Please add Code Pink
Medea Benjamin,
CoDirector, Code Pink.

As the currently over-consuming nations of the world proceed to “power down” their energy use, and to reduce material throughputs, while lowering personal consumption levels, overall global impacts can eventually be optimized well below the maximum sustainable capacities of the planet. However, we must remain cognizant of enormous disparities among nations as to present levels of use. Many nations and peoples of the world already live at very low consumption levels; in fact far below levels that can sustain personal, family and/or community well-being. Such disparities among and within nations are often the result of prior or present colonial periods of exploitation. It is unarguable that many countries of the industrial north have achieved their excessive natural resource use by depriving southern countries of theirs, a process that continues in many places today. Recognizing this, we believe that each person and community, whether in the industrial North, or the global South, has fundamental rights to “sufficient” food, shelter, clothing, housing as well as sufficient community health and other public services, to sustain a satisfactory level of well-being beyond bare minimum survival needs. (Note: Working definitions of “sufficiency” and a “global sufficiency index” have been proposed and need further development and definition. As part of this project, we hope to soon advance a viable new clear standard.) Meanwhile, the argument is compellingly made by some Southern countries, historically disadvantaged, that they should not be asked to “power down” to the same degree as Northern countries. In the interests of survival, they may often need to increase their material throughputs, and energy use, from renewable sources; not to approach a level of excess consumption, but toward a level of “sufficiency,” well within the planet’s capacity to sustain.

Thus, the concepts of “cap and share,” or, “contraction and convergence” have emerged. As wealthy over-consuming countries reduce their activity far below present overconsumptive levels, the goal is for the poorest countries and peoples to bring their levels up until “convergence” or equity is approached. Overall, however, the convergence target must remain far below the maximum sustainable levels for all planetary material throughputs, including total energy use, thus requiring profound net reductions in all areas. To assist this process will require considerable reallocation of planetary resources, wealth and sustainable technologies from the rich countries to the poorest countries and peoples, being certain to avoid the pitfalls and corruptions of prior historic patterns of aid, also usually rooted in colonial contexts. For example, within poor countries there are sometimes very wealthy elite minorities who gained from colonialism and globalization; they are sometimes called “the north within the south.” Transfers and contributions from this wealthy class should be included in the domestic equation. (Note: There are a growing number of proposals for how such transfers from North to South might operate, several of which are mentioned in the Resources section. We do not favor any of these proposals above others at this time; all should be studied and debated as to their optimum viability.) Equally important: The interests of equity also require rapid withdrawal of giant export-oriented agricultural corporations from food growing lands in poor countries. These lands have mainly been acquired over years by a variety of unacceptable means—sometimes militarily, or with the help of corrupt regimes—and most recently via the appalling rules of global bureaucracies, including the WTO and World Bank. Lands thus alienated from local people must be returned to the control of local communities and farmers. This in itself would free millions of people to re-assume their traditional local food growing activities that sustained their communities. Ultimately, the goal must be to achieve international accords on formulas that achieve “contraction” and “convergence,” i.e., formally mandated global economic formulas that lead to overall economic “contraction”—to live within realistic planetary limits—and “convergence” at an agreed global standard of“sufficiency” for all, as planetary health and resources permit. We believe that such a transition can lead to successful responses to this crisis, increased equity within and among countries, and a renewed sense of personal and global good feeling, well-being and peace.
MANIFESTO on Global Economic Transition - Powering-Down for the Future
Toward a Global Movement for Systemic Change: Economies of Ecological Sustainability, Equity, Sufficiency and Peace, “Less and local” - EDITOR Jerry Mander
A Project of the International Forum on Globalization
The Institute for Policy Studies Global Project on Economic Transformations.

(Organizations listed for identification purposes only)

  • Jerry Mander, co-director, International Forum on Globalization; co-editor,
  • Medea Benjamin, co-founder, Global Exchange; co-founder Code Pink
  • John Cavanagh, director, Institute for Policy Studies; co-editor, Alternatives to Economic Globalization
  • Sarah Anderson, director, global economy program, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Debi Barker, co-director, International Forum on Globalization
  • Tom Athanasiou, executive director, EcoEquity
  • Maude Barlow, national chairperson, Council of Canadians (Canada)
  • David Batker, executive director, Earth Economics
  • Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle, Ecological Options Network
  • Mike Brune, executive director, Rainforest Action Network
  • Peter Bunyard, science editor, The Ecologist (UK)
  • Tom Butler, Foundation for Deep Ecology; former editor, Wild Earth
  • Ernest Callenbach, author, Ecotopia
  • William R. Catton, Jr., professor emeritus, Washington State University
  • Tony Clarke, director, Polaris Institute (Canada)
  • Josh Farley, fellow, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont
  • Ross Gelbspan, author, The Heat is On and Boiling Point
  • Susan George, board chair, Transnat’l. Institute; author, Fate Worse Than Debt (France)
  • Edward R. Goldsmith, founder, The Ecologist; author, The Way (UK) 33
  • Claire Greensfelder, director, Plutonium Free Future; co-author, The Safe Energy Handbook
  • Charles Hall, Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Randy Hayes, founder, Rainforest Action Network; senior fellow, Int’l. Forum on Globalization
  • Richard Heinberg, author, Power Down, and The Party’s Over; fellow, Post Carbon Institute
  • Colin Hines, director, Protest the Local, Globally (UK)
  • Rob Hopkins, founder, Transition Towns Totnes Movement (UK)
  • Smitu Kothari, founder, Lokayan and Intercultural Resources (New Delhi, India)
  • David Korten, president, Positive Futures Network; author, The Great Turning
  • Satish Kumar, editor, Resurgence magazine; president, Schumacher College (UK)
  • Sara Larrain, director, Chile Sustentable (Chile)
  • Jeremy Leggett, CEO, Solar Century; author, The Carbon War (UK)
  • Ann Leonard, coordinator, Funders Working Group for Sustainable Production and Consumption
  • Caroline Lucas, member, European Parliament (UK)
  • Victor Menotti, program director, International Forum on Globalization
  • Frances Moore Lappé, author, Hope’s Edge and Diet for a Small Planet
  • Pat Murphy & Megan Quinn, The Community Solution
  • Samuel Nguiffo, director, Center for Environment and Development (Cameroon)
  • Helena Norberg-Hodge, director, Int’l Society for Ecology and Culture; author, Ancient Futures (UK)
  • Lúcia Ortiz, general coordinator, Friends of the Earth (Brazil)
  • Jakub Patocka, Literarky Magazine (Czech Republic)
  • David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural science, Cornell University
  • Thomas Princen, associate professor of natural resources and environmental policy, University of Michigan




Back to UNFCCC Submission

Back to Signatory List