Happy Earth Day!
Today is Earth Day and as a professional environmentalist, I feel like I’d be negelecting my responsibilities if I didn’t make the obligatory Earth Day post.
Economics has been on my mind a lot recently. Back when I was living in the Canyon, we were drinking cocoa and talking around the campfire about, given our environmental degrees,what we wanted to do when we grew up (we were 20). How could we use our knowledge for good? The general concensus was that we all wanted to be ‘productive members of society’. Then my friend Bonnie quietly said ‘Being productive is easy. I’d rather work towards being a compassionate member of society’.
That really stuck with me.
So, going with that thought, here’s a link to a new book which presents an entirely different model for mass global economies.
The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics By: Riane Eisler
Accomplished feminist social theorist and activist Eisler follows up her 1987 international bestseller The Chalice and the Blade with an inquiry into the nature and causes of “the real wealth of nations” in a contrarian work of grand economic theory. She begins with her original thesis: that we inherit and inhabit a personal and social world that masculinity has built by consistently devaluing and subordinating the feminine. Pointing out the socially and ecologically destructive flaws inherent in both capitalist and socialist economies, she then asserts that our emerging global society needs a new story of what human nature and economics are and can be. For Eisler, economies are social inventions imbedded in larger social systems. She offers a clearly written and compelling account of how the masculine “dominator” mentality brought us to our present juncture, and how a feminine “partnership” mentality can help us redefine key concepts such as “value” and “needs.” Citing the most recent economic data and offering numerous relevant examples of places where efforts to practice a caring economics have succeeded both in preindustrial and modern societies, such as the Nordic nations, the book is ambitious in breadth, depth and scope. Eisler delivers another impressive work that’s remarkably well referenced, well argued, insightful and hopeful.
And here are some of my favorite websites for keeping up to date on new research and the happenings within the environmental community (it’s not just for hippies anymore!)
Orion Magazine: nature/culture/place
(my favorite place to go when I want to get beyond the science and get a holistic perspective on environmental issues. This publication is truely fantastic)
The Journal Nature
Living on Earth: Sound Journalism for the Whole Planet
(this week’s episode talks about why the environmental community has historically been populated with white Baby Boomers and what they’re doing to fix it. I have my own thoughts on that but not enough time to write about it now)