Profound Changes

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Profound changes to human values and behaviour have been achieved in the past. We can learn how a few dedicated people have achieved change and adopt or adapt their methods for sustainable development.

Several common elements recur frequently and can be summarised as follows:

Produce scientific facts with supporting, well-documented evidence
Get the facts endorsed by credible people from different disciplines
Use the challenge of other authoritative figures as "the grit in the oyster" to improve the original ideas
Get an influential group of people to devise a strategy then influence other groups
Identify distinct stages for a coordinated change programme and implement with skill and commitment
Gain support from eloquent speakers, to work within their "spheres of influence" with appropriate timing
Build up public support for the desired goals by appealing to both reason and emotions
Publicise the ideas with a multimedia approach especially ussing pictures and sound
Win crucial debates in important arenas
Devise laws to make undesirable practices illegal
Find ways to get compliance with new standards
Monitor progress and review results

And in some cases:

Be ready with an appropriate compromise, in case it may be needed
Provide funds to compensate those who suffer short term financial losses (if essential for desired results)
Establish agreements that are binding with other countries and ensure they are implemented.

The useful precedents and analysis of methods for fundamental changes in society come from:

then see the concluding section on will these ideas work in the future? which includes a section on changes needed now.

Stopping the slave trade and slavery

Slavery was an accepted feature of all ancient societies and slave labour was widely used in many countries in agriculture, for construction work and in homes. Slaves were treated as 'things' to be bought and sold, given as gifts or pledged for debts by their owners. Prisoners captured in war, especially in the Roman Empire, became enslaved. Slaves had no recourse to any personal or legal action against their owners. The underlying assumption was that slave owners were a superior race and racial prejudice kept slavery alive.

Fifteenth century slavery was closely linked to the exploration of Africa and the colonisation of America. For three centuries colonisation provided the impetus for the slave trade. Slaves were captured, often by other Africans, along the west coast of Africa and transported to trading posts on the coast then moved to Portugal, Spain and later across the Atlantic. The first slaves landed in North America in 1619 brought by English privateers. Initially the number of imported slaves was quite small and there appeared to be no need to define their status. However, starting in 1641 successive States provided Statutory recognition of slavery.

England entered the slave trade in the latter part of the 16th century and in 1713 the British South Seas Company was granted the exclusive right to supply the Spanish colonies. America entered the trade as competitors.

African slaves became increasingly important in the English colonies. The trade reached its peak during the 18th century, encouraged by governments and individuals. The trade was immensely profitable and slaves captured in Africa were sold in the West Indies for £15 to £ 35 a head. Jamaica attempted to impose an additional duty on imported slaves but this was disallowed by the English board of trade in 1775 because they "could not allow the colonies to check or discourage in any degree a traffic so beneficial." Between 1680 and 1786, 2,130,000 Negroes were imported into English-American colonies.

American slaves had some rights by the time of the American War of Independence (1776-1783). They were entitled to support in age and sickness, granted some religious instruction and, through custom, they gained limited rights to property, marriage and free time. However, examples of abuse were also known and mutilation, branding, chaining, the repeated rape of women and the splitting of families as slaves were sold occurred frequently.

Revulsion against the slave trade increased towards the end of the 18th century as the arguments in favour of human equality gained ground, even if lip service was paid to it in practice. Revolutionary doctrines were gaining ground in France and America and evangelicalism was prevalent in Britain. Opinion crystallized against the trade. In America. Delaware State abolished the trade in 1776, followed by Virginia, Pennsylvania, then Maryland and the southern States were banned from sharing in the trade to foreign countries.

Three distinct movements arose in Europe, identify clear stages in the process: the (1) abolition of the slave trade, (2) the emancipation of slaves and (3) the final elimination of serfdom.

Abolition of the slave trade in Europe, influenced by arguments that it was becoming uneconomic, occurred first in Denmark in 1792, to take effect from 1802. In 1788 the Société des Amis des Noir was formed in France in 1788. However, Britain, with extensive sea power was uniquely placed to enforce abolition. Religious enthusiasm inspired British citizens to mount a crusade and criticism of the slave trade had been voiced for many years particularly by the Quakers, but there was no coordination. Then, Thomas Clarkson organised abolitionists and aroused public indignation by circulating reports of atrocities. Clarkson was supported by many writers including Adam Smith, the economist, and the 'Clapham Sect'. This 'sect' met frequently in the Clapham House home of the banker, Henry Thornton, and their Parliamentary spokesman was William Wilberforce (1759-1833). Abolishing the slave trade was not a party issue and several cabinet ministers supported it. In 1792 Wilberforce, supported by Pitt, Fox and Burke, persuaded the House of Commons to accept gradual abolition. Progress was then interrupted by the French Revolution for 10 years. The abolitionists then resumed their campaign and slave trading with the colonies acquired during the war was forbidden in 1805, that with foreign possessions in 1806. In 1807 a bill proposed by Wilberforce that British subjects and British ships should be forbidden from taking any part in the slave trade was carried.  In 1811 slave trade offences were enforced by law and this ended the British slave trade. 

The Congress of Vienna in 1814 gave Great Britain an opportunity to exert its influence to persuade other countries to abolish slavery. In 1842 The Ashburton Treaty between Great Britain and the United States of America  provided a squadron to enforce the prohibition of the slave trade in the Atlantic.

The emancipation of slaves was the second stage of the movement, again led by Britain. William Wilberforce and T. F. Buxton founded the Anti-Slavery Society in 1823 (it is still campaigning against serfdom). Soon after the formation of this society, Parliament recommended that the condition of slaves be improved to prepare them for emancipation. A delay in implementing this recommendation produced a slave rebellion in Demerara resulting in the martyrdom of a missionary, John Smith, which was exploited by the abolitionists who made rapid headway against various vested interests. In 1827 the right of a slave to purchase his freedom was allowed and in 1833, when the Whigs came to power, the act of emancipation was carried. All slaves were to be freed after a transitional period of indenture and compensation of £20 million was to be paid to the former owners in the West Indies, the Cape and Mauritius. 780,993 slaves in all parts of the British Empire were then emancipated.

In 400 years of the slave trade 15 million slaves were delivered to buyers and nearly 40 million Africans lost their lives in the Atlantic.

In America publications like Uncle Tom's Cabin and stories of the underground railroad helped to discredit slavery but the decisive move came in 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment to the American Constitution which abolished slavery throughout the United States.

Slavery conclusion. Success was achieved by:

Producing evidence of atrocities and building public criticism of slavery
Identifying distinct stages: stop the slave trade, emancipate slaves and abolish serfdom (not yet fully achieved)
Forming a small group, the Clapham Sect, to devise a strategy with a spokesman in Parliament
Devising laws to make undesirable practices illegal and finding ways to enforce the law
Providing funds to compensate those who would suffer financial losses if their trade was banned
Devising agreements with other countries and ensuring compliance
Building up public support for abolishing the slave trade and emancipating all slaves, country by country.

[Sources: Chambers Encyclopaedia, 1973; Encarta 96 Encyclopedia (CD-ROM); The Hutchinson Encyclopedia, 10th Edition]


In Disposable People by Kevin Bales, University of California Press, 1999, the author describes "the new slavery" which, he claims, is still prevalent in many countries including France and the USA. In all 27 million people are 'new slaves' who work for a pittance making shoes, clothes, and toys as well as growing sugar and rice. Pension funds and investment portfolios may include companies that market products which involve these new slaves. To learn more read the book or visit Anti-Slavery International web site.

From Creation to Evolution

Background. In England in the early part of the nineteenth century it was necessary to be a Christian, a man and a householder of some substance in order to have influence on society. In 1830 the right to vote was limited to men of substance and the electorate was 516,000 people or 5% of the adult population. In 1830 the Duke of Wellington resigned as prime minister bringing in a reforming Whig government under Lord Grey. In 1832 the Reform Act redistributed parliamentary seats from "rotten boroughs" to urban constituencies and extended the franchise to households paying £10 per year or more in rent. This increased the electorate to 813,000 or 7% of the population. It was not until 1867 that the Reform Act achieved a further redistribution of seats and extended the franchise to all ratepayers in boroughs and the electorate increased to 2,500,000 or 16% of the adult population, rising again to 5.6 million in in 1884. These facts provide a flavour of life in England at that time and the strong influence of Christians, who were relatively well off, and men. Charles Darwin lived in England at this time.

Voyage of the Beagle. In 1831 Charles Darwin (1809-1882) set sail in the Beagle as gentleman companion to the Captain as well as the ship's naturalist. The Beagle returned to England in 1836 having visited South America, the Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and innumerable islands including, of course, the Galapagos Islands. Darwin collected and sent back to England many fossils, rocks, plants, insects, birds and animal specimens. These were studied and described by many experts from different disciplines for several years, including Darwin himself, recording catalogues of the findings.

Christianity. In the 1700s, during The Age of Reason, Christian dogmas were questioned and society began to be examined in purely secular terms. The Church of England lost many Nonconformists. However, Christian orthodoxy in the early 1800s was still a very powerful force and a requirement for those who wished to hold public office. Darwin knew that his findings would cause a furore because they would challenge the deeply held Christian belief, embodied in the Book of Genesis, that God created all life on earth. Darwin's work also gave him a very personal problem because his wife, Emma Wedgwood, was a devout Christian. Agonising over the reaction to his findings about origin of species contributed significantly to delays in publishing his findings. He returned from his voyage in the Beagle in 1835 but Origin of Species was not published until 1859 and even then it was provoked by the fear that A. R. Wallace, another globe-trotting scientist, would upstage his work.

Establishing credibility as a scientist. Between 1836 and 1859 Darwin worked on his ideas about evolution and natural selection. His first major work (1839) was on the geology and natural history of the countries visited during the Beagle voyage. He published other books on volcanic islands and undertook a detailed study of barnacles, publishing his two volume findings in 1851. These early books and several scientific papers helped to establish his credibility as a scientist and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1939 at the age of 30. His research was always thorough, wide ranging and meticulously recorded in copious notebooks. He also cultivated influential friends, and secured his own financial status by marrying Emma Wedgwood, of the famous and wealthy Wedgwood family.

Professional support. Support from other well-regarded scientists was built up over many years, starting with those to whom he sent specimens after his voyage. This circle of influential friends played an important part in gaining publicity for Darwin's work. He was plagued by illness from 1838 until his death and declined many invitations to speak at important meetings and turned down several opportunities to join influential bodies. One of the most important of his supporters was Thomas H. Huxley, scientist, writer, eloquent speaker and sometime President of the Royal Society, who formed the X-Club. In addition to his contribution in influential circles he frequently spoke to "the masses" and this built up an enormous amount of popular support for evolution against the formal entrenched belief in creation.

The X-Club had nine members - all Darwinians and radical dissenters, including: Joseph Hooker, botanist and Director of Kew Gardens; John Tyndall, Irish physicist and prolific science writer; G. Busk, a friend of Huxley's; Herbert Spencer, journalist with the Economist; Sir Edward Frankland, an eminent chemist; John Lubbock, naturalist and son of an influential city banker; and William Spottiswoode, mathematician and Queens Printer. The X-Club existed from 1864-1893 and during this time its membership included three successive Presidents of the Royal Society (RS), a Secretary of the RS, Foreign Secretary, Treasurer, and 6 Presidents of the British Association. They met for dinner on the first Thursday of all but the three summer months, before the meetings of the Royal Society. They were widely regarded as the group who informally "governed scientific affairs" but this was denied by Thomas Huxley.

Opposition (the grit in the oyster). Thomas Huxley first met Richard Owen (later Sir Richard Owen KCB), twenty years his senior, in 1846 and noted that "he is the superior of most of his contemporaries and does not conceal that he knows it". Owen was Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons and Anatomist at the Zoological Society, a man of considerable stature and widely respected who preceded Huxley by several years as President of the Royal Society. Owen studied some of the fossil bones from the voyage of the Beagle. Owen and Darwin had a long-standing professional relationship but did not agree about evolution as the origin of species. In many ways Owen provided considerable challenge and is described by some as the "grit in the oyster" that helped sharpen the arguments and evidence in favour of evolution. Others, including Thomas Huxley, had difficulty accepting the validity of natural selection, which Darwin believed in, but fully endorsed Darwin's theory of evolution as opposed to 'creation'.

Crucial debate. Origin of Species was published in November 1859 and on Saturday 30 June 1860 a debate took place at a Section Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, attended by some 700 people. A crucial exchange between Bishop Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley was 'blown out of all proportion' according to some, and became known as the best "victory" of the nineteenth century, save Waterloo, according to others. The meeting took place in Oxford, the diocese of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce, famous for his campaign against slavery. Professor John Draper of New York University was due to talk on "Darwin and Social Progress". In the discussion that followed Bishop Wilberforce is reputed to have asked Huxley "is it through your grandfather or your grandmother that you claim descent from a monkey?" Huxley claimed that in his reply he stated "would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather, or a man highly endowed by name and possessed of great means of influence, and yet who employs these faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion - I would unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape." The laughter that followed this reply enabled Huxley to gain the attention of the audience which he used to good effect. This incident is believed to have played a significant part in winning the argument in favour of evolution rather than creation as the origin of species.

Evolution Conclusion. If the idea that God created all species had prevailed it might have been many years before another opportunity arose to correct this error of judgement. If evolution had not been accepted it would have been even more difficult to accept the importance of ecology and grapple with all the environmental challenges that now face humankind. Factors of importance in winning the argument for evolution include:

Producing scientific facts that are substantiated with carefully document evidence
Associating these facts with a credible scientist(s) with endorsement from related disciplines
Benefiting from the original ideas being challenged by authoritative people (the grit in the oyster)
Gaining informed support from respected, influential people, including eloquent speakers
Establishing an influential group (the X-Club) who have influence in other important circles
Building up massive popular support for evolution from people in all walks of life
Using a multi-dimensional approach involving the written word, speeches
Winning key debates

[Sources: The Huxleys by Ronald W. Clark, Heinemann, 1968; Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Michael Joseph, 1991]

Postscript. "Biologists generally agree that the primary force behind evolution in human beings and all other organisms is natural selection. That is what created Homo sapiens during the five or six million years after ancestral hominid species split off from a primitive chimpanzeelike stock. Evolution by natural selection is not an idle hypothesis. The genetic variation on which selection acts is well understood in principle all the way down to the molecular level. "Evolution watchers" among field biologists have monitored evolution by natural selection, generation by generation, in natural populations of animals and plants. The result can often be reproduced in the laboratory, even up to the creation of new species, for example by hybridization and the breeding of reproductively isolated strains. The manner in which traits of anatomy, physiology, and behavior adapt organisms to their environment has been massively documented." [Source: E. O. Wilson, Consilience, published by Little, Brown and Company, 1998, p140-141]

Banning the Ivory Trade

Elephant numbers. In 1981 it was estimated that there were 1.3 million elephants in Africa (having been about 2 million) but it was estimated that this number would be reduced to 100,000 as their habitat shrank and human population grew. There was also the long established ivory trade which had been 'controlled' since 1976 by the the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Interested parties. In 1986 a new system of control was introduced and CITES were confident that it was working well. CITES meetings were attended by the main ivory exporting countries of Africa, the ivory importing countries such as the USA, Hong Kong, Germany, China and Japan, conservation groups and the ivory traders association. On the surface it seemed that the ivory trade played little part in the decline in the elephant population.

Keystone species. The elephant plays a crucial part in the ecology of the areas where it lives. It is a keystone species and if it disappears other species are put at risk. For example, an adult elephant produces 24 kilograms of dung each day, which is buried by 40,000 dung beetles feeding and breeding on it. This dung contains seeds of the baobab and acacia trees, which germinate by passing through the gut of the elephant. Germination is aided by a chemical in the elephant's digestive tract that coats the seeds. If the elephant disappears so do the baobab and acacia trees, which provide the habitat for birds and insects. The well-being of many species depends on the elephant. Elephants sense water beneath the surface and dig new water holes where animals and birds drink; they create pathways in dense forest where other animals follow; they support a varied environment and the mud from their footprints provides nesting material for birds. Africa would change dramatically if there were no elephants. That is why it is so important to save the elephant.

Ivory Trade. The ivory trade and ivory carving goes back to the 14th century BC and has evolved from ancient civilisations in Europe, India and the Far East. In modern times Japan and China have been the countries where much carving was done to meet demand from their domestic markets as well as from Europe and North America. Confronting such a well-established, ancient trade was difficult and dangerous. The trade involved big money estimated at 1 billion dollars per year or about 800 tonnes of ivory. Despite the CITES controls there was skilful evasion by people with few scruples. In the 1980s Africa was the source of ivory and because of the CITES restrictions poaching and smuggling were prevalent. The trade routes involved countries in the Middle East as well as Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. A small proportion of the money involved in the trade went to African countries and this meant that even the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) did not support banning the ivory trade. They argued that people in Africa need the money. However, 80% of the total trade was believed to come from illegally killed elephants and the ivory was smuggled out of Africa. During the 1970s and 1980s the average size of tusk had fallen dramatically indicating that ever younger elephants were being killed. In 1988 the average weight of traded tusks had reached the all time low of 4 kilograms per tusk. One flaw in CITES was that there was no control over worked or carved ivory. The situation was ripe for thorough scrutiny.

Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Allan Thornton came to England from Canada to found Greenpeace UK and was Executive Director from 1978-81 and 1986-88. He  helped to implement the work of the Rainbow Warrior in the campaign against whaling. Dave Currey has a BA in Photographic Arts and has been involved in various wildlife conservation groups as photographer and conservationist.  Allan Thornton and Dave Currey (with Jennifer Lonsdale) co-founded the EIA in 1984 and were respectively Chairman and Executive Director at the time of the events described here (November 1988 to November 1989). EIA was formed in order to concentrate on specific investigations, thereby establishing a niche for another form of environmental work.

Investigation. EIA's investigations began in the United Arab Emirates and Dubai.  Sure enough, Allan and Dave, posing as reporters making a film about trade, found a ship that was trading in illegal ivory. They went on to find warehouses where it was stored, factories where a limited amount of carving took place (thus making it legal to export) and documents showing that it was shipped on to Singapore and Hong Kong. They learned that almost 150 tons of ivory had passed through Dubai in 1987. 150,000 elephants had probably been killed for that quantity of ivory. Their investigations continued through the early part of 1989 until they had amassed a considerable amount of paperwork, had films showing what they had found, had filmed interviews with many key people and prepared their report.

TV Exposure. On 5 December 1988 Independent Television News (ITN) broke the news "conservationists are warning that the African elephant will be extinct within ten years unless the world acts to curb demand for ivory." Press coverage followed and the campaign to ban the ivory trade had begun in earnest. Facts lay at the heart of the argument, supported by evidence, but evocative pictures and strong emotional appeals were also used to help the case. On 10 May 1989 the first of three ITN special programmes based on EIA material was broadcast and in the following weeks newspapers enthusiastically supported the story. They also called on countries to support the ban. The Daily Mail was particularly active in the UK.

Getting support. A ban on the ivory trade would need to be agreed by CITES and to do this it was essential to get a country that was a full member to propose the ban. Support for the ban would also need to be built up among those entitled to vote at the CITES meetings. The contrary arguments would need to be understood and the best way to counter them planned with care. All this work was undertaken by the still tiny EIA who struggled to maintain their financial viability throughout the campaign.

Costa Mlay, who became Director of Wildlife, Tanzania, was a good ally and was prepared to propose banning the ivory trade at the forthcoming CITES meeting. He was given a lot of help in preparing the case for the ban and the wording of the terms to be put to the meeting. His announcement that Tanzania was proposing banning the ivory trade coincided with the ITN broadcast on 10 May 1989. Gradually countries declared their intention to support the ban. Early support came from Chad, Niger, Hungary and Austria. . Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister, announced in the House of Commons on 23 May "we believe the sale of new ivory should stop altogether" and she declared her intention to seek a European Community ban at the next meeting of the EEC (now the EU). On 6 June President Bush announced that the United States would ban all imports and exports of ivory within a week

Crucial meetings. In July 1989 the African Elephant Working Group of CITES met in Gabarone, Botswana. Costa Mlay addressed the meeting and his determination and integrity were impressive. Mlay ended his address saying "ivory is not used to protect the health of humans or to produce medicines. But people in our country and other countries are losing their lives, not just their livelihoods, because of ivory . It is too big a sacrifice that our people should die so that a few people beyond our borders can make a living." The CITES secretariat had admitted in May that they had received $200,000 from ivory dealers in Hong Kong and Japan and their genuine interest in the future of the African elephant was called in question. Opposition to the ban was coming from the Southern African States of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. They wanted to continue the ivory trade because their elephant populations were stronger than their more northerly neighbours.

WWF was being strongly criticised for not supporting the ban. They preferred an approach that would allow a limited trade from those countries that had larger elephant populations and were keen to see the revenue that this generated helping the indigenous population. EIA were adamant that any trade would leave too many loopholes for unscrupulous traders to exploit. WWF were supporting a four-year moratorium - strongly opposed by EIA. There was evidence that elephant population figures were being distorted by double counting of large herds that crossed the boundary between Zimbabwe and Botswana and claims were made that elephants were capable of breeding at a very young age - much younger than ever before. The fact that these claims were wrong had to be exposed.

Decision time. In October 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland a further crucial CITES meeting took place. By this time the EIA final report was ready and it included reference to the money received by CITES from ivory traders. The report was in great demand. During the first meeting all the dignitaries of CITES, WWF etc were on the platform. During this opening ceremony, while Lapointe (Chairman of CITES) was speaking, Allan Thornton rose from his seat and placed a copy of the EIA report in front of each person at the 'top table' leaving a copy in front of Lapointe's empty chair. No one could doubt that the final battle had begun and no one could claim they had not seen the report. The next day a two-year moratorium was proposed from a new but influential quarter. This had to be scotched. The final compromise was worked out in a small meeting where Allan Thornton proposed that the ban should be agreed but that certain countries could be allowed limited trade with special criteria,after two years. Eventually this was put to the whole meeting and received the two-thirds majority support that was required. The ivory trade had been banned.

Ivory trade conclusionFactors of importance in this example include:

The vital importance of scientific evidence and facts about the ivory trade
Well-timed publicity and pictures with a lot of impact to gain widespread public support
Building support for the proposition, presented by a respected, eloquent speaker
Establishing support for the central proposition among influential decision makers
Being ready with an appropriate compromise at the right moment

[Source: To Save an Elephant by Allan Thornton and Dave Currey, Doubleday 1991.]

Postscript. From 1999 Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia will be able to sell ivory to Japan and there are serious concerns that this will lead to an increase in ivory poaching. EIA, with funding from the Barbara Delano Foundation will aim to expose those who seek profit from the illegal trade in ivory. [The Investigator, EIA newsletter autumn 1998]

Will these ideas work in the future?

These are examples of how major changes to deep-seated, accepted practices were examined, challenged and replaced by new  values, changed attitudes and different behaviour influencing large numbers of people in many countries. It is true that slavery has not been abolished, that Darwin's ideas are not universally accepted and that the ivory trade continues, albeit in a smaller way. Despite this there is no doubt that for a great many people across the world all three examples demonstrate that very significant changes to values, attitudes and behaviour have been achieved. How can we learn from these examples?

What changed?

Change from Change to What changed How did it happen
Slave trade Slave trade stopped Values and behaviour Campaign of revulsion against the slave trade
Slavery Emancipation of slaves Values and behaviour Campaign to emancipate slaves
Belief in creation Acceptance of evolution Values and beliefs Campaign to publicise ideas about evolution
Ivory trade Ivory trade stopped Values and behaviour Campaign, agreements and laws

Other recent changes

There have been other significant changes where public opinion played a crucial part, namely:

Bringing down the Berlin Wall - significantly influenced by the mismanagement of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
Achieving majority rule in South Africa to create a multinational community
The massive efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East and Northern Ireland

All are examples of social changes that have happened or are in progress. Despite the difficulties that continue in these places they are encouraging signs of the willingness to find new ways of achieving fairer, more interdependent societies, enormously influenced by the strong public desire for a well-ordered, peaceful community..

Two other, much smaller, examples of changes in human behaviour were achieved using very different methods:

Change from Change to What changed How did it happen
No car seat belts Universal use of seat belts Attitudes and behaviour Campaigns about road safety, backed by law
No lead free petrol Wide use of lead free petrol Behaviour Financial incentives

Fundamental changes that are needed now

Some of the most difficult changes that are desperately needed include:

Relieving poverty by ensuring that everyone has access to food, water and shelter and poor countries debt is relieved
Stopping the destruction of the natural world and its biodiversity, especially the remaining rain forests and coral reefs
Curbing pollution of air, land and water and extending the efficient use of all resources
Recognising the damage caused by excessive and wasteful consumption in rich countries

One of the best books on the subject, which advocates that we strive for the world we want, is Which World? global destinies, regional choices because the scenarios for Market World, Fortress World and Transformed World vividly bring to life the three scenarios, globally and for each major region of the world.

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Last modified 3 August 1999.