Programme for 2014

Unsustainable Development is probably the source of the greatest and most diversified threat to human health and possibly our survival as a species. It is the cause of dramatic and rapid climate change, destructive pollution and impact on ecosystems and societies, loss of biodiversity, the major and increasing threat to fresh water availability, the 3 global F “crisis” in fuel, food and finance with subsequent problems globally of increasing conflict, violence and insecurity and displacement of populations (refugees). As it is now apparent that the Earth’s capacity to maintain its dynamic state of equilibrium/balance is coming to a tipping point, many of our man-made constructs and infrastructures are also starting to crumble.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the international political system that is based on a worldview of fragmented, disparate parts (regions, nations, peoples, individuals) in competition cannot solve this systemic problem. This political system was created for dealing with fragmented problems and conflicts in certain regions or districts. However, we are now dealing with a problem of a totally different nature, one that transcends these divisions to create a planetary problem that is both of a wholistic and individual nature: Much like a group of people whose challenge is to assemble a puzzle, from a mass of pieces, the nature of the individual within the team affects the team’s process and progress. People trying to gather and keep pieces for themselves in a competitive manner is out of synch with the purpose and goal of the challenge. It is not a process helpful or appropriate to attaining the goal.

These are systemic problems of our civilization and planet and though we will suffer the symptoms on the national and local levels they require systemic as well as local solutions. As an analogy, if you have symptoms of a systemic (whole body) infection or disease, along with treating the acute local symptoms that may appear, you must address and treat the source/cause of the infection or disease. While treating the local symptom is very important, it will not cure the whole problem, by itself. The question of sustainable development is one that reveals the interdependence of us all both on each other and on the rest of life on our planet. Collaboration and trust are key ingredients needed to effectively overcome the present global challenge, yet these are lacking in the current international political system and process. However, civil society appears to be collaborating and organizing itself in an unprecedented way and is becoming increasingly involved in the process. Collaboration, changes and solutions are needed at every level and the individual, local/community, national, regional and global level are necessary.

It is, in fact, becoming increasingly apparent that the most essential changes needed are at the individual level as the individual is the most basic unit constituting the bigger parts representing them at the international level. Each of us matters. For how we each perceive ourselves, our lives and our purpose here, drives the way we speak and behave, how we shop, eat, consume, waste, interpret experiences, communicate, teach our children, vote, create & produce and generally live. This creates our world or the reality in which we experience life. Our health is often a reflection of this.

Therefore, IDEA has joined with others in the global health-environment community to actively engage in international talks/conferences on Climate change and Sustainable Development to bring health aspects to fore in defining problem and solutions. As always we are also involved in highlighting particular impacts of Unsustainable Development affecting people in Ireland and Europe including:

  • Pollution: Chemicals
  • (EMR) Electro-Magnetic Radiation
  • GM food crops
  • Fracking
  • Water quality (fluoride)
  • Health threats of nuclear industry

Why not watch a video on GM foods here.