Natural Life Magazine

A Time of Opportunity or One of Crisis?

A Time of Opportunity or One of Crisis?
By Wendy Priesnitz

We’ve reached a point in our planet’s history when nothing less than fundamental change is needed. The degree and the direction of the change that’s required is the topic of a new book by David Wann. Many readers will recognize Wann as the co-author of the book-turned-film Affluenza. In his new book Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle, Wann provides the solution for the problem identified in Affluenza, which he says requires stepping outside “an economic box of out-dated assumptions.”

And what better time to step out of that economic box than right now? Riane Eisler writes in her book The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics that a society’s economic structures, rules, system of values, and its other social institutions are in an interactive feedback loop. “During periods of social equilibrium, this loop remains relatively stable and the guiding system of values is so taken for granted that it’s largely invisible. But during periods of great instability or disequilibrium such as ours, it is possible to more clearly see the system’s underlying organizational structure and operant values. Hence, today, fundamental changes – changes that transform the system rather than simply modify it to some degree – are possible.”

Possible, but not easy. We’re talking about major value shifts here. Eisler says we need to change our fundamental beliefs – and therefore our institutions – to be more caring, creating new policies that transform the way we use natural, human, and other resources from exploitive to supportive. Wann suggests moving away from an emphasis on material wealth to an abundance of time, relationships, and experiences. This is also the time for governments to encourage the development of green technologies that could replace lost manufacturing jobs in the doomed resource-based industries while helping solve the global warming problem. There are many opportunities to create a better world!

I think most people realize that we can’t continue to exploit and pollute our environment. They tell pollsters that they are willing to make changes, but that they don’t know what to do. A study conducted by Insight Research Group in partnership with HGTV and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that many people fret that the changes required “may associate them with extreme political or environmental viewpoints.” Of course, that is justification for the plethora of greenwash and other environmentally feel-good but relatively useless activities that are recommended by the likes of HGTV.

So while I’m hopeful that transformative change may come from the current state of affairs, I wonder if we have the stomach to truly take advantage of the opportunity. We need to move beyond worrying what the neighbors will think and get on with it. We also need to continue to pressure governments, corporations, think tanks, the media, and any other influential bodies we can think of to move boldly toward the fundamental transformations that are required.

Wendy Priesnitz is the co-founder and editor of Natural Life Magazine, where an earlier version of this appeared as an editorial in 2008. She is also the author of 13 books and a contributor to many more.


Copyright © Life Media

Privacy Policy 

Life Learning BookBeyond SchoolChallenging Assumptions in Education

Natural Life's Green and Healthy Homes book

Life Learning Magazine

Natural Life Books

Childs Play Magazine

Natural Child Magazine

Natural Life Magazine