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The Primacy of the Personal

The Primacy of the Personal



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Published by Reos Partners

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Published by: Reos Partners on Jun 10, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 The primacy o the personal
Synthesis report | May 2009
 About WWF
WWF-UK, the UK arm o the world’s leading independent environmentalorganisation, is at the heart o eorts to create the solutions we need – strivingor a One Planet Future where people and nature thrive within their air share o the planet’s natural resources. To make this vision a reality, we are addressingthree key environmental challenges in partnership with governments,businesses and communities both here in the UK and around the world:saeguarding the natural world, tackling climate change and changing the waywe live.WWF’s education programme was established in the early 1980s, encouragingschools to put sustainability at the heart o school lie. WWF’s programmeprovides schools with a range o engaging and inspiring activities which showhow all schools can play a part in striving to live within the ecological limits o one planet.
More inormation about WWF’s work can be ound at:ww.org.uk/oneplaneteducation
 The neglect o the personal dimension in development at rst sight seemsbizarre. It is sel-evident to the point o embarrassment that most o whathappens is the result o what sort o people we are, how we perceive realities,and what we do and do not do.Whether change is good or bad is largely determined by personal actions,whether by political leaders, ocials, proessionals or local people, byinternational currency speculators, executives o transnational corporations,non-government organisation (NGO) workers, or researchers, by mothers,athers or children, or by soldiers, secret agents, journalists, lawyers, police, orprotesters.Especially, what happens depends on those who are powerul and wealthy.One might have supposed then that trying to understand and change theirperceptions, motivations and behaviours would have been at the centre o development and development studies, and a major concern or the IMF, theWorld Bank, other donor agencies, governments and NGOs. Yet there have been ew studies o individual ocials as leaders. Studies o greed and generosity are ew. There are quite a number o institutes devoted todevelopment studies but there is, to my knowledge, no institute devoted to thestudy o greed or power.Part o the neglect stems rom academic culture with its anathema o evangelism, its value o objectivity, and its search or general rather thanindividual explanations. More potently, perhaps, the neglect is a deence.It can disturb prooundly to refect on what one does and does not do. Itembarrasses to be conronted by poverty and suering compared with one’sown condition. When a poor armer in India asked me my income I couldnot reply. To put the personal to the ore in this editorial is to expose my ownhypocrisy and to make it dicult to continue. But hypocrisy is no excuse orsilence
- Robert Chambers (Ideas or development: refecting orwards, Instituteor Development Studies, Sussex, 2004)

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