The Promise of Spring

(#294) – Finally, we are warmed by at least a few hours of brilliant sunlight and excited about the first greening of our meadows. Perhaps this spring of 2013 will be the year when we more deeply understand the meaning of our role in greening where we live.

When that happens sufficiently, we shall provide tens of millions in tax abate- ments to power our lives with renewable energy and turn all waste into wealth and food. Our schools, houses of worship, jobs, homes and families will be turned towards a regenerative ecology that both dictionary and life experience defines as being a single household, a democracy of interdependence, where we are fellow citizens with all life and none are masters or servants. Then we will no longer speak of economic growth but of economic sustainability where profits, jobs,  and health for all of life are in greatest supply.

We will do this best by learning from nature as a first principle of our economic activity. Plants and other life forms have hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary head start on us.  They have successfully engineered solutions to the same questions that challenge human existence and done so without threatening the habitat that gives them life.  They learned how to power, feed and reproduce themselves without destroying the web of life that supplies the essential opportunity for all species.

The record of human history is that no civilization that has failed to work in harmony with the natural world has been able to reverse the fate of total collapse and extinction.  Our current economic activity includes burning our share of 100,000 years of fossil fuels every year and spewing toxins into our water, air, soil  and manufacturing food that is so industrially engineered that it is often dangerous to health.

It is our world but it not just our world. We are late-comers to earthly life but nature invented us with tremendous innovation capacity. But, our adaptability has been limited by the genetic code of profitability for the few rather than sustainable life for all.

This hubris of the few ignores the great scientific revolutions in understanding the natural world which is called the tipping point, This new paradigm or mind-set shift needs to become another first principle of our economic activity. Understanding the tipping point teaches us it is a catastrophic error to presume that the natural life support systems respond to degradation slowly and that we can see and predict the advancement of great destruction.  At least in the human time frame, nature’s resilience may not be capable of restoring her web of life to support us.  Except for a few in Congress and local and distant centers of corporate power, most people know the science that says we are running out of time.

All of us who share this column live in an environment suffused with the geniuses of nature’s wealth and health.  This spring is the time to learn from her, protect and restore her with the promise of a shared sustainable future for all.  Walk and converse with nature.  Invest tens of millions in nature’s spring genius and we shall do well.

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