Dear Marguerite, my reply is in “bold” formatting:


Me:

I am familiar with the ecological footprint test (http://www.rprogress.org). The trouble that I see with taking the test is (I actually did take it, a couple of month ago – did not quite pass it) that even if an individual would pass the test (and would be able to sustain such a holy lifestyle for a whole life-time), it would not have any significant impact on establishing of an ecologically and socially sustainable culture, because a culture can only be created, sustained, in context of a viable community, a community that would be able to exist comfortably on its own, without the need of interacting with any other human communities (under the extreme, hypothetical conditions). Thus taking the test is meaningful only in context of whole communities, I think.


You write: 

Most of us will find that in 'living' today's lifestyle, we are using up our resources at an unprecedented rate that cannot be met by Mother Earth.  Our life support system, which is a living, self-generating system, simply cannot renew itself at the same rate with which we are currently using our resources. (correct)  This means that we must cut back on our current useage dramatically or we will be forced into a position that foments war (this war might have started already a long time ago when a neighbor raided his neighbors’ food storage for the first time in the existence of humans on this planet) as we fight over vital decreasing resources that form the basic necessities of life: air, land, water, energy sources, etc.”


Me:

I don’t think that merely to “cut back” on what we currently are using would be quite enough. This is exactly what is being practiced today by many progressives, however – despite of so many people already having been practicing cutting back on their consumption for so many years – there are no indications that this practice is helping any. On the contrary – the despoliation of our environment, and the social difficulties are on the increase. What needs to be done is to (for starters only – this still would not have to be considered an ecologically sound practice, because of possible energy consumption issues) consume only as much as is naturally replaceable. Merely cutting down on consumption (and not wanting to go the whole way to the sustainable level of consumption) could not stop the depletion that is going on.


You write:

The definition (of “ecologically and socially sustainable”) that I use is: The condition in which all activities, individually and in concert, are conducted in ways that preserve the social and ecological foundation upon which they rest.

I am perfectly sure that you know what it means, the trouble is that your definition of “ecological and social sustainability” could mean a thousand things to a thousand people. Therefore I think that the tool that I am proposing for social designing (http://truehome.tripod.com/statpurp.html) would come to be very useful in just such cases. It would process your definition, together with the definitions of anyone else, against the all known Earth science and social science facts known so far and would be able to point out any ambiguities that there ever might be in the interpretation of individual definitions of “eco-socially sustainable” there ever might be.


You write:

Native Americans and other Indigenous People had developed a good sense of how to do this over thousands of years, learning as they evolved.  When the white man wiped them out in such large numbers, the vast 'meme' pool which had accumulated in this regard was largely lost. With this loss came a consequent disassociation from our Mother Earth which we humans feel in the form of 'alienation'.


Me:

The statement above is not entirely correct. There is ample archaeological evidence that many past “prehistoric” cultures (“prehistoric” in the context of the “Western” “civilization” history context) perished in connection with environmental degradation. Some cultures undoubtedly did live in balance with their environment, however – it is oft difficult to discern whether this was due to a conscious design, or as a default situation. In my senior year at the UH I attempted to discover an pro-environmentally oriented philosophy (that could be applied to designing of ecologically and socially sustainable communities out of the pre-contact Hawai’ian context) but did not get very far (see: http://truehome.tripod.com/499.html). Also, it would be very difficult to find any indigenous culture that would be still living a pure ecologically and socially sustainably nowadays. However – the “memes” that were connected with wholesome living on Earth do not have to be entirely extinct yet in any human population, especially among peoples who lived in harmony with their land in relatively recent past, and those memes could be resurrected, I believe, easily once people would want to consciously live so again. It all boils down to knowing consciously (in as minute detail as possible) what kind of life we want to live.


You write:

The consequent imbalance that came with our disassociation from our 'Earth Mother' has largely resulted in our dis-ease today and a consequent 'acting out' which shows up as 'symptons', e.g., violence, overconsumption, drug use, terrorism, development of weapons of mass destruction, and other aberrations that are not present in balanced societies.



Me:

There might be many theories why we have all those ills described above (and many others), - I think that it all stems from a very basic premiss our, by now already global, civilization is based on: exploiting everything and everybody faster than anyone else can, in order not to end up being exploited oneself. Addicts, the poor, the homeless, the hungry ones, the unemployed, war victims, the sick with “modern” diseases, etc. are the ones who lost in this mad, ongoing “rat race”, and notice that no-one is in any great hurry to help them in any significant way.

On the margin, - because you are familiar with the “ecological footprint” concept – since, if everybody on Earth should live as the average American we would need about five planet Earths to do it on, does it mean that there might be a lot of people who have to do it on much less than one Earth on the average? If so, might they, per chance, feel a bit miffed about it, and feel a bit critical about the way the folks in the First World live?


You write:

Jan, you have suggested developing a model for sustainability; however, I don't believe it possible to develop any 'one' model because the foundations upon which sociology and ecology rest differ from region to region.  For example a model for sustainability would develop differently in a hot, wet, moist Pacific region than it would in a hot, dry, arid region; however, there may be some 'general' conditions that would apply.  It appears that cultural differences developed in association with climatic conditions and are so very closely linked as to continue to evolve together.


Me:

I am sorry that I did not make myself better understood. The “model” that I am proposing should not really be called a “model” primarily, even though it would be one also. Rather it should be regarded as a tool for social engineering that would result in a model of the future society that would represent the outcome of all the ideas (models) that individual people might hold in their minds about their future after all their ideas would be co-ordinated with each other, and after all those ideas would be matched against/with all the knowledge that we have of Earth and social processes. Thus your friend Jim Bell might have developed a model (or at least a potential model) of a particular region, however, this model is still an idea only one individual holds. Should he use the social design tool that I am proposing in co-operation with all other people who would be living in that said region, all the co-operators would at the same time of designing a model for the region educate themselves about all the pertinent ecological and social issues that might arise during the design, and that, perhaps, they were not aware of previously. Let me, please know if I am making myself any better clear about the tool that I am trying to propose.

Also the tool could be used in as minimal application as a group comprising just a few people, or in larger situations as a forming community, a region, a continent, and even the whole Earth. It would all depend on (from among other things possibly) how good the available database would be, and how far the participants/co-operaters would like to pursue the designing of the which-ever-size of the putative community/region.


You write:

Which again, is why i feel it imperative that we develop Community Learning and Information Centers (CLICs http://www.jiva.org/programs/description.asp?program_id=4) worldwide in which members of individual communities may come together to learn how to live sustainable lifestyles all over again, and, in relationship to the respective region in which one lives.


Me:

As long as the final objective would be the establishment of truly sustainable communities, not only a pursuit of short-term goal objectives, that would be great! There are already a myriad of official organizations and NGO’s that concentrate on very limited issues (and as you mention elsewhere), and lacking any perspective beyond those objectives.

The tool that I am proposing would show clearly what ideas would be really ecologically and socially sustainable and which ideas would not be so, presenting clearly why that would be so.

I tried to look up a clear definition of the words “holodyne” and “holodynamics”, but could not find anything concise. However I feel that designing of the future should be opened to all people of all the various religious and ideological persuasions that there might be in the world, including those who consider “holodynamics” suitable to their personal tastes.

Keep in touch, I love you challenging my thought processes (such as there still might be persisting).

Aloha, Hearthstone.