Who is the “Baby?”

(I posted the following on my Facebook page in early October, 2018. It seemed to resonate with many people, so I decided to post it here, too. I am transitioning toward spending more time with the blog and less time on Facebook, even though my FB posts seem to reach more people. I think that can change, and the blog will attract more people who want to engage these topics in more depth.)

Who is the “Baby?”

I attended a workshop on alternative eco-friendly communities at the Permaculture Convergence in Hot Springs a couple of weeks ago and the discussion moved around sustainable, Earth-friendly alternatives in farming and building. I suggested that we add alternative, sustainable economics and currencies, or natural economics without currency, to the discussion. I then went on to say that, rather than seeking to raise funding for green projects like these from wealthy corporate agents of the current economic system that is destroying life on Earth, we should work towards shutting that system down while we simultaneously create new, local, Earth-centered economic systems and cultures.

Soon, one of the other participants was evidently agitated by my suggestions and cried out that we should “not throw out the baby with the bathwater,” and then explained that we still need money and charitable funding from corporations for our green ventures at this point in time, implying that at some unknown point in the future we would somehow become able and willing to magically wean ourselves from dependency on corporate grants.

As often happens, I was unable to formulate an adequate “comeback” or useful response at that moment, but thought of something later, after the conversation was long past. My thought was, who is this precious “baby” that we must cling to and protect, without question, no matter what the consequences may be? The toxic, life-destroying, military/industrial capitalist system? Or is the ancient “baby” that we really must protect and serve our only source of healthy life—Mama Earth/Water’s interconnected natural systems? It can’t be both, because one will ultimately destroy the other.

baby and bathwater

2 thoughts on “Who is the “Baby?”

  1. Facebook is just one platform too many for me, so I am glad you posted here George. You highlight a crucial dilemma facing the climate movement ( and ecologists, environmentalists, conservationists, etc) , such as it. To get to the root of the crisis requires a brutal reckoning with our own collective responsibility and the possibility of losing a certain amount of our comfort and privilege.

    Permaculture itself will be a fantastic tool in the post-capitalist world but in our present reality it too often acts as a panacea, a relief valve for the pressure capitalism builds. We are all trying to imagine a “transition” that involves a minimum amount of pain and disruption but again we have to ask: pain for who? As we try to come up with strategies for “adaptation” we are unconsciously adapting ourselves to the gross injustice and horrific crime of ecocide being perpetuated today.

    I am surrounded by well-meaning liberals calling for moderation and compromise but that opportunity passed decades ago. Check out this analysis for a way forward. http://systemchangenotclimatechange.org/article/ipcc-report-first-thoughts-next-steps

    In solidarity, Dave

    • Thanks, Dave for your insightful, right-on-the-mark comments and for sharing the link to that superb article! I think that is one of the best articles on climate change resistance and the need for systemic and cultural change that I have ever read! And I am not saying that just because it resonates so deeply with what I was trying to say in my essay, “The End of Money:…” At many points in her essay, I think that this author, Sydney Azari, says it much better. I will have to write to her and let her know how much I appreciate her insights and how much I agree with her vision. All of us with this common vision or awareness need to affirm and collaborate with each other.

      Back to your comments, it is clear that you are aware of the many snares there are to activism that is dependent on capitalist corporate support, or that is just as committed to preserving the economic system and its technological comforts as it is to saving the natural world. Unfortunately, I think that many Earth activists are not fully aware of how destructive to life on Earth it would be for us to keep producing and depending upon our technological consumer comforts. I think that many people do not even want to “go there” and give the topic any thought or consideration at all.

      Be well, and keep in touch.

      George

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