Desperately needed shift of paradigm
TSU Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs
There exists a fundamental transition from equating natural resources and energy as capital goods that can be owned and disowned, degraded and decremented, to equating all material resources and energy as mutually planned and shared flows which must be equitably clocked (see rules of nature in McDonough & Braungart, 2002). In this transition, the concept of waste disappears, to be replaced by the concept of constant cycling of nutrients. In this transition, rates of flow beneficial to the human species cannot become privileged above rates beneficial to sister species upon which the entire earth system wholly depends for trajectories of health, development and specialization. In this transition, basic relations between all material and energy will acquire definition, meaning and purpose, supporting physical, emotional and spiritual fulfillment and reinstating money as a means of transfer rather than a measure of worth. In this transition, markets gain liquidity and hierarchies diminish as supplier and user of matter and energy become equal in importance while engaged together in the same beneficially transformative task. For inspiration, we may look upon the regions of greatest diversity of life on earth, the tropical rain forests and reefs, and bear in mind that regions suitable for these may grow tremendously if proper respect and care is managed. It is primarily a question of our own morality, mindfulness and self-restraint as a member species in this family of life whether we shall be rewarded adaptively or shall perish cruelly in the crucible of transition through which all nature will quite soon pass. A newly quickened species, not necessarily our own, may find hegemonic ascension easy to attain.
In writing this, I was initially tempted to add human labor to the lists of natural resources and energy, but the implications became too stark and I relented. It poses an interesting thought experiment though for my stoughtest readers.
McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to cradle : remaking the way we make things (1st ed.). New York: North Point Press.