New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
Subscribe

Solstice Manifesto

December 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Guest Author

On the Importance of Integrating Social and Ecological Perspectives

by the ISEP Class Working Group

{Editor’s Note: This collaborative statement was produced in the context of a college class focusing on the integration of social and ecological perspectives. The depth of critical engagement with the intersecting crises in our midst, coupled with insightful visions for action and change, provide a source of hopefulness in a time of profound challenges.}

I. Why We’re Concerned

Our world’s current dysfunction is a multifaceted crisis, exemplified by a host of social and ecological problems, including racism, violence, water shortages, drought, species extinction, pollution, and many others. Upon closer examination, the roots and solutions of each of these problems have both social and ecological components, which are dependent upon and directly influence each other.

Human-induced climate change — the greatest threat to the continuation of our species — increases every challenge and influences every possible solution.

Our values are misguided toward consumption and individualism, while our ethics fail to guide us toward more sustainable modes of living.

Our culture does not value nature except when it serves the needs of production and consumption, reflecting the belief that humanity is separate from nature.

Our centralized industrial systems of production and distribution have replaced direct, consistent interaction with the surrounding landscape. Most individuals see no immediate, practical need to care about the natural environment in which they live.

Humans suffer a great deal of unacknowledged pain that derives from this alienation of people and the larger world they live in. By not acknowledging the interdependence of the social sphere and the natural world, violence and ecological collapse manifest in both realms.

Education, solutions, and tools are available, but are not being implemented on the scale that they need to be.

Instead of the current outmoded social, political, economic, and psychological outlooks which define success in terms of material and financial self-interest, we must create a new system which values health, happiness, community, and a sustainable connection to our shared planet.

We live in a time of enormous crisis, but also of enormous opportunity. We believe we are capable of changing ourselves, and thus the world.

II. The Changes Called For

Human separation from the natural world is an illusion. In order to address the critical social and ecological issues of our time we must embrace our dependence on and inherent connection with the living Earth. We must recognize we are part of the Earth’s wildness.

To heal ourselves, our communities, and our earth we must reach beyond our comfort zones to communicate and collaborate; such sharing and listening will shed light on different aspects of any issue.

Building solidarity between communities of all backgrounds builds the needed power to change systems of oppression, allowing space for diverse voices that must be heard to achieve true and long-lasting solutions.

Today’s global crisis, including both social and ecological implications, is not the fault of any individual — but it is our collective responsibility to contribute to its resolution.

In order to effectively and equitably organize around climate change — acknowledging that it’s a global issue — we must build solidarity among all social movements working for social and ecological justice.

Social systems must be restructured on personal, community, regional, and global scales to emphasize equal access, justice, human rights, and sensitivity to ecological processes.

We commit to open dialogue and to working within our divided nation to create a mosaic of collaboration and restoration.

We must develop practices that foster a connection and commitment to the multicultural and ecologically diverse world around us.

Since Americans use more and waste more than almost any nation in history, we must consider the impacts of our actions on multiple scales; using less while working toward energy-efficient industries is both a practical and moral imperative.

Decentralizing systems of education, capital, energy, and food into bioregionally appropriate communities offer hope for solving our present day problems and for making a transition toward more prudent ways of living in this world increasingly shaped by climate change.

We must be imaginative and creative as we discover new and expansive ways of being in the world and as we devote our individual passions toward the goal of achieving a healthier, more just world.

We must be humble.

Collaboratively written by the “Integrating Social and Ecological Perspectives” Class, Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona: R. Antsis, G. Brodie, S. Coodley, A. deRivera, A. Evans, T. Fleischner, W. Heineke, K. Johnsson, S. Levine, N. Meyer, S. Pickard, M. Sheehy, M. Smith, and M. Sperduto, December 2012.

5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Clear Vision (@newclearvision) 21 12 12
  2. New Clear Vision (@newclearvision) 21 12 12
  3. @TomFleischner 21 12 12
  4. A Manifesto for the Solstice | 21 12 12
  5. New Clear Vision (@newclearvision) 01 01 13

Leave a Reply


Switch to our mobile site