Today’s post is by regular contributor, Richard Jurin. Before his retirement, Richard led the Environmental Studies programme at the University of Northern Colorado, where he launched a degree in Sustainability Studies.  His academic interests are environmental worldviews and understanding barriers to sustainability. As ever, with our blogs, the views expressed are not necessarily shared by NAEE.

Richard writes:

“Very typically, when people question me about the future, they ask if I really believe people will be willing to give up the wonderful things we have for the mere privilege of avoiding extinction. When I speak… of another story to be in [Worldview], they seem to imagine I’m touting a sort of miserable half-life of voluntary poverty, donning sackcloth and rags to do penance for our environmental sins. Theyre sure that living in a sustainable way must be about giving up things. It doesn’t occur to them that living in an UN-sustainable way is also about giving up things, very precious things like security, hope, light-heartedness, and freedom from anxiety, fear, and guilt” Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization.

This post continues the future Espe dialogue from the previous post Through a Glass Darkly: Part 4 – A New World Begun.

Wisdom comes from experience.  During the IBE (Industrial Blight Era) we were watching and experiencing the planetary systems become unstable and recognized how the hierarchies that governed us were central in creating these problems.  At the time, I doubt the critical mass needed to begin the needed changes would have happened had the problems not been so imminently catastrophic in nature.  A cascade of food shortages, energy shortages, material shortages, and economic hardships, hit the poorest people hardest first – they had no choice but to adapt.  The wealthy could weather these changes for a while, but even they started to experience depravations.  During this great period of change it was a new breed of ecological community educators with a spiritual focus that people turned to for advice.  This spiritual focus was framed within quantum science, which helped us achieve amazing technological innovations where wisdom ensured that they were used only for positive utilization and experiences.  Global unity and harmony with no global hierarchy caused a relocalization of communities everywhere with individual sovereignty held in highest regard.  Individual differences are viewed as our greatest asset as they form the basis for our harmonious collectives all around the planet.           

Our biggest problem was interestingly, ‘Hope.’  This is because, too often, hope is always rooted in an unknown future.  Real change is hard for people to do because of attachment to current systems.  Hope can cause people to accept what they do not want as they just continue to dream of what could be instead of living it.  When people are locked in survival mode, they hope to escape, but maintain their focus on root needs instead of trying to live self-actualized ones.    

“You have to understand. Most people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured and so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it” Morpheus, The Matrix.

Once we stripped away hope that the hierarchical powers would somehow save us, we stepped into our own power and started creating our own future from the ground up.  Enough of us started to live in a post-hierarchical, post-patriarchal, non-consumer-materialistic way that reinvented our socio-cultural structures around the world.  We had no option but to become eco-centric if we wanted to thrive.  Our farming became localized and fully organic.  Our economy became framed by collaborative exchanges and projects, with money being a convenient tool and not an end goal.  We no longer lived in a cradle-consumption-throwaway paradigm, but through what was known at that time as a cradle-to-cradle paradigm, just like any ecological system.  We now live cultural collectives within a global society that is truly interconnected with all life in a harmonious balance using wisdom for all decision-making.    

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”  Woodrow Wilson.

To Be Continued … 


Richard can be contacted at

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