Been thinking with others recently about the various options within both a reformist and revolutionary agenda. The following is a list of important ideas but for me the debat seems to be alot more complicated than the simple duality of reformist vs revolutionary when when identifying how to re-create human systems that align with ecological well-being.
1. Non-corporate self sufficiency communities/networks.
2. Equality and justice.
3. Horizontal forms of organisation.
4. A balance between low/medium/high impact activities.
5. Democratic ownership of the mwans of production of goods and services
6. Displacing/removing the psychopathic elements out of the system to render them harmless/inactive.
7. Internalising externalised costs.
8. Paying/compensating the ecological world for ecosystem services, loss of habitat, loss of life, extraction of minerals.

The complicatedness of the situation of how to change the system has led me variously along a continuum between the reformist and revolutionary positions with the conclusion that the overall system has features that work and features that do not work. For example it needs to be acknowledged that most if not all humans desire a certain standard of living and a certain standard of well-being in their lives and in many ways the current system in terms of the goods and services that we produce satisfies these desires. In this respect the corporate machine has a role to play since much of our goods and services require an extensive infrastructure that can only be facilitated by some version of corporatism. However I would argue that although the system in this respect is inherently a good, at present it is a system that is run very badly as result of hierarchical power structures that distributes power very unequally, distribute rewards very unequally and distributes goods and services very unequally. In this sense what is broken and needs reforming/revolution/evolution is the organisational structures that belie the production of goods and services so that the production and distribution of goods and services are within ecological limits and equitable. I.e Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares.

In this respect this takes care of the environmental dimension of Felix Guattari’s Three Ecologies and in particular the economic-ecological

So the next is the social-ecological dimension and in particular the political sphere. It is actually questionable to what extent we even need a state or even a parliamentary system if the economic-ecological dimension is running smoothly and harmonious with other aspects of the ecological world especially that in the main it is seems to be a forum in which privilaged humans with psychopathic tendencies can monopolise power and control over the production of goods and services with money being included as both a good and a service. Much of it as many people know all too well depends on implicit or explicit consent and the monopoly over ‘legitimised violence’ and furthermore is only suatained by maintaining the illusion of legal fictions in order to maintain rule and order.

This is an area that still alludes me in many ways and so is a conversation for another time except to say that a functioning social-ecological dimension must be able to facilitate sustainable and resilient (sufficiency) economic-ecological systems which would need to include equitable distribution of land to facilitate a balance between low/medium/high impact activities.

The last of the three ecologies is the mental-ecological and in terms of the continuum reform/revolution is perhaps where I would position myself as revolutionary especially in terms of achieving ecological equality and equity. This where we would need to change hearts and minds and transform hierarchical modes of thinking into more heterarchical modes of thinking. Linear thinking into curvature thinking, selfish (or psychopathic) thinking into empathic thinking, isolationism into collectivism, competition into cooperation. This is the realm of education, health and well-being and obviously the point at which the individual meets the community and the community meets the ecological world. This revolution of the mental-ecological would need to be facilitated by the revolution of the social-ecological.

So in conclusion the reformist/revolutionary debate is not clear cut and so a continuum between the two needs to be identified. Personally I’d propose using the Three Ecologies model developed by Guattari who himself developed the work of Gregory Bateson. By making a distinction between the evironmental/economic, the social/political and the mental/individual I’d propose that the evironmental/economic needs to be more reformed than revolutionarised and that the social/political anesd the mental/individual needs to be more revolutionarised than reformed.






The Ecological Age

Sustainable development = creating natural resources from natural resources (like trees, plants, animals, fungi, insects, micro-organisms)
Unsustainable development = creating artificial resources from natural resources (like cars, aeroplanes, computers, etc etc )
Mitigated unsustainable development = creating artificial resources from artificial resources

I have devised this framework in order to make sense of the distinction between what is commonly referred to as sustainable development and what is unsustainable development. When dealing with the overall issue of sustainability I would argue that overall there needs to be a bias in favour of sustainable development. I say this because cars cannot reproduce themselves therefore they are not sustainable in themselves, i.e they are unsustainable since they cannot be made to last forever relatively speaking. In turn unsustainable technology relies upon sustainable technologies (creating natural resources from natural resources) in order to function. In the last 40 years half of the world’s biodiversity has been lost, climate change is upon us, there is growing and in some places dangerous levels of pollution and of course an ever growing scarcity of natural resources, all of which are intertwined. These are the result of a bias in favour of unsustainable development.

I certainly take the point that too much sustainable development may adversely affect bio-system flows when considered in relation to existing human habitats but ultimately the creation of natural resources from natural resources, i.e sustainable development, is indefinitely sustainable whereas creating artificial resources from natural resources is not if the creation of artificial resources outweighs the creation of natural resources over long-term periods of time.

Similarly sustainable development is intrinsically and inherently connected with the overall functioning of the energy cycling processes of the planetary bio-system as a whole which in itself is intrinsically and inherently self-sustaining whereas unsustainable development is intrinsically and inherently dis-connected from the functioning of the energy cycling processes of the planetary bio-system as a whole so is also unsustainable from that point of view also since artificial resources when combined are not self-sustaining in themselves. Again, artificial resources as a system are reliant on natural resources to function and so are a sub-system in relation to the overall natural system unless artificial technologies can be developed which are not reliant on natural resources for their functioning.

I guess this is the ultimate paradox, how to make unsustainable development sustainable.

Obviously what is key is balance (Jim ;)) and now that the components that need to be balanced have been correctly and accurately defined it is a matter of ensuring that human social, economic and environmental systems create a bias in favour of sustainable development in relation to unsustainable development. How to manage sustainable development and its effects will be an intrinsic part of this.

In this regard, the whole subject of sustainable development as we are being led to believe it is, is not only inaccurate but plainly false and in effect, in large parts what we are actually studying when studying sustainable development is unsustainable development. To study sustainable development alone is simply learning how to create natural resources from natural resources which is not enough in itself to support the alleviation of human poverty, ensure human economic convergence and ensure the maintenance of human sustainability and so a broader framework needs to be formulated.  Presently I loosely term this framework The Ecological Age and is one which needs to find a sustainable balance between sustainable and unsustainable development. At its most basic level this means ensuring that human systems contain a bias in favour of developing green infrastructure in relation to the development of grey infrastructure which in terms of policy making means (in my opinion at least) that at least 51% of human resources are directed towards the creation of natural resources.

Maximising individual survival or rational self-interest can display co-operation, altruism etc as well as much more selfish motives like competition. The actual behaviour depends on the context.

Communities are instrumental to maximising individual survival since no man is an island but of course there are always exceptions to the rule. In other words, we need others including non-humans to survive so we will co-operate when necessary and we will also compete when necessary. That balance is always changing for each and every survival experience. Therefore, we will do favours and help others. Not only to boost our own endorphins, in other words to make ourselves feel good, but also to support, accomplish and re-enforce community cohesion/harmony. A healthy community comprises of healthy individuals which supports the biological desire to maximise individual survival.

The dilemma or problematic of Sustainable Development (SD) is multi-dimensional.
First there is the problematic of aggregating social differences in order to reach consensus of any type (see Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%27s_impossibility_theorem). From a biological point of view, differences support the maximisation of individual survival in their multi-various ways as well as facilitating a species-centred biological diversity which in the case of the human species for example, broadens humanity’s survival strategies/options. Hierarchies facilitate social differences and so therefore facilitates multi-various survival strategies and species-focussed bio-diversity without the need for ‘planned’ systems of distribution. With regards this latter point, it could be argued that hierarchies are more biologically efficient at producing diversity as well as being a natural consequence of the biological desire to maximise individual energy.

Second there is the differences between the ruling classes, the common classes and the non-human classes. The ruling classes effectively govern the common and non-human classes and the only time a consensus could be reached between these different classes is with the emergency of a real-time crisis which threatens the survival of all. Otherwise whoever holds the balance of social power including the monopoly on violence will be the ruling class.

Third biological organisms biologically seek to maximise individual energy, humans are biological organisms, therefore humans seek to maximise individual energy.

If all these points are considered fact, then a market-orientated technological solution is the only available biological option to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals despite its flaws and inherent inequalities.

However effectively in contrast to this approach, in order to create sustainable communities of humans and non-humans, diversity and differences need to be encouraged in order to promote a diversity of survival options. In this respect, the biological desire to maximise individual energy abhors mono-cultures and this in effect reflects the greatest problematic of SD in that the whole process is being hijacked by the ruling classes in order to promote ‘the’ market-orientated neo-liberal technological approach which in the main supports ‘their’ biological desire to maximise ‘their’ individual energy, when in reality our ‘collective’ biological impulses demand a greater variety of solutions. In this respect, ‘green taxes’ are an obvious way of not only facilitating but also subsiding social differences in order to promote a species-centred biological diversity which ‘ought’ to include a healthy and balanced mix of low/medium/high carbon input lifestyles and activities. In this respect, resources such as land need to be released by the ruling classes to facilitate low carbon input lifestyles, especially if population growth is to continue and more especially if indigenous humans in developed nations desire to remain in their nation of birth and not be forced to emigrate to ‘lesser’ developed nations in order to live a low carbon input lifestyle.

Ecological carrying-capacity or in human terms infrastructure is also an important consideration with regards facilitating difference and diversity. There is not enough development assistance to promote diversity and difference since again ruling classes are ignoring or neglecting the ‘collective’ needs of others to maximise ‘their’ individual energy. In this respect however, an evidential case needs to be argued to show how developing infrastructure will not only promote ‘the’ desire to maximise ‘the’ individual energy of ruling classes but also the common and non-human classes. Without an evidenced argument, there is no appeal to rational self-interest, just hollow rhetoric that will fall on ‘their’ deaf ears.

With regards planetary biological diversity, it is unfortunate but probably true that humanity is going to see what is the minimum amount of overall biological diversity that we need in order to survive before any ‘collective’ human maturation takes place.

Just wanted to share that I’ve been working on the concept of sustainability and have discovered that in ecological terms….

Sustainability is created by encouraging diversity which in turn encourages a system to be stable, healthy and so resilient in the face of external stress.  In this respect, encouraging eco-diversity, including human diversity should be the core goal of Sustainable Development if social, economic, cultural, political and ecological well-being is the goal.

Hence, from an ecological point of view, it is the facilitation and creation of human system diversity that will create human social, economic and ecological sustainability and well-being.  In other words, by encouraging system diversity, a human system will experience more sustainability and well-being through being more stable, more healthy and more resilient in the face of external stress. Hence any development/planning/economic strategies need to have diversity as their main guiding principle.

In effect, this requires a human species/system that distributes resources in such a way as to create the greatest diversity of species, genes, habitats, communities and societies and the greatest diversity of links between species, genes, habitats, communities and societies.

The Ecological Society

Any half decent society that wished to be ecologically sustainable must be able to embrace Recycling, Reducing, Reusing and Remaking.

Our Ecological Family is at the heart of sustainability since without it we are doomed.

Eco-logic to anthro-logic to eco-logic to anthro-logic

Mad to think that business/political elites are like dynasties, all playing the game of thrones.

I guess Liberalism is the most evolved ideology (mental construct) that both creates and justifies inequality to the minds of the dynasties.

SustainABILITY is the balance between sacrifice and survival.

Sustainable Development is the management of human population sizes in order to meet the needs and aspirations of all ecological beings.
In order to meet the needs and aspirations of all ecological beings,
some of these beings must sacrifice in order to fulfil the aspirations of others.
This is the ultimate paradox of our existence and why ethics and ideologies can only be successful in guiding behaviour, not governing it.

An Ecological Society is to 4 as a Sustainable Developing Society is to 3.

Equality, equity, sustainability, education.
Individual, social, economy, environment
Biodiversity, ecological connectivity, ecosystem services, ecological carrying-capacity

To avert impending ecological crisis it is necessary to explore the unresolved paradox of how on the one hand our ecological tendencies (our current stories) are both a mixture of life-affirming and life-negating actions in that we have a right to consume and kill in order to survive to a certain degree no matter what socio-economic system we use to do this and on the other, the historical and current discourses which have and do attempt to separate us from these ecological tendencies, in the hope – I imagine – to actually change these ecological tendencies, but unfortunately to no avail.

Personally I disagree with the premise that we are already dis-connected from Nature and that the problem is that we need to re-connect with Nature in that we are simply acting out our ecological tendencies to consume, discriminate, possess and covet in order to maximise our individual survival and as such we are connected to Nature but the problem appears to be that there does not appear to be an ecological limiting mechanism which reins in these ecological tendencies. For some reason those that argue that we are dis-connected from Nature consider that acting out our ecological tendencies is in itself a dis-connect with Nature when in my view we are simply doing what Nature programmed us to do. However there is the case that if people were more embedded in the natural processes upon which we survive then we might have more respect and awareness of Nature but this is simply a lack of awareness of our connection rather than a dis-connection in itself. Therefore, whether there is an awareness or not of our ecological tendencies and the ecological processes upon which we survive, with no predators or little self-control what is considered to be life-affirming from an individual point of view in that our actions support the survival of our life, as a whole these aggregated individual life-affirming actions paradoxically result in a overall life-negating impact. Therefore, I think the problem is that for each person, they probably think that their impact is within ecological limits but when the overall size of the human population is taken into consideration then the overall impact is life or nature negating rather than life-affirming.

From this point of view it could be argued that humanity as a whole and as a single biological organism is dis-connected from Nature but this in itself implies that humanity is a single biological organism which it obviously isn’t. However it could be argued that if humanity as a whole did have a group consciousness then it would be more aware of the life-negating effect it is having on Nature. In this regards, it could also be argued that the ecological dis-connection that some people refer to is not between humans and Nature as such but between humans themselves but that is also to argue that fraternity is also an ecological tendency too when it is quite plain to see in everyday life that it is not.

This therefore leaves the implication that the real problem is human over-population despite the rhetoric that there is enough for all which there probably is but that then leaves very little for non-humans to survive especially if most humans aspire to participating in an industrial modern civilisation which apparently they do. If over-population is the problem then it would seem to me that the solution is either for humans to consume less – which requires a change in ecological tendencies – or for human population to reduce – which would also require a change in ecological tendencies – since either would require sacrifice and the ability to share everything which at the moment humans are not ecologically hard-wired to do. Sacrifice and the ability to share everything would effectively change the stories we live by as well as compensate for the fact that we have no ecological predators.  Similarly, by developing a collective consciousness so that humans as a whole have a felt experience of the damage that they are collectively doing to the environment would be necessary too but the big question always arises – who is going to step into the void to make these evolutionary transformations to our ecological tendencies when to do this actively contradicts our current ecological tendency to maximise our individual survival, hence the paradox.

As I’ve been journeying deeper and deeper into my ecological self I’ve been realising just how much illusionary talk and ideals are cast into the public space in the name of change. It is interesting to note the type of paradoxes that are used to communicate this. For example the notion of re-connecting with Nature in order to create a better world when the truth is we are connected but in a way people either do not like within themselves or within others. Historically and in the present time, teachers both philosophical and religious have in effect tried to create a mentality which disapproves of our ecological functioning and tendencies which has probably done more damage than good, all in the name of trying to make humans somehow distinct and more superior than the simple ape. Is this mental disconnection the fundamental flaw that many speak of with regards humans. If so, perhaps if our mentality was grounded in our ecological tendencies and not within ideals that are disconnected from them, we would have a much better respect and reverence for the ecological basis of our survival.