Flagging community spirit Low community morale Debilitating community self-image Lack of community self-worth Unfruitful images of community identity Depressed community will Embarrassed civic pride
Although there is increased concern about recovering the significance of small towns, many self-images of such communities are self-defeating. There is environmental deterioration, with abandoned buildings, overgrown lots, and old ruins witnessing to past glories and present squalor. Many of the vital structures and activities which gave small towns distinct identity have shifted to the larger nearby towns, and many residents have also moved there. Local history classes do not attempt to recapture the history of the local pioneers, there is simply an image of uncertainty for the future, which destroys community goals and ensures that projects fail before implementation even begins. The disparity between the great accomplishments of the past and the sense of oppression of the present becomes immobilizing and overwhelming. Taken together with a deeply fatalistic attitude to life, such primary images ensure that no profound or lasting social and economic change can occur without creative transformation of attitude.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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