August 14, 2012

You may have noticed a focus in my recent YES! articles on Sacred Earth and the Rights of Nature—key themes of an emerging public debate about fundamental values. It comes down to a defining question: “Will we organize as a global society around financial values and logic or life values and logic?”

Indigenous environmental leaders brought the values issue to the fore of the thinking of civil society groups in the June UN Rio+20 environmental conference. The corporate faction argued in Rio that to save nature we must commodify and financialize her assets. Civil society groups countered that as the source of life, Earth Mother is sacred, beyond price, and not for sale. It is a defining choice for humanity.

Republicans and Democrats are currently stuck in debates about financial deficits while ignoring the far more important living deficits. Mitt Romney aggravated the misdirection by choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate. I call it “America’s Deficit Attention Disorder” (ADAD) in a blog released simultaneously with Romney’s announcement. Ryan is the poster boy of ADAD syndrome. The blog is a New Economy Working Group contribution to plans for a progressive initiative to bring life values to the fore of the political debate in America.

There are important signs of hope that the values issue is about to spring forth in the global human consciousness. In June, I traveled to Bristol, UK to participate in framing a new initiative of the Club of Rome to engage a global conversation on the stories that frame our foundational values.

I find particular promise in discussions with influential spiritual thinkers and activists about how our choice of creation stories shapes the shared values of society and thereby the human course. As part of an effort to expand this conversation and take it public, I am working on a piece that will launch on the YES! Magazine website in early September on “Science, Religion, and Integral Spirit: A Sacred Story for Our Time”

The Winter 2012 print issue of YES! Magazine will ask “What would Nature Do?” I’m writing a lead article to address this question in relation to the economy.

All these developments advance our Living Economies Forum vision of a New Economy based on living system principles.