Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Press Conference Statement

I was invited to speak today at a press conference organized by the peace, justice, and sustainability community to examine the tragic events of this past Saturday in Tucson that left six people dead and 14 more wounded. Representatives from 14 groups delivered prepared statements. Following is mine.

My name is Dave Ewoldt, and I'm the executive director of Natural Systems Solutions. Our work emerges from the field of ecopsychology, and one focus is the use of natural systems principles to facilitate the transition into a sustainable future. It is in that context that I prepared my remarks.

We are exhibiting many symptoms of a very sick society. Foremost today, of course, is that we're destroying our one and only life support system to continue an entirely irrational system of infinite economic growth on a finite planet. But, there's another symptom of our cultural pathology that I want to address today.

The rhetoric of hate and fear is propagated and enticed by the only interests that it truly serves--elite power and control hierarchies. These special interests maintain their control by keeping us divided against ourselves. Whether you are a member of the Tea Party or the Progressive Movement, the problem is not big government, but bad government--a government that has been bought by corporate and financial interests that put profit and power before and above people and planet.

Today's so-called conservative movement, which it should be apparent has nothing whatsoever to do with traditional values that seek a better future for all--that has both Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt turning in their graves--has adopted the language of war and retribution; a language that seeks to settle differences by "targeting" and "taking out" your opponents; a language that normalizes violence, aggression, and exploitation for personal benefit; a language that divides and pits us against each other in order to keep us too distracted from where the problem really lies.

We are a culture that sanctions death. We illegally invade and occupy sovereign nations that don't play along with our business interests, and use unmanned drones to drop bombs on civilian populations. We are the arms dealer to the world. Our death... I mean defense... industry and prisons are the only growth sectors left that we don't outsource and off-shore in our economy.

But what is most important to realize in a culture that has lost its way is that there is an alternative to all this that we could consciously choose. While it may sound strange to ears long accustomed to the story of scientific reductionism, materialism, and separation that has emerged from Enlightenment thinking, the alternative follows known patterns of mutually supportive ecological relationships that have been working quite well for billions of years to keep the project of life itself progressing. This alternative starts by no longer allowing those who act against our best interests--against the best interests of life itself--to dictate the terms of the debate.

We could decide to focus on those aspects of being truly and fully human that work with the creative life force such as nurturance, compassion, cooperation and use our intelligence to focus our innovative spirit on creating a sustainable future. A future based on the principles of ecological wisdom, social justice, economic equity, and participatory democracy. We can no longer afford to continue denying that true justice cannot exist without sustainability, and without justice there will be no peace.

Otherwise, our days will continue to be filled with too many that resemble this past weekend. The choice is up to us, and change begins by making new choices.


Unknown said...

Hi Dave:

Great statement on peace and sustainability. You hit the nail on the head -- bad government is indeed the problem. Corporations and powerful lobbying interests seem to have a stranglehold on our legislative process and are firmly entrenched. Money talks and the integrity of our democracy is at stake.

Obama promised change, but it seems that he has failed to make any difference. He is simply repeating the mantra of his predecessors -- 1) don't upset the status quo; and 2) keep the top 2% in charge of the vast majority of wealth and power in this country.

Last year, the five-justice conservative majority on the Supreme Court decided to reward their benefactors of the past and rule on behalf of powerful corporate interests. Citizens United v. FEC reinterpreted the Constitution to give corporations the same First Amendment rights as people -- without the risk or liability we have to deal with.

As we witnessed in last year's mid-term elections, multitudes of fake "citizens" groups, "Swiftboaters" and astro-turfers now have the unrestricted freedom / ability to run an endless stream of attack ads in order to influence the outcome of elections -- all paid for by undisclosed spending originating with shadowy front groups, the elite wealthy (who wish to remain anonymous) and corporations.

Karl Rove could not be happier. The Koch brothers have managed to finally create a divisive political movement (the Tea Party) to do their dirty work for them and pave the way to dismantling our current government and its regulations that pester the rich -- in order to reshape America into a third-world country where there is no longer a middle class and the wealthy get even more power and money. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Even more alarming is the unsustainable depletion of natural resources and the rapid decline of our fragile ecosystem. As the Dalai Lama once said: "This blue planet is our only home." Yet we are blindly destroying it more and more each day, and driving species to extinction at a frightening rate.

Perhaps some day, if it is not already too late, the rest of the civilized world can finally convince the U.S. to take the threat of global warming seriously and begin to wean ourselves off the addiction to fossil fuels. A dream some say, but the rude awakening just down the road will be a nightmare if alternative energy sources are not in place to meet the growing demand.

I feel for the younger generations that will have to deal with the mess left for them to clean up.


Randy Omdahl
Tucson, AZ

susan renna said...

But, they are the solution! They are much smarter than we think!!

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