Wisdom and spirituality may yet save human race

By Timothy D. Bates, The Day Connecticut

March 31, 2013

"...I respectfully suggest that we, as a species, have two attributes distinct from other organisms that would allow us to do this: our intellectual and spiritual capacities.

We have already begun to use our intellect to create more environmentally-sensitive tools and devices that lessen negative impacts - for instance, hybrid automobiles and use of solar and wind power - but, largely, these innovations have had a marginal impact and we continue to rely on the same energy systems, modes of transportation, and living patterns that have characterized the post-industrial age.

Similarly, we have used our intellect to enact environmental laws that purport to clean the air and water and control our use and disposal of hazardous substances. However, the laws to protect the air and the water primarily regulate the development of new or modified sources of pollution and seldom require the elimination of known historical hazards - such as the coal-fired Midwest electric plants - and the laws to control the use and disposal of hazardous substances focus on keeping track of and properly disposing of these substances, not eliminating their use.

If mankind is to undertake the task of re-envisaging our energy production, transportation systems, and housing patterns - all inconvenient, uncomfortable, and expensive tasks - we need to begin to perceive the environmental movement as a spiritual imperative. Human beings have traditionally viewed the world as a magical and mysterious place - a miracle. We now need to access the type of spiritual resources that allowed Mahatma Gandhi to overcome colonialism with pacifism and Martin Luther King Jr. to challenge racism through nonviolence, and then use that spirit to develop the urgency and commitment to create a new vision of a sustainable society..."

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