David Parry-Davies
David Parry-Davies

Eco-logical values

To solve the environmental challenges that we face today will require more than simply applying a new set of rules and regulations, it will require nothing less than a shift in our understanding and the underlying values that motivate our current behaviour.
Or as more eloquently expressed by Albert Einstein, “The world we have created today –- has problems that cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.”

The climate change crisis, the energy crisis, the water crisis, the oil crisis -– these are all simply the symptoms and consequences of behaviours and practices that are motivated and driven by a set of unsustainable values and patterns of thought, including:

  • Ignorance — A lack of awareness of the inter–connectedness and inter–dependence of Earth’s ecological systems and the effects of human actions on these systems.
  • Short-term thinking –- Being primarily motivated by short term profits and current needs.
  • Self-centricity — Self gratification without an equal concern for the effects of our choices and actions on the wellbeing of other (human and non–human) individuals and communities.
  • Consumerism –- A ‘Culture’ in which value and status in society is determined and measured by the quantity of material goods owned and consumed. The logical consequence being an insatiable and highly competitive demand for ‘more, bigger better’ consumer goods. (This has resulted in about 20% of the world’s population currently owning and consuming about 80% of the world’s resources.)
  • If these are the ‘unsustainable’ values and behaviours that underpin and drive current ‘inconvenient environmental consequences’, then the corresponding inverse values and behaviours to support a sustainable society and Earth’s eco–logical systems must be:

  • ‘Holistic’ understanding — Recognising the effects of our actions on the delicate, inter–dependant nature of Earth’s eco–systems and communities and balancing our choices and actions accordingly.
  • Long-term perspective — Demand for today’s needs and desires being measured and mitigated against the long term effect of meeting these needs and desires.
  • Care for Community — A response–able and mutually supportive commitment to the wellbeing of all the Earths living communities ( Recognised in African terms as Ubuntu)
  • Quality of living –- Appreciation of quality over quantity . Seeking to achieve a simple and elegant quality of living rather than madly rushing about to finance an unnecessary quantity of consumption. Aiming to meet our material needs to a level of reasonable comfort but placing a higher value on the more refined human assets of intellect and the human spirit.