Friday 14 November 2008

The Political Problem

News for a Synergic Earth: Jay Hanson writes "The central problem that planet Earth faces today is NOT a problem of 'running out of energy,' or 'overfishing,' or 'the wrong kind of farming,' or 'the depletion of aquifers,' or 'too much CO2 in the atmosphere,' or [fill in the blanks]...

The problem that threatens to exterminate most higher forms of life on Earth -- and soon -- is the problem of 'human behavior.' Therefore, if one is searching for 'solutions,' one must look closely at what one sees in the mirror every morning. That's the central problem on planet Earth. It lives with all of us."

Ken Dow followed with some insightful comments that I wholeheartedly agree with: I see two shortcomings in Hanson's assertion. First, he overlooks the implications of Braungart's work in life-cycle design. The biomass of ants far exceeds humans, yet ants are a sign of a healthy ecosystem; our problem isn't how much we produce but how and more importantly what we produce. We can be more than sustainable, we can be ecologically generative.

Second, although Hanson hints at this when he suggests "one must look closely at what one sees in the mirror every morning", it's not politics but the level of human consciousness (e.g., Cook-Greuter's Nine Levels in Ego Development) that is limiting our options. Look in the mirror, yes. But look deeper before calling your MP or Member of Congress to demand solutions.