I actually think you can trace many many of these big systemic crises to being symptoms of the flawed idea that economic growth can go on indefinitely, exponentially, on a finite planet. That’s sort of my North Star. And then as a finance person, why do we think we need economic growth? Well, because the way our capital system works is that capital demands that growth.
We feel that this is a good point to sort of take stock, do sort of a quick précis, if you will, of where we’ve gotten so far. Because I think we’ve got some really interesting places we weren’t necessarily expecting to get. And we’re seeing some interesting poles between different large groups of thinkers that we weren’t necessarily expecting.
I like to think that we are an intelligent species. I mean, actually the people that often get this most quickly are the people who are poorest, because they know the system doesn’t work. But so many of our supposedly brightest people pick this up and don’t question it. And then we have the all the whole field of economics, which is an ideology built on assumptions that if you examine them are absurd. Because you know, economists simply look at the economy as a pricing system. They’re not system thinkers. Part of the cause our crisis is that we’re not educated to think in terms of systems.
I don’t think ecological awareness is a sort of “happy happy joy joy, we are all earthlings” thing. I think it’s actually a kind of uncanny realization. On the one hand there’s no away, on the other hand what the hell is this? “This is not my beautiful waste. This is not my beautiful toilet. This is not my beautiful Pacific Ocean.” You know, all of a sudden these things become somehow not exactly what we thought they were.
Everything we know about biological sciences, medicine, agriculture, disease, whatever, is based on studying one example of life. Life on Earth. Life as we know it. If we find another example that’s different, a second genesis, and independent origin of life, comparing those two might enable us to answer questions that we would never be able to answer if we only had one example to study. That could provide practical benefits for humans as well as better understanding of how to manage ecosystems, etc.
Although our ultimate goal is protecting biological diversity on the land and protecting the integrity of these natural communities, the strategic way to get there is to prevent these ranches from being sub-divided. And it turns out the issue that these ranches are having, you know, they get together and talk and say, “Wow our neighbor over here sold out and that ranch got sub-divided…” every time that happens, it puts pressure on the remaining ranchers who want to stay in ranching.