Words of Ecological Wisdom
Each year, some of the most inspiring thinkers in the sustainability movement visit Omega and share words of wisdom, inspiration, hope, and direction.
"No matter what problem you look at, every ecological problem comes from this illusion that we are separate from nature. I believe overcoming the separation is a longing much deeper than the recent rise of ecological awareness. The healing is coming from reclaiming our oneness with the web of life, with the universe itself."
"Why do we focus on sustainability at Omega? When we examine the core components needed to live a fully integrated life, a life in harmonious relationship with each other and the environment, we discover sustainability is a key factor. As we develop awareness and become more conscious, which is at the center of Omega's work, we learn it's necessary to live sustainably if we have any hope of interacting successfully with nature and each other."
1) Unlike most other political or social movements, the commons has a political history that’s instructive. Going back to the Magna Carta and medieval times, as well as one could say from time immemorial, the human species has been about cooperation and commoning.
2) There’s a legal provenance and history to the commons that’s represented in the Magna Carta, public trust documents, and many other fragments.
3) There’s a set of constructive, positive projects that work that is the basis for a commons future.
4) The commons has a very penetrating critique of market economics and culture that liberalism lacks."
"The question of socialism or communism or capitalism or between the left and right—I think the important question is between the industrial society and the earth-based society. And I say that because I believe that capitalism and communism are really much more about how the wealth is distributed, if it trickles down or is appropriated at the beginning to those who have worked for it. But, you know, someone has to question where the wealth came from. What right does society have to the wealth? What is the relationship between that society and the land from which it got its wealth? Those are the questions that should be asked."
"We need to shift from a geopolitical frame of reference to a biosphere consciousness very quickly. I am guardedly hopeful for this reason: Humanity is quickly becoming aware that the biosphere is the indivisible overarching community to which we all belong, and whose well-being is indispensable to assuring our own well-being as well as our survival. Once we grasp this key concept, we have the right mindset to move to the next stage in the human journey."
"In the end, climate change is a math problem. We're putting more carbon into the atmosphere than the atmosphere can absorb. Everybody told us when we started...'this is crazy, you don't use a scientific data point, it's a number, people don't respond to numbers.'
"[But…] we've found everybody completely capable of dealing with the math. We've organized, like, 15,000 rallies in every country on earth except North Korea. We've been in lots of places that I suppose, by Oxford standards, would be considered illiterate, but everyone's completely conversant with the idea that here is a number, and that number is above it, and that's too high. It's not a very complicated idea."
"When you have a big breakdown, you can have a big breakthrough. Look at your own life: It’s those really bad days that open the door to some really good days.
"You’ve got a lot of breakdown here in Detroit, but it opens the door for some real breakthroughs. The reinvention of Detroit—distributed food production, urban farming, community gardening, greenhouses—they’re big opportunities. There will be distributed goods production, as some of these very skilled people who are either here, or have roots here, start getting their heads wrapped around 3D printers, and the craftsmanship involved in that.
"The maker movement—for lack of a better term—is getting more interpenetrated with some of the African-American working-class folks and others who know how to build things. There is an interpenetration that can happen, we can have an explosion of craft and trade coming out of here, because people know how to make stuff here, and people with roots here will have new tools to make stuff."
"I think, in lots of ways, the growth economy created more junk than you needed, more expectations than it could meet, more waste than the environment could absorb, and more trouble generally than we needed to create. And the literature on happiness shows that, not surprisingly, happiness is a function of a much simpler calculation. Beyond some fairly minimal level of comfort, we find satisfaction in our friendships and social relationships. It’s what brings us together that makes us really happy and makes life satisfying. And to a great extent, the amount of stuff that we have, the frantic search for more stuff and more money to buy more stuff is profoundly disquieting….I think the transition town movement, and the voluntary simplicity movement, and the slow food movement, and the slow money movement, are all driven by people who recognize we were defrauded. That system never worked as it was purported to work."
© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies