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!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


Calls For Immediate Shutdown Of Illegal California Injection Wells As Regulators Host 'Aquifer Exemption Workshop'

California is a leader in renewable energy, which makes its commitment to …

Deep Concerns as Climate Impacts on Gulf Stream Flow

Climate scientists have once again confirmed an alarming slowdown in the …

As Himalayan Glaciers Melt, Two Towns Face the Fallout

For two towns in northern India, melting glaciers have had very different …

Swarthmore Students Launch First Indefinite Occupation for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Last week, 44 students and alumni of Swarthmore...launch[ed] an occupation …

Your Money or Your Life: Can We Afford to Work for Peanuts?

The old cliché of a mugger's threat sums up well the choice before us …

Nile River Nations Agree to Cooperate, but Danger Lurks for One of Planet’s Great Wetlands

Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia …

Naomi Oreskes on “Merchants of Doubt”  

Naomi Oreskes, co-author of the book Merchants of Doubt believes that seeds …