Terms of Reference

 

SAVING EARTH’S INTEGRAL LIFE SYSTEM:

Can Asian-African Visions Rescue Biodiversity from the West-born Globalization?

 

International Seminar

Commemoration of the 55th Anniversary of the 1955 Bandung Asian-African Conference

Yogyakarta, October 25-27, 2010

 

 

PROBLEMATICS

 

The 21st century has been projected as the ‘Era of Ecological Catastrophe.’ The Environment group of ECOLOGY challenges this unfortunate reality by linking the four pillar notions of 55 BANDUNG 55 – Diversity, Globalization, Asia-Africa, and Sustainability.

 

The Environment group’s ‘Diversity’ in focus is ‘Biodiversity,’ meaning the number and relative abundance of distinct species in a given area/habitat including Planet Earth. Various species (plants, animals, micro-organisms, etc.), through interactions among themselves and with their abiotic surroundings, comprise numerous levels of ecosystems, among which the largest is the biosphere. Ecosystems make Earth our habitat by providing such services as oxygen to breathe, clean water to drink, soil in which to grow crops, and moderated and regulated climate patterns. Yet, Biodiversity is in an unprecedented status as reported lately: “the world is now in the midst of the fastest mass extinction of living species in the 4.5-billion-year history of the planet.” Not surprisingly, this rapid decline of the Planet’s life system has led experts to warn against the rapid decline of the ecosphere Sustainability and dramatic suffering of the human species, among whom hundreds of millions, mostly in Africa and Asia, are projected to experience thirst, hunger, and premature deaths in the near future.

 

A factor central to this ecological catastrophe has been the profit-driven, multifaceted, and explosive phenomenon called ‘Globalization.’ While much definitional dispute exists, scholars agree that Globalization embodies 1) spatial expansion of flows transcending nation-states and continents, 2) intensification of such inter-connections, 3) acceleration of the speed of system transformation, 4) deepening social consequences that are often unequal/unfair, etc. Globalization is a key explanatory variable to the fast disappearing Biodiversity especially through four processes called ‘HIPPO’: Habitat destruction (of forests, coral reefs), Invasive species (from overseas), Pollution (of atmosphere, sea, land), human Population explosion, and Over-harvesting (by excessive cultivation, water exploitation, hunting/fishing). Hence, the rise of Globalization, decline of Biodiversity and ecological Sustainability, and projected human suffering (in Asia and Africa) are all causally entangled phenomena.

 

While seeking updated information from ‘hard science,’ the Environment group also explores ‘Paradigms,’ or “overarching models of the world that shape our worldviews and guide our interpretation of how things are.” Reportedly, over 99% of human generations survived with a holistic-and-balanced Paradigm of gatherer-hunters, who did not radically separate the 1) material vs. spiritual, 2) present vs. future, 3) human vs. non-human, 4) male vs. female, etc. Yet, the last millennia saw the rise of a dualistic Paradigm in which the Material, Present, Human, Male, etc., have been made in opposition to, and placed above, their counterparts. To the extent that Globalization emerged from the materialistic, tempo-centric, anthropocentric, and masculine aspects of the modern Western Paradigm, it may be essential to counter it.

 

Thus the Environment group explores beyond the material levels of Biodiversity and Globalization into the socio-political, psycho-cultural, religio-philosophical domains in search for ecological Sustainability and human well-being. Contributions drawn from Africa-Asia are especially encouraged, not only because the event’s subtitle reads “The Role of Africa and Asia,” but because these regions are rich in Biodiversity, projected to become the major victims of its decline, and are well-qualified to provide an alternative to the prevailing Paradigm of Globalization.

 

 

Seminar Coordinators

Mr. Eko Sugiharto, Indonesia — Doctor, Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Gadjah Mada University; Centre for Environmental Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

Mr. Hari Kusnanto, Indonesia — Professor, Doctor, Physician, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University; Director, Centre for Environmental Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

Ms Nguyen Dac Nhu-Mai, Vietnam / France — Docteur d'Etat, Historienne des relations internationales et de l'économie rurale ; Présidente de l'Association pour la Promotion des Femmes Scientifiques Vietnamiennes ; Activist, national and  international mobilisation for the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin in their way to Justice (Law "the one who pollutes has to pay").

Mr. Yukio Kamino, Japan — Doctor, International Studies; Senior Researcher & Coordinator, Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement International (OISCA International), Japan; Commission on Education and Communication, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Japan Association for African Studies (JAAS); Africa Japan Forum (AJF).

 

 

Seminar Co-organising Institutions

 

PSLH

(Pusat Studi Lingkungan Hidup / Centre for Environmental Studies) Universitas Gadjah Mada

Jalan Lingkungan Budaya Sekip Utara Yogyakarta 55281 INDONESIA

Phone +62-274-565722 / 6492410 Fax. +62-274-517863 http://pslh.000space.com/

 

OISCA International

(Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement International)

World Headquarters, 6-12 Izumi 3-chome, Suginami-ku Tokyo 168-0063 JAPAN

Phone +81-3-33 22 51 61 Fax +81-3-33 24 71 11 http://www.oisca.org/e/