I have written a book on Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage. I am now seeking a publisher. Here is a section of the introduction on why we need to develop urban ecovillages.
THE NEED FOR A NEW STORY
A story in this context refers to the cultural story, what we have been told and come to believe about the way things are and have come to be. Aboriginal people have a completely different story about how things came to be and how one relates to the world around them. Our present cultural story evolved over centuries as we adjusted to industrialization, fossil fuels and the expansion of cities, to mention just a few.
This story is our present cultural story. We humans evolved, like every other species, adjusting to our environment. Each species develops in a way to best survive in its ecosystem. Humans are no exception. Our brains evolved to help us survive. It is remarkable that there are seven billion of us. However, as with all species, there is a point in which overpopulation and consumption can overtax the environment and cause population collapse, sometimes to the point of extinction.
To survive and thrive, we humans have destroyed many other species. There is a great probability that it will actually destroy our own species if we don’t radically change the way we are interacting with the planet. We have developed a system in which we truly believe that economics is primary, humans are producers and consumers, and the Earth is considered only a resource. This underlying story has worked, as our population expansion indicates.
Making the Earth solely an extractive resource has disconnected us, in our minds, from our planet. We have come to believe the Earth is here purely for our whims and we can do to it whatever we wish. This ignores the facts: we are an interdependent species of this planet, totally dependent on the survival of the planet for our own survival. The fact is, there are limits to what and how much we can extract.
The old story has led to critical depletion and destruction of almost every one of the Earth’s resources that humans are dependent upon. CO2 emissions are at the top of the list as polar ice melts, weather becomes more and more erratic, and seas are rising. But this is just a tip of the iceberg of destruction that is happening. Pollution of air and waterways, depletion of topsoil, eradication of fish populations, introduction of GMOs in our food source, chemical pollution, excessive use of plastics, and the list goes on.
We must fight the harmful destruction of the planet’s resources, but must realize this is only a finger in the dyke. We need to stop the degradation by dealing with the story that is underlying the problem, or in the end we will destroy the Earth’s ability to support our species.
We humans have a difficult time making cultural changes. We find comfort in maintain the status quo. For example, reducing the use of plastic. Why would we continue to make plastic bags that are used for a few minutes and then thrown away, out of material that is basically going to last forever. It is because it is ingrained in our society. Even with people being aware that things aren’t right, it is difficult to confront and change what is widely accepted by society. In the past there were significant cultural changes that were made for the survival of our species, but they took hundreds to thousands of years to be adopted. Our problem is, we are running out of time.
However there is hope. The hope lies in:
- Many people are feeling discontent with their lives. They believe there is something that isn’t right. Willie Nelson says, “The water and air on earth are being adversely affect by our bad habits. We are fucking up our home. Damn, are we dumb?” Our problem is being culturally dumb, but we can figure it out.
- We can make the shift toward the fact that the Earth is primary. The reality is we humans are just one of 10 million species on the planet. Along with culture, spirituality, education and politics, economics is just one of the things that humans do. It is not primary.
This is a critical time. The adage that we can only be healthy if the rest of the Earth is healthy is true. Only if we see the Earth as primary and the reality that we are totally dependent on the rest of the Earth, and do so quickly, will our species thrive. This has to be the root of our new story. Without the evolution of this new cultural story our species may not survive too much longer. It may take major disasters for our species to take the Earth’s destruction seriously, and then, there is the possibility it will be too late.