lundi 21 avril 2008

Earth Day 2008

Earth Day, 2008

Earth Day and the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. But what can be done? Is the world, in fact, going to hell in a handbasket? These are the types of questions we want to address in this blog. (I would, first of all, like to apologize for the rough nature of these early notes. Writing a blog, as it turns out, I find a bit disconcerting: the spotlight is on me! Reaction: writer's block. Hoping that things will go easier..)

The terms Gaian consciousness or the Awakening of Gaia refer to observations made by James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia Hypothesis. A long, long time ago Gaia was the primordial Earth Mother of the ancient Greeks; we still see the root geo- in modern words referring to the earth: geology, geography, geode.. In the Gaia Hypothesis, Gaia refers to the totality of life on earth plus the physical environment which both supports life and is modified by biological processes to render it more life-sustaining.

Gaia, the Planetary Macro-organism, can said to "awaken" in human consciousness because of the rapid rise in our scientifico-technological understanding and control of natural processes. If we don't use SciTech to destroy ourselves first, these emerging human powers will allow Gaia to transcend blind, unconscious Darwinian evolution and ascend to a new, higher, more integrated Post-Darwinian evolutionary sequence, one caracterized by conscious evolution. Today we see the initial stirrings of such possibilities in emerging technologies like genetic engineering (itself an extension of traditional techniques of "artificial selection" of cultivars and livestock).

One of our central theses is that human Science and Technology are not, in themselves, either "good" or "evil". They contain the seeds of both. At present, mankind benefits from certain aspects of the Scientific Revolution: increased life expectancies, older people who remain healthy and active longer, reduced child mortality, rising literacy.. Unfortunately, these gains have been produced through a process which is, globally speaking, unsustainable. In short, we risk a civilizational collapse which could reduce the survivors to a state worse than the one they started from. For example: the hundred of millions of North Americans would not be able to return to the pre-columbian hunter-gatherer economy; there are too many of us and we have destroyed much of the natural heritage (plains buffalo..) which sustained the Native Americans. Short sightedness, ignorance (including willfully programmed ignorance serving vested corporate and social interests), defeatism: these are our true enemies today, not international terrorism or "clashes of civilizations". In reality, terrorism and conflicts are often, usually, by-products of failed processes of development, particularly in the poorest regions of the planet.

Today, we need to get international development on a sustainable track, capable of sustaining future generations. There is a great moral imperative here: in failing to work for Sustainable Development (SD), we are depriving future generations of the right to a life of dignity. This must be the height of human arrogance and stupidity: seen from a moral perspective, our current position is simply untenable.


To make a donkey move, one uses "positive reinforcers" or rewards - the carrot - and "negative reinforcers" or punishments/ threats - the stick. We hold that the current environmental and SD debates are hampered by an excessive pre-occupation with the negative consequences of environmental degradation and resource depletion. All stick and no carrot causes the donkey (the world's publics) to switch off the doom-sayers and engage in escapist-denial behaviors such as:

- drug addiction,

- absurd risk taking (road racing, extreme sports, jackass contests),

- scapegoating (9-11, religious or ethnic intolerance..),

- religious and political fanaticisms (fundamentalisms, neonazism..).

One of the goals of this blog will be to help people concerned about the future to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to wield stick and carrot effectively, in the proper dosage..

While collective - international and national - effort is essential if we are to succeed, we believe that the effort must begin with individuals and small groups of individuals linked by community or by internet.

Our goal, therefore, is to empower individuals and local groups of environmental and SD activists to act effectively in their own communities: think globally, act locally.. We also aim to create mutual aid - synergy - between groups thus rendering their actions more effective.

Hoping to be hearing from you soon..

blessed Earth Day, 2008