Some food for thought for 2014….

I read Charles Eisensteins’ book ‘Sacred Economics’ a couple of years ago, and at the time I remember thinking that I’d never read anything that resonated more.  Recently I watched this video, based on the concepts in the book, and I wanted to share it on the blog – just to show that this trip isn’t just about kite surfing and sailing, but it’s about more than that.  It’s a trip of discovery, a trip to connect with nature, a trip to hang out with dolphins and the ocean every day, a trip to explore remote communities, a trip to learn more about traditional ways of life, a trip to remember the past and think of how we can use that past for our future.  I guess for me I’m purposely avoiding the ‘real world’ – you know – the one where you sit at a desk all day, inside a box, and feel satisfied creating paper mounds and looking at screens. I’m sorry if this offends, I don’t mean to discourage those who are doing amazing work every day, I just mean to say that that journey is not for me, not right now anyway. When working as an engineer, as I was, you learn a lot about progress – you build stuff, you help society, and one might say it’s a noble profession, and of course it is.  But at this time I don’t want to be a part of it. At this time, more than ever, I think that we have to remind ourselves that when you make something in one place, you must take things from another place.  So it is very important that we don’t target growth for growths sake, that we are selective in our development, careful with what we take, and careful with what we create.

There are two key points from the video that I’d like to extract…

1)   The current economic system relies on growth.  We know this from any news report, remaining stagnant is not an option, we must grow to develop, the good graphs go up not down, GDP must rise, we must rise. No wonder we’re all so busy.  But if I’m not mistaken endless growth in a world of finite resources is not only impossible, but furthermore it doesn’t necessarily make us happy either? Studies have shown that once basic needs are met only small gains in happiness result from further consumption.

So how can we go forwards and at the same time preserve our natural environment? As talked about in the video every time we make a product we are merely taking something from nature and turning it into a commodity to sell.  Of course there are so many useful life changing products that help people every day, we cannot discount this, but we need to transition to an economic system that doesn’t rely on growth to sustain itself. One that will allow us to reuse, and recycle, without it being a threat to the economy. An economic system that will allow us to use less, buy less, replace things less, and buy things that last a lifetime. As Charles Eisenstein suggests a monetary system is just an agreement between people, and we need to change this agreement to work with the environment not against it.

2)   You can’t just create community in a monetized world, you need to have interdependence to have a community.  There are still many people in this world that live in a community, in places like the Philippines, in the Marshall islands where we are now – so we can look to these examples if we want to rediscover our communities.  But is this really that important? Well it depends on whether you value sharing, laughter, and collaboration – to give and be given to.  Yes we have this within our families and friends, but we can also neglect those from a wider group. As our world becomes more digitized we spend less time interacting with others, less time popping over to see neighbours, and even family, less time on informal chat.  If we want a bigger support network and more humanity then I believe community is important – it is what builds spirit and ensures a sense of connection and greater good.

And if you liked all of the above then this one of Robin and my favourites…

Ok that’s enough philosophy for now…

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