As an example: for decades some of our members were and still are active in the field of environmental issues. Now we have had ‘Paris’ with the agreement regarding climate change. The need was clear for many of our colleagues, studying this matter. And the need for implementation is still there – with resonance to the same law. It took years, we had to wait disappointing long years before having results at this political level. Now there are results. And we look forward to the next steps with the same type of eagerness to see changes realised.
This is just one example out of many in the rich history of our members. For me it points at the poisoning effect of the requests for immediate successes, for a quick return on investment in our work, for a time-horizon of only a couple of years, which seems to be dominant when looking for a high shareholders value. It takes more than a while before a promising seed delivers a rich crop.
Although it doesn’t sounds very encouraging at the first reading, for me it is yet encouraging. It makes clear that decent groundwork, careful building up of a network, properly planned activities and discussions will enable next steps, new successes. And it is enabled by previous steps.
Recently I have had quite intense exchanges with someone who considers himself a peacemaker. Not by choice but as it happened in his life. He worked within an organisation, which was characterised by many others as a terrorist organisation – for quite good reasons. Yet he described himself also as a peacemaker since he was working from within the organisation to keep in contact with those who were looking for fundamental changes outside their organisation. He could survive since he kept hope for peace due to the endless work of others. He kept hope since he saw the support of the general public for terroristic acts decrease. He noticed the support for peace negotiations growing.
Exactly in that field of public and political awareness our members of Oikosnet are working: placing issues on the agenda, discussing options for ways forward, expressing hope and alternatives through cultural events, through new contacts, through cultures of welcoming a type of interdependency among people. The changes don’t come without crises. That’s for sure. They come through endurance of many, through support of others, through dedication and mutual trust. In my view that is why organisations like our academies, our centres and movements and also Oikosnet represent contributions to fundamental changes. Let’s continue working on that, also with so called terrorists. We can extinct them, nor within ourselves neither outside ourselves, so let us work on changing them and ourselves.
Jaap van der Sar, President Oikosnet Europe