Our human population is ever increasing. We are exponential in our growth and impact on our planet. David Attenborough has had something to say about this as a growing threat to our own survival on this planet.

We often blame our ‘human nature’ for our railroad track to destruction. We perceive ourselves to be members of a race that is fundamentally flawed and inherently doomed to suffering and consumption. We perceive wisdom is rare, crime is normal and our unsustainable lives unavoidable based on our ‘human nature’. This would indicate a rail road track to extinction – an inevitability – but should we aim to extend our existence longer, we might consider modifying our self destructive behaviours.

So what is the solution?

Utopian Design or Evolution?

Do we try to imagine a sustainable future then design a utopian society that will save the day?

Historically plans designed based on utopian ideals of an imagined future have failed to be successfully sustained, simply because they don’t work. Perhaps utopian systems don’t work because they are based on everyone having godly qualities of perfection

Evolution, on the other hand, works with what we are – accepts us for being selfish, mean, cruel, greedy, violent, kind, loving, thoughtful, generous etc – evolution doesn’t require some sort of utopian perfect god like human beings for it to be successful - evolution works.

If we look at other species of life – we can see that they don’t seem to plan their evolution based on utopian ideals – they evolve based on a feed back loop between their environment – circumstances and their biological survival needs as a species. The ones that keep up and adapt survive – the ones that don’t die out – become extinct. The ones that survive have evolved a strategy that works.

When we think about living a sustainable life we might think this means we have to give up something that we need. But in fact many species of animals are perfectly happy and have all their needs met – and yet don’t cause as much damage to the world as we humans do. So I would suggest that it’s not about giving up what we need, but in fact it is about being innovative about meeting our needs in sustainable ways.

Our latest and most successful change or evolution is a system that hasn’t been designed, planned or based on utopian ideals – it hasn’t been orchestrated by governments, political movements, or social idealisms – it has evolved over time – about 300 years.

It has been achieved incrementally, by people working off each other’s ideas. It has been lead by no one. It wasn’t the initiative of any political, government or religious body. It has no targeted end point. It proceeded according to no plan. It rewarded those who further the evolution in kind.

The industrial revolution is something that wasn’t organised, it wasn’t designed or a utopian ideal – it was something that evolved over time in all areas based on needs that people had and skills and ideas that people tried. A feedback loop was created where our needs encouraged innovation that was shared, tested and embraced in a process of evolution.

What innovative practices can you share that will contribute to the sustainable survival of life on earth into the next century?

Views: 60

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Roman,

 

Thanks for your thoughtful contributions.  I’m more optimistic.  I think that communication is the key to changing the world.  The more we talk about things, the more likely changes are to occur in a positive direction, because we remain focused on them.

 

We can see on a social level – the emotions that keep us moral socially – guilt, shame, duty, obligation, fear of punishment – are all feelings that effect us every day.  They help us to make decisions about what we do and how we do it.

 

When we talk socially about things that are stuffing up our planet, the next time someone things about buying heavily packaged food they will be reminded by their conscious that socially this isn’t moral any more.  And so their behaviour will gradually change.

 

I’m not talking about aiming to put moral guilt trips on people – I’m just talking about how things change – the nature of change and how it works, from communication of ideas through to changes of behaviour at a grass roots level.  It’s all about positioning and placement of ideas.  I think we are reminded more and more – at school, at work and on TV on adds, on line – the presence of material causing change to look after our world is increasing.

I do admire and support your efforts to bring a sane balance between consumption and consumerism and to bring about a better world.  But I am a bit sceptical about how effecive these efforts are in the face of industrial development and the need for poor countries to improve their living standards.  And in case I have presented a distorted impression of myself, I am a member and supporter, and participate in any way I can in:

 

World Wildlife Fund

MoveOn

ASPCA

National Wildlife Fund

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Sierra Club

Environmental Defense Fund

Southwest Indian Foundation

Organize for America

Nature Conservancy

A Humane Society

 

So, I'm pretty much in agreement with you.  But in the USA everything is politicized, even science, and even though you have educated people on both sides, it still comes down to your political point of view.  Fifty percent of Americans still do not believe in global warming.  It's insane.  And the internet is no help. For supposedly being the most advanced country in the world, we act more like ignorant, superstitious bumpkins.  We believe in our individual freedoms, and we don't want government intruding into our lives, and especially our Medicare. (It's funny. Get it?)

 

 

 

 

 

   

Natalie,

I agree with money in this use of it – but what if we change the scenario a bit – the friend who comes to clean your house gets paid only a fraction of what you give her – so you pay her $100 and then the company who employs her gets 50%, then the tax get a further 25% of what’s left, then she might have a retirement fund etc – leaving her with only $35 from your original $100.

Most of society works like that – everyone getting a cut. – it’s not a simple transaction.

I suppose that’s why many countries have a cash economy – and some live in luxury and some in poverty.

I’ve been cutting my kids hair since day one – I think for a special occasion we went to hairdressers once. Then I used to get my husband to cut my hair – but recently I’ve started to cut my own hair – LOL. I even considered letting my 4 year old have a go when he asked so nicely. I don’t have anyone I need to look good for except my kids anyhow… : )

Actually, this friend and I have an arrangement on a cash basis, and there are no middlemen, so she gets every penny I give her. She has the right to choose to pay taxes on it or not, and even so, I think I'm doing something illegal. But it works for me.

And if you had hair like mine, you wouldn't be able to cut it yourself! It has 5 different degrees of curly, wavy and straight, and if I hacked at it, that's just what it would look like. I can't wear it long, because it just gets frizzy and wild, not attractive at all, and if it's short, I can't do a good job, even with a mirror. So I'm not going to be a perfect minimalist consumer!

And I'm glad to hear all the stuff they are doing in other countries -- in the US, we are going to do exactly NOTHING but continue our wealthy consumerism, and fight wars to protect it until hell freezes over. If there were anything like hell, anyway! We have too many people who are staunch individualists -- don't YOU tell them they can't have guns (even though the most common victims of gun violence are the owners and their families) or school prayer or all the other things they think they have a right to. They think this is a Christian nation, for heaven's sake! Not that there is any such thing as heaven either. Does this sound like a rant? It IS!

We have people on here who are very pro gun.  That the only problem is education.
Natalie

LOL… I have a family full of fuzzy haired women. Mine is probably the straightest – but it is still curly, wavy and frizzy. I find it helps because when I cut the back it’s so messy that you can’t really notice… well that’s my hope anyhow – I’ll see my mum in a few weeks and she can tell me – no-one else (husband or kids) care much or even notice what my hair looks like!

LOL – I was watching a show last night about a white American women who fell in love with a black American inmate in a prison over there. It was about his break out of jail. It was a tragic love story – they just wanted to be together – but she ended up shooting and killing one of the prison officer to break out her man. They both got caught and locked up for longer.

It did actually get me thinking about guns and how stupid they were – and what a ridiculous notion the right to bare arms is – based probably in fears of being attacked again after the horrific civil war.

If you have weapons they tend to get used. Crazy why you’d sell them to anyone to carry around – it’s beyond me.

You think Americans aren't crazy? The right to bear arms was, in fact, the right to join a militia for fighting against possible invaders during colonial and newly post independence times. It hasn't been relevant for well over a century. And gun supporters conveniently ignore the militia meaning, and interpret it to mean an individual's right to own guns. Not just rifles for hunting (which I also don't agree with), but also assault rifles and easily-concealable handguns. There are laws that require background checks on potential gun buyers, but they are a joke.

We are a thoroughly screwed up nation, even though you will hear "patriotic" Americans saying we are the best in the world. So why do we have higher infant and maternal mortality, and a lower life-expectancy than most other industrialized countries in the world? And why do we have people literally dying on the streets (Republicans deny this) because they can't get health care? We have an increasing divide between the rich and the poor, and a rapidly shrinking middle class. I don't think this country can last all that much longer without some radical change, but I will probably not be around to see what happens. That may be a good thing, but I still care about the young ones who WiLL be around to see it. And perhaps have to fight for their existence. I hope I'm being too pessimistic, but only time will tell.

Natalie

 

It’s a scary prospect.  I certainly support welfare – national free health care and money for the poorest to get their basic needs of food and shelter met in one shape or form.

 

I find it abhorrent that a first world country such as America doesn’t have this simple support.  These really no wonder that you have so much crime.  Mad as his is, and as irrational and baseless some of his theory’s are – Michael more does have some interesting and compelling stories to tell…

Petition for legislative integrity and disclosure laws which will hold our elected representatives legally responsible for what they present on the floor.  For good or ill, the United States leads the world financially and in many domestic policies.  

Imagine if representatives were held accountable for reducing education spending, marginalizing minorities, an empowering corrupt financial institutions to enslave citizens...

 

 

 

Susan

 

I wonder though if it is about education.

 

Perhaps is about genetics.  Are we born genetically predisposed to being individualist, communitarian, egalitarian and / or hierarchical – because it seems that once we are on a track, our destination is determined to increase our bias in one direction.

 

“You can follow the logic to its conclusion: Conservatives are more likely to embrace climate science if it comes to them via a business or religious leader, who can set the issue in the context of different values than those from which environmentalists or scientists often argue. Doing so is, effectively, to signal a détente in what Kahan has called a "culture war of fact." In other words, paradoxically, you don't lead with the facts in order to convince. You lead with the values—so as to give the facts a fighting chance.”

 

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney...

 

Roman

 

I see the moral emotions of fear, shame, guilt according to Harris’ book The Moral Landscape kicking in here… : )

 

It’s interesting too how our company has so much influence on our opinions – I know I can have completely different opinions depending on who I’m spending time with – and even who I spend the most time with – which don’t necessarily reflect what I’d ideally like my values to reflect.  Determinism – gees what a bummer!

 

Better world – so how does anyone define that!  I’ve just had a big debate about how can something be better, when it’s all determined anyhow, and so we have nothing to compare it too, because I could only be one possibility way any how and any other possibility is actually a counterfactual… I suppose that’s philosophical debate – whereas here we’re more wanting to talk in terms of practical actions that we might take in order to ‘change the world’ – again another counterfactual idea.  But lets say instead then – we want to take action in response to current conditions that cause us to believe that if we continue consuming at the current rate we could well be way closer to extinction or even massive populate loss due to lack of resources to sustain such large numbers of humans – and at the expense of many thousands of other species – which is to my mind immoral – it’s all very will killing our own species, but to be responsible for killing and causing extinction to other species is abhorrent.  To which I feel much personal shame.

 

In terms of ‘needs’ go to my group Compassionate Communication to the discussion on needs.  Our needs, do not include ‘raising our standard of living’ – in that we don’t need a whole lot of crap to have our basic needs met.  That’s akin to saying that Gorilla’s in the jungle don’t have their needs met unless they’ve got the latest iPod.

 

I don’t have all the answers, and certainly haven’t studied the matter in any way I could call thorough or scientific – BUT I’m not going to support blatant middle class constructs of being based in guilt driven middle class ethical idealism.

 

Our needs are way more basic that that – they do include health care – but probably not in the sense that most others think.  my idea of health care – is supporting the body to heal itself through good diet and lifestyle – and using emergency and operations to correct things that go wrong in nature – such as babies born with club foot or cleft lip etc – which by the way are due to nutritional lacking in the parents on conceptions and environmentally whilst in the womb.  Also things such as removal of tumours and fixing eyes so they can see again.

 

I don’t support taking white pills – they seem to detract from natural healing and add poisons to the body, putting further strain on health.

 

I do agree though with sensible interventions like giving people mosquito nets, to limit the spread of malaria. 

 

I do agree with limiting smoking areas – to lower passive smoking.

 

I do support high taxes on drugs and alcohol.

 

I do support factual education about the consequences of any actions, and support provided for those who find themselves addicted to things that damage their lives, such as drugs, gambling, sex abuse…

 

No I don’t get it?  What do you mean? : )

Just a little addendum: cleft lip and/or palate can be genetic. I once knew a woman who was born with it, and both her sons were, too. There are lots of malformations which are genetic, but it's hard to tell because if they are not dominant, they seem to pop up at random. But cleft lip/palate can't be only nutritional, because it occurs in well-nourished middle and upper-class Americans.

I DO take the white pills (and other colors too). I have Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia, and am miserable if I don't take a beta-blocker to slow my heart down. This is not nutritional, and no amount of natural healing is going to change it. I also have Type 1 diabetes, and no amount of natural healing is going to help that, either. Either I have my insulin or I die, simple as that.

I DO agree that good nutrition is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of good health. There are too many things that can go wrong in the body in spite of good nutrition, and when people are suffering, it is only moral to try to alleviate that suffering, and if modern medicine knows how (which it doesn't, always) then it is a good thing. Even if it means taking white pills.

RSS

Support Atheist Nexus

Donate Today

Donate

 

Help Nexus When You Buy From Amazon

Amazon

AJY

 

© 2014   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service