Greening our Minds
Silver Donald Cameron
“It isn't pollution that's harming the environment,” said Dan Quayle. “It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
Sorry, Dan. The main environmental problems are between our ears. And so are the solutions.
We've all experienced the obvious problems first-hand – the smoggy air, the littered landscape, the fetid water, the overflowing garbage dumps. We all know that the processes of industrial society now endanger the survival of hundreds of species, including our own. Yet practical solutions are available, and many of them are neither difficult nor expensive. So why does the environmental crisis become steadily more threatening?
Silver Donald Cameron shows that we are looking through the wrong end of the telescope, measuring the wrong things, making our problems worse by attacking them with the same mind-set that created them. The good news is that better tools and ideas already exist, and that millions of people are already using them.
To join in this global revolution, we have to change the way we think. If we want to green our lives, we first have to green our minds. We have to understand how nature functions, and how human beings can work in harmony with nature.
For example, in nature there is no such thing as “waste.” One organism's waste is another's food. The rotting tree nourishes the fungi and the worms, which enrich the soil, and the soil supports another tree. We are the only organism that produces indigestible wastes.
We are also the only organism that believes it can enjoy infinite growth in this finite environment. Production, waste, consumption and population can't rise forever, but we act as though they could. In truth, the only question is whether we will stabilize our population, for instance, or whether nature will do it for us, as it always does when animal populations get out of hand.
We need to re-think concepts like “success,” and “wealth,” and “power.” We need to get over the idea that we can really “own” such assets as land. The land was here before we came, and will be here when we have vanished. We are its temporary stewards, not its owners.
Greening our minds means transforming our understanding of ourselves, and of our place in the world.
Happily, millions of people are already engaged in that transformation – redesigning our world, restoring damaged landscapes, developing new yardsticks to measure success, acting on the understanding that sustainability can't be achieved without social justice. Paul Hawken, one of the leaders in this transformation, estimates that, worldwide, between one and two million voluntary organizations have arisen spontaneously to address the environmental crisis and to seek solutions.
That's the future, both frightening and exhilarating. Silver Donald Cameron tells you how to embrace the change, join the movement, and prosper in our green and harmonious future.