It is no secret that humanity faces an unprecedented crisis of global magnitude that threatens our viability and future sustainability on Planet Earth. In many parts of the Global North, we are suffering from the consequences of using up natural resources at a far higher rate than can be replenished. The production of many essential biological/physical resources has already peaked. Forest, fisheries and coral reefs are damaged and disappearing; soils are impoverished by over-cropping and the use of chemicals; diversity has been reduced by genetic manipulation; reserves of fresh water are diminishing and today over half of the world’s population is facing critical water shortage.
Climate change threatens to make a large extension of our planet unsuitable for food production and habitation. Already changing weather patterns are creating droughts, devastating storms, wide spread harvest failure and rising sea levels that floods coastal cities and lands. Looming on the horizon is ‘peak oil’ with its coming adjustments and retrofits including the ongoing conflicts over the remaining fossil energy resources.
All of these problems are well documented, but gaining awareness of the extent of the problem is just half of the task of becoming educated these days. The other half is acquiring practical skills, analytic abilities and philosophical depth to remake our human presence on Planet Earth. Without appropriate skills and training, we may not be able to deal with the complex interwoven, trans-disciplinary issues involved in the redesign of our lifestyles and in the transition of our communities and societies before it’s too late.
The Global Ecovillage Network’s (GEN) view is that all of the above problems originate from a worldview of separation, fragmentation and reductionism and that only systematic approaches are likely to address the new generation of global survival problems, carried out in a true spirit of global solidarity and connectivity that recognizes that a culture of peace, localization and sustainability is the only viable path forward.
A comprehensive change of consciousness is emerging within the human community that may free us from the reductionism and materialistic worldview that has dominated in the last few centuries. Society is beginning to recognize the social virtues of frugality, simplicity and a sense of oneness.
Reconsidering the words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve problems with the same mindsets that created them”. In the language of spiral dynamics, we need to move from the first to the second tier. We need to raise our consciousness several rounds in the evolutionary spiral. In summary we need a worldview vision and values that are aligned to collaborating actions. Every human being endowed with consciousness can decisively form it. There are workable alternatives to the way we do things today that could help us deflect the trends that move us towards crisis and pave the way towards a more sustainable and peaceful new civilization. The GEN Dimension of sustainability therefore integrates the four pillars of Ecology, Economy, Social and Worldview in a holistic approach.