Thesis Number: #8 (Page 8 of 9)

Learn, or Lament?

Holistic solutions that eliminate the abuse of nature cannot be constructed in isolation from the social processes that abuse people. Impoverished rural workers who live in the highlands of India do not wilfully chop down trees to cause rivers to sluice away top-soils and flood the lowlands. They are driven to this behaviour by remote forces that inhibit them from nurturing the habitats that sustained them through evolutionary timescales. Social critics who assess problems in terms that indiscriminately place blame on everyone (“It’s human nature”) distract attention from root causes.

Clean-up costs of the damage inflicted over the past two centuries must include the resources needed to heal the cultures of whole communities, as well as to remedy the wounds inflicted on their habitats. Such an exercise is movingly documented by feminist author Germaine Greer. With the royalties from her books, she purchased a distressed area of 150 acres (an abandoned dairy farm in Queensland, Australia) and began the process of nurturing the landscape back to something resembling what nature intended (Greer 2014). Activists in the green movement need to research the costs and logistics of such exercises, from the global perspective. The model for nurturing nature must integrate the fate of humanity.

The lead for reform will not be provided by politicians. Some politicians are acutely aware of the need for fiscal reform. In Britain, they include Caroline Lucas (Green Party) and Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, Business Secretary in the Cameron Coalition Government. But on the whole, politicians appropriate words like sustainability not to address fundamental causes, but to help them skate over the embarrassment of their failures. One result: governments are turning “climate change” into “the most costly scientific blunder in history” (Booker 2009).

A calm approach is needed to what has become a hotly contested debate, but who will mediate? The dispute over culpability for eco-cide should not delay the adoption of financial reforms that are needed on grounds that cannot be contested. Mass poverty in both rich and poor nations is not contested. The correct solution, if applied to address this one cause of human misery, would do more than anything else to terminate the systemic abuse of nature.

But to secure a balanced way of life we need to recover awareness of the parameters of the financial feedback system (Thesis #4). The effects of this change to the pricing mechanism would be to

  • equalise the right of everybody to earn a decent living;
  • equalise all bio-regions, by enabling governments to distribute rents on the basis that everyone has an equal right to share in that stream of the nation’s income, no matter where they were located;
  • with growth, the extra rents would be channelled into benign cultural and environmental uses;
  • growing prosperity would enable people to shift personal consumption away from materialism in favour of their cultural experiences.

Nature would then be left free to germinate her riches, enriching the lives of all sentient species on Earth.

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