A New Way to See Ourselves
A paradigm is a world-view, a way of understanding the world and a methodology for governing and for resolving problems, that gives us a framework within which we agree to work. No individual or nation or ruling body creates a paradigm, it's the product of many communities working together in good faith. If the human race is prosper, we need a new prevailing view of how to think about the world, suitable for living successfully in the twenty-first century.
The paradigm we need is still being developed, it's not agreed, it's still territory in dispute, but by working together on the eleven other issues identified in this site, we are putting in place elements of the new paradigm we require. We already know enough, to begin. Forty years ago, (1972) we were first told that the earth would not sustain ever growing human populations and ever increasing consumption of natural resources. The Earth needs bold leadership now. Wide public awareness and public demand for change is essential to overcome the "progressive" thinking of the twentieth Century, which we now understand is a suicide pact. We are all part of this destruction in some way. Who has the courage to change the status quo?
The people who are destroying the planet have names and addresses. I am not innocent either. We have all been part of the problem. The task now is be part of the solution. The new paradigm needs to become central to the purpose of government, and central to the purpose of business development, and central to how we run our local communities. We will change how we behave and what we consider to be important.
The economy, the environment and the society itself, are not separate things, they are one unity. In the twentieth century we actively destroyed the environment and broke up village life in order to grow the economy. Continuing to do that is unsustainable. Ecological thresholds have caught attention because many cases of catastrophic worsening of conditions have proved to be difficult or nearly impossible to remedy (also known as points of no return). In "Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity", researchers from the University of Minnesota, identified nine planetary boundaries three of which are already severely threatened by human activities on Earth. The cost of action is much less than the cost of inaction. Politically, despite the warnings we have until now been unable to act. We don't have a death wish, and if we choose to act in a united way we can begin a transition now.
The Earth is a commons. Part of our problem is that the task of decision making about the agricultural and industrial activities on Earth, is in the hands of too few. We need a decision process that takes into account economic, environmental and social factors. To achieve that the planning and production process should be widely discussed and there needs to be active public engagement in the process. In Brazil for instance there has been considerable success using participatory democracy, a system that strives to create opportunities for all members of a population to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. In India because of political corruption there is public demand for transparency and for public inquiry into the misuse of political power.