a disconnect between jobs and nature

How is the myth of job creation over sustainability destroyed? How do people learn that sacrificing biocapacity now will lead to irreversible job losses in the future? Biodiversity loss is not reversible, neither is runaway climate change, and these will affect the ability of our ecosystems to function healthily and to an optimum, and in turn provide us with priceless ecosystem services. All jobs essentially come from nature, certainly agriculture does, which employs 1.37 billion people worldwide. And without minerals, energy, land, watersheds, forests that produce oxygen, a climate that regulates temperature, rainfall and storm events, we would not be able to function as societies. What is so hard for people to link is that we have the ability now, to alter all of these things we so take for granted. Every day we get up, we expect reasonably predictable weather, water, and food. When things go wrong, we will not be questioning nature, because surely nature is a static and a given, an unchangeable template. It must be government, it must be the way we manage our societies. But does this adequately answer why we ignore nature?

Perhaps it comes from the function of people having immediate needs. Those needs being supplied to them is viewed as a function of whichever political party is in power of government. Hence we see Berlusconi being given the boot, and the Greek prime minister on his way out as well. And while certainly leaders play a very important role, I am quite certain some of what we are coming up against does come from meeting our environmental limits, especially in terms of rising food prices.

Perhaps the problem can be viewed as being one of understanding. Our education system values the sciences, languages and sports, all validly so, but is it leaving something out? While in the process of developing our education system, based on the enlightenment and the industrial age, we lived in a world of seemingly plenty, where it would have been considered a joke that we could have any kind of overwhelming influence on climate, or the existence of species, etc. These things were taken for granted, and were as much a given as the air we breathe. So, our education system has lagged, as all massive global systems do. The larger the entity, the greater the lag time in introducing change. We have not integrated speedily enough the value of environment into our education and governing institutions and our social fabric. We do not yet formulate well enough the connection between nature and ourselves, our utter dependence on nature, and how our consumption, our transport modes, city planning, energy use is all harming the earth. We do not teach our children that it can be another way, and that it must.


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