Navigating the site:
Mindful Conservatism, C. A. Bowers, (2003)
"What does an individual...want to conserve?"
" the answer must also address the needs of the world's most impoverished people."
"The idea that change is inherently progressive continues to be an essential underpinning of thinking in the West."
"The emphasis on conserving, whether by individuals, communities, or cultures, would allow us to return to the mainstream of human history."
"It would be more correct to say that our use of the two most important political terms, 'liberalism' and 'conservatism,' has become ....distracting."
"examined the characteristics of modern culture that contribute to overshooting the sustaining capacity of natural systems."
What do we want to conserve?
"leaves people without the skills and traditional systems of mutual support that represent alternatives to the double bind of becoming dependent on consumerism while lacking a source of income." (with which to afford further consumption)
Maintaining an open door to corporate interests."
"greatest compassion was shown to the energy industry--the producers of electricity, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power."
Follow the money:
"documents the connections between the corporate financial donations to the Republican Party and the corporate officials who participated with Vice-President Cheney in shaping the new energy policy."
To equate conservatism with the pursuit of economic self-interest or even with preserving capitalism is utter nonsense--.
"morally coherent and ecologically responsible communities are based on intergenerational knowledge and responsibility that help keep consumerism in balance with other relationships and activities that strengthen community networks of reciprocity and self-reliance.
"networks of interdependency and intergenerational responsibility have been replaced by ...individual subjectivity."
"The negative effects of this drive to commodify every aspect of life can be determined on a personal basis by considering the extent to which relationships and activities have been incorporated into the market."
"Natural systems are turned into exploitable resources, then into consumer products, and after a short period of use they are returned to the environment as toxic wastes that undermine the viability of surrounding natural systems."
"For too long we have taken self-proclaimed conservatives at their word...what it is that self-proclaimed conservatives want to conserve, particularly when they are addressing what scientists (whom they commonly refer to as practicing 'pseudo' and 'politicized' science) call the ecological crisis."
The Wise-Use Agenda clearly reflects the movements close alliance with corporations who are dependent on maximizing their access to Nature's resources."
"Critical thinking based on a mindful conservatism deeply rooted in intergenerational knowledge of life-sustaining community-Nature relationships is profoundly different from the Western myth that represents change as synonymous with progress."
"a sense of caution and concern"
"The technologies derived from modern science are now a ubiquitous part of daily life. As the rate of scientific discoveries continues to accelerate, more aspects of life-forming processes are now being integrated into the industrial process."
"The myth of modernity , which connect individual happiness and success with the dynamic nature [character] of the industrial-dominated marketplace, has been embraced by much o of the world's population."
"the dominant challenge of our era:...how to raise the material standard of living of billions of people without further accelerating the destruction of the Earth's natural systems. "
"The small number of scientists now promoting the 'precautionary principle' are a source of hope....the point is not to stop doing science and stop developing new technologies. Rather to carry on these necessary tasks in ways that are informed by a more complex understanding of...how these traditions vary from culture to culture."
"strengthen self-reliant and less environmentally destructive communities."
We need to identify "what traditions need to be renewed."
"The scale of the ecological crisis now makes it necessary to make a shift in consciousness where accountability is measured in terms of not undermining community-sustaining traditions."
"change must be evaluated in terms of whether it contributes to the further well-being of the community; second, decisions about what needs to be conserved, renewed through modifications, or rejected need to be based on a 'partnership between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are yet to be born'."
"local knowledge systems of non-Western cultures."
"The word tradition, like the word conservative, has a pejorative meaning reinforced by the elites of institutions that promote a modern, consumer oriented culture."
"he suggested that the word tradition carried so much negative baggage that we should drop it from our vocabulary." Because"we should think only about progress."
Amish communities, crop rotation, legumes to renourish the soil done at the time when the cycle dictated by the land's conditions are right, as opposed to market cycles determining the crops that are planted.
Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language, and Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan's principles of ecological design are all good examples of retrieving and using traditional knowledge in an appropriately creative manner to renew communities.
"Before addressing the specific reforms that must be undertaken, it is necessary to reiterate two other critically important reasons for reducing consumption."
one -- "too much waste" accumulates
two -- we cannot leave a degraded world to future generations.
His recommendations for change:
Bower's addresses five changes that have to be made in education:
"changing the basic interpretive frameworks in ways that lead to conserving the nonmonetized traditions of community..."
"In this era, where global warming is only one of many radical changes taking place in the Earth's ecosystems, it is essential that public school teachers and university professors begin to address the fundamental question in ways that achieve ecojustice."
"self renewing capacity of natural systems."