In our headlong rush to industrial civilization, we have lost many of the natural instincts that kept our species a balanced part of the ecosystem. By showing the path to sustainability, can four little rules save the planet--and humanity?
The four rules may be simple, but they are not easy:
1. Reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and heavy metals.
Whether or not you believe in human-caused global warming, our use of fossil fuels takes a huge toll on the health of living things. Can we learn to look at the use of fuel and heavy metals through a lens that recognizes both the finality of the resource and the consequences of their extraction, transport, and incineration?
2. Reduce our dependence on synthetic chemicals that persist in nature.
Chemicals such as dioxins, PCBs and the insecticide DDT do not break down easily or harmlessly once discarded; rather they contaminate soil, water, and air. Can we adopt the precautionary principle, and require companies to prove that a product is safe before it is brought to market?
3. Reduce our destruction of nature.
From overfishing to deforestation to destroying wildlife habitat, human actions are interfering with the balance of nature. Biodiversity is key to our flourishing; by contributing to the destruction of species we might as well be gnawing off our own legs.
4. Ensure that we are not stopping people globally from meeting their needs.
This principle applies not only to ensuring that people have the capacity to feed and shelter themselves, but that they can do so in safe working conditions and receive a living wage for their work. This fourth rule clarifies the absolute link between environmental justice and social justice, and that our tribe is only as healthy as the weakest among us.
Can we learn to nurture the planet as we would a family member who needs our help? Can we recognize that healing the planet is the same as healing ourselves? Can we make every day Earth Day?