Where doing good is the harm we’re fighting

From: phil henshaw Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2006 1:38 AM
To: ‘overpopulation@googlegroups.com’
Subject: RE: Another good link to ponder


One reason I see to criticize a great organization like NRDC (I’m a long standing member too) is that one of their effects is to divert the effort to heal the planet away from dealing with the central problem.  They and other genuinely well intended efforts to protect the earth are, in their physical effect, really just putting on a show of addressing the problem, diverting attention to various immediate ‘newsworthy’ issues and away from the relentlessly widening impacts of our fundamentally unsustainable development process.

There’s a growth turning point for any natural system where multiplying good becomes bad, that we passed for most things, say 50 to a 100 years ago, and are bounding merrily along thinking that we’re still multiplying good, though the net effect has become the opposite.  That we’re not watching and these turning points sneak up on us is obvious, and that we need to learn to look for such things should be too.  On our road to infinity, where are the tipping points?  It’s a good question, that’s never been widely asked.

It may be a bizarre truth, but nearly everyone trying to effect change is caught up in multiplying what used to be ‘good’ that now has the actual effect of multiplying harm.  NRDC’s approach would work fine if there was not a growing cause of environmental impacts…. the institutionalized growth imperative of business, that they explicitly avoid mentioning, fixing its smaller impacts as bigger ones relentlessly develop. It’s not from malintent in any way.  It’s from a shared mistaken perception held by both the ‘do-gooders’ and the ‘do-badders’ , that good intentions are good enough, even when the actual whole effect, fairly easily traced from a self-critical approach, is the opposite.

Phil Henshaw

Responding to:Frank Vraniak
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 9:52 PM
To: overpopulation@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: Another good link to ponder

Let me get this right. The NRDC statement is lacking in insight but they are doing something and not just throwing ambiguous e-mails back and forth. We are making feeble attempts at making sure that we survive and it is better to “watch the world go round’” and do nothing. The fight against global warming is for the protection of us against the devastation of nature but lets not save nature because it really doesn’t support us in any way, shape or form. Got it. We are own best enemy but we are just now starting to look in the mirror and should destroy ourselves because we don’t like what we see. I am complicated but I am only the enemy if I choose to be. I know who my enemies are and they are ignorance, selfishness, greed, as well as a few others. Those are the enemies that cause the problems. They reside in people but not all of the people. The enemy is pretty simple if you ask me.

Responding to: Espey, Lawrence L.
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 7:59 PM
To: overpopulation@googlegroups.com
Subject: RE: Another good link to ponder

Although a mission statement is important, the NRDC statement is lacking in insight.  Nature (not mankind) ‘knows’ best how to “safeguard” itself.  This is the precise reason Homo sapiens is threatened with extinction.  Most, if not all, of our efforts to be “stewards of the Earth” are, in fact, only feable attempts to save our own habitat.  It is “us” that needs protection, not Nature. As the cartoon character Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and it is us!”  We are a terribly complicated enemy.
I wish you well.

Responding to: Frank Vraniak
Sent: Fri 9/22/2006 6:36 PM
To: overpopulation@googlegroups.com
Subject: Another good link to ponder

This is a mission statement from the NRDC.I just thought maybe we could move forward a bit and see if we are going to come up with one. Or am I just whistlin’ Dixie? Here is the link. It may be a good framework for something that I thought we were doing and not just talking about. “My opinion”,
Frank http://www.nrdc.org/about/mission.asp

Frank Vraniak’s Motto: I accept myself as a kook and a dreamer. Are there more of us than there are of you?



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