Tag Archives: sustainability learning

How we can know for sure

The imbalance of information about the costs and rewards of money; the intensely felt rewards and zero information on the environmental costs, has fooled humanity for ages. Even in our effort to stop climate change today, we aim to pay for reorganizing all our energy uses to continue the compound growth of using them that has now become so destructive.

It’s the irony that provides traceable links to the causes.

ALL our impacts on the earth are from using energy to mine, disrupt, and degrade the natural world we so depend on. When the effect was very small it was of course not significant. Now that the damage is truly threatening our future most people, and the professions leading it, are still quite blind to the ever-faster rising threats. So our “prime societal directive” is still to keep using our power to multiply our power.

The proof is relatively simple. The major impacts of the economy on the earth are all growing in constant proportion to world GDP! That means they are directly connected.

Oh boy, should we ever pay attention now!

The question is just how long have we been deceived by the imbalance between our information on the costs and benefits of money and its powers?

I trace it back to all the boom and bust civilizations of the ancient Middle East, then Greece and then Rome, perfecting the delusion of financial power being cost-free with every grand failure. This time we’re caught, though, having seemingly exhausted the quick fixes for delaying the final loss of the earth as a good home, that so far we have not earned.

The rewards of money are keenly felt and the costs are quite invisible. So everyone who truly cares about civilization surviving in some healthy form has a role in shifting our consciousness. We should all start improving our sources of information on what the economy really does to life on earth. Here’s a rough guide, called:

The Top 100+ World Crises Growing with Growth

It’s an experimental but well-informed list of the many kinds so systemic crises for the world’s ecological and social systems, like how ever-increasing congestion pushes everyone and everything into more and more conflict!

We see that all over, right? Now study how growth regardless of limits causes it.

Think of who most needs to develop a feeling for what we’re all doing to ourselves?

Well, it’s all of us of course.

  1. Those in most direct control of it are the investors, businesspeople, financiers, and governments actively working to maximize the growth rate of our power as it corrupts all of life on earth!
  2. People with talents for reaching out to others are then especially needed, to reach out to the blind finance and governing communities, in effect now aggressively committing suicide for all of us.

Showered with rewards and blind to the costs it is very hard for them to feel emotionally threatened by destroying the earth.

Feeling the costs, though, as we do in overreaching personal relationships, is the cognitive steering that seems to give all of life its survival instincts, and so needed now to trigger our change culture.

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JLH

How Sustainability became BAU

An article was posted to the DeepTransformation.network on “Marketing the planet: The financialization of nature”

I added to the comments: The article certainly lives up to its promise, detailing how more and more exceptions are being made to the Brundtland Report’s holistic definition of sustainability.  Few people noticed where the perversion of the original meaning all started, though. It was with the VERY FIRST RULES FOR IMPLEMENTING SUSTAINABILITY; HOLDING FINANCE HARMLESS FOR ITS IMPACTS

As a result, 30 years of policies, and efforts to reverse climate change, among other things, were designed around sustaining maximum economic growth, the most direct and fastest-accelerating cause of climate change. How in the world did we do that, with no one seeming to notice?

In a nutshell,

Allowing finance to hold itself harmless for our dramatic overshoot
of the Earth, which it guided, paid for developing, and profiting from, misdefining all of sustainability as BAU from the start.

As a natural systems research scientist with long involvement in the UN’s development of its SDGs, I observed how it repeatedly happens. Financial advisors, such as from the OECD, have oversight of the regulation writing processes. The Brundtland definition of sustainability was then changed in the regulations, converted to reducing the impacts of businesses that they *seemed* to control. However,  finance actually selects and pays for developing and promoting consumptive and polluting business operations, following a rule to maximize profits. What then does the greatest harm is the use of the profits to maximize the growth of more businesses based only on maximizing profits too. It is a case of power adding to its power, holding itself harmless, for the ever faster mounting harm being done.

Then of course, once everyone seemed fooled by that perverse ruse, it opened the door to do it everywhere else too. The next big one was how maximizing growth was promoted by defining sustainability around improving efficiency! Networks of scientists saw the gross error in that, but officialdom everywhere was fooled by that too. Why? Apparently fooled by it being so profitable. 

Efficiency is indeed good for lots of things, at least till it undermines resilience; HOWEVER, when it is used to grow profits to satisfy investors, it grows business consumption and pollution too, another way to negate sustainability and redefine it as BAU!

More important seems to be understanding part of the cure.  It is learning to feel the great changes going on around us as if they were personal relationships, that really have been but we often didn’t notice. My research success it is the key to our survival instincts, feeling how one’s relationships are changing. It works great for guiding us in personal relationships, and now the global changes have intruded and have become personal. Why finance is so blind to the threats to itself and us can then be understood as being so detached from its environment that it feels the profits but not the destruction, and sp seems to have quite lost its own survival instinct, having nothing but remote control profits, leading them and us all astray!

3Step process for Working With Nature

    • A “Sustainability Learning” Proposal
    • Jessie Henshaw – UN representative of IPS & scientific adviser to the NGO Commons Cluster on natural systems, in response to the UN Major Groups call for:  “Crowd sourcing ideas for thematic areas and modalities of engagement for the one day intercessional with the Co-Chairs of the OWG and MGs and other Stakeholders”

    • – “Experiential Learning” and “Transformative Education”,
    • – For building bridges from deterministic, linear and Cartesian thought and word use, by exploring our observations of the environments and their living systems affecting our ideals.
    • 1. As a Break-out Group Activity 2. Outline of the process 3. Other Formats
      4. Purpose & Theory behind it
      5
      . Why we rely on social networks to define our reality

      Added References: Draft Facilitator’s GuideTypical “Public Pad” meeting template

       

      Foreword:
      Here I propose a meeting technique for small diverse groups of people to help enrich each other’s awareness of how their environments work and see what they have and need to work with to “work with nature”. Looking for the working parts the world around them, for how their own cultures work as systems that create their own economies, it might first seem they don’t know any more about that than they do about the weather. The trick is to shift attention from what’s hard to explain in our minds to noticing what’s going on and working all around us. PDF copy

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1. Learning to Work with Nature: – as a break-out group activity –

A diverse work group of 6 to 20 people would be assembled, helped by a facilitator, needing about an hour to just go through the basic 3Step process.   It’s NOT a discussion group, of people offering opinions, but a learning group of people offering connecting observations.  During the session they’d need to be able to write as they talk, building on each other’s observations, starting from being given or choosing an ideal goal to work with.

They’d use that ideal to lead them on an exploration of what people in the group already know from observing their cultural, economic & ecological environments, sharing with each other things they’ve seen are happening that could affect achieving the ideal. The product is a large collection of freshly shared observations on what’s happening and how it connects; they’d need to work with to proceed to planning for investments in changing their environment.

Drawing out each other’s observations on how things work

Continue reading 3Step process for Working With Nature