The species Homo sapiens is thought to have been in existence for around 300,000 years. During the past 200 years there has been a massive growth in the human population, and an even more explosive increase in energy use and waste production by humankind, with ever-increasing impacts on the ecosystems of our planet. Global climate change is at present the most critical issue, but there are many other anthropogenic threats to the sustainability of the living systems that underpin our existence. If present trends continue unabated, the collapse of civilisation is inevitable.
The survival of civilisation will require a shift to a different kind of society – a society that is truly sensitive to, and in harmony with, the processes of life within us and around us. I refer to such a society as a Biosensitive Society. In a biosensitive society, human activities will be on a scale and of a kind that promote health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population, as well as in the ecosystems of the biosphere.
However, there is a major difficulty. The worldviews and priorities of the prevailing cultures across the world today are simply not compatible with the concept of biosensitivity. They have lost sight of our total dependence on nature, and they have no grasp of the magnitude and seriousness of current human impacts on the ecosystems of the biosphere. They are effectively blocking any meaningful steps toward biosensitivity. The crucial social transition will not eventuate unless a wave of new understanding sweeps across these cultures – understanding of the story of life on Earth and the human place in nature. I refer to this story as the Bionarrative, and refer to this kind of understanding as Biounderstanding.
Shared biounderstanding will lead to a shared worldview that:
· holds profound respect for nature and the life processes that gave rise to us and on which we are totally dependent
· perceives the achievement of harmony with nature as supremely important – to be given the highest priority in human affairs, and placed right at the top of political and social agenda
· embraces a vision of a society of the future that is sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life.
I refer to this worldview as Biorealism.
For those of us who share the views expressed above, our challenge today is to do all we possibly can to bring about the global wave of new understanding.
Understanding the story of life in Earth and the human place in nature.
A society that is sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life
A worldview that embraces biounderstanding and a worldview that
– holds profound respect for the processes of life that gave rise to us and on which we are totally dependent
– perceives the achievement of harmony with nature as supremely important – to be given the highest priority in human affairs and placed right at the top of political and social agenda
– harbours a vision of a society of the future that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of processes of life
Cultural arrangements (e.g. the economic system, governmental regulations, legislation) that are geared to promoting health in all sections of the human population as well as in the ecosystems of the biosphere
Human activities on a scale and of a kind that promote human and ecosystem health.