Towards Ecological Sanity

I live in the village of Pastapur in the southern part of Medak District in Andhra Pradesh. The soils here are highly unfertile and at some places, as shallow as 8 inches. The annual rainfall is an average of about 600 mm; that too is uncertain in these years of climate change. Most of the small and marginal farmers with whom I work through the NGO, Deccan Development Society [DDS], grow millets on their poor soils. But in the last 25 years since I started living here, not a single millet farmer has committed suicide.

Why do we who spend time in rainforests “become enmeshed in our perceptions and thinking about them?”

In the fourth World Rainforest Report, Queensland zoologist Peter Dwyer noted that the New Guinea highlanders find the rainforest wildlife not only good to eat, but also “good to think”.

He goes on to say that “Whilst we don’t eat our rainforests, we do become enmeshed in our perceptions and in thinking about them until they suddenly and vividly possess for us values that we can only identify as symbolic, intrinsic and - with some desperation - as spiritual.”

The GPI is a more accurate measure of a country’s progress since it takes into account the environmental costs of economic activity

Globalization is Sameness

The president of Nabisco once defined the goal of economic globalization as “a world of homo-geneous consumption”, in which people everywhere eat the same food, wear the same clothing and live in houses built from the same materials. It is a world in which every society employs the same technologies, depends on the same centrally managed economy, offers the same Western education for its children, speaks the same language, consumes the same media images, holds the same values, and even thinks the same thoughts: monoculture.

We’ve been living beyond our means for a long time and now it’s blown up in our faces. The shock to the system from the near-collapse of our global banking industry has been traumatic. Even so, it will be nothing compared to the near-imminent collapse of the ecological systems on which we depend. And the two are intimately connected. But in all the intense coverage of the economic recession, there’s been surprisingly little reference to environmental issues.

During the last few months of 2009, three major International Summits took place. There was a Food Summit in Rome, attended by about 60 Heads of State, the World Trade Organization’s UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and the Copenhagen Summit, which the whole world has been talking about it as it deals with climate change. They were meant to deal with the Food Crisis, Trade Crisis and the Climate Change Crisis. There are links which are quite obvious between these three meets, which were however never focused upon.

A holistic worldview needs to be nourished - one which honors the principles of ecology, fosters each person’s unique potentials and weaves together a diverse, collaborative human community.

Modern culture has entered an historic phase of transition in which our industrial-age and reductionistic worldview is being replaced by one that is more holistic, ecological and open to the fundamental mystery of the cosmos.

The Credit crunch and the Nature crunch provide an opportunity to redesign our money system and our economies in such a way that we can restore the well-being of human community as well as the Earth Community.

The credit crunch has shaken the stock markets and banks around the world but according to George Monbiot “this is nothing”. He says that this crisis is petty compared to the crisis of nature crunch.