For many centuries, the dominant culture has been increasingly praising those who destroy ecologies and make a profit. These same people control most media, so the public is often unaware of the extent of the damage done. Clear-cutting is the removal of forests, prairies, wetlands, and other natural resources; the bottoms of oceans are scraped; the tops of mountains are blown off; the injection and contaminating earth with poisons; and the removal Indigenous communities that hinder the process (see interview with ecophilosopher Eileen Crist). Here).
Instead of being disgusted by this superkilling (Ralston 1991), the dominant cultures spokespersons hail these CEOs and billionaires as conquering heroes. The profiteering of eco-destruction is celebrated rather than condemned. It wasn’t always this way.
Most societies prevent one person from accumulating material wealth, value or power. For example, in egalitarian societies it is possible to insult the meat of a successful hunter and in chiefdoms to give everything away. (Gowdy 1998). Concentrating power is prevented by being closely watched.
Ingold, 2011, Merchant, 1983; Turner 1994; Turner 1994). Harvey, 2017, stated that the other-than-human world was alive and sentient. The world had many powers beyond human comprehension. It was important not to be reckless, arrogant or wasteful towards the rest of nature in non-state societies. Retaliatory harm to oneself and others would result from such violations of relationships with the other-than human.
Science, philosophy, and Western religion shifted their focus to humanity. The world is their oyster, and humans are unique.
Rene Descartes popularized a mechanistic view of the universe with which he was infatuated (Capra & Luigi 2016, 2016). Descartes believed, like many others of his time, that you had to be able to feel anything. As only humans had souls and vivisection (dissecting alive animals) was something Descartes practiced during the 16th-17th centuries, his cries were like those of a machine. This is what it sounds like Torture continues to be done to animalsBy big business and predatory sciences.
How did the orientation to power get stuck in reverse, to accepting/condoning/admiring concentrated wealth? Over the last few centuries, settled states have become rigidly hierarchical. They use force to secure slaves and keep everyone in their respective places below the aristocracy at top (royalty or priests). Writing was first used to describe myths and justify hierarchical societal structures. Scholars justified colonialism as a matter based on white male superiority. The rest of the world was to be controlled and used by the superior group. (Moore, 2009).
Capitalism was promoted in order to prevent religious wars within Europe. This meant that people would shift their attention to obtaining things in this life rather than fighting over who gets into the next. Capitalism was justified through the flipping of virtue and vice. Instead of being mortal sins like greed, envy, gluttony and pride that separate you from God, they were suitable for motivating work and wealth accumulation. Vices fueled capitalism.
The view of white-European supremacy meant taking land from non-Christians was permissible, as various doctrines, legal mandates, and examples made clear (e.g. Doctrine of Discovery). Additionally, the lives and properties of animals and plants were available for human use. Legal harvesting was the taking over of the commons (land, sea). It was not believed that the other-than human world had agency or its own purposes.
This combination of white male superiority, human supremacy, capitalism-as-virtuous has led to the three sins hunter-gatherers avoid for their seeding of karmic harm: arrogance, carelessness, and wastefulness. The karmic response to this is evident in the four horsemen who are the environmental apocalypse. (Wilson, 1991). However, we can now list more than 4 (see Crist, 2019 and Kolbert, 2014).
- Global warming
- Atmospheric degradation
- Massive toxification and contamination of soil, air, and waters causing disruption to biological processes, individuals, as well as ecologies
- Mass extinction and the elimination of biodiversity
- Ecological system destruction and the extinction of all life on Earth (land, waterways and air)
- Invasive species take over ecological systems
- Human expansionism through overpopulation and overuse, and all other means.
- Monocultures that are destructive to the land.
If the root cause of these problems is human supremacy as many ecologists argue, then how can we change the page to a more egalitarian viewpoint?
Immersion in the natural world is one of the most effective ways to improve your psyche and place on the planet.
Spending time in the natural environment where you live, or sitting down in a spot to observe the non-humans, can increase one’s receptiveness to the communication between the other-than human (Young, Haas & McGown,2000). These and other practices help to build ecological comfort and attachment as well as a sense that you care about the natural world and ecological knowhow.
Here These simple daily nature connection practices were developed from a successful experiment that my students and me conducted over 28 days (Kurth Kohn, Bae & Narvaez 2020). More ideas for kids Here.