VIII. Pedia Sapiens: A New Genesis Future
6. A Viable Gaiasphere: Planetary Patriots and Matriots
Harris, Jonathan, et al, eds. A Survey of Sustainable Development. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2001. An extensive source on social, economic, agriculture, North vs. South, population and urban dimensions.
Hawken, Paul, et al. Natural Capitalism. Boston: Little Brown, 1999. A prescription for the organic, ecological transformation of production and commerce.
Hester, Randolph. Design for Ecological Democracy. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006. A consummate illustrated volume from a professor of landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley about practical ways to reinhabit viable communities. We quote from the publisher’s website.
Over the last fifty years, the process of community building has been lost in the process of city building. City and suburban design divides us from others in our communities, destroys natural habitats, and fails to provide a joyful context for our lives. In Design for Ecological Democracy, Randolph Hester proposes a remedy for our urban anomie. He outlines new principles for urban design….showing how we can design cities that are ecologically resilient, that enhance community, and that give us pleasure. Hester argues that it is only by combining the powerful forces of ecology and democracy that the needed revolution in design will take place. Democracy bestows freedom; ecology creates responsible freedom by explaining our interconnectedness with all creatures.
Horne, J. and M. McDermott. The Next Green Revolution. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Press, 2002. As opposed to the 1960’s genetics project, a new agriculture ought to be based on the natural principles of organic farming.
Hunt, Dexter, et al. Scenario Archetypes: Converging Rather than Diverging Themes. Sustainability. 4/4, 2012. A 27 member team mostly from the University of Birmingham, UK, assemble and document a comprehensive array of futures from worst to best case, as the Abstract notes. Similar papers in this journal could be “Sustainable Development: A Bird’s Eye View” by Tom Waas, et al, (3/10, 2011) and “Contours of a Resilient Global Future” by Michael Gerst, et al (6/1, 2014) which, with coauthors Paul Raskin and Johan Rockstrom, pursues the “Great Transitions” moment of the Tellus Institute. Surely thoughtful, sincere endeavors to think about and seek solutions at our sustainability singularity, but each effort goes on without any thought or inquiry, as so alien to our culture, to perceive biosphere and personsphere as a natural phenomenon of a greater genesis.
Future scenarios provide challenging, plausible and relevant stories about how the future could unfold. Urban Futures (UF) research has identified a substantial set (>450) of seemingly disparate scenarios published over the period 1997–2011 and within this research, a sub-set of >160 scenarios has been identified (and categorized) based on their narratives according to the structure first proposed by the Global Scenario Group (GSG) in 1997; three world types (Business as Usual, Barbarization, and Great Transitions) and six scenarios, two for each world type (Policy Reform—PR, Market Forces—MF, Breakdown—B, Fortress World—FW, Eco-Communalism—EC and New Sustainability Paradigm—NSP). It is suggested that four of these scenario archetypes (MF, PR, NSP and FW) are sufficiently distinct to facilitate active stakeholder engagement in futures thinking. Moreover they are accompanied by a well-established, internally consistent set of narratives that provide a deeper understanding of the key fundamental drivers (e.g., STEEP—Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental and Political) that could bring about realistic world changes through a push or a pull effect. This is testament to the original concept of the GSG scenarios and their development and refinement over a 16 year period. (Abstract)
Hynes, H. Patricia. Beyond War. Women’s Studies International Forum. 30/4, 2007. A professor of environmental health at Boston University argues that the present “demand side of war,” a global political and economic society driven by obsessive weaponry and conflict, which exacts a harsh toll on children, women and the environment, will persist unless a deliberate change takes place to a peace-based culture. This will not happen until voices are raised by “prophets of peace,” along with real democratic initiatives, to counter our inane glorification and perpetuation of military carnage.
Jin, Zhouying. Global Technological Change: From Hard Technology to Soft Technology. Bristol, UK: Intellect Books, 2011. A translation of the 2nd Chinese edition by the Institute of Quantitative Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, professor published in 2010 by Peking University Press. It can be well summarized by a final diagram on page 352, with a yin/yang outline. To leaven a Western emphasis on hard things only, a complementary Eastern mode as if an immaterial software is needed. With prime values of Harmony, Balance, and Coexistence, “control and conquer” is then paired with “unity of heaven and man,” “material civilization” with “material/spiritual/ecological civilization,” “financial capital” softened as “natural/human- social capital,” and so on. A bicameral East/West and South/North world beckons via a woman’s wisdom, if we could ever gain such vision.
Kapoor, Rakesh. Signs of an Emerging Planetary Transformation. Futures. 42/10, 2010. The New Delhi futurist introduces this special Global Mindset Change issue by contrasting an old Consumptive-materialistic-atomistic-phase with the Ecological-spiritual-integral way. Its five areas include: Signs of the emerging mindset change; Paradigm change: philosophy, policies and trends; Insights, critical ideas and concepts to understand the transition; Means to strengthen the processes of global mindset change; and The evolutionary leap from analysis to synthesis, fragmentation to integration. The issue will notably carry “Globally Scanning for “Megatrends of the Mind” by Jennifer Gidley (search).
Surely and steadily a transformation of global mindsets towards a ‘planetary consciousness,’ towards holistic, integrated ways of thinking – and living – is taking place.
Kates, Robert and Thomas Parris. Long-Term Trends and a Sustainability Transition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 100/8062, 2003. A succinct survey of areas such as population, megacities, disease vectors, consumption and so on, but noting that unless militarism and corruption are mitigated all efforts will fail.
War, conflict, crime, and corruption are major threats to a sustainability transition in myriad ways: directly by destroying human lives, capital, infrastructure, and the environment; and indirectly by diverting needed productive resources, increasing exploitation of natural resources, and encouraging “fortress worlds,” where personal security dominates concerns for the common good. (8062)
Kay, James, et al. An Ecosystem Approach for Sustainability. Futures. 31/7, 1999. Rather than trying to control nature as if it is a physical mechanism, this article explores how to facilitate “self-organizing, holarchic open systems” so as to achieve a healthy biosphere.
Kelbessa, Workineh. African Environmental Ethics, Indigenous Knowledge, and Environmental Challenges. Environmental Ethics. 37/4, 2016. In an extensive essay, the Addis Ababa University philosopher advises contrary to some opinions that traditional African wisdom about an innate human – nature reciprocity in an organic, moral cosmos can provide salutary guidance. With reference to the Bantu concept of Ubuntu (search) and the Kemetic teaching of a Maat morality (Karenga) a relational reality of individual and village is valued for its holistic intimacy of human, Earth and universe.
Unlike mainstream Western ethics, African environmental ethics has recognized the inter¬connectedness and interdependence of all beings and the more-than-human world. To be an object of moral concern, rationality, intelligence, and language are not required, although different beings have different mental capacities and roles. The unity of the whole estab¬lishes an ethical obligation for human beings toward nature. Africa has different cultures that have helped to shape positive moral attitudes toward the natural environment and its human and nonhuman components. Although African environmental ethics is increasingly being marginalized by educational establishments and policy makers in Africa, it has the potential to contribute to human well-being and environmental sustainability. However, it is not a panacea for all global environmental challenges, as it has its own limitations and needs improvement. The solution of environmental problems requires multidisciplinary approaches and the cooperation of all nations. African and other concerned scholars should critically study African environmental ethics and identify its positive elements that can en¬able humanity to save Mother Earth and its inhabitants.
Kondratyev, Kirill, et al. Global Environmental Change. Berlin: Springer, 2002. A discussion of efforts to create an international GeoInformation Monitoring System for adaptive ecosphere modeling.