The early environmental movement viewed the environmental crisis mainly in terms of fixable problems: Birth control could stop population growth. Stronger laws and better technology could stop toxic pollution of air, ground, and water. Setting aside large wilderness areas could save species and valuable habitat. Energy efficiency and renewable energy use could solve the energy problem, and recycling would save the Earth.
All these actions are effective, and necessary—but insufficient. In spite of very remarkable and satisfying successes over the last thirty years or so, the Earth has not been saved. World-wide and in the U.S. we are even farther from devising a truly sustainable society than at the start of the environmental movement. The missing ingredient is appropriate thinking—thinking of our “problems” with the largest and most encompassing of visions. We need a massive shift to a new worldview, a new way of seeing who we are and where we are in the long, 14 billion year sweep of universe history. We need a fundamental movement away from the paradigm of the industrial growth society that no longer works for us. We need a new model, a sustainable one, and a new approach to realizing it.
The change is necessitated by humanity's relentless but unintentional attack on Earth's human life-support system. This attack has taken us right up against limits on resource production and waste disposal. A little recycling here some energy efficiency and renewable energy there are but drops in the bucket of what is really needed, unless these are coupled with sweeping changes in how we think, how we live, and how we structure our society. Einstein warned that a new manner of thinking is required before humanity can avert unparalleled catastrophe and move to higher levels.
The good news is that life can be better when lived sustainably. Better psychologically, better recreationally, better spiritually, and better physically. Humanity will be moving toward a sustainable new vision in the next few decades. Let us hope the transition will be rewarding, fulfilling—and successful.
©2008 SunPine Press ===================== Last update: 04/28/08