Democratic Forest Trusts (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.Democratic trusts with leadership elected by citizen-members promise to solve many of the problems afflicting both traditional government and corporate ownership of forestlands.Â This article explores these issues in some depth.Complexity and the Dream of Human Control of Eco-Systems (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.The title captures it.Â I then explore the kinds of institutions compatible with both nature and the modern world that are implied from this analysis.Rethinking the Obvious: Modernity and Living Respectfully With Nature (PDF)The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, Winter, 1997.Modernity is usually considered a wrong turn in terms of respect for and sustaining the environment.Â I argue the reality is more complex, for modernity has freed us from personal dependence on agriculture, ended the economic value of children, radically reduced the likelihood of large scale wat, and shifted much production to intellectual rather than material capital.Â This partially decouples society from nature, which gives us important opportunities as well as problems.Towards an Ecocentric Political Economy (PDF)The Trumpeter, Fall, 1996.This paper begins my effort at showing how liberal modernity can be harmonized with an ecocentric perspective on our relationship with the natural world.Â It is a corrective to much “free market environmental” literature that sacrifices Nature to money as well as to anti-liberal attacks by well-meaning but economically naÃ¯ve environmentalists.Unexpected Harmonies: Self-Organization in Liberal Modernity and Ecology (PDF)The Trumpeter, Journal of Ecosophy, 10:1, Winter 1993This is my initial paper exploring how what I term ‘evolutionary liberal’ thought can be an important means by which society and nature can be brought into greater harmony.Â The other Trumpeter papers build on it.Deep Ecology and Liberalism: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberalism (PDF)Review of Politics, Fall, 1996.Liberal thought and deep ecology are usually regarded as mutually exclusive. But the “evolutionary” tradition offers a way to integrate the two through commonalties in the work of David Hume, Michael Polanyi, Arne Naess, and Aldo Leopold, providing a stronger foundation for liberalism while strengthening the case for an ecocentric ethic.(Related subjects: Ecology)Saving Western Towns: A Jeffersonian Green Proposal (PDF)in Writers on the Range, Karl Hess and John Baden, eds., University Press of Colorado, 1998.Developmental pressures in the rural and small town West involve three groups: long term residents, new arrivals, and environmentalists. Today their interests often conflict. This conflict is in part the outcome of institutions which prevent harmonizing competing interests. The concept of developmental trusts, both for rural regions and for small communities offers a means whereby these interests can be harmonized for the benefit of all concerned.(Related subjects: Politics)Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Liberalism (PDF)Critical Review, 6: 2-3, 1992.Murray Bookchin is considered a leading radical environmental theorist. However, his analysis is incapable of leading humankind towards a more respectful and sustainable relationship with the natural world. Criticisms of Bookchin from both the deep ecology and evolutionary liberal perspective complement one another, pointing the way towards a better understanding of how modernity relates to the environment.The paper as a whole offers an early discussion of issues that are more clearly addressed in later papers, particularly Deep Ecology and Liberalism (1996) and the three Trumpeter articles in 1997, 1996, and 1993. However, there are other ideas in the article which have not been developed more thoroughly elsewhere.
The forgiveness thread Cheryl started is a wonderful one, and I want to give it special placement. Forgiveness is a fascinating topic. I have a remarkable story that offers an inspiring perspective on that issue.
When I taught Political Science at a small liberal arts college, one of my friends was an Ethiopian economist who also taught there. When he has been a young man he had been imprisoned in a concentration camp by the communist Ethiopian government. Its leader, Mengistu, and other political thugs, brutally dominated that country from 1977 to 1991, being responsible for the deaths of thousands, before the regime was finally overthrown.
While in the prison my friend and other inmates were tortured regularly. After the regime fell the situation was reversed. The inmates were freed while many of their former guards were imprisoned.
My friend was close to a man who, if I remember correctly, had become the new Ethiopian Minister of Justice or of the Interior. The Minister asked him if there was anything he could do for him, now that they were both free.
He said he would like to return to the prison and meet his captors and torturers.
The Minister was surprised, but agreed to arrange it.
When my friend returned, and saw his former torturers and jailers behind bars, he spoke with them in a friendly way, and explicitly forgave them for their crimes. He meant it.
He also was able to get hold of police records that gave him the name of the man who had informed on him, leading to his years of imprisonment and torture. He called him up, and asked that they meet. When they did, he asked his former ‘friend’ why he had informed on him.
The man began to cry and said he believed he had little choice because the regime would have done terrible things to him and his family if he had not given them names. He said he felt he had no choice.
My friend, who describes himself as an atheist, also forgave him.
When he told me this amazing story I told him that despite his being an atheist, he had done one of the most spiritually wise things I had ever heard of anyone doing.
He laughed it off, saying he had done the forgiving for his own benefit. Not to have done so would have retained the poisons of anger, resentment at his betrayal, and worse, in his own heart. He could never have gotten past it. In forgiving his oppressors he had healed himself. And I can attest I have known fewer warmer, more easy-going and good-hearted people in my life.
I have not mentioned his name or given many identifying details because he has never to my knowledge made his story public. I wish he would. His story that would make a wonderful movie or book, and, more importantly, inspire others to learn from what he did.
I wonder whether one of the worst effects of those whose actions harm another is to tie their victims emotionally and energetically to the misdeeds. Hate, anger, and resentment are a kind of psychic virus. They are powerful thought forms, requiring a great deal of effort to hold under control and breeding still more hate, anger, and resentment in others when they are not held under control. Their presence also poisons and distorts our other perceptions and thoughts. Isuspect the only way their victims can free themselves from these powers and move forward with their lives is to forgive.
I suspect the lesson my friend taught me, and I have not fully perfected, we all could practice to our benefit.