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Integrating Education for Sustainable Development in pre service teacher education – opportunities and challenges Amanda Mc Cloat and Helen Maguire
Authors: Amanda Mc Cloat, Lecturer Home Economics Department
Helen Maguire, Lecturer Home Economics Department
Institution: St. Angela's College, Sligo, Ireland
Address: Home Economics Department, St. Angela’s College, Lough Gill, Sligo, Ireland.
Quality education can be a key agent of change; initiating, promoting and achieving sustainable consumption. Teacher education has the potential to shape the knowledge, skills and attitudes of future generations thus creating a more sustainable world. The UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), 2005, highlights the need to reorient education towards participatory, process and solution-oriented methodologies, with an emphasis on the development of critical thinking, in order to assist consumers in choosing a sustainable lifestyle.
This paper documents a research project, funded by the Ubuntu Network and Irish Aid, which endeavours to reorient teacher education in order to address ESD themes and to challenge assumptions regarding the integration of sustainable consumption in teacher education. An educational intervention, conducted with Year 1 pre service teachers, aimed to promote improved awareness, attitudes and behaviour towards sustainable issues. The paper details and evaluates the opportunities, as well as the challenges, which face the reorientation of existing teacher education programmes towards participatory, process and solution-oriented methodologies and the effectiveness of positively influencing future practice towards a sustainable lifestyle. This project facilitated higher order thinking which encouraged pre service teachers to engage in critical dialogue on philosophical and ethical issues in relation to sustainable consumption in order to influence their future practice. It reveals the opportunities and challenges which university teachers and researchers face in coordinating and integrating effective education for sustainable development strategies.
Psychometric evaluation of child eating behaviour: a tool to improve education regarding children’s food consumption Luís Miguel Cunha, Ana Pinto de Moura and Ana Sofia Almeida
Luís Miguel Cunha1,3,
Ana Pinto de Moura1,2
Ana Sofia Almeida2
1REQUIMTE, University of Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão,
2Universidade Aberta, Porto, Portugal.
3SAECA, Faculty of Sciences, Univ. Porto, ,
corresponding author e-mail: email@example.com
Obesity is a major threat to public health in industrialised countries, with alarming rises
being documented in both adults and children. The damaging consequences for children
with obesity are not confined to copying with physical symptoms or managing the
treatment of secondary diseases such as diabetes; there are also implications for psychosocial
development and well-being. Applying International Obesity Task Force criteria,
rates of overweight and obesity in childhood are currently estimated at 10-20 % in
northern Europe and in Mediterranean countries and southern Europe. Prevalence of
overweight and obesity of 31,6 % has been reported for Portuguese children. In this
context, childhood obesity research and interventions should therefore be a priority for
the public health agenda. From a number of psychometric tools available to assess
children’s eating behaviour the Portuguese translated version of the Child Eating
Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ) was choose and applied, from April to May 2007, to
over 320 children, aged 9-10 years and answered by their mothers, while registering
their weight and height. ‘Food approach’ sub-scales and ‘food avoidant’ sub-scales were
related to Body Mass Index, child’s eating habits and TV viewing, Results were
evaluated according to children sex, socio-economic level and maternal education level.
Major results have shown a strong relationship between child eating behaviour and
overweight or obesity.
Key words: CEBQ, 9-10 years old, obesity, Portuguese children
The integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into second level initial teacher education (ITE) and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes: Challenges and Opportunities Mella Cusack
Trócaire/CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit (Ireland)
Schools are increasingly expected to address the global challenges associated with sustainable development and teachers therefore need support to engage with, and develop the expertise to raise and address sustainable development issues through the curriculum. The ongoing UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) serves as an important platform for the promotion of active teaching and learning methodologies, and as an impetus for curriculum innovation.
The Citizenship Studies Project (Ireland) is a joint Trócaire/CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit initiative which aims to inform and support the development of second level senior cycle Citizenship Education. The Citizenship Studies Project is a member of UNESCO’s Irish Regional Centre of Expertise for ESD, the Ubuntu Teacher Network and is involved in the delivery of ESD teacher education in initial teacher education (ITE) and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes.
This paper will outline action research undertaken by the Citizenship Studies Project on the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into second level ITE and CPD programmes.
Between October-December 2008 the author facilitated ESD sessions using active teaching/learning methodologies in three distinct ITE programmes with 70 student teachers and a one-day continuing professional development in-service event with 34 practicing teachers. Findings relating to the student/teachers profiled in a baseline questionnaire, including their understandings of ESD and where ESD fits within the second level curriculum, will be discussed. The opinions of practicing teachers on the challenges and opportunities of initiating whole school approaches to ESD will be examined. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the comparative experience of facilitating ESD sessions in ITE and CPD settings.
Paper Abstract: Track 2 – Education for Consumer Citizenship (a) Education at schools/universities
Education for Sustainable Development in Action: The use of visual media to promote transformative learning. Mella Cusack and Miriam O’Donoghue
Mella Cusack, CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit/Trócaire, Ireland
Miriam O’Donoghue, CDVEC Curriculum Development Unit, Ireland
(2 hour Workshop)
Linked to Track 2: Education for Consumer Citizenship
The goal of CCN Task Group 8 is to contribute to the growth of consumer citizenship education as a relevant, interdisciplinary theme in primary and secondary school education by preparing and carrying out teacher training seminars on education for sustainable development.
Much of the work of the Task Group to date has focused on empowering teachers and facilitators to use innovative approaches which promote the development, active participation and agency of learners in the classroom and beyond through ‘Active Sustainability’: a range of active teaching and learning strategies and resources linked to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
This hands-on workshop will give participants a taste of the work of effective approaches to consumer citizenship education. It will explore the use of visual mediaas a tool to promote education for sustainable development and as a method of engaging differentiated learners.
Come to this ‘hands on’ workshop prepared to be active participants, roll up your sleeves, work in groups, use your creative skills, but above all have fun while learning.
The Financial Crisis and Consumer Citizenship
Arthur Lyon Dahl
International Environment Forum
The concept of consumer citizenship evolved in a period of economic growth and unsustainable consumption. The financial crisis has changed the context radically, creating a wider range of consumer circumstances.
The globalized economy rests on an unlimited growth paradigm, despite warnings about unsustainability. Maintaining growth has meant living beyond available means, accumulating debt at governmental, corporate and individual consumer levels. The banking system collapsed from loss of confidence in debt repayment, producing recession and undercutting consumption. The system has accumulated excessive financial, social and environmental debt.
Today consumer education must address different classes of consumers:
- those who can still afford the consumer society, ethically challenged by their relative wealth;
- those forced out of the consumer society through dispossession, unemployment and loss of savings;
- the poor whose dream of joining the consumer society is now shattered;
- poor victims of economic and environmental catastrophes, paying the biggest price for problems they did not create.
Responding to these groups requires alternative more ethical visions of society and human purpose, shifting emphasis from ";consumer"; to ";citizenship";. This includes detachment from material consumption once basic needs are met, finding true pleasure in voluntary sharing. The economic system should become more altruistic and cooperative, aiming for poverty reduction and employment creation. Consumption should be reoriented towards the more intangible dimensions of civilization: culture, art, science, human consciousness and spirituality. Such consumer citizens will depend less on variations in the material economy, directing their priorities and interests towards a broader vision of human prosperity.
The concept of consumer citizenship evolved in Europe in a period of continuing economic growth leading to excessive consumption that is environmentally unsustainable at the planetary level. The main driving forces for this effort at consumer education were the environmental problems produced by pollution and excessive production of waste, and health problems linked to consumptive lifestyles, together with some concern for the imbalance between industrialized and developing countries. Consumer citizenship education has focused on consuming less and consuming better in societies defined as wealthy in global terms.
With the sudden emergence of a major crisis in the financial system, starting in the United States, the major consumer country and largest economy, but spreading to all parts of the world and extending to the whole economy, the context has changed radically. A deep recession (commentators are still mostly avoiding the term depression) is affecting the whole world and unemployment is rocketing. The British finance minister has described it as the worst recession in 100 years (The Guardian Weekly 13.02.09, p. 12), and governments are taking emergency measures of a scale previously unimaginable. In late February, the head of the European Central Bank said ";We live in non-linear times: the classic economic models and theories cannot be applied, and future development cannot be foreseen"; (quoted in Seager 2009).
The problem may become much worse. A number of European countries are on the brink of insolvency (Spiegel Online 2009). The crisis began with a loss of confidence in the ability of the banking system to honour its obligations resulting in a collapse of credit. Excessive and ";toxic"; debt in the banking system has been transferred to governments in an attempt to restart the system. There is now a real risk of a loss of confidence in the ability of governments to repay their debts, which would result in the collapse of the whole global financial framework underpinning trade and commerce, with unimaginable consequences for the functioning of an increasingly integrated global economy. The only hope is a rapid replacement of an economic system that has proven fundamentally flawed by a new global system with effective governance and proper regulation, while addressing the ethical lapses that have been revealed. This new and still evolving situation has profound implications for consumer citizenship. The following reflections are intended to launch the discussion.
CRITIQUE OF THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM
It is important to understand first what went wrong with the economy that caused it to collapsed so readily and unexpectedly. The modern globalized economy has been driven by a growth paradigm that refused to consider any limits, despite decades of warnings about its ultimate unsustainability. The main driver of economic growth has been consumption, and anything that would increase consumption was good for the economy: planned obsolescence, aggressive advertising and marketing, encouraging addiction, carefully orchestrated changes in style, etc. The new information technologies and media have globalized this and made it more effective, so that everywhere people want to live the western consumer lifestyle. Whenever the economy has slowed, there are calls for increased consumption. Citizens in the industrialized countries have come to expect steadily increasing purchasing power, and the prospect of a decline with the recession has triggered strikes and people in the streets.
However, maintaining this growth often required living beyond the available means. Consumer debt has risen steadily, helped by instruments such as credit cards. The average American has 6 credit cards with a median total credit card debt in 2008 of $6,500. The U.S. banking crisis began because of unwarranted mortgage lending for house purchases to people without the means to repay the loans, combined with encouragement to borrow against property for consumer purchases. Growth in consumption turned into a giant pyramid scheme. Debt was accumulated at the governmental, corporate and individual consumer levels. Business cannot function without credit. Investors borrowed to leverage their speculative positions. The American government allowed a steadily growing current accounts deficit as it borrowed 70% of the world's savings to maintain its role as a superpower and the lifestyle to which its population was accustomed, to the greater profit of the business sector.
While there were a few warnings, even from leading economists, that this could not last, life was too good, so no one wanted to believe them. The inevitable collapse of the banking system due to a generalized loss of confidence that these levels of debt could ever be repaid has driven the world into deep recession despite major efforts by governments to inject cash and restore confidence. It is the accompanying collapse in consumption that requires consumer citizenship to rethink its messages.
More worryingly, financial debt is only part of the problem, as there has been a similar world-wide accumulation of social and environmental debt. The increasing warnings of a possible collapse of civilization need to be take seriously (Dahl 2008).
ADAPTING CONSUMER CITIZENSHIP TO TODAY'S WORLD
Faced with the present and probable future economic challenges, the underlying concepts of consumer education in Europe need to be re-examined to explore how the approach can be broadened and be made more effective for the wider range of consumer circumstances now present in Europe as well as in developing countries. These could be grouped into different classes of consumers for whom the approach to consumer education needs to be very different:
- those who can still afford the consumer society, but who face the ethical dilemmas of being the ";haves"; surrounded by ";have nots";;
- those who have been forced to drop out of the consumer society through dispossession, unemployment and loss of savings, and have suffered the trauma of finding previous consumptive pleasures now beyond their reach;
- the poor who have dreamed of joining the consumer society, but now find that dream shattered;
- the most disadvantaged of the poor who are often the first victims, who never contributed to the problems but now must pay the biggest price.
For those who are reasonably well-off or materially comfortable, existing arguments for healthy, more energy-efficient and low carbon lifestyles need to be complemented with a stronger ethical dimension of responsibility for global environmental impacts such as climate change, and solidarity with those paying the price. They need to come to a recognition that sustainability and their own future welfare may require wealth redistribution and thus reductions in their own purchasing power and consumer choice. They should come to see the advantages of voluntary simplicity and more emphasis on social relationships and community, so that they realize that they gain more than they give up in this transition.
The newly unemployed and those who have lost homes, savings and pensions need to learn how to get by and meet basic needs on minimal revenue, which means efficient consumption focused on basics. Too many people fall back on fast and unhealthy food, become increasingly sedentary, and make poor consumer choices because they do not have the right knowledge and skills. Obesity is more prevalent among the poor in industrialized countries. Consumer education needs to teach how to live well even when poor.
Those who have always been poor usually know how to get by, although consumer education can probably bring improvements. What is more important is to counteract if not to replace the sales pitch for the Western consumer lifestyle portrayed in the media and advertising with alternative visions of society that are more appropriate and sustainable. Consumer education could become a kind of social and cultural vaccination against the siren call of advertising, building awareness of how one is manipulated into buying unnecessary or even damaging things. This of course will be deeply subversive to the present economic orthodoxy, but that orthodoxy has now discredited itself, and more discerning consumers will help the transition.
A NEW VISION
In this context, the new response of consumer citizenship to these different groups needs to propose alternative more ethical visions of society and human purpose, with a shift of emphasis from ";consumer"; to ";citizenship";. This requires a spirit of detachment from material consumption once basic needs are met, finding true pleasure in voluntary sharing, social relationships, and intangibles like culture and spirituality. It is at this basic ethical level that the approach to the different consumer groups finds its basic unity. Justice and equity are equally relevant to the rich and the poor, even if their expression in action will be different in each case.
A first step can be to reveal the hollowness of the present consumer society in ethics, values and meaning, so that those within it do not regret the sacrifices they are called on to make, and those who have dropped out of it into poverty or who never could do more than admire it from a distance give up their attachment to materialistic desires and turn their attention towards alternative visions of the society of the future, and actions that are accessible to everyone.
For example, a recent Bahá'í text contains the following critique:
";Consumer culture, today's inheritor by default of materialism's gospel of human betterment, is unembarrassed by the ephemeral nature of the goals that inspire it. For the small minority of people who can afford them, the benefits it offers are immediate, and the rationale unapologetic. Emboldened by the breakdown of traditional morality, the advance of the new creed is essentially no more than the triumph of animal impulse, as instinctive and blind as appetite, released at long last from the restraints of supernatural sanctions. Its most obvious casualty has been language. Tendencies once universally castigated as moral failings mutate into necessities of social progress. Selfishness becomes a prized commercial resource; falsehood reinvents itself as public information.... Under appropriate euphemisms, greed, lust, indolence, pride - even violence - acquire not merely broad acceptance but social and economic value. Ironically, as words have been drained of meaning, so have the very material comforts and acquisitions for which truth has been casually sacrificed."; (Bahá'í World Centre, 2005, p. 10)
One new challenge for consumer education is the fact that the years ahead will likely see either an unprecedented economic disaster or a rapid evolution towards an alternative economic system in which the concept of consumption will be very different from that of today. The growth paradigm on which the present economy has been based was founded on four fundamental drivers: population growth, the energy subsidy from cheap fossil fuels, discovery and exploitation of new natural resources, and technological innovation. However the world population should plateau around 2050; oil production is expected to peak shortly and climate change requires a rapid transition to renewable energy; the planet has now been quite thoroughly explored and its resources overexploited. This leaves only innovation as an economic driver, and this will produce a different kind of system. It is not yet possible to imagine what that might be like. However, at an ethical level, it is possible to suggest some of the design principles that will have to underly this new economic system to make it socially and environmentally sustainable.
In a sustainable society, the goal of wealth creation should be to make everyone wealthy, which would give everyone access to reasonable levels of consumption to meet basic needs. The economic system therefore needs to be reoriented to become more altruistic and cooperative, aiming for poverty reduction, employment creation, and providing the means to advance the more intangible dimensions of civilization: culture, art, science, human consciousness and spirituality. Consumption of these intangibles does not have to be limited and escapes from the economic concept of scarcity; the more knowledge is shared, the more valuable it becomes, not for a specific owner, but for the whole of society. If each individual sees his/her reward in service to others rather than self-acquisition, then consumption becomes merely acquiring the capacities and tools necessary to be of service, rather than an end in itself. The economy will be driven not by maximizing consumption but by the fulfilment of all the human potential for wealth creation, including in that concept much more than material wealth.
TURNING A VISION INTO ACTION
It is important that consumer education not be founded primarily on a negative critique of the consumer society, but that it propose positive alternatives such as those outlined above. Where such concepts would have been rejected as idealistic if not utopian only a year ago, the economic world has now been stripped of its certainties and shaken to its roots, and does not know where to go next. This is the perfect opportunity for a wide public debate on the alternatives, and consumer citizenship provides an excellent framework for such a debate in an educational context.
It is also important to go from general principles and values to specific actions. This is a constant demand in discussions of environmental sustainability or responding to climate change (Dahl 2008a). Just as the economy is driven by many individual acts of consumption, so many small acts of individual responsibility can sum up to a significant positive change at the global level. Class discussions can focus on choices that are immediately relevant. For example, material signs of identity or belonging to a group are an important characteristic of youth culture, but they do not have to be particular clothing styles or brand names cultivated by the manufacturers for commercial ends.
Another advantage of values-based consumer citizenship education is that it is more adaptive and flexible in times of rapid and perhaps turbulent change. Education about particular consumer choices becomes less relevant if those choices are no longer available, whereas values are equally relevant in new contexts.
With the major challenges we now face, new partners are joining in the effort to change lifestyles at a large scale. The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and UNDP are working with all the major religions to prepare action plans on climate change and the natural environment for presentation to governments at the Copenhagen climate change conference in December 2009 (ARC 2008). These are intended to be seven-year plans for generational change, and will give a major push to values-based responses to our present unsustainability.
One challenge is to measure the effectiveness of education aiming to form or implement values, as is often the case in consumer citizenship. A project has just begun with European Commission funding for a partnership of academic institutions and a variety of civil society organizations to develop values-based indicators of education for sustainable development. Five organizations are involved initially, but a larger number will be invited to join as the project develops over the next two years. The results will certainly be of interest to the partners in CCN.
These are only small actions relative to the scale of the problems facing the world, but they have the potential to leverage much larger effects because of the power of action at the level of values. Using such approaches, the new consumer citizen will be better protected from the ups and downs of the material economy because his/her real priorities and interests will be directed towards a much broader definition of human prosperity.
ARC. 2008. UN/ARC: The Seven Year Plan. Alliance of Religions and Conservation. /projects.asp?projectId=358 (consulted 1 March 2009)
Bahá'í World Centre. 2005. One Common Faith. Báhá'í World Centre, Haifa. /en/t/bic/OCF/
Dahl, Arthur Lyon, 2008a. The ethical challenges of global change as a motivator for consumer citizenship, p. 21-32. In Alexandra Klein and Victoria W. Thoresen (eds.), Assessing Information as Consumer Citizens. Consumer Citizenship: Promoting New Responses, Vol. 4. Hedmark College, Hamar, Norway, Consumer Citizenship Network. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of the Consumer Citizenship Network, Tallinn, Estonia, 5-6 May 2008. Electronic version at /ief/doc/ddahl08a.htm
Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2008b. Preventing Overshoot and Collapse: Managing the Earth's Resources. Paper on the introductory theme of the 2008 UNEP/University of Geneva/Graduate Institute Environmental Diplomacy Course, August 2008. /ief/doc/ddahl08d.htm
Seager, Ashley. 2009. Torrent of bad news ends hope of 'quick' recession. The Guardian Weekly, 27 February-5 March 2009, p. 1-2.
Speigel Online. 2009. Can countries Really Go Bankrupt? Speigel Online 30 January 2009. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,604523,00.html (viewed 2 February 2009)
CONSUMERS AND CONSUMERORGANIZATIONS IN ACTION
Every time we take a decision to buy a product or to pay for a service WE decide who's going to work for us as a farmer, physician, teacher, politician, or taxidriver.. At the same time the euros yens or dollars we pay are starting a new round. For thousands of years already we're playing this game called ";economy"; based on the division of labour and the exchange of the resulting products and services. Almost everybody in the world plays a double-role on this worldstage as consumer and as producer. But the consumer is always the one who asks the questions and pays the bills. But with the freedom to choose he or she is of course also responsible for those choises! And that's what we call ";consumer governance"; to be understood in the same range as corporate governance and government governance as credo's for responsible behaviour.
Towards an economy of question and answer
From a pure do-it-yourself economy where we made our own tent, travelled around to hunt our own food, we didn't hesitate for long to divide all labour and started the first barter-economy to favour the possibilities of specializing, efficiency and dividend called welfare! After a long time it became a world economy with trade and banks in between. And still everry minute new divisions of work are arranged between people, between departments or complete organizations and even countries. Constantly searching for the optimum that labour can be divided for more efficiency, but sometimes integrated again when new insights say that some tasks are better united within one job or one organization.
To divide labour is one step. In fact we are creating a polarity in producing and consuming which has to be connected again by exchange the results which are products or services. In a barter economy everything is transparant enough to exchanges things without money and trade. But when the economic network is growing we will need trading people and transport systems. When growing even wider we'll need some kind of administration and money also. And this is how worldeconomy works now!
Economy started from the consumer in early history and still starts every minute now. Instead of doing it ourselves we ask the painter to paint our house, we ask the garage to repair our car, we ask the politicians to write down laws about what we think is reasonable in our relations to our neighbors worldwide! But in the centuries behind this was mainly managed by leaders and leading corporate and government organizations. Today consumers and consumer organizations are more and more taking the lead in asking the questions, making marketing become bottom-up! From supply and demand to question and answer!
Consumers and consumerorganizations in action
In the years after the Second World War the new generation became aware that a new world order was necessary and protests culminated around the world in 1968 at universities in Berkeley California, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. In all the areas of human daily needs people began to talk, to think about quality and new organizational structures, and started informal and formal organizations to participate in culture, government and business. After the great ";renaissance"; of individual thinking since the beginning of natural sciences in the 16th century and the introduction of democracy in the French revolution of 1789, the 21st century will start the era of consumer governance!
Since the beginning of the century the general consumer organizations had already emerged and were coordinating their efforts from 1960 and thereafter in the International Organization of Consumer Unions IOCU now called Consumers International. (see annex). The seventies became the beginning of all categorical consumer organizations: patients, parents of schoolchildren, travellers, housing, food, etc etc. And in the eighties alternative banks emerged all over Europe. Finally in this century consumer-education started up to give all the knowledge and experience to our next generation, with the Consumer Citizen Network CCN as frontrunners!
But there's still a lot to be done in professionalizing the bottom-up marketing worldwide! Although big companies are also willing to help in delivering affordable products to even the poorest people in the world at the bottom of the pyramid, more and more consumers today are not only enthousiast but now also willing to verify, to choose and to pay for the most sustainable products and services! These are observations that we can make all around us in shops, discussion groups and workshops. Not only the generation of the sixties but even more this upcoming generation! And the most interesting observation one can make is that all the journalists in press radio and tv have changed the last two years into researchers, storytellers and moderators in looking for solutions together with all parties in culture society and economy instead of reporting only!
And this allround mentality is the necessary basis for all problems and solutions ahead because everything is connected with everything. Nobody can make any judgement anymore without looking from the greatest possible horizon. Only with the best information one can make a real free choise in products and services and will be willing to pay or even finance for the right price, for sustainabilty and fair trade. Consumers are the first who aask the questions based on all daily needs, the consumer-organizations are there to collect all the questions where tailor-made products or services are not possible but serie- and massproduction have to be optimized.
Everyday practice and new developments.
Untill today the consumer organizations developed from small groups of consumers to all kinds of organizations in all sizes with some of them even highly professionalized. Since the last two years even the most down-to-earth sector food and agriculture is emerging now! Due to the fast forward growing market for organic and biodynamic products and the culinair culture of good taste. Top cooks are invited to tv programs and the EU parliament was invited this summer for a complete lunch with the best products nature itself can offer.
Although many many progress is made through the last few decennia, the greater public still has to go in a higher gear to make the world sustainable again and to play their role in a new world of good governance in economy, democracy and a culture of science education religion art and development. For the near future it will be more and more important to look at the whole picture and see how all actions are connected to each other. Most essential is the discussion now about the disconnection of labour and income again in its economic and its justicial aspects again, people worldwide are already discussing these problems since two years about basic incomes, top salaries, and the whole spectrum in between. When this discussion becomes more transparent then only then all the other problems in the world will become 100% transparent also because everybody can finally focus on the essence of their jobs instead of on their income alone. (see annex / About the quality of life / Tilburg conference January 10, 2008 following the OECD conference in Brussels november 2007 ";Beyond GDP - From wealth to welfare";).
Because more and more people become aware that money is important but quality of life is first priority for all six billion members of the world family, most discussions are already in a current where we are talking about food, about water, about sustainabilty, about everything, and, moderated by modern highly interested journalists, become more professuional every day!
The newest developments are those where people are working towards long term sustainable solutions, in consumer-producer relations now also in the chain of food to agriculture, in the integration of all old and new professions in medicare including all alternatives, in the ";meet and greet"; of civilizations and religions thanks to the disaster of 9/11, and all other discussions to the bottom of the problems to be solved! But still it's only the beginning of the future!
Consumer freedom and responsibility
We're free to choose as Milton Friedman already said, but of course we're also responsible for every choice we make! And that means that we have the basic need of maximum of information, another need for all possible arguments and overview of all consequences according to other people and nature to make the best of all choices, and finally accept that we pay with every euro yen or dollar for all the results in quality of life for ourselves and all the people working for us in the whole chain! This is in the first place basic education for all generations to come in the same way as we learn to bike or to drive a car!
Consumer governance means education first, good management information on a daily basis, lifelong learning in judging products services and situations, and the right financial registration to reflect and to evaluate one's own decisions. A simple houshold booklet with twelve columns for our daily needs makes the world economy transparant and so the role we play from month to month!
Consumer Citizens as Leading Innovators – Enhancing Value Creation Potential through Consumer-Consumer-Interaction
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