The worldview that informs contemporary global culture was conceived during the European ‘Enlightenment’ of the 17th century. Its shortcomings have become increasingly evident today, and they are beginning to be seen as the root cause of the many seemingly intractable global problems that confront us today. This essay presents an overview of an alternative worldview.
There’s a fundamental difference between the ecology movement and social movements of the past. The demands of social movements could be fulfilled to a large extent, thanks to the growing cake. But with the emergence of the ecology movement, the situation has changed completely. Now, not only must the cake not grow, it must shrink.
Cycle enthusiasts from across the city of Hyderabad gathered on January 29, 2017, to celebrate the bicentenary of the invention of the bicycle. The event was organised by Ecologise and included a film screening and a talk by T. Vijayendra, a founding member of Ecologise Hyderabad, on the relevance of the bicentennial year of bicycle.
Enlightenment thinking is coming to an end… But our civilization still operates as if reality is about organising inert, dead matter in efficient ways. It is impossible to achieve sustainability with our prevailing ‘operating system’ for economics, politics, and culture if the underlying ‘bios’—our unconscious assumption about reality—remains tied to an ideology of dead matter.
As 2017 dawns, in a great many ways, modern industrial civilization has flung itself forward into a darkness where no stars offer guidance and no echoes tell what lies ahead… We’re not discussing the end of the world; events like those that can be found repeated many times in the histories of other failing civilizations.
The National Geographic reports: Arunabha Ghosh, chief executive officer of India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water, an environmental group, estimated that natural disasters exacerbated by climate change cost the Indian government roughly $30 billion (US dollars) between 2010 and 2015. That number will likely rise along with the global temperature, according to his research.
A masterpiece and a dictionary unlike any other, every entry in David Fleming’s Lean Logic presents the author’s deft, original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural—on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences.
In ‘Tending Our Land’, authors M.G. Jackson and Nyla Coelho present a vivid, historical account of the great human enterprise of food production, an entirely new story– one that reinstates an ancient but eminently relevant imperative for our times. It makes essential reading for policy makers, academia and the budding bold generation of land tenders.
There is indeed no lack of stories that document climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality and other examples of unsustainable development around the world. Efforts to envision what better futures could actually look like seldom receive the same attention. But now researchers from the Stockholm Resilience Centre have gathered hundreds of examples of such positive initiatives.
Nagraj Adve writes: In any economy primed to continuously expand, technological improvements alone can only help so much. While being stunned by Trump’s victory, let’s neither underestimate nor render invisible the inherent, long-term economic tendencies that prevent greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide from declining as the science demands they should. In fact, they may well rise again.
Michael T. Klare writes: Nationalistic exceptionalism could become something of the norm if Donald Trump wins, or other nations put the needs of a fossil fuel-based domestic growth agenda ahead of global climate commitments. In its latest report, the Norwegian energy giant Statoil outlines a chilling scenario focused on just this sort of dystopian future.
Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles ‘Bill’ Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016. He has been praised across the world for his visionary work, and left behind a global network of ‘peaceful warriors’ in over 100 countries working tirelessly to fulfill his ambition to build harmony between humanity and Mother Earth.
Samuel Alexander writes: ‘Wild democracy’ is a new political orientation, sensibility, and practice. A localised politics with a global perspective, positioning itself ‘in the wild’ beyond the state and yet, at times, pragmatically engaged with it. In short, wild democracy is a revolutionary politics without a Revolution, as such–a paradox I will unpack and defend.
Charles Eisenstein writes: Psychedelics can bestow expanded consciousness and ways of being that are incompatible with those that presently undergird our society. Psychedelics have the power to subvert the alienation, competition, anthropocentrism, standardization of commodities and social roles, and reduction of reality to a collection of things that propel the world-destroying machine of modern civilization.
David Bollier writes: The brute facts of climate change are calling into question models of economic development, transforming the terms of debate, compelling us to mythologies of development and growth, and quickly imagine credible alternative paths. Suddenly, the social economies of indigenous peoples, traditional communities and localized systems seem highly relevant to the challenges ahead.
Dan Palmer writes: Christopher Alexander is a radical architect and writer respected by permaculture practitioners. According to him, a whole is created by putting together parts. The parts come first: and the form of the whole comes second, but “it is impossible to form anything which has the character of nature by adding preformed parts.”
David Bollier writes: How are we to imagine and build a radically different world when the incumbent system aggressively resists change? Our challenge is not just articulating alternatives, but identifying strategies for actualizing them. The commons —a paradigm, a discourse, an ethic, and a set of social practices— holds great promise in transcending this conundrum.
The way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as demand for fossil fuels comes to an end— in less than a decade. According to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast, massive shifts are coming soon to power markets because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected.
Bloomberg reports that cheaper coal and gas will not derail the decarbonisation of world energy. By 2040, ‘zero-emission’ energy sources will form 60% of installed capacity. Wind and solar will account for 64% of the 8.6TW of new power-generating capacity added over the next 25 years, and for almost 60% of the $11.4 trillion invested.
If you’ve experienced the so-called impossible, then the impossibility of humanity making the transition is no longer so clear. If someone can recover from “incurable” stage 4 pancreatic cancer, what else is possible? What is the correlate of that on the level of politics or ecology? Many young people are beginning to explore this question.