Our goal is to be a catalyst for the transition toward an ecological civilization. To do so, we must get to the root of what has produced the current problem, articulate solutions, build an actionable constituency, and work to implement these solutions at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
Merely changing social and cultural patterns will not be enough. Putting “green paint” on unsustainable practices is not enough. Nothing less than civilizational change is necessary if humanity is to avert the predicted consequences. Each major sector of society must be analyzed for its potential contribution.
What EcoCiv advocates is a method. We suggest that the reason that the environmental movement is failing, and the reason that environmentalists and business people get at cross purposes, is that they have not yet formulated a shared long-term standard of success that can be operationalized.
The goals cannot be so narrow that they fail to unify, nor so broad and abstract that they distract from the pursuit of productive policies. To formulate guidelines for the various sectors of society, we ask:
• what are the minimal conditions, in each major sector of society, for a sustainable mode of civilized human existence on this planet?
Any productive discussion of sustainability must begin by answering this question before it can reasonably move on to advancing concrete policy recommendations.
A Distinctive Vision
As a think and action tank, EcoCiv conducts research, creates and disseminates case studies, and seeks to catalyze experimental collaborative projects that are part of the “great transition” toward ecological civilization. Human-induced climate change threatens grave consequences for the planet and society as we know it; it changes everything. Unprecedented crisis requires visionaries who think in terms of unprecedented solutions. There is now global awareness of the crisis, and many groups are working on reforms.
Yet without a workable, inclusive vision many organizations and activists are focusing narrowly on near-term crises. We live in a complex society. One has to consider the particular needs of each social sector, while recognizing that a change in one sector impacts all others. Like other living systems, societies are organically connected.
Many fear that there is now no alternative to social, economic, and environmental collapse. EcoCiv zeroes in on the requirements for bringing about civilizational change. Only this longer-term focus can overcome fragmentation and short-sighted solutions.
EcoCiv is both theoretical and practical. It recognizes that how we think influences what we do and that what we do influences how we think. The mission of EcoCiv is to increase appropriate responses to the global climate crisis by promoting the theory and practice of ecological civilization. Many of these responses are already being undertaken be communities and research groups around the world. EcoCiv’s unique contribution is to study and promote their work and deepen their sense that they are working together toward a common goal, that of building ecological civilizations guided by ecological worldviews which encourage respect and care for the community of life.
Such language may sound dramatic. But many scientists and countless others suggest that coordinated efforts across multiple sectors are required. Some decades ago it seemed that humanity could escape the “silent spring” by recycling paper bags or riding bikes to work. Today, however, small changes, or even medium-sized solutions, appear to be “too little, too late”: some regulations on the oil industry, progressive income taxes, electric cars and wind turbines. It’s not enough to apply some green paint around the edges of a world economy fueled by unlimited acquisition, excessive individual and corporate profits, and massive fossil fuel consumption. Dramatic changes in thought and action are required if we are to survive.