VIII. Pedia Sapiens: A New Genesis Future
6. A Viable Gaiasphere: Planetary Patriots and Matriots
Shrivastava, Aseem and Ashish Kothari. Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India. New York: Viking Penguin, 2012. Senior Indian environmentalists call for a dramatic shift from a prior and present western industrial bent, which although valued for its services, will ultimately destroy the nation, including the natural biosphere. See also an article by Kothari: “India 2100: Towards Radical Ecological Democracy” in Organic Democracy.
The world stands so dazzled by India’s meteoric economic rise that we hesitate to acknowledge its consequences to the people and the environment. In Churning the Earth, Aseem Shrivastava and Ashish Kothari engage in a timely enquiry of this impressive growth story. They present incontrovertible evidence on how the nature of this recent growth has been predatory and question its sustainability. Unfettered development has damaged the ecological basis that makes life possible for hundreds of millions resulting in conflicts over water, land and natural resources, and increasing the chasm between the rich and the poor, threatening the future of India as a civilization. Rich with data and stories, this eye-opening critique of India’s development strategy argues for a radical ecological democracy based on the principles of environmental sustainability, social equity and livelihood security. Shrivastava and Kothari urge a fundamental shift towards such alternatives—already emerging from a range of grassroots movements—if we are to forestall the descent into socio-ecological chaos. Churning the Earth is unique in presenting not only what is going wrong in India, but also the ways out of the crises that globalised growth has precipitated.
Singh, Jyoti. Creating a New Consensus on Population. London: Earthscan Publications, 1998. This work follows up the Bucharest, Mexico, and Cairo UN conferences and includes many NGO and regional programs, advice on reproductive health, development, family planning and the empowerment of women.
Singh, Madanjeet. ed. The Timeless Energy of the Sun for Life and Peace with Nature. Geneva: UNESCO Publishing, 1998. Success stories about the increasing utilization of clean solar energy, especially in third world countries.
Smil, Vaclav. Feeding the World: A Challenge for the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. A proficient survey of the many factors involved in food issues: demographic, agroecosystem, irrigation, cultural and so on.
Som, Sanjoy. Common Identity as a Step to Civilization Longevity. Futures. Online August, 2018. The author has a doctorate in planetary sciences and astrobiology from the University of Washington and is cofounder and director of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Mountain View, CA. Please visit that site for an incredible array of people and projects as human valiance begins to explore and expand into this open expanse. However it is here said that this wondrous future will not happen unless we peoples get altogether and achieve a true Earthling ethnicity.
A common identity among humans coupled with existing local identities may be key to the longevity of our civilization. We posit that societal stability, defined here as the potential for humans to avoid either physical or ideological conflict with members outside of their group, is enhanced by perception of common identity. Teaching the Earth from space as a corner-stone of common identity, leveraging on the “Overview Effect” described by astronauts, can help introduce a neutral worldview to students and offers a framework for cross-cultural exchange. Introducing psychology in the early curriculum provides tools to handle emotional complexity on par with the cognitive development of students. We suggest that a positive outcome in the development of common identity and emotional awareness would lead to the emergence of empathetic behavior. (Abstract excerpt)
Soto, Hernando de. The Mystery Of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs In The West And Fails Everywhere Else. New York: Basic Books, 2000. In this widely cited book, the Peruvian economist argues it is because of a workable balance between personal initiative, the availability of investment and legal restraints. In Peru and many other countries it can take years to get a business loan or a deed to property.
Spretnak, Charlene. The Resurgence of the Real. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997. A graceful essay to rehabilitate and celebrate the knowing body and sense of natural place through the appreciation of a creative cosmos just appearing at the frontiers of holistic science.
Spretnak, Charlene. Relational Reality: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness That Are Transforming the Modern World. Topsham, ME: Green Horizon Books, 2011. Among her lifetime credits, found on www.charlenespretnak.com, is professor of philosophy and religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Amongst several other books noted there is Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her ReEmergence in the Modern Church (2004) and States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age (1991). This latest work informs and embellishes the rising, imperative turn to an emphatic age to leaven competition and consumption, if we are to survive mind you. Typical chapters cover Relational Revelations, The Relational Shift in Education and Parenting, Health and Healthcare, Community Design and Architecture and The Relational Shift in the Economy.
Relational Reality reveals the coherence among numerous surprising discoveries of the interrelated nature of reality. These discoveries are part of a new perspective that has been emerging gradually for the past several decades but has gained momentum and is now transforming every mainstream ﬁeld of human endeavor. All our basic assumptions (built on the old idea that everything in the physical world is essentially separate and functions mechanistically) are being reconsidered. No longer a marginal perspective, the Relational Shift is based on the realization that all entities in this world, including humans, are thoroughly relational beings of great complexity who are both composed of and nested within networks of creative, dynamic interrelationships. Nothing exists outside of those relationships. As we try to grasp the interrelated nature of reality, emergent relational approaches are already transforming the way we educate our children, attend to our health, green our communities, and rethink economic activity. (Synopsis)
Sterling, Stephen. Sustainable Education. Devon, UK: Green Books, 2001. The mindfulness we need to live in an ecological, participatory way depends so much on learning - which must change from information transmissive to transformative, from managed objects to whole living systems.
Strassmann, Diana. Editorial: Feminist Economics – It Flourishes. Feminist Economics. 10/3, 2004. This journal and associated books advocate a quite different economy from the destructive obsession with material wealth and social power. A typical paper contends that egalitarian “social provisioning” should be a primary concern, if we truly care about the well-being children, women, and men within a sustainable biosphere.
Swimme, Brian and Thomas Berry. The Universe Story. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1992. Chapter 13 and the Epilogue envision an “Ecozoic Era” of communal, sustainable rapport between peoples, cultures, all diverse creatures and bioregions if we are to survive, fulfill and celebrate a prodigious, still developing creation.
Without entrancement within this new context of existence it is unlikely that the human community will have the psychic energy needed for the renewal of the Earth. (268)
Taverne, Dick. The March of Unreason: Science, Democracy and the New Fundamentalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. A reasonable case that Western societies are increasingly beset by an irrational intolerance and disregard of evidence. This results in a categorical rejection of genetically modified (GM) foods, globalization, capitalism, vaccines, etc. without even study of these multifaceted issues. In the case of GM crops, for a third-world land where its indigenous populace gets sick from untreated rice because of insect toxins, a successful, well researched strain of rice resistant to this blight is presently blocked by protests. On the other hand, rapacious corporate policies are surely to be opposed. A timely discussion of this contentious area.