From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life
Tree submitted the below as a comment, but I thought it worthy of its own post, since it hits on our current theme of discussing the good we should do, in addition to the bad others shouldn’t do. Maybe we could all read it and have virtual book club? I have to say that the idea that all things are connected is not particularly novel for those who are familiar with the world’s spiritual traditions. As Paul said, long before industrial economies (Romans 7: 18-19)
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
There is new book just published by Bob Doppelt. I have not read it, but it looks interesting.
In “From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life,” systems change expert Bob Doppelt reveals that most people today live a dream world, controlled by false perceptions and beliefs. The most deeply held illusion is that all organisms on Earth, including each of us, exist as independent entities. At the most fundamental level, the change needed to overcome our misperceptions is a shift from focusing only on “me” – our personal needs and wants – to also prioritizing the broader “we”: the many ecological and social relationships each of us are part of, those that make life possible and worthwhile. Research shows that by using the techniques described in this book this shift is possible – and not that difficult to achieve.
From Me to We offers five transformational “commitments” that can help you change your perspective and engage in activities that will help resolve today’s environmental and social problems. Not coincidentally, making these commitments can improve the quality of your life as well.
Bob Doppelt’s latest book is a wake-up call to the creed of individualism. He calls for recognition of the laws of interdependence, cause and effect, moral justice, trusteeship, and free will. The book will be essential to all of those interested in how we can create and stimulate a sea change in how to enable the necessary behavioral change we need to deal with the myriad environmental and social pressures consuming the planet.
1 ‘Me’ to ‘We’ throughout history
2 The first commitment: See the systems you are part of
3 The second commitment: Be accountable for all the consequences of your actions
4 The third commitment: Abide by society’s most deeply held universal principles of morality and justice
5 The fourth commitment: Acknowledge your trustee obligations and take responsibility for the continuation of all life
6 The fifth commitment: Choose your own destiny
7 Conclusion: It is up to you
Here’s a link to the author’s website.
Thanks to Sharon for posting the article about Peter Kareiva’s research and thoughts, which recently appeared on Greenwire, as well as linking to Conservation in the Anthropocene, written by Kareiva, together with Robert Lalasz and Michelle Marvier. The comments section quickly filled up with some great perspectives. Regular commenter “TreeC123″ highlighted the fact that the Breakthrough Journal invited Kierán Suckling, with the Center for Biological Diversity, to provide a response to the piece by Kareiva et al titled Conservation in the Real World. Below are snips:
Had the article been published a century ago, the author’s decision to frame the environmental movement through a critique of Emerson (1803-1882), Hawthorne (1804-1864), Thoreau (1817-1862) and Muir (1838-1914) might have made sense. But alleged weaknesses of these dead white men is an entirely inadequate anchor for an essay that bills itself as a rethinking of contemporary environmentalism. Indeed, the only 20th century environmentalist mentioned in the essay is the novelist and essayist Ed Abbey. It is frankly bizarre that Kareiva et al.’s depiction of environmentalists is not based on NRDC, the Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, Environment America, 350.org, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, or indeed, any environmental group at all.
Bizarre, but necessary: Kareiva et al.’s “conservationist” straw man would have fallen to pieces had they attempted to base it on the ongoing work of actual conservation groups.
Consider their take on wilderness. The straw man is constructed by telling us (without reference to an actual conservation group, of course) that “the wilderness ideal presupposes that there are parts of the world untouched by humankind.” Then the authors smugly knock it down with the shocking revelation that “The wilderness so beloved by conservationists — places ‘untrammeled by man’ — never existed.”
Do Kareiva et al. expect readers to believe that conservation groups are unaware that American Indians and native Alaskans lived in huge swaths of what are now designated wilderness areas? Or that they mysteriously failed to see the cows, sheep, bridges, fences, fire towers, fire suppression and/or mining claims within the majority of the proposed wilderness areas they have so painstakingly walked, mapped, camped in, photographed, and advocated for? It is not environmentalists who are naïve about wilderness; it is Kareiva et al. who are naïve about environmentalists. Environmental groups have little interest in the “wilderness ideal” because it has no legal, political or biological relevance when it comes to creating or managing wilderness areas. They simply want to bring the greatest protections possible to the lands which have been the least degraded….
At a time when conservationists need honest, hard-headed reassessment of what works and what needs changing, Kareiva et al. offer little more than exaggerations, straw-man arguments and a forced optimism that too often crosses the line into denial. There are plenty of real biodiversity recovery stories to tell, but to learn from them, we have to take off the blinders of sweeping generalizations and pay attention to the details and complexities of real-world conservation work. That’s the breakthrough we need to survive the Anthropocene.
Large-scale bioenergy from additional harvest of forest biomass is neither sustainable nor greenhouse gas neutral
I’ve been down and out with the crud this week, so some items I’ve been meaning to post have been stacking up. Researchers from Europe and the United States have ‘collaborated’ on a new study titled, “Large-scale bioenergy from additional harvest of forest biomass is neither sustainable nor greenhouse gas neutral.” Below is the abstract and a snipped portion from the study.
Owing to the peculiarities of forest net primary production humans would appropriate ca. 60% of the global increment of woody biomass if forest biomass were to produce 20% of current global primary energy supply. We argue that such an increase in biomass harvest would result in younger forests, lower biomass pools, depleted soil nutrient stocks and a loss of other ecosystem functions. The proposed strategy is likely to miss its main objective, i.e. to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, because it would result in a reduction of biomass pools that may take decades to centuries to be paid back by fossil fuel substitution, if paid back at all. Eventually, depleted soil fertility will make the production unsustainable and require fertilization, which in turn increases GHG emissions due to N2O emissions. Hence, large-scale production of bioenergy from forest biomass is neither sustainable nor GHG neutral.
Homogeneous young stands with a low biomass resulting from bioenergy harvest are less likely to serve as habitat for species that depend on structural complexity. It is possible that succession following disturbance can lead to young stands that have functional complexity analogous to that of old forests; however, this successional pathway would likely occur only under natural succession. A lower structural complexity, and removal of understory species, is expected to result in a loss of forest biodiversity and function. It would reverse the trend towards higher biomass of dead wood (i.e. the Northwest Forest Plan in the United States) to maintain the diversity of xylobiontic species.
Cumulative impacts of bioenergy-related management activities that modify vegetation, soil and hydro- logic conditions are likely to influence erosion rates and flooding and lead to increased annual runoff and fish habitat degradation of streams. Young uniform stands with low compared to high standing biomass have less aesthetic value for recreation and are less efficient in avalanche control and slope stabilization in mountains owing to larger and more frequent cutting. A potential advantage is that younger forests with shorter rotations offer opportunities for assisted migration, although there is great uncertainty in winners and losers (species, provenances, genotypes) in a future climate. Plantations, however, largely contribute to pathogen spread, such as rust disease.
Forests offer several important ecosystem services in addition to biomass and some would be jeopardized by the bioenergy-associated transition from high to low standing biomass. Agriculture provides a visible example for abandoning most ecosystem services except biomass production; communities in intensive agricultural regions often rely on (nearby) forested water sheds for drinking water, recreation and offsetting GHG emissions from intensive agriculture.