What Do We Owe To Future Generations? (Part Two)


Brian distributed handouts with basic rules of conversational decency. We split into 5 smaller groups and had very controversial conversations about who owes who and what.

Among 8 people in our group we had a range of opinions – some thought that we owe nothing and are on the path of destruction; others – that we do owe something to future generations and our ecosystem, and should be consuming and polluting less but conserving and cleaning up more. There were also those who thought that our generation is mainly working on building technology and that is good enough to pass on future generations. But is that so? Is it really good to develop technology at odds with the surroundings? Check this out The Power of Technology.

I want to quote Sharif Abdullah again and give you two more analogies from his book “Creating the world that works for all”. Besides the rabbits story, I also like the story about The Keepers, The Breakers and The Menders.

“The Keeper story is the original story of humans. Keepers are people who live interconnected with their local ecologies and all other beings. They keep the ancient ways of living, perfected over eons of coexistence. Their story is based on a thought, “Living in harmony with all I encounter”, and an assumption, “The land is abundant”.

Keepers do not have a concept of the Earth as a whole; they are identified with their local ecologies. Within those ecologies, they have, over the course of a million years or more, achieved a dynamic equilibrium with all beings, including human and non-material beings.

We are Breakers: The Earth and everything in it were created for Man, we have the right and the responsibility to place all of it under our control. Because there is not enough for all, the world must be conquered in order for us to exist. We do not live in the Web of Life; we live on top of it. Our story is simple wilderness is bad, human control is good.

We call ourselves by many names, most of them positive or benign; civilizers, settlers, pioneers, missionaries, explorers, industrialists. We will continue to control and dominate all life forms, including humans who are not like us, because control is good.

We are Menders: We believe the Earth and our fellow humans need to be healed from the excesses of exclusivity and we live our daily lives in accordance with this belief. We used to be Breakers, but are consciously turning away from that dead-end path, away from the glitter and allure of the Breaker society. Our goal is to live as a consciously integral part of a living, conscious and sacred planet, to catalyze a new era, the Mender era.

Our task is simple and profound: to heal the damage caused by the Breakers, those who act as though the Earth and all of her inhabitants were their property. We vow to stop Breaker destruction and begin to restore the balance between the Earth and humanity within this generation.

We Menders are Breakers in recovery. Breaker history is our history. We are not arrogant enough to think that our problems are someone else’s fault. We consciously reject all privileges that have come to us at the expenses of other’s lives, freedom or comfort.

The Mender story is in harmony with an ancient story, one as old as the Earth itself. We honor the Keepers, who show us the way of wisdom. We honor the Breakers, who show us the way of technology. We heal the damage. We are Menders.

Lester Milbrath speaks eloquently about the nature of this change in his book, “Envisioning a Sustainable Society”. He compares the story of our planet to a yearlong movie. If the movie starts in January and ends (at the present) in December, life itself shows up in March. He goes on to state:

“Compared to most other species, humans have lived on planet earth for a very brief time, (only 11 minutes of our year-long movie). During most of that time humans have lived in harmony with nature; their home was that environment in which they evolved. It is only very recently that our species created an unnatural home for itself as it set out to dominate nature. In that brief period (only 2 seconds of our year-long movie), we have built a civilization that cannot sustain itself”. Or can it?

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