The ill health of our economies and our natural systems are battling for first on the global agenda. Governments are trying to decide whether to invest in climate change mitigation or economic stimulus. Car companies are getting billion dollar bail outs while others suffer the economic downturn without aid. Treating the problems of the natural environment and the problems of the economy seperately is a mistake, economy and ecology are the same, the shared etymological root is oikos. Ecological health and economic health are inextricably linked. Boosting the economy without considering the natural consequences is addressing the symptom and not the problem. These global health issues must be treated holistically utilizing sustainable practices.
We must find ways to localize and reduce our ecological impacts. Our health and the health of our environment depends on it. As in the Son’s Flesh Sutra where a couple has to eat their own child to survive crossing the desert, if we continue to destroy the environment in order to feed the economy we have no chance of really surviving.
The good news is that holistic medicine for ill economies and natural systems are known and are being utilized. It starts with small communities. The benefits of community action in terms of management of natural resources and food production are incredible. When a community starts an organic garden or a sustainable forestry project they have healthy work, they promote natural systems, ecological tourism, hunting and harvesting, they make money or save some money by producing food for the table and reducing health risks.
On the global scale there are many effective and responsible organizations helping to make a greener future. The Forest Stewardship Council promotes international economically and ecologically responsible forestry management. The We can Solve It Campaign, The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, 350.org and The Slow Food Movement are more examples of socially, ecologically and economically responsible movers and shakers on an international scale.
TTD: I have just finished writing to the newly redesigned US Presidential Office of Public Liaison about the potential of organic and local food for supporting economies and mitigating climate change. The office of Public Liason is accepting and using information and suggestions from everyone. Write them a note about how you feel the US should approach these issues in a more holistic way.