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November 11, 1996

Phil Lane, Jr. International Co-ordinator Four Worlds International Institute

Dear Phil,

I promised you a paragraph at the State of the World Forum. Hope this helps you in your good work - - -


If those in the industrial world continue to exploit the planet and each other and so fail to reach a state of sustainable development, a global calamity is inevitable. Technological progress in just one generation has been enormous and the resulting economic, social, and political change has been large enough to say without any question that the lives of those in the industrial world change profoundly each generation. Every advance of technology produces social and environmental effects that call for new and great efforts to continue the advance of humanity or even just to sustain it. Can this process itself be sustained indefinitely? We simply do not know. We are largely in uncharted waters. Historically we have not yet achieved anything approaching sustainable development within any political aggregation larger than the tribe or village anywhere in the world. The only people now on the planet who have achieved even approximately a large measure of sustainability are the indigenous tribes. Those who survived learned to live without depleting and polluting the resources of the earth so that their descendants could sustain their way of life generation after generation. The few who have survived occupying the same land generation after generation are such people. This has not been an easy process for them. They have succeeded in doing this because they developed many wise, far-sighted processes and techniques of fishing, farming, hunting, and manufacturing with social and governing means that have worked for them over the long run, well beyond seven generations. Villages and tribes who failed to do this are no longer around. It is true that to survive we in the industrial world do not necessarily have to mimic the successful techniques of the indigenous peoples. Still we must not be a factor promoting the destruction, disintegration, or dispersion of indigenous people. We must help preserve them and study how they have done this. We are beginning to learn that they have much to teach us that we may sorely need to know. They are a precious resource for all of us to study and learn from.


Dr. Hazel Henderson is a global futurist, author of Building a Win-Win World (1996) and five other books on sustainable development. Her editorials are syndicated by InterPress, Rome, to 400 newspapers in 27 languages. She is a fellow of the World Business Academy and advisor of the Calvert Social Investment Fund of Washington, D.C., with whom she co-created the Calver-Henderson Quality-of-Life Indicators, to appear in late 1996. She held the Horace Albright Chair at the University of California, Berkeley and has served on Committees of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment. Dr. Hazel Henderson PO Box 5190, Anastasia Island, St. Augustine, Florida 32085 USA Web Site: www.hazelhenderson.com

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