Monday, October 3, 2016

The Environment is Not a Political Issue

I have long said that the environment is not a political issue, which seems confounding to many as it often takes human law to conserve, protect, and steward. And that's EXACTLY the problem. The environment is not a political issue -- it's a moral one. How can we ever hope to conserve, protect, and steward if we don't come to these practices ethically? How can we not see the world through other human classes and regions, let alone through the eyes of other species? Protecting the environment must come primarily from an ethical and moral center that doesn't even take into account human laws. Perhaps if we began with ethics in mind we wouldn't even need laws or politics. Maybe if our culture came at life from the other end of the spectrum -- through the other -- this entire discussion really would be perplexing.

Many political groups twist the spirit of environmentalism and turn it into a political fight, thus degrading and devaluing the ethical center of the primary argument; or, they take out the heart and the compassion and replace it with human-centered agendas of exploitation and hubris. It's like saying we need to protect our natural resources -- but nature is not a resource. Nature is nature, just like you are you and I am Benjamin.

While the political process may make some strides in doing good by our ethics, too quickly and too easily those ethics are eroded or washed away by human wants and the need to make concessions or bridge the aisle. So when I say the environment is not a political issue and is instead and ethical or moral one, I am saying that our world is not the real world -- and it never was.


Lisa Rainsong said...

Excellent. Thank you. I absolutely agree that protecting nature is a moral issue and really appreciate how clearly you differentiated this from a political issue.This, more than anything, is the basis of my "Listening in Nature" work to protect Earth's first music.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Lisa -- But you know, a lot of folks look at me when I say this totally confused. I'm still not clear if I'm being clear at all. So many of us see the world through our eyes only, and through our systems only, believing that because of our influence (negative) only our systems (negative and positive) can make necessary changes. I see a corrupted system and a corrupted culture -- not something to throw away, but something that need deep steam cleaning. Still, if our systems our unethical -- which I strongly believe they are -- how can we ever use them to make ethical decisions based on an unethical culture? Are there success stories? Sure. Does the exception prove the rule?