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A Green Declaration of Freedom
Planting seeds of freedom in our hearts and minds
Layne Hartsell (prose)     Print Article 
Published 2008-12-19 14:31 (KST)   
©2008 Layne Hartsell
Recently, I saw an advertisement by a large oil corporation about their green program and it led me to reflect on what is "green," and what sustainable living is about. The green movement with its concept of ecological sustainability is a social force for change both for innovative technology and individual awareness of lifestyle.

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The movement has many accomplishments to its credit and is continuing to meet the ecological crisis with intelligence and courage. What is of concern is the corporate system and the people who make up that system and believe in it; including acolytes in the green, hip and unfortunately, self-absorbed culture. It is a system where greed and ambition are running amok -- the green of the dollar rather than the green of nature.

It is the greening of greed. I also believe it important to see that opposition to the system does not indicate an opposition to the people in the system, even if those people believe in the system of business we have today.

In fact, there are legitimate business interests which can bring innovation and progress where it is needed which will benefit humanity, and I am ever hopeful that technological applications will help to ease the difficulties created by a system which has been ravaging the earth.

Corporatist 'Green'

It is a system where greed and ambition are running amok -- the green of the dollar rather than the green of nature.

It is the greening of greed.
The specific concern is that the corporatist system has found its way into "green," making it palpable to embrace the corporatist system which will continue to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few, and continue on its destructive course with its mania and obsession for a consumerist economic growth.

It has long been known that less than 5 percent of the world's population, the US, consumes more than 25 percent of the world's resources and produces more than a third of the waste. For individuals, the lack of responsibility is instructive in the fact that so many are still driving inefficient vehicles or taking airplanes for anything other than necessary transportation. Greed impairs judgement.

It was known decades ago that mismanagement of resources and that consumerism would create serious problems. The Dust Bowl is an example that looms from the past, but today there are any number of catastrophes occurring, and more rapidly, because of misapplication of more powerful technologies than the plow and cotton plant of the 1930s.

We need only look at the niche destruction which is already in our communities, and if we want to find analysis, the media is replete with well researched articles on crimes against nature. It is impossible to miss the information.

Many articles today carry a measure of hope for the future, which is not only agreeable but necessary. However, the future should not deny the massive destruction which has already occurred. Many speak as if we do not do something, there will be a massive crisis.

While true for those in rich countries, the massive crisis has been ongoing for decades for most of humanity. The widespread awareness in the mainstream is the only new aspect of the crisis. Whether that awareness will turn into action is a matter of will.

Earlier in the decade, a US automotive manufacturer, in response to criticism over selling its popular SUVs, said that it would continue to sell SUVs as long as people buy them. And, people did indeed continue to buy the extremely inefficient vehicles.

Legitimate Business

In fact, there are legitimate business interests which can bring innovation and progress where it is needed which will benefit humanity, and I am ever hopeful that technological applications will help to ease the difficulties created by a system which has been ravaging the earth.
Now, just a few years later, it is a genuine matter of concern that the system has begun to try to win minds over to a specific way of green, a corporate greening of society, which puts a shade of green over the claws of corporatism. However, be not fooled, to embrace a corporatist green agenda is to embrace death.

It is also apparent that many prefer to make cosmetic changes which are popular socially. However, it is clear at this point that if we do not make real changes, if we continue to allow our minds to take in the corporate gloss, without critique, we are going to find ourselves in a far more serious situation than we are now, ecologically and politically.

Economically, the conditions are beginning to cause suffering in rich countries, but again, the only thing that is new about the economic crisis is that the victims are in rich countries. The poor and the environment, which do not have a voice in corporatist culture, have been in crisis for decades.

In the future, it is altogether feasible that governments will begin to mandate and intrude into peoples' lives based upon the environmental crisis. In other words, a lack of self-discipline will likely lead to external discipline or the erosion of liberty and democracy.

It seems that the right way to proceed is to simply do what is right; what could have been done decades ago. Conservation and self-discipline are basic choices and can be taken up in a free manner as the natural thing to do. Already, governments are taking measures.

Recently, in Great Britain, the government began imposing quotas on the numbers of fish that can be taken at any time in the North Sea because of the overfishing practices of the industry. Overfishing is driven by consumerism. And, in Mexico City the government has taken measures over many years to prevent people from driving their cars, issuing license plates for certain days of the week. If the system goes into extreme excess, we can expect that governments will take further measures that will seem intrusive to free people.

There is another aspect to the takeover of "green," which is a matter of who is bringing the message to the populace. If people tied into the corporations, owning stocks in oil companies, relying on corporatism for their power and wealth, are lecturing the public on the ecological crisis, then there should be careful discernment on our part.

There are others far more qualified and deserving of attention but they will not be heard because the system of corporate media and establishment ceremonies and awards are mostly in favor of personalities and market values, unconcerned with truth and the real issues. People such as Vandana Shiva and David Suzuki come to mind as exemplary individuals who receive far less attention than they deserve.

A complete renaissance of lifestyle, which will include the development of our fair sentiments of interconnection with other people and nature, can lead us into a better future. Such a renaissance could be a time of great scientific and intellectual achievement with a participation of the public at a level unknown in the past. Reasonable people would choose a better way of living and being, which would leave little time or energy to support the corporate system.

To add to the idea of a bright future, will I be taken seriously if I ask people to make a personal, green declaration of freedom by planting seeds? Seeds of freedom in the soil of our own hearts and minds as well as in the soil of the earth? Such action is a spark of the will and our freedom from our own complicity, which is a true declaration of freedom.
Layne Hartsell has graduate degrees in biomedicine and developmental psychology. He works in education and social work with his wife, Patcharin Chaimongkol. They live in South Korea and Thailand.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Layne Hartsell

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