“Problems are solvable. That does not mean that they will solve themselves, but it does mean that we can solve them if we sustain the benevolent forces of modernity that have allowed us to solve problems so far, including societal prosperity, wisely regulated markets, international governance, and investments in science and technology.” ~Steven Pinker
Humanistic environmentalism is the way forward if we wish to survive in harmony with the planet and to evolve in a healthy and progressive way.
This means being proactive in the de-escalation of carbon, unsustainable material excess, poverty, and overreaching bloated militaries.
This means not only placing our best efforts in building something new, but also in systematically dismantling the unsustainable system that outflanks us. As Arundhati Roy said, “Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness.”
This means going beyond merely being eco-aware, but also being eco-centric and eco-moral. Precisely because we are interdependent beings. We are the earth, and the earth is us: self-as-world and world-as-self.
The rising ecowarriors are the spearhead of this revolution-turned-evolution. They are the voices of logic and reason in the Desert of Conditioned Ignorance. They are the embodiment of healthy change amidst all the unhealthy stagnation. They are a personified force of nature. And they are willing to die bringing water to wasteland.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ~Aldo Leopold
As it stands, the excessive use of fossil fuels does the exact opposite of preserving the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.
Forget the ongoing debate about climate change and global warming. Some people’s cognitive dissonance is so powerful that no amount of arguing will convince them. It will only solidify their hardheaded stance.
Focus instead on the real problem; something we can all agree on: pollution. There is no denying that the excessive use of fossil fuels is a dangerous pollutant. From oil-based plastics choking plankton at the bottom of the food chain, to oil-slicked coastlines clogging our waterways. From non-biodegradable plastics piling up in landfills, to orange-hazed ozone poisoning the air we breathe. Nobody can deny that pollution is a huge problem in our world.
The new eco-warriors are focusing on scaling back the use of fossil fuels. They are co-creating new, healthier, more sustainable technologies while also shaming and mocking outdated, unhealthy, less sustainable technologies.
“The real revolution is the revolution of consciousness and each one of us first needs to eliminate the divisionary, materialistic noise we have been conditioned to think is true; while discovering, amplifying, and aligning with the signal coming from our true empirical oneness.” ~Peter Joseph
Unfortunately, the predominant paradigm in our culture is ego-centric, materialistic and ownership-based. We live in a world where human relations are mostly based upon materialism, ownership and immediate gratification. It’s almost like we’re conditioned to consume to the point that we “consume” each other. Even the words we use toward each other imply ownership.
It’s sad. But no condition is insurmountable. We can recondition ourselves to form healthy relationships based upon respect, honesty, and trust.
This process begins by first dematerializing our lifestyles. By investing in healthy experiences rather than unhealthy material excess. It begins by transforming our lifestyles into relationship-based rather than ownership-based lifestyles; into courage-based rather than fear-based lifestyles. It begins by doing as Gandhi wisely suggested: “live simply so that others may simply live.”
Let us not be possessed by our possessions. When we escape the linear, ownership-based matrix and discover the interconnected, relationship-based paradigm, we remove ourselves from the dead-end state of coercion, victimization and the subliminal desire to bend others to our will. We move, instead, into the open-ended embrace of cohesion, relationship and the holistic compassion of motivating and bringing people together.
“From the point of view of morality, it is not important that everyone should havethe same. What is morally important is that each should have enough.” ~Harry Frankfurt
Extreme poverty and starvation are avoidable in this age of extreme surplus. The utter failure of our distribution system undermines freedom itself. It prevents people from thriving because they are expending all their vital energy on merely surviving.
It behooves us, as both reasonable and moral human beings, to make sure that we each have enough by fixing the corrupt system of distribution. Fixing the problem of distribution and then creating a way where everyone has their basic needs met will go a long way in preventing unnecessary poverty.
The deeper psychological problem is that we believe that our sense of worth is wrapped up in how skilled we are at something, because we were raised and conditioned in a culture that values competition over cooperation. This creates ego-centric specialists concerned only with narrow-minded one-upmanship over open-minded compassion.
But we are social creatures, first and foremost. We need each other to survive. Competition has always been secondary to cooperation; otherwise we wouldn’t have survived as a species (Darwin).
So, our worth is actually wrapped up in how much we care for each other. The problem is that we’ve had the cart (competition) in front of the horse (compassion) for too long. It’s time we got the horse back in front of the cart. This will be an arduously Herculean task, considering our cultural conditioning. But it is very important, for the survival of our species, that we get it right.
“The fairest rules are those to which everyone would agree if they did not know how much power they would have.” ~John Rawls
The U.S. military is larger than the next seven militaries in the world, combined!
Let that sink in. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015 alone. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of that total. If that’s not a bloated military, I don’t know what is.
It’s time to scale back. It’s time to see the military industrial complex for what it really is: a terrorist-generating war machine propped up by profiting weapons manufacturers. As Arundhati Roy said, “Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons.”
Rising eco-warriors understand that violence is not the answer. The non-aggression principle is paramount. Only self-defense is needed. Overreaching bloated militaries with plutocratic political agendas is never needed. Unless your goal is to keep the rich richer and the poor dead.
At the end of the day, our militarized culture of violence and war is only fruitful through a vigilant rebellion against it. Demilitarization is the systematic dismantling of the war-machine while maintaining an organic adherence to the non-aggression principle.
The new eco-warriors realize that a species hellbent on violence against itself is unhealthy and eventually destroys itself. While a species determined to be healthy, on the other hand, only uses violence in self-defense.
The hardhearted tyrant juts his ugly head, violently declaring himself free at the expense of the freedom of others. The defiant hero rises-up in self-defense, denying the tyrant’s violent oppression while affirming freedom through the freedom of us all. That’s what Albert Camus meant when he wrote: “I rebel –therefore we exist.”
Read more articles by Gary ‘Z’ McGee.
About the Author
Gary ‘Z’ McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
This article (4 Ways to De-Escalate Extremism – The Rise of the New Eco-Warriors) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Anna Hunt and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.