In a recent essay which is much too long for most blog readers to bother with, “We Are What We Think“, I argued that we need to rethink our relationship to the world. I was somewhat vague as to how to do it. Also for good measure I snarled at Andy Revkin, which I sill usually do given a chance.
Revkin has gone a way to redeem himself with his most recent Dot Earth piece which I think is both wonderful, and whether so intended or not, an excellent follow-on to “We Are What We Think”.
In “The Climate Bill in Climate Context“, Revkin offers a realistic look at the many further steps along the road which we begin here, and concludes with the realistic and yet radical advice of the UK’s Prime Minister Brown. This provides a good basis for the new thinking, new thinking which needs to pervade all societies, quickly. For fundamentally, the extent to which we are competitors is dwarfed by the extent to which we are, like it or not, teammeates.
Success will require two major shifts in how we think – as policy makers, as campaigners, as consumers, as producers, as a society. The first is to think not in political or economic cycles; not just in terms of years or even decadelong programs and initiatives. But to think in terms of epochs and eras — and how our stewardship will be judged not by tomorrow’s newspapers but by tomorrow’s children.
And the second is to think anew about how we judge success as a society. For 60 years we have measured our progress by economic gains and social justice. Now we know that the progress and even the survival of the only world we have depends on decisive action to protect that world. In the end, without environmental stewardship, there can be no sustainable prosperity and no sustainable social justice.