Using the environment to the fullest possible extent, we leave over very little of the spare capacity that may be so useful when confronted by the need to change. In a fully-utilized world, change even at the operational margins has a greater-than-ever human and environmental cost. Spare capacity would, [prima facie], appear to be pro-resilience and pro-sustainability. But the obvious conflict is that, in this world, fuller and fuller use of resources is a moral and survival imperative for those who lack basic needs. Viewed from their standpoint, spare capacity would seem to be a luxury that cannot be afforded under present conditions -- particularly when much of the potential for spare capacity is negated by overconsumption elsewhere.
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.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.