The New Normal predicts that in the emerging era, production and consumption will no longer be the defining characteristics of civilization – cultural richness, efficiency, cooperation, expression, ecological design, and biological restoration will be.
From the Chapter, “Living Wealth: Restoring the Economies of Nature:”
Old Perspective: Nature is, at worst, an evil enemy and at best a warehouse of resources we can convert to cash. Produced capital is more valuable than natural capital because we made it. By the force of technology, will, and human ingenuity, we can displace people, plants, and animals that were original inhabitants and replace them with malls, subdivisions, and electronic gadgets that are far more profitable. Pay no attention to the weeds, pests, toxic chemicals, slash piles, and tailings ponds that are side effects of industry, because that’s what money looks like.
New Perspective: Nature is far from being a problem; rather, it’s a symphony of tried and true solutions – a source of materials if harvested sustainably; and a “sink” that recycles biodegradable wastes. Letting nature go broke is like swinging wrecking balls against our own houses and places of worship. In many cases, the services nature provides, just in the course of being a living system, have far greater value than the minerals, processed food, and other products that come from Earth’s ecosystems. In the emerging era, restoration of natural systems and adoption of sustainable practices will be our civilization’s highest priority.
The key questions are:
- Will biological and physical scarcity stimulate beneficial changes in human behavior? Will civilization change its priorities because of new biological realities?
- Can we change the direction of our economy, from “Destroy nature, make money” to “Preserve and restore nature, save money”?
Too often, we respond to urgent reports about the decline of nature with a shrug of our shoulders. Since many impacts are embedded within our way of life – the way we manufacture, farm, generate energy, collect used material, etc. – we often don’t feel there’s much we can do as individuals. This collective shoulder-shrugging – a whole civilization deferring responsibility – is potentially fatal; many empires and civilizations before ours collapsed because of a lack of respect for nature. In our times, the throwaway lifestyle seems easy, but inevitably results in higher taxes, expensive health effects, and degraded landscapes that need to be repaired. These added expenses make our civilization unaffordable.
However, by “saving nature” we make life less expensive, creating jobs, recreation, health, and security; a stable climate, and a way of life that requires less maintenance. Yet, because our role as consumers has dominated our lives, we sometimes forget the many other ways we can preserve and restore nature: as teachers, students, farmers, designers, parents, voters, citizen activists, business owners, shareholders, churchgoers, vacationers, petition signers, meal planners, Internet users, and influential friends. In each of these roles, we can weave additional strands into the web of life.Evidence of the changing paradigm is all around us, as the word “green” begins to redefine our culture.
The excerpt above was taken from http://www.davewann.com/publications/the-new-normal/ Click on this link to read more from 'The New Normal'.
David Wann is an author, filmmaker, and speaker on the topic of sustainable lifestyles and designs. Simple Prosperity is a sequel to the best-selling book he coauthored, Affluenza, which is now in 9 languages. A third book in the “trilogy” about creating a more sensible way of life is The New Normal, which has just been published by St. Martin’s press. It presents 33 high-leverage actions that can shift our culture in a more sustainable direction.
He has also produced 20 videos and TV programs, including the award-winning TV documentary “Designing a Great Neighborhood,” about the Holiday neighborhood in Boulder. David is president of the Sustainable Futures Society and a Fellow of the National Simplicity Forum. He worked more than a decade as a policy analyst for U.S. EPA and co-designed the cohousing neighborhood where he lives, in Golden.
Come to Read, Write & Brew
Saturday April 30th
11.30am - 1.30pm
and meet David.
He'll be discussing his book 'The New Normal'.
There will also be copies available for purchase,
and to be signed by the author.