In Pursuit Of Growth
A New world ecology is coming and the world must be prepare to be part of it. It is coming as a wind of change. To enlighten the global citizens to embrace happiness and joy of living within few materials, being contented to our basic needs. Instead of being driven by wants that are insatiable, the world will be driven by an awakened and acknowledged need to grow and change, thinking differently about the old ways and means of doing things and of seeing things.
The outside and inside of man response to economic growth and a need for change
Prince Edike C.
Humanity is confronted by host of challenges and one of the pervading misconceptions of our time is the urge for growth and development undermining the environment and unjustly distributing the resources at the plights of the people cosigned at the margin of the our globe.
Mankind needs energy to fuel the processes that create light, heat, shelter, transportation and goods -the basis of our modern civilization. Yet as the world’s population grows, so does the demand for improved quality of life leaving us with huge crisis between our survival and the environment. With the daily increase in energy consumption, resources usage, uncheck population in many parts of the world and pollution, a threat web is spreading across our clean air that we need in order to breathe, food that we want to eat, clean and pure water that are essential for our survival and to the fertile soil that would support our existence as specie. Those natural resources are neither inexhaustible of our greed nor impenetrable to our toxic waste. Pollution has to be seen as waste that’s as bad for economic growth as it is for the environment.
At the core of the major shift into sustainable development in the recent years, lies the need to objectively re-create and re-inform the environmental consciousness paradigm within every sector of minds in the society, both in developed and none developed nations today. The efforts by many of the works we see today on development and economic policies have been commendable but more has to be done in the area of awakening our consciousness to balance the reality that our needs and wants have created. Some would rather, concentrate on how the developing countries should work harder and to keep pace with the speed the developed world has subjected the globe into which according to countless warning and reports about the state of our planet, isn’t the best way to go nor the best remedy for the damage that had already been done to our ecosystem.
Environmental degradation due to economic growth is undeniable, and so is the fact that mankind is responsible for it. Taking responsibility for this as individual is difficult because it seems daunting and overwhelming, we feel so helpless and it is hard to know where to start. Our inner motivation should come from our various religions foundations and I believe that each of us by the virtue of what we believe or what drives us, talks about what it takes to grow, to endure and to help others. The fact that we are all human living on planet earth that has supported us for generations and same human that got its first strength from the umbilical cord of our mothers when we are in the womb, may be the best measure we have for what it means to be undifferentiated from Earth.
Would the economic growth of all the nations of the Earth save us and the planet at the end?
The evidence of lost in man’s hedonistic way is written everywhere on the planet. The words of Daisaku Ikeda explain it all “when the inner universe exists in harmony, life’s energy is transformed creatively into compassion, love, wisdom and reason. However, when the inner universe has lost its essential rhythm, the energy takes destructive, aggressive, domineering forms like greed and evil impulses, which convert the inner life into a desolate wasteland”, which is what we are witnessing today in our world. What is this telling you? It is saying our minds need attention and when that attention is denied, the mind will take solace in other things to express itself. Our land, water, air and the system are polluted because our minds are, as well. There the only panacea to the problems associating with growth is of the mind and the mind has to be re-oriented and re-engineered to think and work better in harmony with the universe.
A change in lifestyle and development perspective, a more careful and caring use of the earth’s resources and greater cooperates and equity in sharing the benefits as well as the risks of our technological civilization should be the focus of the major stakeholders in this sustainability race. A balance has to be made also by objectively exposing some of the trade-offs and worries the developed world has come in terms with along their journey.
A new world consciousness is inevitable, as we move along the 21st century, must unite us all in a global partnership which always recognizes and respects the health of our only one earth and her people. We have to make sure that the routes and intents from the various players’ locations and their fields be objectively scrutinized and well understood for the weak in the society not to follow bad developmental model, lest the journey would be in futile for all. The free riders, watchers and the bearers of all our environmental woes have to be properly “characterized”, “compensate” and “be compensated” accordingly.
“when the inner universe exists in harmony, life’s energy is transformed creatively into compassion, love, wisdom and reason. However, when the inner universe has lost its essential rhythm, the energy takes destructive, aggressive, domineering forms like greed and evil impulses, which convert the inner life into a desolate wasteland”
The developed nation’s concept of using finite resource to create power and wealth is logical in some senses but needs to be reexamined and re-communicated to the developing countries that are more vulnerable to nature and economic negative pops. The dare consequence of pursuing growth at the expense of the environmental; which is far more valuable, need to be realized and considered when making any economic decision generally. The third world nations to my observation haven’t seen growth as a concept with huge trade-offs if not managed sustainably. In order to tackle poverty and be happy, they are preparing to adopt western ways and accept the environmental problems, resources drain and overuse, and debt of part of the packages. Few in the developed section of the globe took much notice of the problems of the South, and have articulated about this negative approach to development. Some even went further to criticize globalization and the exploitative intents of the West; in guise of economic cooperation and collaboration.
The plots of events that followed the industrial revolution have exposed the ill-effects of uncontrolled growth, competition for supremacy and of course the side effects of civilization based on competence without moral conscience. The bearers of the consequences are still unaware of some of the trade-offs to make alongside what they seek in order to grow like the West. However, even as wall of separation between the poor and the rich starts crumbling, due to the globalization positive waves, the third world nations are still confronting what they inherited from some of their formal colonies. They would rather cling to the dust of the walls that once distanced them in the past. The effect is seen when you visit any of the developing countries. They still face problems related to poverty. Issues such as corruption, bad management, dictatorship contributed to the problems. It could be argued that the third world is its own worst enemy as they keep leaning of exposed fallen walls of the West.
A New world ecology is coming and the world must be prepare to be part of it. It is coming as a wind of change. To enlighten the global citizens to embrace happiness and joy of living within few materials, being contented to our basic needs. Instead of being driven by wants that are insatiable, the world will be driven by an awakened and acknowledged need to grow and change, thinking differently about the old ways and means of doing things and of seeing things. It is one of the many steps to becoming successful as a nation and wealth will no longer be limited to just papers but how happy we feel deep within. We will no longer lose ourselves on things that are of less value than our connectedness as human. No country is immune from the side-effects of unsustainable approach to economic growth and the evidence of this effect can be seen in our air quality, ocean level, species extinction, and drying lands across the world due to the increasingly warming globe.
Time has come when we can no longer afford to grow in material but in mind and consciousness. A universal calling through the major channels in the world today to get along with the wholeness of the universe, tailor the rate of economic growth to planet’s bearing and carrying capacity and restoring her dignity, and at the same time, getting the peace that we lost due to material economy.
For wealthy nations, sustainability development has been seen as policies concerning issues such as recycling, energy efficiency, conservation, job and health security, rehabilitation of damaged landscapes and water ways e.t.c, and the poor nations takes it as policies for economic growth, equity, fairness, respect of the law, redistribution of water and job creation e.t.c. The question as to what’s “the most honest practices” will remain a challenge for all, as they each faces problems that have very narrow technical solution and mostly geared by the politicians themselves due to policies that favor one or two sectors of the economy while leaving the others to the people to deal with themselves.
We need a shift of mindset to embrace de-growth and simple living.
Therefore, one has to be smart in recognizing the cost of growth and the trade-offs the West and the upcoming economies are making in its pursuit. The decline in health, environmental crisis, uncontrolled competition leading to fowl-play and cheating, sedative addiction and moral crisis at home and school are the bearing the brunt of our excessive material growth spirit. If only the growth in the inside should become our priority, the real path to that which all men seek-happiness, will come during the growth of the human spirit. It is unequalled by other growths in forms and identities. The quest for this kind of growth has gain a tremendous weight recently in accordance with Christ’s word “there will be increase in knowledge in the last days”. Nothing stops anybody or nation from leaping into this time of abundance and still make some marks. For the individuals, know where you fit-in and take a bold step to meet your needs, design a strategic plan in-line with your goals and find the necessary knowledge and expertise or technology, and the people to lunch your idea and get to your dreamland. For nations, its it time to grow at your own pace and build the necessary capability machineries and resources to use a sustainable-model of development in collaboration with the knowledge-based economic devices globalization has offered, and take advantage on this area to grow and empower your citizens while remaining sensitive to your ecological footprint.