|GATE - 4/92 - Networking: Lessons and Hopes (GTZ GATE, 1992, 56 p.)|
We in the North - and a few people on rich islands in the South use 10 times as much energy, water, minerals and soil than the people in the South. An increase of the consumption of these ecological resources leads to a complete breakdown of the planet's ecology.
Therefore: Western lifestyle and the corresponding model of industrial civilization with its extremely high intensity of all kinds of resource-consumption cannot be extended to 10 billion people living on this planet.
What consequences can be drawn from these considerations concerning the future perspectives of AT?
Globe of villages
I think, the AT-movement should use as a guiding metaphor for its daily activities a globe of villages, not a global village as the gospel of "development" does. This globe of villages would be a planetary culture that emphasizes community and self-reliance. Such self-reliance would not be the same as self-sufficiency - self-reliance is the capacity for self-sufficiency, not self-sufficiency itself. It gives the capacity to survive if cut off from supplies by natural or man-made intervention. It encourages to maintain a diversity of skills within our societies and to localize and regionalize productive assets.
It is a strategy that welcomes "foreign" capital, but not at the expense of local ownership or control; that promotes cooperation but also encourages competition; and that recognizes the value of the voluntary sector as a vital underpinning of civil society. It is a strategy that emphasizes prevention rather than treatment and that looks towards a society which promotes satisfaction rather than consumption.
The challenge then is to move away from the paradigm of the global economy and to create in its place a planetary culture that allows us to produce most of what we need from our local human, natural, and capital resources on a sustainable basis.
There is a new level of participation by grassroots citizens on matters of embedding the economy into their cultures. The new participation transcends class, racial, gender, and community lines. The strategies for the new participation are also highly diverse. They vary, in part, according to the economic and cultural context in which grassroots groups find themselves and range from alternatives to development, to fighting to save traditional jobs and communities, to organizing and empowering the new.
Grassroots - movements
Alan During of the Worldwatch Institute estimates that across the Third World, more than 100 million people belong to as many as several hundreds of thousands of these organizations. Many are informal economic institutions that have sprung up to fill the economic void left by cuts in government spending. There are examples of successful worker-owned businesses, transportation collectives, peasant leagues, micro-enterprise credit associations, and other citizen's initiatives that are touching larger and larger numbers of people.
Therefore I think that the AT movement should concentrate its efforts and energies towards all these grassroots-movements. Working with this kind of groups presupposes certain requirements on the part of the AT-practitioners: they should not work for them, but with them, in other words: they should say good-bye to any expert-role. Furthermore, the technology-practice and the technologies have above all to be highly efficient with respect to the use of energy, mineral and other ecological resources.
Especially in the North, the AT movement should put in its work and activities the greatest emphasis on the question of lifestyles, corresponding cultural models and the working out of plausible models of prosperity for all with much less consumption of energy, water, mineral resources and land; profound analyses of modern technologies and their transfer of costs to nature, to the South and to the next generations, which generates their alleged high productivity and efficiency the development and dissemination of technologies, which support and are in conformity with the local and regional lifestyles, cultural and new prosperity models. Important orienting criteria are among others:
- High efficiency in the consumption of mineral resources, -
High efficiency in the use of energy,
- Very low emissions,
- Ecological use of all kinds of land and space,
- High error friendliness,
- Suitability for work in the informal economy.
In conclusion, the AT-movement should envisage as cultural
project a globe of villages with a great variety of lifestyles that are not
dictated and shaped by the economic calculus. For this gigantic cultural effort
all over the world the AT-movement has to walk on two legs, a technological and
a cultural one. I think, this was precisely the founding philosophy of AT.
Therefore we have not to invent new slogans etc., but only to give altogether
more weight to the aforementioned cultural concerns and somewhat less to