Monday, May 29, 2006

Keep your eye on the Ball

1 Comments:

Anonymous john john said...

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS AN OXYMORON

A sustainable activity/lifestyle is one that will be viable for the life of the planet, (*)one that does not threaten biodiversity. Development is a natural process that every living organism undergoes which involves increased complexity and adaptability and requires no human intervention only celebration. Birth, initiation, confirmation, reproduction, responsibility, death and return to earth to become a part of another’s birth.

Some of the dictionary meanings of the word, "develop" are:
To free from that which infolds or envelops; to unfold; to
lay open by degrees or in detail; to make visible or
known; to disclose; to produce or give forth;
To unfold gradually, to bring through a succession of states or stages, each of
which is a preparation for the next; to form or expand by a
process of growth; to cause to change gradually from an
embryo, or a lower state, to a higher state or form of being.
To advance; to further; to prefect; to cause to increase; to promote the growth of.
To go through a process of natural evolution or growth,
by successive changes from a less perfect to a
more perfect or more highly organized state; to
advance from a simpler form of existence to one
more complex either in structure or function.

Etymologists are divided on how the word came into the vocabulary. It is related to envelop which at first does not appear helpful. One suggestion sees "develop" having its root in the French, d['e]veloper (the suffix, d['e]- coming from the Latin: dis-) + Old French: voluper, voleper, to envelop also from the Latin: volup meaning: agreeably, delightfully, and hence originally to make agreeable or comfortable by embracing, hugging. This is related to Voluptuous from the French, voluptueux, from the Latin., voluptuosus, from, voluptas meaning:
Full of delight or pleasure, especially that of the
senses; ministering to sensuous or sensual gratification;
exciting sensual desires; luxurious; sensual.
Given to the enjoyments of luxury and pleasure; indulging
to excess in sensual gratifications.

Following this train of thought the modern usage of the word, "Development" would sensibly mean "less pleasure".

Another likelihood is that it comes from the Old French des volopper. Volopper, the root of the word translates as to unravel or to unfold. Its meaning becomes obvious when we look further back to its Latin origin: vellum; i.e., the coat on the back of a sheep. A tangled mass of wool is, in other words, the inspiration for a number of words in at least three languages. In Italian the word, vellum is the root for avviluppare and sviluppare, which mean to envelop and to develop. The French and the English words are very similar and etymologically we are correct in saying the word "develop" has to do with an act of finding what is already there by unraveling and opening up.

This interpretation presents a great challenge to those among us involved in community and economic development. It obliges us to reconsider our role from the position where we develop by researching and implementing projects, which we believe will benefit the community, to a position, which says that the focus of development is within the human heart, head and hands. The only thing we can possibly do to foster real development is to create an environment conducive to the transformation of good ideas into viable and sustainable ventures. A shift from proactive to responsive can only occur, however, if we are capable of believing that people are intrinsically good and that the diversity, variety and apparent randomness of their passions is like the superficially, chaotic, yet ecologically sound life manifestations that can be found in an old growth forest.

To use a metaphor, "develop" means "removing the husk". The husk is an envelope that needs to crack open in order for the seed to germinate. To develop is more akin to gardening than creating from nothing. Certainly it is a more nurturing activity than a creative one. To develop implies a feminine, maternal, gardening activity aimed at creating the pre-conditions for germination and growth to occur.

Where the development model is tied to a concept of progress from backward, rural "primitive" to urban industrial "civilized," sustainability is a snare and a delusion. If six billion humans are to have paved roads, pipe born water and electricity the planet is doomed. If the goal is to emulate the "standard of living" of the consumer culture it will only be achieved at the expense of quality of life: fresh air, fresh water, soil integrity, local, diverse, chemical free food, safe clean energy, leisure and time in nature.

"Sustainable development" is only possible with downward mobility, "the owning class joining with the working class to set the world to rights." Downward mobility defined as, "The decline in the value of formerly status-laden items and simultaneous growth in the status value of just being satisfied. Self-affirmation will come by underspending incomes and exercising independence as consumers and workers, not by depending upon objects to establish worth"
* THE NATURAL STEPS,
FOUR SYSTEM CONDITIONS:

In order for society to be sustainable natures functions and diversity are not systematically:

1
Subject to increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels, mining metals and minerals will not occur at a rate that causes them to increase in the ecosphere. There are thresholds beyond which living organisms and ecosystems are adversely affected.
So: substitute metals scarce in nature for those that are more abundant, increase efficiency and systematically reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

2
Subject to increasing concentrations of substances produced by society. Humans will avoid generating increases in persistent substances (e.g. DDT, PCB’s) synthetic organic compounds which remain in the environment and accumulate in organisms higher up in the food chain causing dysfunction or volatile substances that destroy the ozone shield against UV radiation. (e.g. Freon)
So: substitute persistent and unnatural compounds with those normally abundant or which break down easily in nature.

3
Impoverished by physical displacement, over harvesting or other forms of ecosystem manipulation. Humans will avoid taking more from the biosphere than can be replenished by natural systems; will avoid encroaching upon nature by destroying habitats of other species. Biodiversity provides the foundation for ecosystems functions essential to sustain life on this planet. Society’s health and prosperity depends on the enduring capacity of nature to renew itself and turn waste into resource.
So: draw resources only from well-managed ecosystems, productively and efficiently exercising caution in any modification of nature.

4
Resources are used fairly and efficiently in order to meet human needs globally. Meeting this condition is the way to avoid violating the others. Achieving greater fairness is essential for social stability and the cooperation needed for making the large-scale changes necessary within the framework of the first three conditions
So: humanity must improve technical and organizational efficiency around the world and the affluent live using fewer resources. We must use all our resources responsibly so that the needs of all people now and in the future can be met.

10:18 PM  

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