The Need for a Paradigm Shift
It is no coincidence that humanity is now facing a perfect storm of economic, ecological and energy crisis. They are all simultaneously arising due to a myopic short term perspective of life. In order to resolve them will require a paradigm shift, a parallel set of personal, economic and social transformations.
Human society is a part of nature and as such, it is always naturally in flux. Yet, human populations do not simply change passively like other species. Because of our powerful ability to reason, our species affects change proactively in a way that other living creatures have never done before. For better or for worse, the development of sophisticated human brains has put us at the very top of the food pyramid. Our lopsided powers of thinking and reasoning have made us the planets top dog, in spite of having physical bodies that are far inferior to many other predators. Our brains are our biggest weapon – lions may outrun, outmuscle and outfight us, but we can outthink them. In the age of the, humanity directly impacts nearly 40% of the planetary ecosystem and subjugates the entire planetary ecosystem to its whims.
Yet, looking at HOW we have impacted nature, perhaps we are not as smart as we think we are. Have you ever noticed how new technologies always receive a lot of hoopla as the greatest thing since sliced bread when they are initially introduced – and then 10 years later they are discovered to cause cancer? In the rush to profit from research, we don’t examine every single relationship in nature. The unexamined ones at the time the decision is made to commercialize the technology are the ones that always come back to haunt us.
Critics may argue that the number of relationships in nature is endless and if we were to investigate every one of them before commercializaing, we would not commercialize anything at all. That nature’s relationships appear to be inexhaustable is true, however, currently, what has allowed technology to wreak havoc with environmental and human well being is the lack of holistic and systematic biospheric and environmental policies to guide scientific research. Constraints of safety and health are far too lenient. What is urgently needed is a redefinition of well being in all areas of human production; human, living and ecological well being.
From the sordid history of human civilization, it is clear that the short term and immediate needs of basic human survival has outweighed long term health of our planet. Yet a strategy which pits short term needs against long term ones dooms our grandchildren and ultimately, our species.
Our flawed economic models have created extreme inequities in the world and the models of excess of the haves serve as terrible examples for the have nots. It is clear that such a model develops the worst of personality traits in large groups of people. The unhindered capitalist model enables selfishness and concentration of power to be developed to the highest degree.
It is no surprise that personal, economic, social imbalances all coexist at the same time
Today, we are beginning to realize just how unsustainable has been our blind march towards progress. Looking back in retrospect, we can see that the industrialization of the past few centuries which has made a better life for us in so many ways has also exacted a terrible toll on this planet. In hindsight, it is now clear to us that our path to progress has actually been an unsustainable and unscalable one. The price is only now beginning to reveal itself with dwindling resources, out-of-control pollution that can threaten our entire planetary ecosystem and a precarious economy based on continued growth on a finite planet which can self-destruct at any moment. The real price of progress is the perfect storm of looming disasters we face today. We have time to avert disaster, but we must act quickly and decisively.
We inherit the past and that past is haunting us today. The ecological karma that has directly grown out of the Industrial Age places humanity at a crossroads, a point where the decisions we make in the next few years can profoundly impact not just our species, but all life on earth.
While it is necessary to become educated and to take a position on climate change so that we may lobby for a short term, emergency solution, we must also continue to work on long term solutions to reshape our society to eliminate the concept of waste….and we can only do this together, as a united human family. We now live in an interdependent, global community and what happens in one part of the world now deeply affects what happens in every other part. This is amply demonstrated by today’s recession which impacts every citizen of the world even though it started in one part of the world. The decisions of a small elite group of bankers on Wall Street affected the welfare of the entire planet.
The modern world is especially affected by the interplay between the three major areas already alluded to:
- Economy – one that is dependent on debt and continuous growth
- Energy – peak oil is either here or fast approaching, bad news for an economy built upon a finite supply of fossil fuels
- Environment – We have pumped 350 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere and inducing globally disruptive weather. We have also high graded all our earth’s natural resources and are destroying the environment that supports human life while we are doing this.
A fragile balance exists between these three E’s because all three actually express a common theme
: exponential growth in a finite world. This website seeks to educate people to understand how ignoring exponential growth has induced a perfect storm of Economic, Energy and Environmental stresses and why sustainability is so important to the future survival of the human species.
Transformation in Africa
For Africa to evolve into a truly sustainable society, transformation must occur on a variety of different levels: personal, economic and social. InGienous Designs embraces this philosophy of transformation at multiple levels with humanity at its core. In the future, in order to prevent a relapse into a social system which allows suffering to occur, learning cannot be done in neat, separated and detached silos. Humanity and a true appreciation of the sacredness and preciousness of life must be at the heart of all education.