Ecological humans

Without a predator or sufficient self-control, humans are ecologically hard-wired to consume, discriminate and covet. How is it going to be possible to modify ecological tendencies that in effect define what it is to human and reduce the extent to which humanity devours the Earth..


I’m not sure about consensus. What if participants involved are too shy or reserved to express their idea. However if a political space was instead provided so that individuals can just get on with their idea then there is no need to waste alot of time and energy convincing others in order to reach consensus.

If ideas require resources then available resources can be proportionally shared between the ideas currently being developed.

How much resources each idea receives is decided by votes and the proportion is created by working out the percentage of votes over total votes. Compared to consensus, I think ‘proportioning’ is a more efficient use of people’s time and energy (so they can get on with their ideas) and more effective in that it provides a political space of entitlement for individuals to develop their ideas. Voting allows the individual to know who is supportive of their idea and so allows direct non-verbal communication.

The same problem of shyness or reservedness might still be present but the proportional structure compared to the consensus structure builds into its rules a space of entitlement as soon as the individual speaks their idea whereas with consensus the shy individual has to convince the group for their idea to be accepted.

I guess why I am arguing is because with consensus, the individual needs to have some sort of permission from the group to proceed with an idea. So a space governed by consensus does not have as a core rule ‘self-autonomy’ within the public space. Of course hypothetically everyone in the group could just reach consensus and say yes to every new idea but this still implies the dependency of permission and acceptance before an idea is accepted. However it is unlikely that the group will reach consensus over every single idea so in reality some ideas might not get through, ideas which might have actually transformed their evolution for the better.

Therefore, I think proportionality is better because it gives every expressed idea a chance as well as allowing the group to be involved by deciding on what amount of resources are allocated to it whereas consensus restrict the activity of individuals and places a group judgement on the worthiness of their idea which is both time and energy consuming, time and energy which proportionality would instead direct towards the immediate facilitation of individuals to develop their ideas with or without informal hierarchies.

Biodiversity Offsetting


I filled in this consultation and my main argument was not quoted in the piece


directly but they got my point about the loss of ecological connectivity and the lack of evidence-based research to measure the ecological utility of biodiversity.

However I thought it would be interesting to tell you that my main argument was that by destroying biodiversity in a particular location meant that a set of ecosystem services would also be lost. In addition, the new development would also need a set of ecosystem services to sustain it, therefore overall the development is responsible for needing to create two sets of ecosystem services to compensate – the set that was destroyed and the set that are needed by the new development. Biodiversity offsetting only requires replacing the destroyed biodiversity, therefore even after an equal for equal restoration has been completed along with its associated set of ecosystem services, that still leaves one set of ecosystem services down, which can only be replaced by creating another equal for equal biodiversity restoration as well.

It seems almost paradoxical that the replacement of one non-human biodiversity habitat with a human biodiversity habitat requires the compensation of two sets of ecosystem services but I am sure this assessment is correct.

Ecological gain minus Ecological loss = Ecological Utility

The birth of the Ecological Age requires self-creating new ways of living – ways of living that are at least in harmony with nature on Earth and possibly even in harmony with the nature of the Sun.  However, firstly, this means self-creating a cultural and political space in which we can do this. 

The ways of living that I imagine are condusive to at least being in harmony with the Earth would, in my opinion, be those expoused by the likes of the De-Growth movement whereby human survival is dependent on building up levels of equity and equality within societies by not only including the rights and responsibilities of all humans but also including the rights and responsibilities of non-human life-beings.  

The most complicated dichotomy to unravel in order to help facilitate a transition from The Modern Age to The Ecological Age is how to resolve the dilemmas posed by the life/death relationship between all beings.  In other words which beings do we allow to be sacrificed in order that other beings may live and what conduct is permissible to reflect this. 

This, in my mind, is the most basic of relationships, the most basic of cause and effect and the most basic of karma – what do we kill in order to survive and how do we do it.  Therefore, whether it is one human or another, one animal or another, one plant or another, one insect or another, one microbe or another, one mineral or another or one granule or another, how do we decide what can be sacrificed in order to self-create harmony with all the other beings on Earth.

Unfortunately, our currerent moral and law systems give privilage to humans and place most, if not all, non-humans in at least in a secondary category with some being in a third or even fourth. 

More saddening for me is the social fact that at the moment there is a very low opportunity for humans to be able to integrate with localised natural systems across different socieities due to human-centred planning and property laws.  So for example, in the UK, planning laws that allow for a more more fully integrated lifestyle with non-human life-beings do nt really exist in our current cultural and political systems. However, planning laws that imbue deeper equity and equality would allow a greater range of humans to live closer to nature and not only the rich and the well-off due to human-centred planning laws.

By a greater range of humans and a deep level of equity and equality, I mean, that a greater range of humans in relation to their level of affluence, can choose to live cheaply on the land by being able to build their own shack on purchased land without undue hinderance. This can be easily done by only granting planning permission for a shack that is 16m2 or smaller.   This will help to differientate a shack from other types of dwellings and obviously due to the restrictive nature of the shack in terms of occupancy, the land will also not gain much in value so that planning permission would not substantially raise the value of the land. 

Other restrictive conditions can also be placed on shacks to thwart the inflation of value and capitialistic opportunism, by not allowing shacks to be rented.  Additionally, any person wishing to live in the shack must apply for planning permission and be below a pre-determined threshold of affluence.

This means that people of low means can buy a relatively cheap piece of land, gain the permission to build a relatively cheap shack (which I would have thought would by definition have a low impact on the environment) and so be able to live a more basic closer to nature lifestyle.

How ideal would that be 🙂

My current plan is to build a livable shack on my allotment or within a cheap piece of woodland.

From http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/2012/01/03/where-next-for-the-fight-against-economic-inequality

Where next for the fight against economic inequality?

Steve Gwynne
Heterarchical as opposed to hierarchical systems which equalise the value of different constituent parts would be a good way forward
Joe Taylor 
Agreed! How do we get to that situation Steve?
Steve Gwynne
Hi Joe .. I think education will be a key player foremost.  Not everybody knows about the concept of heterarchy and how it pretty much describes the sort of system which does facilitate greater democracy, greater equality and a greater sense of inclusion.  As you know hierarchical systems dominate religion, politics, economics and our social life.  So on an individual level people can transform their own hierarchical tendencies and thinking into more heterarchical perspectives.  Obviously consensus-based thinking is an integral part of this process, as are people’s assemblies, co-operative economic models, networked partnerships and the de-centralisation and localisation of economies.  In addition there are the deep green ecological perspectives which broadens the scope of heterarchy to include non-human-life-forms.
So on a social institutional level it would be imperative for left-leaning organisations to adopt heterarchical systems into their practices. In fact it could be a stipulation so if an organisation does not adopt heterarchical practices then they could not be considered left-wing since they obviously do not have equality and equity at the heart of their own organisations.  Ultimately this would be a matter of left-leaning intellectuals to convey in their own political philosophies.  In this respect, the left would be synonymous with heterarchy and the right would be synonymous with hierarchy.  At the moment, as you know, there is no clear distinction between left and right politics.  If there was this clear distinction then our parliamentary democracy would allow the people to decide for themselves. Even better as far as I am concerned would be to decentralise national politics and allow regions to decide what sort of political philosophy they wish to be governed by. 
Beyond these early stages of the strategy to transform the definition of left-wing politics and for left-wing organisations to adopt heterarchical practices (which in itself would help develop heterarchical thinking) there might be a need to rely upon human rights and in particular the deeper application of economic and social rights with the likes of The Social Charter which as you know successive UK governments have refused to ratify.
Human rights are probably the key ethical tool to ensure that heterarchical practices are adopted and again can be promoted by left-wing organisations as a consolidated and joint effort to create greater equality, greater equity and greater democracy in our social, political and economic systems.  For example, if we – UK society – were to adopt International Human Rights into UK legislation then effectively we would be forced to create more heterarchy in our lives. Such is the nature of International human rights despite efforts by intellectuals to view human rights as hierarchically ranked in one way or another.  The fact of the matter is that the human rights framework is itself based on a heterarchical model. As such left-leaning organisations fail to see the power of the rights framework and are either simply rhetorical in their convictions or plainly stubborn.  Either way I suspect many so-called lefties secretly desire to sustain the status quo.  For example, too many left activists enjoy the power of hierarchy in their own organisations when their main deployment and main objective is to shout down and critique the opposition.  Even the Occupy movement is guilty of this to some extent, in my experience at least, as are so-called left leaning activist within various environmental organisations. Simply put, too many lefties are as frightened by heterarchy as are the right.  Often they like to talk equality but are only able to walk a weak version of equality.  All too often and this applies to many Socialists, all sorts of excuses are promoted to refrain from supporting human rights by arguing they are bourgeoisie. In my mind they are actually right-wingers in disguise.   Another example of this sort of hypocrisy is a Socialist I know who bemoans capitalism and the inequality it creates at every opportunity but has around £250,000 held in shares and stock investment.  
So your question is in a sense easily answered but in reality more problematic than it appears and I am sure this is what you may have been inferring.  But the answer remains the same but it applies to both the left and the right and not just the latter.

From http://ifdarwinprayed.com/i-believe-in-god/#comment-5326

I have thought a great deal about God and whilst I am not fully conversant with all ideas about God I tend to think that most people see God as separate to themselves with even modern day proponents of Oneness making the same subtle distinction between themselves and The Creator.  This seems to be the prevailing view in one form or another whereby everything and everyone is ultimately reducible to God so that God is Everything. The subtle but distinct alternative is not that God is Everything but that Everything is God. 

To clarify, if God is the originator or pure consciousness behind Everything then everything else can only be material consciousness embued with a life-giving spark of pure consciousness.  (I use pure and material to simply convey a distinction rather than use them as accurate descriptors.)  If this is the case then we humans as material consciousness with free will to do as we please in our God created material bubble exist distinct from the pure consciousness world that God resides in except for a thread of pure consciousness which enables us to survive.  This then makes the three faces of God or the Holy Trinity, one being our material existence (the son), another being our awareness of the thread of pure consciousness that gives us life (the holy spirit) and the other being God itself as pure consciousness (the holy father). 

The alternative is that these different worlds do not exist as separate fields of existence with the material bubble being separate from the pure but are all part of one singularity or one field of energy that is inherently and intrinsically creative so that each one of us together is this field of creative energy.  In this paradigm, there is no distinct source for we are it, there is no distinct originator for we are it, there is no distinct God for we are it.  So in this paradigm,  when we use the word God we are referring to everyone including ourselves so that everything can both be simultanously personal and impersonal at the same time. 

Confused, let me try and explain. In the former paradigm it is possible to speak of an impersonal God because to identify with the thread of pure consciousness that sustains us is to relinquish the attachment to our material existence.  In a sense it is the same with the latter paradigm except rather than moving into different distinct worlds, when we move into a higher consciousness towards pure consciousness we are actually traversing a continuum of consciousness so in truth we are the material and the pure at the same time, or we are the personal and the impersonal at the same time, it just depends where our awareness is at the time.  Being more aware of one thing at any one time does not mean that the other ceases to exist – although some philosphers would try make us believe that.  

This is where the subtle difference between God is Everything and Everything is God becomes more apparent since in the former we believe in a separate identity between the material and the pure, upon which we can create hierarchical tendencies leading to value judgements about the different levels of consciousness we may inhabit at any one time, such as ego and egoless, and use these judgements to create behavioural status such as a person being closer to God or in Donald Walsh’s language to be able to converse with God. 

Obviously in the latter paradigm, being closer to God or conversing God is nonsense since Everything is God but when God is Everything then that incorporates a subtle hierarchy in which God is the top and everything is below which leaves those below fighting over who can move upwards to be closer to God or who can have a more personal relationship with God.  Obviously, in this paradigm, a creation of God can only communicate with God via the sustaining thread of pure consciousness since something that is only material consciousness cannot ever truly be God.  We can try to be the image of God, we can try to emulate God but we can never be God otherwise this paradigm becomes meaningless as does the values and judgements that this hierarchical paradigm supports. 

Obviously in the latter, if Everything is God then we are the absolute and the relative, we are the living breathing cosmic heterarchy of divine creative energy – we are pure consciousness as is everything else. So we are not simply expressions of the Divine Creator, We are the Divine Creator.  And in our capacity as Divine Creator, together we create Everything as we will, together we create Everything that we are, together we evolve everything that we are and together we make everything that we are.  There is no mysterious source since although we have no idea what we truly are, the mystery is not something distinct from ourselves because we are the mystery.  Paradoxes I love em.  So whilst we can be frightened of a seperate mysterious God, if in truth we are it, then there is no need to fear God, no need to please God, or no need to worship God but We are God. 

So as you can see these two paradigms are different and whilst they might have subtle overlaps when trying to understand the difference between material and pure consciousness, the only way of knowing the truth of one from the other is to be able to connect with pure consciousness and in that space feel for yourself whether God as the descriptive embodiment of pure consciousness is separate to yourselves or whether God as the descriptive embodiment of pure consciousness is integral to yourselves.  In the words of some other mystic, when you find yourself in pure consciousness do you feel like saying ‘I am that I am’.

 For myself, my deepest experienced truth is that Everything is God if the word God is to be used and have any deep meaning.  A truth that I believe should be mirrored in our social, economic and political lives compared to the truth of many many others who believe that God is Everything and consequently our social, economic and political lives tend to be dominated by hierarchies to reflect their deepest spiritual truth of themselves.