|To make a simple framework,
start by naming six pieces of the global situation "puzzle." The
top three pieces reflect the conditions in the Natural World: water, climate
and species diversity.
The bottom three pieces reflect
the human condition: how well are human needs being met for food, safety
and prosperity. If we used this graphic as an index, clicking on
any of these categories would take us to world, regional and local reports
There are lots of possible
ways to categorize and present information on World conditions. A
value in this model is that it supplies simple formulas for positive change.
The above picture shows a finished puzzle, a happy ending in the story
of the next few decades for Gaia, The World.
destruction in the Natural World comes about as by-product to the ways
that human beings attempt to meet their needs. Distress in the Natural
World is a reflection of the corresponding human situation. The healthy
BIG PICTURE above assumes we Americans do collectively change our behavior
because if we don't, the BIG PICTURE is going to look more
Getting to the best outcome
can only be the result of proactive change taking place in the ways and
means of our lives. We can symbolize that change, in our model, by
the act of putting the piece of the puzzle in place.
by thinking about the pieces as pairs. The pieces of the puzzle fit like
this. The ways that people routinely get food (farming) are the primary
cause of pollution in the waterways. Farming and waterway health
fit together. If we were to put the FOOD
piece of the puzzle in place as mostly local and small scale sources with
Best Management Practices towards stewardship, Mother Nature responds by
placing Her corresponding piece of the puzzle - to show good conditions
in WATER, the waterways.
A connection can be drawn between
conditions in the Natural World, and our habits of burning fossil fuels
as gasoline or for electricity. The American Way of assembling our
homes and neighborhoods creates a lifestyle of separation, one household
from another; necessary cars and nearly vacant homes that still require
What is a one-word way to sum
up the aggregate of human needs we attempt to meet this way? COMMUNITY
would be it, except that by mainstream methods we seem intent on creating
anything but. The primary driving force in the mainstream design
of home/lifestyle is to secure privacy for ourselves. Privacy is
another word for SAFETY. Do you
think Americans feel safe?
true meeting of the need for Community includes a system, like an immune
system, to support the processes of peace and safety for its members.
That immune system is made of respect for basic human rights - even (especially)
down to the most vulnerable members.
When safety is expressed through
authentic COMMUNITY we are free to
make co-housing or eco-village, where lots of sharing makes sense and use
of cars can become mostly obsolete. Reduce the burning of fossil
fuels: heal the greenhouse effect and CLIMATE
Even though we may intellectually
see that a change in our National consumeristic lifestyle is the answer
to ecological problems, this cause and effect feedback loop is so big and
so remote that it is hardly enough to support a change in our immediate
ways of getting through the day.
Luckily there exists another
feedback loop that is very much about direct and personal gratification,
that will help us make the change. The real relationships between
human needs and ecology look more like this:
GAIA's NEEDS MET
HUMAN NEEDS MET
Changing the FOOD
* WATER piece strengthens us to move the SAFE
COMMUNITY * CLIMATE piece. The third set takes shape at last.
Species DIVERSITY will be protected
and truly enjoyed when our genuine needs for PROSPERITY
are being met.
Do we really have to ransack
yet another Natural Preserve for more non-renewable resources to consume?
How much is enough ?! For Americans, this is a spiritual question,
not an economic one.
This BIG PICTURE model anticipates
that when our whole human needs for food and safety are met, the last piece
of the puzzle falls more easily in place. Remove the major stresses
of poor nutrition/food insecurity and lack of interpersonal safety,
and spiritual healing of people can become commonplace.
We can unwind into lower stress
lifestyles; self-development, actualization, advancement and maturity can
actually be reached. Real fulfillment comes
of being able to contribute from an authentic space: not from
acquiring more and more disposable consumer goods.
The context of this model is
the foundation idea that human beings belong in Earth's eco-system, that
there are ways for us to meet our basic needs without damaging our Natural
Further, built into this model
is the notion that co-creative and sustainable behavior comes naturally
to people when basic human rights are supported, protected, and applied.
Life can be easier and a whole lot more fun.