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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Vandana Shiva elected to World Future Council

Alfred de Tavares, IANS  Hamburg, May 16, 2007
First Published: 18:50 IST(16/5/2007) | Last Updated: 19:39 IST(16/5/2007)

Vandana Shiva, renowned Indian environmental campaigner, has been elected an executive member of the World Future Council, a new body aiming to provide "an ethical voice for the needs and rights of future life", that concluded its inaugural convention here.

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Shiva will address the alternative G8 People's Summit, to be held in parallel with the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, June 6-8.

"Today we truly stand at the crossroads of human history. Our actions - and our failure to act - will decide the future of life on earth for thousands of years, if not forever" - are the opening words of the Hamburg Call to Action, which was unanimously adopted by 50 members of the World Future Council at the organisation's founding congress Sunday.

The declaration appeals to leaders of the G8, the group of eight developed countries, ahead of their summit to "face up to their unique responsibilities" and "not allow outdated rules and economic dogmas to endanger our common future". The unprecedented challenge of climate change shall be overcome only by global sharing of vital resources and technologies.

"The Hamburg Call to Action sets out the vision and aims of the newly formed Council," Jakob von Uexkull, initiator of the Council and founder of the Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the Alternate Nobel Prize, told IANS.

Drawing on the expertise of the 50 prominent thinkers and pioneers from five continents, the Council will be "an ethical voice for the needs and rights of future life", said von Uexkull.

With members from governments, parliaments, business, civil society, science and arts, the Council will work with policymakers and citizens worldwide to identify and implement the best policies and ensure a sustainable, just and peaceful future.


The issue of climate change forms the focus of the organisation's first major campaign.

In Surviving the Century, a book published by Council co-founder, filmmaker and environmentalist Herbert Giradet, eight international experts reveal the quickest, practical ways to avoid the worst impacts of climate change using existing technologies.

One of the most prominent of them is the Feed-In Tariff system, set out in another Council publication by Miguel Mendonca, which suggests legislation for making renewable energy cost-effective for the consumer.

At the Founding Congress, Council members also voted in the first Executive Committee, consisting of five personalities who reflect the diversity of the organisation.

Human rights advocate and Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger was elected chairperson and will work closely with her deputy Beate Weber, former mayor of the German city of Heidelberg and chair of the European Parliament Committee on environment, health and consumer protection.

The two will be supported by Tariq Banuri, director of the Asia Centre of the Stockholm Environment Institute, Stephen Marglin, professor of economics at Harvard University, and Shiva.

After three days of consultations at the Founding Congress, Council members signed a commitment to do "everything in their power to speak up for comprehensive peace and true justice between the world's peoples and countries".

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