Wednesday, April 23, 2008

green earth comes calling....

Mother Earth, Father Hell

Mothers stay home and raise children; fathers leave home and raise hell. Perhaps this is what the worst-case scenario of our developmental policies look like as we approach the year 2012, the year ancient the ancient scriptures of the Mayan Civilization said the world is going to end.

That's only 4 years from now!

Nostradamus had a different date. Each and every religion has a different idea of when and how Armageddon will come.

This is what the world has faced with the essential tension between nature and technology, between care and chaos, and between the need to preserve the environment and the urge to destroy it.

We do not know when the earth is going to self-destruct but we know that we must do something about our immediate environment. We must do it with political will.

No longer can we leave the work to non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Earthwatch, or even Sahabat Alam Malaysia. We must grab the state governments by the collar and their songkok and have them shape up in their will to implement measures to monitor environmental policies that will help preserve even human beings of generations to come.

We cannot, unfortunately rely on the American corporations to stop polluting the environment. They are a hopeless case living in a hopeless political ideology when it comes to the rape of nature and raising hell.

Look at major US corporations have done to carcinogenize and chloroflouro-carbonize Mother Earth, based on the latest report by Massachusetts-based political-economic based research institute.

The stubborn Americans – true to their military-industrial mode of thinking - did not even want to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on the CFCs. Another country that has refused to sign the treaty is Australia.

Close to home in regard to environmental destruction, recall what happened to Johor some time ago.

The major flood that devastated the state amongst others was a consequence of our developmental projects that benefits the few and devastates the many. We need to engage in a new world of thinking.

Eco-philosophical thinking

"Ecosophy" or the paradigm of thinking that synthesizes "ecological security" and "natural philosophy" ought to be explored if we are to honor Mother Earth and tame Father Hell.

We need to engage in a thinking that takes preservation of the environment as a philosophy of development.

Amongst this is to "reuse" and not "recycle". Recycling takes a lot more energy. We need to explore what paradigm of thinking to "reuse" and what to avoid "recycling".

We should not even "recycle" politicians who are corrupted or has a record of destroying the environment. We should not even reuse them.

To engage in an "ecosophical" thinking means to go back to the drawing board of everything and rethink even the way we think. It is going even beyond metacognition; beyond even understanding the way we think about how we think about the world around us.

This might be a mentally paralyzing notion even for the thinkers in our government ministries but it is worth exploring.

"Ecosophy" takes into consideration not only the environment but the radical ideas about the self itself.

I believe the Orang Asli of Malaysia - the "un-modernized Temuans, Senoi, Semang, Jakun, Sakai, etc. - can explain this idea of human development better than any expert in any international development bank or in the Ministry of the Environment.

"Ecosopohy", independence, and freedom are not a slogans but an existential state of mind and a condition of 'lived democracy', one in which citizens are aware of how oppressive systems that destroys the environment are cultivated.

Doing the needful

We cannot be independent and live in an environmentally sustainable world until we arrive at these historical junctures, and until we do the following:

1. Understand the relationship between the 'self and the system of social relations of production' and how the self becomes alienated and reduced to labour and appendages and cogs in the wheels of industrial system of production, a system that hides under the name of the corporatist nation and any other term that masks the real exploitation of the human self.

2. Make ourselves aware that our social system, through the rapid development and deployment of technology and its symbiosis with local and international predatory culture, has helped create classes of human beings that transform their bodies into different classes of labour (manual, secretarial, managerial, militarial, intellectual, and capital-owning) that is now shaping the nature of class antagonism locally and globally.

3. Understand how our political, economic, cultural institutions have evolved and are created out of the vestiges of newer forms of colonialism, institutions that are built upon the ideology of race-based interpretations of human and material development that benefit the few who own the means of cultural, material, and intellectual production.

4. Understand how ideologies that oppress humanity works, how prevailing political, economic, cultural ideologies help craft false consciousness and create psychological barriers to the creation of a society that puts the principles of social contract into practice.

5. Be aware of how our physical landscape creates spaces of power and knowledge and alienates us and how huge structural transformations such as the Multimedia Super Corridor or those emerging corridors that create a new form of technological cityscape (technopoles) that benefits local and international real estate profiteers more that they provide more humane living spaces for the poor and the marginalised in an increasingly cybernated society. We must be critically aware of the potentially ecologically-destructive nature of the government's mini corridors and their impact will be on the long-term development of Malaysians.

6. Be fully aware of the relationship between science, culture, and society and how these interplay with contemporary global challenges and how we clearly or blindly adopt these rapid changes and transform them into our newer shibboleths of developmentalism – one such policy being the National Biotechnology Program.

7. Design an economic system founded upon socialistic principles that meet the needs of the many and curb our enthusiasm to consume conspicuously and consequently create a society divided by classes and a postmodern caste system. Rethink the progressive dimension of nationalization instead of pursuing the excesses of privatization. What good would Malaysia do if its leaders are siphoning the nation's wealth by the billions, stashing them in places such as Switzerland and the Cayman Island?

8. Restructure the entire education system that would not only create some variant of a classless society but also one that would evolve into a reflective one instead of being rushed to death along the path of Wall Street by those who owns the means of production. Restructure it based on the idea of ecosophy and the teaching of how human being must go back to the principle of "living with simplicity" and living within one's means and to "living that prioritizes needs more than greed".

Green Party needed?

Malaysians might perhaps need to wait for their own truly "Green Party" to emerge and to rule the country and to redesign the entire system based on the principles of ecosophy.

At this point in Malaysia's history, a great deal of damage has been done as a consequence of 50-year rule of a coalition government that does not understand the relationship between nature, technology and capitalism.

Mother Earth must be preserved of its femininity. Father Hell's misdirected masculinity has brought about war, destruction, and environmental chaos – like what the Mayans had predicted.

There is still a reason to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.

No comments: