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  • Stephen Narsoo

Why the Amazon belongs to all of us

The global sustainable development problem, is the same - balancing economic growth, with ecological sustainability and human development. These things are at conflict with each other. We need to bring these things into balance. At the heart of sustainable development is balance. Balance as a concept is central in all major philosophies, in scientific theories in religious texts. Sustainability, is not only about sustainable development goals, it is a higher pursuit linking the self and the consciousness of the self to the economic, and ecological systems that are connected and inter-related. The world is all about relationships, the relationship with the self, with family, with communities, with work, with natural environment. It’s a constellation of relationships that forms a rich powerful network. The moment there is imbalance, the sustainability of this network is threatened. When this happens, there is need to restore balance to the system. Or else the system may collapse and transition into another state. The Amazon fires and the insistence of the Brazilian government that the Amazon only belongs to the state of Brazil, is a demonstration of the failure of the state and the tyranny of geographical boundaries. The earth does not belong to human beings, we are simply custodians. The tyranny of administrative national boundaries, and the system of government shows a lack of innovation and a failure to invent new systems of spatial organisation and governance.


The World is becoming more and more complex as urbanization, climate change, globalization and technology transforms life as we know it. The world is a complex system and yet this complexity is rarely understood and make more complicated by crude man made borders and fences. Institutions often resort to more complexity to confront complexity as organisational changes are quick to implement. It is this continuous accumulation of complexity that causes damage to the decision making process. Rarely do societies eliminate institutions or willingly simplify structures or create new ones more attuned to managing our natural environment. In such conditions of high complexity and cost, governments lack the fiscal reserves and computing power to address new challenges. But more than this, it makes the act of balancing even more difficult. We simply in this instance don’t know what to do, or how to do it. Yet at a mental level, we cannot seek answers to these questions. Neither can we find solutions to these perplexing man-made problems. In the words of Einstein “we cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them” As we seek solutions to re-balance our earth and human system, we cannot try and solve these problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. Here problem solving cannot be reduced to science of physics, biology, engineering or nano-technology alone. To save the problem of the grand sustainability challenge we need to raise consciousness to new levels. This means that consciousness raising and scientific and technology development must go together. Problem solving must therefore be a socio-scientific spiritual process.


The governance of the environment, land, the economy and spirit must now co-evolve side by side. It must be owned collectively, this collective ownership is about reaching for a new governance model one that is brings about a global consciousness and a new governance model for the future. But it is also a model that makes scientific sense, allowing for the process of problem solving to become a socio-scientific spiritual problem solving process rather than a narrow technical scientific process.

Holistic solution generation cannot be about the mind only, it must be about the heart and the soul. We need to bring together the science of physical world (climate, hydrology, biology, physics) together with the science of the social world (economics, politics) and the science of the spirit (reconciliation, nation building, philosophy, healing, consciousness and peace making) if we are to create a new way of governing which is more attuned to the perplexing challenges of society, environment and economy.


I wonder that are your thoughts on this issue. My contention is that the Amazon presents a much greater opportunity for fundamentally rethinking the way in which we manage and govern the natural assets of the world, that are critical for sustaining life on the planet. We cannot continue to allow national governments alone to determine the future survival of our planet. This is folly.


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