Environmental Consciousness

Environmental consciousness is a pivotal transition in the way that we human beings think and behave. Whilst the fashionable trend of ‘GOING GREEN’ is a positive step in the right direction, the subsequent step forward, is to become an environmentally conscious individual.

It has become increasingly apparent that the more we allow the Earth’s environment to become spoiled and disrupted, the greater the negative knock-on effect on us.

Because we did not pay sufficient attention to this simple fact in the past, we are now facing a number of serious threats to human health and well-being including:

Climate Change and Global Warming,
Pollution of our Air, Water and Soil
Loss of Marine Life and Earth’s Biodiversity
Natural resources being used up faster than the Earth can recover or reproduce.

While we do need to take remedial action to deal with these threats, it is important that we also look at the underlying causes. We need to recognize that all of these threats are symptoms and effects of the mind-set and value systems that caused them. If we wish to fix these symptoms and effects, then we have to begin by ‘changing our minds’.

We need to consider that there are sub-conscious values and drivers that contribute to the destruction of our Environment.

Destructive Drivers

Ignorance – simply not knowing any better
Short-term thinking – not taking the long term consequences into consideration.
Isolated or Insular thinking – not recognising that everything is interconnected and that therefore certain actions which may be beneficial for one aspect or part may actually be harmful when looked at in context of the whole.
Selfish thinking – not caring about the consequences and effect on others.
Greed – taking much more than you need.
Dogma – insisting on doing things in a particular way (irrespective of the consequence) because that’s the way they have always been done in the past or because that’s the way a certain Authority says that they should be done.
Combative attitudes – whilst competition can be healthy as it encourages growth and improvement, excessive and unnecessary competition (involving damage to or destruction of, a competitor or their resources) is not healthy for people or the environment.
Consumer culture – It is a recognised fact that human beings are currently consuming quantities of Earth’s resources faster than the Earth can recover or replenish these resources. This is driven by a cultural value system that implies that the more you have, consume and own, the higher your position in society. Each individual is therefore directly motivated by this culture to acquire an ever increasing quantity of material assets.
“If you keep doing what you have always done – don’t be surprised if you keep getting the same results”.

So if these values and mind-sets are the underlying drivers of our environmental and social troubles, then the next logical step is to identify the opposite ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS and values that can guide our actions toward a healthier planet and society.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS SHIFT

Ignorance; needs to be replaced by — Environmental knowledge and awareness
Short term thinking; – needs to be replaced by — Long term thinking & planning
Isolated thinking; needs to be replaced by — Systems thinking and holistic perspectives
Selfishness; needs to be replaced by — Care and consideration for the whole of Earth’s community ( human and non-human )
Greed; needs to be replaced by — Generosity and simplification of lifestyle
Dogma; needs to be replaced by — Logical, rational reasoning and understanding
Combative attitudes; need to be replaced by — Collaboration and co-operation
Quantity of consumption; needs to be replaced by — Quality of consumption whereby products are valued for their ;
Quality of performance
Durability of lifespan
Minimal environmental impact in both manufacture and usage
Values

There is no way that a sufficiently comprehensive set of EC rules could be developed that could adequately prescribe the appropriate responses to every conceivable situation that could arise in the future. This is why thinking about our current social and environmental challenges from a ‘value system’ perspective is so much more practical and useful. It empowers us to work out our own solutions to our challenges in our own way – simply applying an acceptable value system in a conscious way.

Author unknown…

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7 thoughts on “Environmental Consciousness

  1. Well said!

    One of my favorite bloggers posted this post http://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/man-i-wish-you-were-never-born/
    this morning. I don’t think people believe or want to believe but we are headed for destruction if people don’t wake up. Some days, when I speak about the exploitation of animals and our planet, I am met with blank stares or apathy which often times makes me feel like I am living in the Matrix — some of us have swallowed the pill that has awoken us to our reality, while everyone else is still under the influence of the system. It’s been a while since I have seen the movie so I forget which pill was which but I’m sure you get my point. Some of us are awake, the rest of the world is asleep — narcotized by reality TV and anti-depressants.

    • For sure – this was also so obvious to me while I was doing face-to-face fundraising for Greenpeace Africa. The willful ignorance that people choose when given the opportunity to learn. SO frustrating, especially when it’s not only themselves they’re damning, but also the rest of us that are trying to be conscious.

      • Well said.

        I have a friend who only seems to care about reality TV (mainly the real housewives), shopping, decorating, visiting her family and… People magazine. She doesn’t seem to take an interest beyond her own life. I cannot convey to her that her apathy will mean future destruction for her niece (her neice is only 2 years old). By the time her niece is an adult, I highly doubt Elephants, Rhinos, Tigers, Lions, Dolphins, Whales et al. will be around… I hate to be such a gloom and doomer but I swallowed the pill, I’m awake and now that I know, I’m not going to stop until something changes.

        People like us have to stick together.

        p.s. I loved your comment: “Willful Ignorance” Beautifully said and so true.

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