We Volunteer, Therefore We Are
Doughnut Economics and Tomato Spirituality
Let me introduce you to twelve energetic people, from eleven countries, who are trying to make a difference in the world. They are from Chile, Columbia, Spain, Venezuela, India, South Korea, China, Iran, Germany, and Belgium. They are studying at the Richmond Vale Academy in St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean Sea.
If you are curious about who they are and what motivates them, go to the Forum page of JJB. Click here. Here's a sample from Mahsa Boorboor from Iran:
"Hi everybody, my name is Mahsa Boorboor, I'm 27 years old. I'm from Iran. I was an Iranian carpet designer and had a very good job in my country. But I was always thinking there were a lot of people in the world that they don’t have necessary things to live. So here I am to learn the basic knowledge about
health, agriculture livestock raising, global warming,. In this way, I can offer hand-on information to the local people and then our program in South America."
And another from Dan Yuan from China:
Hey dear JJB readers, my name is Duan Yan, I'm 26 years old, I'm from China. I had Dr. McDaniel, the editor of JJB, as a teacher when I was studying at Hendrix College as an exchange student in 2007. I have been inspired and enlightened by Dr. McDaniel's ways of seeing the world as a whole, complementary but not contradictory. For me doing volunteer programs provides a great opportunity for a creative transformation of the heart and mind, openness to other cultures, appreciation of the earth, and hope for a new, greener world. Like all people, I am in process, still becoming. I came here to help the local people as well as the people in South America, since in this way I can not only offer what I can to help the people around me, but also learn from them all the time.”
The students these eleven nations have very diverse backgrounds, but share a common hope. They are inspired by the idea that the world can become more like..... a doughnut.
I borrow the image of a doughnut from Kate Raworth of Oxfam, an international organization in England that helps serve the world. If you listen to her broadcast below, offered by the RSA, you will learn more about the image.
It's not a sugary dougnut that would make you fat. It is an idea: namely that of a safe and just place in which humanity can live between two limits: environmental collapse and economic deprivation.
A Coperican Revolution of the Mind
At the end of Kate Raworth's talk, in the question-and-answer period, a man notes that donut thinking requires a new mindset: a Copernican revolution of the mind. Perhaps the kind of process thinking encouraged in JJB can help. In Ten Ideas for Saving the Planet, one of our advisors, John B. Cobb, Jr, offers some philosophical ideas and public policies that might help. The public policies include educational reform, the encouragement of local manufacturing, the cultivation of small-acreage farms, and the development of a new kiind of economics which serves community rather than unlimited growth.
But what John Cobb knows, and what we know, is that the world cannot be changed by ideas alone or, for that matter, by public policy alone.
It needs to be inspired by people who want to be present to the world as it is and as it can be. These are the kind of people who are studing at the Richmond Vale Academy. They find their humanity in their impulse to volunteer, to help others.
Like Kate Raworth and John Cobb, they want to help build a world that is creative, compassionate, equal, environmentally sustainable, and spiritually satisfyiing, with no one left behind. They call it a just world. They are footsoldiers in the war on poverty and the war on greed.
I use the word soldiers purposefully. The group at the Richmond Vale Academy call themselves Fighting With The Poor. What kind of fighting is it? It is fighting against political, economic, and social systems that lead us to overreach the limits of the earth and that fail to provide quality of life for people of all people, including the most vulnerable. It is a fighting for vulnerable people: that is, people at the dawn of life (children), the twilight of life (old people) and in the margins of life (the forsaken and forgotten).
It is a gentle fight. It does not bear arms. It follows the Gandhian path of non-violent resistance. It is a fight to help things grow. To fight against the powers of greed and hatred is to fight with healing powers of a planet which makes possible safety and justice, laughter and joy, if we have the humility to work with a creative spirit at work in the world and, so we think at JJB, throughout the entire universe.
There's no need to name the spirit in a single way: call it the Dao, call it the Greenness,, call it God, call it the Good. What is important is that we respond to it,
How can the simple doughnut help save the planet and decrease global inequality? ‘Doughnut economics’ is the new sustainable economic paradigm that is sweeping the development world, and is the brainchild of Kate Raworth; senior researcher at Oxfam and former co-author of the UN’s annual Human Development Report....more.