the fundamental failure of environmentalism

as i prepare a report for the midland town council, for all of us, for our future, which summarizes over a year’s, maybe even a lifetime’s, thinking, david suzuki says essentially the same thing. in ‘The fundamental failure of environmentalism‘ he says, ‘we failed to realize these battles reflect fundamentally different ways of seeing our place in the world.’ in my research, i call for a rethinking of our relationship with–actually, a return to–the rest of nature.

like suzuki, i know that our ‘environment subsumes every aspect of our activities, … our lives, health, and livelihoods absolutely depend on the biosphere — air, water, soil, sunlight, and biodiversity. Without them, we sicken and die. This perspective is reflected in spiritual practices that understand that everything is interconnected, as well as traditional societies that revere “Mother Earth” as the source of all that matters in life.’

like me, he calls for a “paradigm shift“, for ‘that is what we need to meet the challenge of the environmental crises our species has created. That means adopting a “biocentric” view that recognizes we are part of and dependent on the web of life that keeps the planet habitable for a demanding animal like us.’

this post marks a turn for suzuki. it lacks his usual optimism. perhaps he’s feeling discouraged, perhaps cuz sarika and severn are grown up, perhaps cuz he’s no longer head of the dsf. it’s a good read, tho, an important read.

charles eisenstein thinks that this failure is necessary, essentially to bottom out before rising. my hope, as jane siberry sings, is that in 500 years we’ll still be here and we’ll again revere the earth.

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