[Editor’s Note: Dr. Thomas has invited Eden Alternative’s Europe Coordinator Christa Monkhouse to guest-post on a weekly basis from across the Big Pond. Christa is personally responsible for introducing the Eden Alternative to Europe, first in the UK, then Denmark, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and soon in Sweden, Finland and other European nations. Stay-tuned for regular updates on ‘Monkhouse Mondays’.]
The social climate change (cooling, not warming)……and it’s solution
I spent the last week in Vienna, Austria, springtime – lilac at it’s peak, roses budding – teaching Eden and attending the Iahsa European conference, listening and learning.
I had the privilege to meet with Prof. Ernst Gehmacher (82). He is member of the Austrian chapter of the Club of Rome for global sustainability and the most prominent person in Europe to measure social capital*. He is convinced that investment into building, nurturing and sustaining human relationships is more profitable (in Dollars and Euros) than “pure“ money investment. As a biologist and sociologist he has accumulated a wide database which clearly indicates that social capital is related to happiness, better health and lower health care costs.
The younger generation, who we confine to grow up in social isolation, their companion pieces of technology such as computers and the internet, is impoverished in terms of social capital, their social climate is getting colder, not warmer. Therefore we should start looking at our elders as providers and deservers of social capital, not just as cost and burden to society and bring the generations back together. And in the end, it will “pay off“ in human warmth and economic growth.
I agreed with him to measure the Eden-Alternative impact with his social capital measurement tools. I keep you posted on this.
*(defined as the sum of social relations at the micro-level such as friends and families, at the meso-level such as membership of clubs, parties and other associations and at the macro-level represented by culture, belief-systems, world- and spiritual views).
— Christa Monkhouse at email@example.com