A Biosensitive Society

Biounderstanding leads us to the inescapable conclusion that the only hope for the future lies in a radical cultural transformation, leading to a new ecological phase of human history – a phase that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life that underpin our existence. We refer to a society with these characteristics as a Biosensitive society [1].

In biosensitive societies the prevailing cultures will:

– hold deep respect for nature and the processes of life that underpin our existence

– perceive the achievement of harmony with nature as supremely important, to be given the highest priority in human affairs.

A biosensitive society will promote health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population and in the ecosystems of the biosphere (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Biosensitivity Triangle

Table 1 lists some the most essential features of a society on the path to biosensitivity. The achievement of these goals will require strong and enlightened government action. Governments will also oversee a transition to a new economic system that satisfies the needs of all sections of the human population without resulting in ever-increasing consumption of natural resources and production of wastes.

Table 1




GOVERNMENT ACTION

The achievement of these goals will require strong and enlightened government action. Unlike today, they will all be given high priority by governments and local authorities.

Governments will oversee a transition to a new economic system that satisfies the needs of all sections of the human population, without resulting in ever-increasing use of natural resources and production of wastes. There must be a steady decline in the intensity of technometabolism [see Biometabolism and Technometabolism].

Biosensitive societies will be free of weapons of mass destruction, which at present pose an horrendous threat to humankind and the rest of the biosphere.

BIOSENSITIVE LIFESTYLES

At the level of individuals and families, biosensitivity will be associated with a high quality of life. Lifestyles will satisfy people’s biologically determined health needs. A working list of important human health needs is presented in Table 2.

Attention is drawn to the psychosocial category of health needs (or health-promoting factors). Although somewhat difficult to define and measure, these intangible needs, like sense of purpose and the experience of conviviality, are as necessary for wellbeing as are a healthy diet and clean air.

In a biosensitive society these health needs will be satisfied in ways that do not result in continual growth in use of resources energy, pollution of the natural environment or loss of biodiversity. There will be more emphasis than at present on such activities as growing food, enjoying and caring for the natural environment, local sport, making music, dancing, the arts, theatre, cycling, and convivial social interaction. Rampant consumerism and fossil fuel-powered travel will not be features of a biosensitive society.

[For the rationale behind this list, see Evolution and human health]

FOOTNOTES

[1] BIOSENSITIVE This term is introduced because there is a need for a single word to describe a society with these characteristics. The expression ‘ecologically sustainable’ is widely used these days. Of course, society must be ecologically sustainable – otherwise in the long term it cannot continue to exist. But ecological sustainability is surely the bottom line. We must aim for a society that is not only sustainable, but that also positively promotes health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population, as well as in the living systems of the biosphere.

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