Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Follow nature and avoid collapse

Neoclassical economists, business gurus, the Republican Party and every high school teacher that ever gave C+ to a slacker sophomore would have us believe that human society cannot function successfully without competition among its members.

In life, we’re told, there are either winners or losers. There’s no other option.
 
So you better be smarter, work harder, get luckier and be born richer than the other guy or gal unless you want to wind up on the junk heap of history. Or even natural history, because, as Social Darwinists assure us, competition governs the natural world too.
 
I want to be a mushroom when I grow up
Ellen LaConte begs to differ. Her new book Life Rules: Nature’s Blueprint for Surviving Economic and Environmental Collapse argues that humanity today is hardly the natural and desirable climax of eons of evolution of life. Instead, industrial capitalism is more like an infection ravaging the natural order, a kind of AIDS for the Earth, to use her metaphor.
 
If you study nature, you’ll find that there’s much less competition than cooperation.
 
“The economic relationships between and among communities at the level of the biosphere are sympathetic and circumstantial,” LaConte writes.
By contrast, industrial capitalism has led to a perfect storm of problems — climate change, peak oil, overpopulation, species extinction heading the list — that LaConte has dubbed Critical Mass,
Critical Mass is the Earth’s equivalent of AIDS…Just as the diverse parts of the immune system are scattered throughout our bodies, Earth’s diverse natural communities and ecosystems have in the past worked together to provide the same sort of protective, defensive and healing services for Life as a whole that our immune systems provide for us….Life evolved its own version of an immune system. And our activities are threatening to undermine it.
Extending this human-society-as-AIDS image  is LaConte’s original contribution to the discussion of peak everything started by environmentalists like Bill McKibben and peak oilers like Richard Heinberg and James Howard Kunstler.
 
If AIDS is your issue, you may find that extending the autoimmune metaphor over three-hundred-odd pages is a fresh way to explain the unsustainability of industrial civilization. But you’ll need a high tolerance for medical references and word coinages like “Earthonomical” to make it through to LaConte’s conclusion.
 
********************
 

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Make connections via our GROUPS page.
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.


Ruin is forever: When the precautionary principle is justified

If you are dead, you cannot mount a comeback. If all life on Earth were …

As Obama Settles on Nonbinding Treaty, "Only a Big Movement" Can Take on Global Warming

As international climate scientists warn runaway greenhouse gas emissions …

Should Your Town Have the Right to Ban Fracking?

If we want to secure community control, we must plant our feet...on the …

Burning the Budget

The U.S. Forest Service is spending so much of its money fighting fires that …

Climate Comeback: A Grassroots Movement Steps Back Into the International Arena

The citizens’ movement for action on the global climate crisis has, …

Mideast Water Wars: In Iraq, A Battle for Control of Water

Conflicts over water have long haunted the Middle East. Yet in the current …

What the Anti-Fracking Movement Brings to the Climate Movement

It turns out that the same unfixable engineering problem that sets the table …