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Ethical Evolution: The Way Forward

Ethical Evolution: The Way Forward

Lately, it seems as if everything is aimed at the “green consumer”. From energy-efficient appliances to hybrid cars, environmental consumerism is in fashion. I’ve always been of the opinion that this evolution of the consumer market has to be a good thing, but my feelings about it are changing. I am now quite convinced that it would be a good thing, if only it were accompanied by a missing ingredient that is essential to creating lasting change: evolution of our society’s ethical values.

Promoting green consumerism as the answer to our planet’s troubles has been embraced whole-heartedly by businesses that have a vested interest in selling more stuff, but there are other champions of this cause, such as environmental groups, who could be more effective by leaving the green marketing to those who stand to profit from it and putting their energy and resources toward inspiring a revival and restoration of ethics.

The marketing strategy is to make “green” a socially desirable quality, increasing the popularity of energy-saving gadgets and hybrid cars. One obvious objection to this approach is that it does nothing to address the serious and pressing issue of consumerism itself, but may in fact actually serve to promote it. The other concerning aspect is that these steps are simply not significant enough, and that over-emphasizing the benefits of these “easy lifestyle changes” is counter-productive, as it teaches people that more substantial change is not necessary.

Emphasizing small changes and promoting them as being significant, without addressing the core issues behind the problems, convinces people that it is possible to ‘make a difference’ without making substantial changes in one’s lifestyle or belief system. In other words, we are training ourselves to be unwilling to make bigger, more difficult changes. With our society and our world on the brink of a major breakdown, it has become imperative that we face up to the need for a radical shift – in lifestyle, behavior and beliefs.

The environment movement stands at a critical point in history, where we are finally in a position to be heard, and for our concerns to be taken seriously. Gone are the days when skeptics could write off the urgent pleas of the environmentalists as being “extreme”. The predictions of global eco-system collapse are coming true, and the urgency grows with every passing day.

It is time now for the environmental movement to turn its attention away from green marketing and toward addressing deeper issues. We need to examine the prevailing lack of environmental concern that has led us to this potentially disastrous situation, and we need to treat the root cause of this problem: humanity’s pandemic of ethical atrophy. This vast spiritual void is isolating us from each other, and from the rest of the natural world.

We need to embrace basic human values: empathy, compassion and respect; for the natural world, for the other animals, and for our fellow humans. By re-evaluating and renewing our commitment to fundamental values, and by calling attention to the need for an ethical evolution, we can create new standards for positive lifestyle choices.

Now is the time for the environment movement – and all movements for positive social change – to converge around the most pressing issues of the day and create a plan of action to offer to the world as a map out of the madness. We need to make the shift from consumerism to conservation, from competition to co-operation, from predation to protection. The keys to a new world of safety and plenty are at our fingertips. What we need is to be open to the necessary changes, to be willing to step into the future that those changes will bring, and to embrace the evolution of values that will illuminate our choices and show us the way forward.

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Photo by: Elias Delphinus

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9 comments

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9:55AM PST on Mar 7, 2009

I agree with this blogg and also feel that we are not making changes that will make a big difference in our enviroment. we are also overlooking one major envirometal issues, the raising of animals for food.By not addressing this issue all the other changes big or small will not make a big enough difference. We have to ban raising animals for food, or least put a drastic limit on how many animals can be raised each year. It may be animal products cost more because of it but is it not worth the price to save our world? too many poeple are to misinformed about eating animals, and too selfish to stop. Until all issues that effect our enviroment are addressed we will continue to have global enviromental problems and they are getting worse not better.

2:16AM PST on Mar 7, 2009

One person spoke of the disadvantage of the power stations we live on the south coast of England next to 2 power stations (one just being dismantled from age)but there is talk of a replacement these have kept electricity flowing on the Marsh in industry and housing a
for a number of years without fail a little further away we know finnd that the Goverment have now invested thousands in a wind farm (true to say they do not look that ugly on the countryside as long as they don't come closer to houses. However on the Marsh being flat we have terrible gales and the wind farms are going at full speed now as I understand we can't store electricity where does the extra power go when the power station output ws sufficient for the area? the power station can't stop producing suddenly and change to wind power and what happens if we rely on wind power and we have no gales to work them i.e. during the summer months. Can someone tell me what happens then ?

11:20PM PST on Mar 6, 2009

We live in the outskirts of London England and we have the same kind of problems as with comments above.. We are also angry as we believe that the way foward is NOT NUCLEAR POWER stations as Britain is trying to promote - but wave power from the sea, solar power from the sky and the wind power from the air (which requires large turbines..) There are so many narrow minded people here opposing these ideas an example "The turbines are unsightly and spoil our view of the countryside/sea" (we have some ancient windmills in England which are environmentally protected and are considered beautiful - cannot people see that it is time for a change - Nucear Power is NOT the answer.. it is dangerous and poisonous - we believe that the FAT CATS in our industry do not want to loose their foothold on our society..

11:20PM PST on Mar 6, 2009

We live in the outskirts of London England and we have the same kind of problems as with comments above.. We are also angry as we believe that the way foward is NOT NUCLEAR POWER stations as Britain is trying to promote - but wave power from the sea, solar power from the sky and the wind power from the air (which requires large turbines..) There are so many narrow minded people here opposing these ideas an example "The turbines are unsightly and spoil our view of the countryside/sea" (we have some ancient windmills in England which are environmentally protected and are considered beautiful - cannot people see that it is time for a change - Nucear Power is NOT the answer.. it is dangerous and poisonous - we believe that the FAT CATS in our industry do not want to loose their foothold on our society..

4:26PM PST on Mar 6, 2009

I agree that "Green Consumerism" is not the answer to our environmental and spiritual woes. It is akin to allopathic medicine, which looks at slapping a pretty bandaide on the problem, rather than addressing the root cause or practicing "prevention"
There is a fine line here. We do need green products to take the place of all the chemical products we now consume, such as paint and cleaning products for every day use. It is a step in the right direction, but not if it means we just consume more and throw more things away.

6:05AM PST on Mar 6, 2009

I agree with the worry of environmental issues for the world but like the government everyone seems to forget "at home" why does the industry not be more stung for their part in making so much waste in the wrapping of foods especially the take away food stores they sell food in fancy containers that are thrown down on our roads and if you look at the rear of the shops throw out filthy wasted food. The bins are another hazard not being emptied regularly leading to fly tipping which all in due cause will lead to rats that breed and eventually lead to outbreaks of disease amongst the population especially in the more crowded towns and cities.

1:17AM PST on Mar 6, 2009

a world of safety and plenty is achievable by the logic presented in this article.. it is clear as a bell to me ..that evolution bends towards justice...we evolve by choice...choosing better ethical core values is something that is anybodies right to do..do it....thanks angel..

4:24PM PST on Mar 5, 2009

actually..the site to track is thezeitgeistmovement.com

4:22PM PST on Mar 5, 2009

this is all relevant information but with all the respect this article gets close to all "root" causes for the world we live in. Please i ask for anyone reading this to Visit zeitgeistmovie.com and this will open your eyes .. its a very well documented movie and million of people are watching it and we have a cause also which can be tracked at thezeitgeistmovie.com . please for the sake of humanity go to zeitgeistmovie.com and see the movie for your self.

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