Building an ecological civilization that is socially just will not automatically happen in post-capitalist societies. It will occur only through the concerted action and constant vigilance of an engaged population.
by Fred Magdoff
Monthly Review, January 2010
Given the overwhelming harm being done to the world’s environment and to its people, it is essential today to consider how we might organize a truly ecological civilization—one that exists in harmony with natural systems—instead of trying to overwhelm and dominate nature. This is not just an ethical issue; it is essential for our survival as a species and the survival of many other species that we reverse the degradation of the earth’s life support systems that once provided dependable climate, clean air, clean water (fresh and ocean), bountiful oceans, and healthy and productive soils.
There are numerous ways to approach and think about the enormous harm that has been done to the environment. I will discuss the following:
(1) the critical characteristics that underlie strong ecosystems;
(2) why societies are not adequately implementing ecological approaches; and
(3) how we might use characteristics of strong natural ecosystems as a framework to consider a future ecological civilization.
Engaging the population in a conversation about the coming ‘population storm’
“Talk of the Nation Special on Population Jan. 6”
What an opportunity!
Willful and pernicious silence of so many experts as well as broadcasts of ideological idiocy by clever sychophants and duplicitous minions of the wealthy and powerful for the past 60 years make the mere chance for an intellectually honest and morally courageous conversation on “Talk of the Nation” so potentially valuable now here. Opportunities like this one have been occasionally occurring for many years but were routinely missed. A catastrophic failure of nerve by many too many of ‘the brightest and best’ among us who chose, instead of presenting scientific research as was their duty, to foster belief in erroneous preternatural theories; to say whatsoever was politically convenient, economically expedient and socially agreeable; to go along with global gag rules as well as ignore and censor exchanges of sound perspectives regarding human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth. This failure could be one of the great mistakes in human history. I fear our children will come to see it in just that way.
The growth of the human species worldwide could be the proverbial “mother” of human-induced global challenges. If that is so, then failing to acknowledge this predominant challenge will render efforts of humanity to overcome other human-driven, increasingly complex challenges to human wellbeing and environmental health ultimately irrelevant, I suppose.
Please consider that both those who believe human population numbers are exploding and those who believe human numbers are collapsing are correct. Globally, human numbers are undoubtedly increasing, but in some places on the surface of Earth human numbers can easily be seen decreasing. It depends upon your scope of observation. I am perceiving and thinking globally when I report human numbers are skyrocketing. In a similar manner, I can certainly recognize that human numbers in many places (eg, Italy) have been declining. But in order to make that report it is necessary for me to change my scope of observation.
Imagine that a change in one’s scope of observation is like the difference between looking at the forest or the trees. Looking at the forest is like looking at absolute global human population numbers; whereas, looking at the trees is like looking at the population numbers in a place like Italy. Global human numbers can be increasing, while the human population numbers in Italy are decreasing.
So much of the Earth’s environs are being degraded and so many of its natural resources dissipated. So many people are coming. So much time has been wasted. So many opportunities missed. Time is precious….and short. Windows of opportunity are closing, one after another at an accelerating pace. Let us agree not to let this “Talk of the Nation” opportunity be another missed opportunity like so very many others in my lifetime.
We could begin this week by talking to all nations. After all, what are we waiting for? The clock to run out of time, so as to relieve us of human distinctly human responsibilities we can assume and duties only human beings with feet of clay can perform?
Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, est. 2001