Be Libre/Preface

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This learning resource[1] is about free culture, libre knowledge, planetary sustainability, and how you may be part of the solution. For many years, from the perspective of an environmentalist, I have felt the need to express concern for life on earth and have done so throughout my varied career one way or another. When it comes to action, at whatever level, social and economic concerns inevitably rise to the fore, and the importance of biodiversity and the natural environment tends not to be adequately recognised/addressed. One possible reason for this is that many of us have lost touch with our genetic routes and the planet on which we live. At first glance, it may seem like a big jump from a focus on 'freedom' to solving the world's problems, and there may be some assumptions to state and analyse. I look forward to that discussion.

What is available here is a snapshot of my/our current perspective on the way forward. The perspective will no doubt continue to evolve and multiply as readers participate, and our knowledge grows towards collective wisdom for a sustainable world[2].

Why this, why now? In addition to fulfilling a personal need to communicate the libre perspective on global sustainability, a position I have acquired after a long association with software libre[3] and a career orientation towards making a difference in terms of sustainability, there are gaps in my knowledge.

Richard Bach, Illusions
You teach best what you most need to learn

Whilst I do not claim or aspire to be an expert in any one of the fields from which we will draw, this exercise will require delving deeply enough to gain some confidence in the underlying assumptions and inferences. The continued collaborative experience will no doubt effect learning on many personal and community levels. It has done so before, during and inevitably will after the interactions and writing. Thank you in advance.

In recent years economic, social and environmental issues have come to a head, and it is clear that something drastic needs to be done. This book does not say What, but has an important message for the How, and provides a framework for how anyone may embrace the values of a libre knowledge society and co-create the collective wisdom required for a sustainable world.

Mahatma Gandhi
... be the change you wish to see in the world

As one journeys through life, there are ups and downs, phases of extreme optimism and occasionally there may be levels of disillusion, affecting what one does, how one goes about it and which directions one chooses. My hope is that this exercise and associated resources will lead you to alternative perspectives on whatever you are doing to make this world a happier place.

In spite of the challenges, ...

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
... With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

  1. Currently a process towards perhaps a book, or books, a series of articles, etc.
  2. See the vision expressed in the Declaration on libre knowledge.
  3. Throughout this book the term software libre (or libre software) is used in preference to free software which holds the same meaning when used correctly (free as in freedom).