From Waste and Overconsumption to an Ecology of Hope

I hope to bring you a New Year of inspiration by starting with Frances Moore Lappe’s beliefs that solutions to today’s global crises are within reach.  In her book, “EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want”, she draws on research in climate, anthropology and neuroscience to find ways of thinking that are in sync with nature’s rhythms.

Embracing an “EcoMind” means everything is connected and change is the only constant.  Co-creating our future moment to moment, preparing for surprises and knowing we can’t  possibly know everything our world challenges us with can encourage us to work towards solutions that benefit us all.  None of us would ever consciously choose the world we are currently creating together.  But we can use the power of ideas to make our choices life serving, sustainable and aligned with nature.

Frances Moore Lappe explains our current way of thinking with seven “thought traps”. Like growth is killing our planet, so we must adopt no-growth economies.  These thoughts defeat us by evoking fear.  Fear actually makes most people more materialistic and self-centered.  Furthermore, most of us experience growth as positive.  So, when our economics are about waste and destruction hidden by exclamations of growth, we need to understand the relationships that generate waste and destruction from plenty and see why our species actually creates scarcity instead of growth.

EcoMind also builds on the idea of a living democracy – a set of values that permeate every dimension of life.  Values of inclusion, fairness and mutual accountability can create what we can’t yet imagine.  A living democracy aligns human nature with mother nature.

We have the ability to experience and understand our planet’s challenges because we’re “soft-wired” for cooperation, empathy, and fairness along with a deep need to solve problems, create communities and find love.  We need to be connected.

Frances Moore Lappe encourages us to create the rules and norms that elicit these positive qualities and keep  our equally obvious capacities for cruelty in check. Three conditions that seem pretty sure to elicit the worst in us are concentration of power, secrecy, and a culture of blame.  Good rules and boundaries offer meaning, a sense of purpose and connectedness to others (think of the Ten Commandments or the Bill of Rights or simply traffic rules).  A new set of rules are in need.

We can find relief and direction in nature’s nonarbitrary, infallible rules.  The whole map is all ready laid out for us to respect and follow.  We learn more and more about this map everyday and the message of interconnectedness is obvious.

What rules do all people love?  Those that make sense to us because we can see how they serve us, make our lives better and respect us because the rule-makers are listening to our obvious natural surroundings.  Freedom comes from choice.  We can use our natural powers to make good life giving decisions for our planet and ourselves.  Wouldn’t you feel really good to take a deep, freeing breath of clean, fresh air and give a sigh of relief for our being’s real success this year?

How You Can Help:

  • Create a “New Rules” section for your own brain.
  • Share it with others.
  • Find ways to connect with and serve our environment everyday.

Until next week,

Garbage Girl


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