The entire economy can be rebuilt on principles within the limits of the Earth’s natural resources, with strict parameters being applied to energy giants and corporations, so that they cannot exploit our last great wildernesses for short-term gain. To do this, much re-arranging within governments would be required. Ideally, conservationists and ecological economists and sustainability experts and environmental law makers should be given political powers to become appropriate candidates to fill the seats in governments worldwide to replace the current oil barons, pharmaceutical and biotechnological stakeholders in governments that are destroying the environment and human health with their corporations, along with bankers and elite with their privileges above natural law.
The Rights of Nature should be one of the highest values that an evolved civilised society upholds, not the destruction of the environment for money and power; everything is currently upside down and inside out when it comes to values and morals in society. Let us envision how we would like to see the Earth and human society in 20 years’ time. Now is a time where this hope relies on individuals who are willing to take responsibility to make changes in their own lives, to contribute to building bridges to a more sustainable future. We can each make daily commitments towards this vision, this is where we can shape opportunity out of crisis.
Einstein once remarked, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” The process of building a better world must begin with rethinking basic assumptions and exploring solutions for the root causes. Sustainability was born out of the ecology movement, in Ecology we have a term called ‘Carrying Capacity’. A population can live within the means of Earth’s natural carrying capacity, but when a species goes beyond it, it usually results in extinction of the population or some sort of bottleneck which has a profound impact on the environment, species survival and its gene pool health and conservation. Sustainability for mankind is about living within the realistic means of the Earth’s natural carrying capacity. Our oligarchic government and corporations do not wish to see the red margin lines, they act as if there are no limits by which we are constrained, because they are acting for a self-serving agenda, they continue to ignore all the warning signs.
To understand what the benefits of sustainability are, we need to take a look at the bigger picture in which Capitalism is the driving force for present day human society, economics and political decisions. It isn’t all bad in that it encourages high standards in society through competition, culture, music, art, technology, production and economy, but we are failing by ignoring the building of high standards in environmental protection, ethics and management. Ironically, one reason is that pollution makes politicians money, and that is in addition to the millions which they already receive through lobbying agencies funded by oil companies in order to influence political decisions and policies. There are many clues that point towards this; for example, it is well known to people who live in the Amazon, that an oil spill gains the person whom did the spilling an insurance pay off to clean up the mess, but the cleaning process is initially almost as toxic as the spill itself and many of these oil people ‘accidentally’ spill in order to receive the pay off.
It took me a decade of research to stumble upon amazing solutions for sustainable and clean energy living, the big question for me as an environmental biologist was why were governments not implementing any of these strategies? Especially if they were aware of them, since so many patents to clean energy technologies have been documented.
The general public is accustomed to environmental and humanitarian campaigning responsibilities being the normal duty of all non-profit organisations and charities. Perhaps the reasons why we have charities and non-profits is evidence that we are living in a dysfunctional society with dysfunctional values that are out of balance with the Earth.
Charities and foundations are filling a niche that the governments prefer to overlook in the name of profit and power, a niche that reflects the empty space where the Rights of Nature are values that do not exist in modern society, yet if we are to persist, then we must acknowledge these values and incorporate them into modern business, politics and economics.
Political and corporate management of environmental resources desperately needs to become transparent or even the domain of public decision making. Since our current governments are themselves being governed by corporations with more power than politicians, the Trans Pacific Partnership is evidence of this and therefore governments are failing to fulfil the role of environmental custodians for the rest of us. Open source software technology could create this type of transparency and public involvement in decisions on new bills and reforming laws.
Excerpt from The Silent Ecocide- the environmental crisis is a crisis of human consciousness by Carlita Shaw
Carlita is an environmental scientist, teacher and writer, currently living in South America.