the “voice of future generations”. He told the approximately 600-strong audience about his experiences, current wrongs and the lack of cooperation among decision-makers. “And all these things are happening in our name,” he said, calling on citizens to look at the state as belonging to them and not to a minority. He also addressed his remarks to civil society. Although it had the diversity, it was lacking in pioneering spirit and still saw itself as being too anti-politicial. His challenge was therefore to re-politicise civil society. “We have to be willing to face up to our politicial opponents, albeit with a human face.” And he emphasised: “We have to be more active. We have no choice, there is only this one earth.” Civil society was currently not keeping up with developments, but both action and a lack of action had a profound effect. Uexkull posed the question: what change is needed now, what rules and framework conditions have to be created? In this context he stressed that the world could be changed. He saw the financial sector as being most urgently in need of action: as we were currently ruled by money, we had to deal with that first. Greater action by civil society could help to bring clarity here, for example in analysing how money was created. Citizens had to be close enough to politics to understand it. He called on politicians to accept that political action was not possible today without a basic ecological understanding. In the subsequent panel discussion, moderator Michael Schmock introduced Vera Lengsfeld. She had been active in the opposition in the former East Germany and had gone through imprisonment and expulsion. Her advice from this time was: start by putting pressure on politicians from below, for example through petitions, and create political pressure in that way. Every single activity had to be seen in the long term, with allies it had been possible to change things in even then. Gerald Häfner, co-founder of the green alliance “Die Grünen/Bündnis 90” in the German parliament and since 2007 a member of the European Parliament, said that Europe had not yet grasped its tasks properly. A lot could be achieved if private individuals and the state worked together and progress was evident. People today had developed a feeling for what was right. When young people today were asked what jobs they wanted to do, the answer was: something meaningful. What was needed today was a different view of the world which included the spirit. Both Uexkull und Häfner were in agreement that society had to regain control over the financial and monetary system: “We should govern money, money should not govern us,” he said. Europe was currently far removed from having solved the financial problems of the 2007 and 2008 crisis years. Time had been bought, that was all, the problems had merely been deferred. In an interview with mittendrin, the information sheet of the Berlin centre of the German Anthroposophical Society, von Uexkull also spoke about his relatioship with anthroposophy and spirituality. He praised the “important impulses” which came from anthroposophy today, such as in finance and agriculture, for example. He contrasted “living thinking set in a wider context” with the “dogmatic materialism” which currently ruled thinking in western countries. The present scientific dogmas which saw the human being as a kind of machine represented an “incredible impoverishment of life, research and human beings”. It was frightening that such thinking was being fostered not just in the natural sciences but also the social sciences. Modern physics, for example, was pointing in quite a different direction. Von Uexkull described the manifesto of the World Future Council as a “new brand” to save civilisation. A global information and education campaign was necessary for its realisation. Best practice examples were very important but not enough. “The crises are interconnected so the solutions also have to be coherent,” von Uexkull emphasised. Changed political framework conditions were required worldwide. END/nna/wil/cva Item: 131005-01EN Date: 5 October 2013 Copyright 2013 News Network Anthroposophy Limited. All rights reserved.