Looking at people power anew

This paper is to open a discussion about how civil society organisations can make themselves more effective in addressing environmental and developmental issues by better co-ordinating between themselves. The focus of much of the work of NGOs and civil society organisations is on what government and inter-governmental policy should be. However, there is also a growing sector that directly engages in social and environmental entrepreneurism in its own right, effectively subsidised by the self-sacrifice and determination of their members. These organisations and movements pioneer new approaches, provide models for citizen engagement and are vehicles to acquire the skills that will be needed in the future.

Self-evidently, a micro elite of mega powerful government leaders cannot heal the world. What are needed are frameworks in which each house, community, garden, field, farm, forest, river and stream is healed locally — by responsible people and their local organisations.

Full article can be read in The Hindu's Survey of the Environment 2010. The publication is now on stands. Copies can be obtained by Registered Post (not V.P.P.) for Rs.80 (Rupees Eighty) by drawing a cheque in favour of "Kasturi and Sons Ltd." (Add Rs.10 for non-Chennai cheques) and sending it to the Circulation Department, The Hindu, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002 Email: subs@thehindu.co.in

Brian Davey and John Jopling are members of FEASTA, The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability.