Blog #10
(Part 2 of 5) We live in a world where planning extends to only months and years. The answer, HUMANITY 10,000: 65

Written by
Lory Kaufman

B) We live in a world where planning extends to only months and years:

(Spoiler alert: The answer, HUMANITY 10,000)

Companies must turn a profit every quarter and all adults must earn a living for themselves and their families every day. While it is very important, in any society, for capable adults learn how to take care of themselves, seldom do we recognize how the compromises we make while living out such short-term objectives effects the long-term survival of our planet. And when we do recognize our contribution to the collective harm we’re causing, the majority of us go back to our jobs the next day to keep the sausage machine turning. Why is this and what is the cure? I recognize this shortcoming in myself and the way I live my life. Going for a Sunday drive just for something to do, taking an airplane while on vacation, living in a much bigger house than I require, drinking coffee while knowing that the millions of acres that have been cut down in southern climes to grow the those brown beans have played a role in the drastic decline in the migratory songbirds I love to feed.

Again, why do even people aware of the ecological reality fail to act fully? Let’s take a look at the people who try to warn us about ecological destruction; scientists, writers, film makers and activists; when they do tell us about some particular aspect about the ecological dangers our world is facing, I believe something has been missing in the majority of their discourses meant to educate the public; something that causes the majority of us to close our eyes and ears and turn away from their warnings.

As I see it, the majority of ecological writing over past decades stresses how things are going badly for the planet and individuals must, “Quickly help humanity last another few decades so we don’t go extinct.”

While this is a worthwhile goal, in the majority of cases where people do embrace the idea of living sustainably, within weeks or months, a participation-exhaustion sets in. The reason for this is most ecological writing puts forth a worldview starting with descriptions of where humanity is at the present. Therefore, when people begin to really think about our ecological situation, the task of correcting the problems seems impossible, both as an individual responsibility and as a species. It’s as if one is standing before an insurmountable wall with no apparent way to scale it. This usually results in a feeling of hopelessness for those new to learning about ecology. It’s then followed not long after by emotional burnout and downright apathy. I know that feeling well. I’ve been there. What follows is a type of amnesia which sets in, where we forget the big problem we’re facing and fatalistically go about our lives.

Nature doesn’t need people – people need nature.”
— Harrison Ford

I therefore propose a slight shift in the theme, where we reframe the question to this;

“Given that humans began our journey of civilization some 10,000 to 13,000 years ago (that’s when our forbearers invented agriculture), what is a list of topic headings that would outline the most important changes our present society must undertake so humans can thrive on a healthy planet for another 10,000 plus years?”

This would be the list of principles, benchmarks and laws outlining the needed changes in both the public mindset and basic societal organization, which this writing is all about.
If we take this 10,000 year tack, it is my belief we elevate the discussion. Instead of standing before a wall, the viewer turns around and sees the long path humans have taken to get to where we stand today. The viewer can then take a few steps back and, with a perspective of the length of the journey we are continuing for our ancestors, the wall no longer seems as high, or our personal responsibility to correct it single handedly so overpowering.

Now each relevant topic about the journey behind us and in front of us becomes a conversation that takes individuals out of their lives and offers a bird’s-eye perspective of how humans got to where we are. I call this helping individuals gain “The Elder’s Perspective.” This is when someone seeks to gain the scientific knowledge of where we came from, and then develops a holistic opinion of what is best for our human tribe and all the billions of other life forms living on this tiny planet. I believe we can also call this wisdom. And what follows when a person develops wisdom? Perhaps the strength-of-character to engage, participate in and promote long-term lifestyle changes, and also the ability to avoid burnout.

He who refuses to learn deserves extinction”
— Rabbi Hillel

The overarching principal that all laws and individual’s actions must sustain a human society for the next ten thousand years in a healthy manner is not a new idea. The Seven Generations concept, attributed to a number of pre-European North American indigenous nations, dictates that every decision made must take in consideration the welfare of people seven generations into the future. It’s a concept that’s been recognized by environmental movements for a long time.

My proposal updates this, extending the target to as long as civilization has been around already, at least 10,000 years. It’s also important to understand when I say sustain a human society for 10,000 years in a healthy manner, it means the rest of the natural world has been allowed to keep itself healthy with no regard for humanity.

This is because the health of the planetary biosphere must come first. After all, if we compromise the health of the planet in any way, we won’t last. In fact, if we are successful in creating a disciplined long-term ten millennium plan and then our great grandchildren are persuaded by some sweet-talking politician or marketing company to allow a compromise or two , it could mean we last 500 years or even a thousand years before we get into trouble again and the underpinning of nature collapses.

I say 10,000 years, but I really mean forever or in perpetuity. Science is only beginning to be able to understand the complexity of Earth’s biosphere. But as scientists continue to accumulate knowledge, they will be able to point out how we must put into practice the proper scientific and lifestyle practices to ensure society’s longevity.

Structuring every decision to not have negative effects is virtually as difficult whether one is considering it for seven generations or ten thousand years. But the seven generations concept was developed before we had a true scientific perspective of our origins, and there’s a sweet synchronicity to mirroring the length of civilization’s past into the future. Sometimes poetic visions can capture a culture’s imagination, and a vision is necessary for any great enterprise or journey. And frankly, building a world-wide society that will last thousands of years is both.

In the landscape of extinction, precision is next to godliness.”
— Samuel Beckett

Latest Blogs
Blogs in Order
Blogs by Category


Leave your comments...



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *