The Big Picture
Earth Manifesto Insights
Dr. Tiffany B. Twain
human race has a greater capability to determine its own destiny than any other
species of life in the long history of the life on Earth. This is due to our ability to think and
reflect and understand and plan ahead to influence our destinies.
we are creating numerous adverse impacts on the ecological soundness of our
biotic environs. The growth of these
negative impacts arguably constitutes the most serious problem that we face. It surpasses and including all other
impacts are the consequence of two compounding factors: 1) the growth in per
capita consumption of food, water, resources and fuels, and 2) the rapid growth
in the number of people on Earth. Ways
of addressing these serious problems are easy to identify, but unfortunately,
taking bold action to correct these problems is hindered and opposed by
dominant economic, political and religious institutions.
must begin to live in sustainable ways. We must recognize and accept that we need to begin demonstrating a
responsible stewardship of the beautiful planet where we live. We are 100% dependent on it for food, fresh
water, healthy air, energy, and materials for shelter. Our every organ and sense is nearly perfectly
adapted to the current conditions of Earth, so it is irrational for us to so
obtusely upset these conditions that give us such providential sustenance. We must begin immediately to transform our societies
into sustainable ones by limiting our population growth and consuming more
economy is currently predicated upon growth.
When are essentially addicted to growth, no matter how detrimental some
of the components of this growth may be.
The nature and quality of growth must become more clearly
identified. Current measures of growth,
as defined by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) make little distinction between beneficial
increases and undesirable ones like healthcare inflation and greater military
spending and bureaucratic waste. Our
businesses are engaged in activities that are similar to a Ponzi Scheme that
will collapse unless new players and additional resources are continuously
pumped into it.
is increasingly obvious that someday soon we must figure out how to survive and
prosper without increasing consumption and a growing population. And it seems quite apparent to me that we
inevitably will either proactively choose to tackle these problems, or we will
suffer the consequences and be forced to address them at a later date when the
problems will be much more intractable and difficult to solve.
societies are myopically failing to consider how to redesign and restructure economic
activities to exist without endless growth. Our leaders are in denial, completely obsessed with doing what it
takes to stay in office. Corporations
strive daily to promote their products, often propagating deceptive information
to sell things and increase their profits.
All players in the game strive to keep the populace in ignorance in
order to continue with business-as-usual strategies that benefit irresponsible
corporations, rich people and other entrenched interests. This is almost always done at the expense of
the common good.
"ecological footprint" of consumption implies that on a long-term
basis, we would need three or four planet Earths to sustain our current levels
of production, consumption and population growth. Yet we have only one planet. We must direct our cleverness towards new ways of living
sustainably and a better quality of life, not a greater quantity of people
living in increasingly degraded habitats and ecosystems. We must transform our societies so that they
do not have structural and behavioral propensities that rely on resources to be
squandered to be successful. We must
cease marching lockstep towards a future overcrowded with desperate beings
fighting wars over depleted lands and dwindling resources. And we must find ways to keep the arrogance
of power from continuously humiliating the powerless.
are no other frontiers to which we can flee; there is no place to which we can emigrate where we can escape the
shortsighted economic and political paradigms of our dominant institutions and
self-promotion prepossessed politicians. We must face the truth, and effect intelligent change from within!
are animals at the height of our success in lording our exploitive power over
all other species. Many feel that this
is our Divine right, our special prerogative in a universe created especially
for us. A fundamental tenet of our
human worldviews and belief systems holds that we rightly have dominion over
all that "creepeth and crawleth upon the face of the earth." But deep ecology and our submerged spiritual
consciences whisper ever more urgently that this is ethically and morally
wrong, and that it is extremely risky. We
are suffering a crucial misunderstanding that severely threatens the well-being
of our species, now and in future generations.
have evolved from common ancestors long ago that did not have our reasoning
abilities. But we are faced today with
a clear choice: we can choose to live
like rabbits and die like rabbits, or we can more intelligently use our unique
abilities to understand and plan wisely. This course of action is best: to wholeheartedly accept more ecologically sound policies and
conservation initiatives, and to embrace family planning programs, and to
support the empowerment of women to freely choose contraceptives to reduce the
growth of our population.
have passed the tipping point on the seesaw of our success. The clear consequence of this is that our
reproductive success and our overly materialistic purpose-driven lives now
threaten the very foundations of the continued healthy existence of our
species. Our mercilessly competitive
and corrupt economic and political systems and our undisciplined consumption
activities are devastating the biological diversity of planet Earth. We are diminishing the capacity of
agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mineral extraction, and fresh water resources
to sustainably support our ever-growing numbers. We are turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the absolute
necessity for us to appreciate and respect the bounty of nature, and to
consequently live our lives with a more responsible stewardship of resources
may be preposterous to suggest that we will be able to change the mantra that
says that we must each always get MORE, no matter what we have. It may seem absurd to imagine human beings
transcending the antiquated vehemence of religious teachings and the power of
sexual drives to begin limiting the number of children born. Nonetheless, women are having fewer children per
capita in almost every country on earth. We are still in the midst of a dramatic demographic mega trend in
which millions of people are making an economic and social transition from a
rural agricultural society to an urban industrial society. In the former, additional children meant
cheap labor and greater security for families;
in the latter, more children means dramatically greater costs and less
food and resources for every family member, and a correlated increase in
the transition to fewer children is taking place too slowly. Within 30 years, there will be another two
billion people on Earth competing for food and resources. We must support and encourage people to use
contraception. We must not allow
religious extremists and right-wing politicians to obstruct progress towards a
must redefine progress to recognize true social well being. The aspects of growth that are distinctly
negative must be clearly accounted for and discouraged by means of an intelligent
and clearly prioritized system of incentives and disincentives. We must recognize the definite costs of
environmental degradation and resource depletion. There are uncertainties involved in these determinations, and
disagreements in what priorities we should support. But we must do a far better job of recognizing and including all
production costs in every product; we
must not allow so many costs to be externalized onto society. We must utilize science and innovation in
order to create better public policies, and redesign our economic and political
systems to eliminate stupid wastefulness and profligate pork barrel spending. An we must shift our priorities so that we
accomplish greater good goals like reducing time wasted in clogged traffic, and
taking into account the actual costs of poor mileage vehicles and greenhouse
gas emissions and global warming.
must also reevaluate the wrong-headedness of repressive social policies and
unjust elitist politics and investments in punishment rather than prevention,
particularly for victimless crimes. And
we must be more honest in accounting for the true costs of the arms race,
aggressive militarism, and preemptive warfare.
United States simply must alter its course. We must reduce the susceptibility of our political system to
domination by Big Money and corruption. We must reform our economy to be made sustainable for the long
term and to make it less dependent on militarism and disaster opportunism.
democracy must be made fairer and more representative of the best interests of
the people. We must make our societies
more flexible, more adaptable, more resilient, and more just, NOT more unfair,
more authoritarian, more closed-minded, more intolerant, and more reactionary. We must strengthen the checks and balances of
our Constitution to prevent political opportunists who pretend to be patriots
from advancing deceptive ideological propaganda and fooling the people into
supporting unjust aggressive wars, the torture of prisoners, foreign
occupations, and various other outrageous forms of power abuse.
American people need leadership that demonstrates honesty and integrity. We need a President who cares primarily about
the American people's best interests, not a deceiving cheerleader who puts
power, the wealthy elite, corporate profits, extractive industries, and
religious fundamentalists far ahead of citizens' well-being and the environment
and intelligent long-term planning. For
the best interests of future generations, we need sustainable economic policies
and sound ecological policies and cleaner energy sources.
need people in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department
who care about the environment, and they should not be former oil and mining
company lobbyists or executives. We
need officials in charge of the Food and Drug Administration whose primary
concern is the health of the public and the safety of foods, not religious
fundamentalism or the interests of giant drug company lobbyists. We need courageous statesmanship in the role
of Ambassador to the United Nations, an individual that represents the best
interests of the American people, not an ideological extremist like John Bolton
who has poor people skills and who opposes international cooperation.
need a Defense Department leader who defends America and makes us more secure,
not a tough ideologue that believes in aggressive preemptive warfare on other
countries. We need Supreme Court
Justices who are fair-minded, and who respect women's reproductive rights and
the privacy of American citizens and the protection of the environment. We need a Treasury Secretary and a Federal
Reserve Chairman that are honest about the shortsightedness of deficit spending
and who acknowledge that we should not foist costs on people in the future in
order to benefit people today. We need
experienced disaster-relief managers, not good old boy cronies in the job of
managing FEMA. These things I believe!
conclusion, we must prevent deceitful leaders from advancing doctrinaire
agendas that harm the public health, bankrupt the treasury, increase
inequities, make taxation more regressive, despoil the environment, and deplete
are word of passionate hope. They are
channeled from a dispassionate observer beyond individual minds, beyond the
psychic numbing of reinforced fears, beyond our graves, far beyond … from deep
in the well of our collective awareness where we can visualize that the world
could be a much better place, one with empathy and peace, one with social
justice and fairness, and one that is far more secure in its framework and constitution
principal argument herein is that the preservation of our species, and a
committed, caring concern about the impacts of our activities on future
generations, must override our narrow interests and selfish shortsightedness.
Our values and social perspective must shift from exploitation and domination
to a higher purpose of responsible stewardship!