E.F. Schumacher – Why We Need Him Now

E. F. Schmacher, British Economist best known to the U.S. public in the 1970’s with publication of Small is Beautiful and Small is Possible, developed economic models based on scale. His basic idea: past a particular size, true profit declines and true costs rise – thus the title “Small is Beautiful.”

He also clarified that shared ownership of the means of production is key to equitable distribution of wealth and development of healthy communities.

The New Economic Institute (previously the E.F. Schumacher Society) includes several excellent videos and articles by new economics thinkers and teachers. Go to the link and take time to listen or read. These visionaries describe likely scenarios about where our cultures and global community are moving with economic collapse around the world and with climate changes continuing to play havoc with community resiliency.

Profitability as the sole goal of corporate behavior is addressed by Neva Goodwin, Tufts University.  She discusses Walmart’s discovery that being ecologically responsible is profitable. However, her discussion is realistic about the kind of deep change that is necessary and how the likelihood of many people being harmed again by corporate excesses is predictable.  She offers a way to use corporate charters to shape corporate behavior. Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is a group she cites that is using a new community led strategy that creates municipal ordinances.  These ban corporate control of land, water, and other natural resources that are critical to life and health.  How can we make money and profits flow to the most responsible companies that protect human and ecological well being? Many examples of new economic structures are described using real companies that ARE making a profit while doing good in society.

We live in a transitional age

Veterans' Day 2013 062We are living at an extraordinary time in which Industrial Age thinking–more is better, the faster the better, the future is the focus–is transitioning into a Life Sustaining Age–make, remake, fit within nature, innovate, create, and relate.

Naturally, the present is turbulent because the old ideas persist while the new ideas struggle to be born and take root. And, like all transitions, there is a third potential: collapse and disintegration.

Examples of the old ideas: frantic search for fossil fuels; partition of political and social ideals; disconnection from earth and each other; waning productivity of centuries old farmland from industrial scale farming; saturation of pollutants from pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and nuclear waste. Despair, poverty for many, top-down economy, stale politic.

Examples of the new ideas: creation of nonpolluting forms of energy; community-building to increase quality of life for all; new realization of the vital connection to the earth, to all forms of life, and stewardship of air, land, sea, and soil for health, joy, and economic productivity. Hope, high quality work and living conditions, renewed participation in democratic principles, bottom-up economy.

Go here to see the new, spirit of this age, this through music. The new impulse is generosity, i.e. what value can I bring to my community through my talents?

Why Aria van den Bercken Takes a Piano with Her.

She focuses on regaining a state of wonder!


Religion’s Role in Caring for the Earth

Religious groups are exploring their role in curbing climate change. One of the Land Ethic Books Clubs that I am facilitating in my community, the Lathram Chapel United Methodist Church in Barrineau Park, FL, is looking deeply into the scriptural directions for caring for the earth.

The Guardian the British news publication and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service is focusing on climate change. The Greatest Story in the World, a podcast on climate change is part of the current efforts to start deeper discussions about institutional and individual roles in solving climate change. This is Episode 9, Religion. Here is the link. 

Faith groups have huge followings and have adopted climate change as a cause for decades. What can the Guardian learn from religion? Can the paper use the language of sacrifice when it doesn’t have the same offer of salvation?

We strongly recommend that you listen to the series from the beginning.

Related resources
Neil Thorns – How will the world react to the Pope’s encyclical on climate change

Suzanne Goldenberg – Climate change denial is immoral says the head of the episcopal church

Damian Carrington – Church of England wields its influence in fight against climate change

~ Guardian Podcast, Episode 9