Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Environmentalism Has Failed - or Has It?

Rumours of the Death of Environmentalism are greatly exaggerated.

David Suzuki's opening remark, "Environmentalism has failed," in A Biocentric Viewpoint is Needed Now, misses the mark set by the article's title by broadly defining "environmentalism" to include biocentric culture change.

It was never the purpose of "environmentalism" to change the dominant human culture from rampant consumerism and resource exploitation to a biocentric viewpoint. The goal of environmentalism is to stop the destruction of the natural world. These are two goals, which, while compatible, require different strategies and tactics.

We who already have the biocentric perspective have focused on this goal far longer than 50 years. While recognizing that we can never "win" against an overwhelming tide of anthropocentric civilization, we must, nevertheless, soldier on and continue to defend the wild. Someone must do the work, make the last ditch efforts to save what is left, while others carry on the legal, political and cultural work in their areas of interest and expertise.

What has failed is not "environmentalism" but culture change. The dominant culture in the world today, that is, western capitalist consumer culture, is dysfunctional to the point of destructive. The stories we tell our children about how to be a human being no longer work in a world of finite resources. We cannot continue economic growth as if resources are unlimited. We can no longer foul our nest as if the Earth will clean up after us forever. We can no longer treat the natural world as separate and under the dominion of human beings and human culture.

The problem is that the western consumer culture model is disseminated by a centralized, top-down control system, through corporate media, corporate dominated government and corporate control of access to information. We environmentalists who embrace and live a biocentric world view are ill-equipped to take on this totalitarian control system and bend it to a realization of the necessity of a biocentric world view.

Our form of environmentalism is alive and well, still working hard to protect critical natural habitat, clean water and air, living soils and biodiversity. It's our work. It's what we're good at. We can't shift focus, relearn a new approach, stop defendning what little is left. There's no time and we're not getting any younger!

Now it's time for the bioculturalists to step forward and begin the process of instilling biocentric knowledge and ideals into popular culture.

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