Shifting the Conversation
Every human endeavor is or presumes a certain “conversation,” a way of framing the issues that is both useful but also at some points limiting. Every academic discipline, trade, or way of life is a particular conversation. Our postmodern culture is a vast and multidimensional conversation that shapes our politics and our thinking. It provides the context for our response to climate change, to species extinction, and to habitat destruction. But as Einstein pointed out, we often cannot solve problems at the level of thinking that created them; we need to seek a larger framework in which to understand the shortcomings of the past and the possibilities of the future.
The question is, which conversation are we going to operate inside of?
What is the Possible Planet conversation? Essentially it’s the view that humanity needs to change course, to redirect its efforts to restoring the Earth and re-creating community. “Overshoot Day” occurred on August 2 of this year. What this means is that we have used up a year’s worth of resources, and we’re now eating into our capital. We have a growing collective ecological debt — a debt that is much greater than, and much more important than, the U.S. or any other national debt. What we need to do is to turn around the economy, indeed the bulk of all human activity, to have it focused on restoring the Earth, its fertility and fecundity or productive capacity, to serve the needs of our growing global population. This is our fundamental context, the foundation on which we have built our work.
If you want apply this idea to your workplace or your community, join one of our Possible Planet Groups, and invite us to speak with you or your organization.
For more on our philosophy, see Key Concepts.