Defining post-Cold War Era in terms of sustainability
The end of the Cold War marked the end of a well defined era. There is consensus that the complex and varied events of the past years following the end of the Cold War, have made it difficult to specifically define what the post-Cold War era is and should be about. The clearest patterns to date are this sense of a lack of definition and direction, the occurrence of many small conflicts (nationalism, regionalism, and ethnocentrism), and yet more natural disasters (combination of past, present and accelerating destruction of the biosphere). Yet, there is also (a growing) concensus that these patterns do already indicate what the purpose and direction of the post-Cold War era could and should be about. Namely, that the/one of the central pillar(s) of the post-Cold War era ought to be based on a doctrine of global sustainability.
Only global sustainability can ultimately provide global stability and prosperity. The sooner we (all) realize this, the sooner we can get there. The longer we delay, the sooner we can expect to meet our own demise and that of our planet. Baptizing the post-Cold War era "the Sustainable Era" gives meaning and focus to our often confusing times, permitting us to more effectively tackle our planet's ills.
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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