Modern environmentalism was born in the 1960s with Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring. The book detailed the effects that the chemical DDT was having on the avian food chain.
We as a society had thought that all these new chemicals we had been developing and using in the twentieth century could only bring good things for mankind. Carson’s book changed all that, pointing out that one day if we keep doing what we are doing we could wake up to a world without birds, a silent spring.
Now suddenly, thanks to Carson, we realized that mankind’s actions could and did have a damaging effect on the environment. Did that stop our environmental destruction? No, but it gave rise the modern environmental movement.
Environmentalists have rallied, argued and formed political parties. They have protested, lobbied and persuaded. Their cause is good but the effect has been minimal. Industrialization and the slow poisoning of the planet has marched on in the four decades since Silent Spring, our knowledge of what we are doing not enough to make us change our ways.
The fact that environmentalism has not been able to halt the steadily increasing destruction has led many to lose faith in it. People switch off because it has all become too hard. They see the inherent flaw in rampant growth but mainstream environmentalism doesn’t provide an adequate alternative solution.
Others are looking for new reasons as to the cause of our problem and new answers for the solution.
Mainstream environmental thinking focuses on “greening up” our current ways. Not on making any major fundamental cultural shifts, rather just keep doing what we are doing albeit in a more eco friendly way. We have been trying this for decades and despite it not having worked before, we keep persisting with it.
New approaches will get us to look far more deeply at our cultural outlook and how this affects the way we see ourselves as humanity in relation to the biosphere. Instead of merely greening up our current lifestyle this approach is looking at how we can fundamentally change our way of living.
Many people are inherently afraid of this, they fear all the amazing things we would have to give up. But this isn’t how people of the new approach see it. They see more than just an ecologically troubled world. They see a socially troubled world and they see it as two different symptoms of the same problem.
Instead of giving things up we are instead looking to all the things we could gain, not just for the planet, but for ourselves as a spiritually redundant and socially disconnected people.
Where Is The Future Going?
I predict that more people will change the way they think about ecology as they lose faith in the mainstream green movement that has delivered very little.
It is a harder pill to swallow, because it argues for bigger change, not just in the way we do things but in our hearts and minds. This is hard and it is scary. It requires bravery to leap out into the unknown, and change a cultural mindset that has been operating for a long time.
This is where you have to take a good hard look at your personal views. Do you see the environment as an isolated issue? Or do you see the problems there as being the same problems that we are facing in a social context?
I argue that we are destroying the environment for the same reason we are destroying ourselves by trapping our minds in a society that sucks the will to live out of us. Because we have forgotten any other way. This is the only one we know now.
Anyone can improve their lot. The problem is that not everyone can. Things are structured so that some people win and some people lose despite our best efforts to create equality. The same way that things are structured for the environment to suffer every time, despite our best efforts to go green.
So you have to make a choice. Are you going to just go along with life and support the status quo? Are you going to hope that we can save ourselves from oblivion by “greening up” our destructive ways and that you can somehow find satisfaction from within this society and culture through personal development?
Or are you going to find another solution?
A World Without Personal Development
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a world without personal development. Not a world of misery but one of joy and happiness where things were just awesome by default. Where you didn’t need to struggle with trying to change your thoughts or battle with affirmations. Because life was just good without you having to try.
That’s the same vision for the environment. A world that is just naturally healthy. Not one where we have to fight against the tide of destruction, the way an enlightened person has to rise above the river of despair.
It all comes down to vision. If our cultural vision creates environmental destruction, social inequality and a world where you need personal development to be happy then no matter how hard you fight it, it won’t change.
The only way to change it is to change the vision.
Our current cultural vision is this: “the world was made for man and man was made to rule it.” Something we take for granted but the thing that is at the heart of all our problems.
If the next generation grew up believing that man walked this earth as an equal but not as its ruler then everything would change. The way we built our societies, the way we relate to the environment and the way each individual lives their lives and derives their personal satisfaction.
We have to change the vision. It is the only way.