Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Role of "Power" in Achieving Holistic Sustainability

Building of my post from 11/30/09, I have to briefly comment on Obama's plan to escalate war efforts in Afghanistan, and why a better understanding of the role "Power" plays in global society sheds a clearer understanding on the creation of positive social change.

However, let's first look at what happened in India 12/3/84. On this day, over half a million peoples lives were brutally impacted in Bhopal due to a hazardous gas leak. The ramifications of this horrible accident set of a wave of reforms across the globe regarding hazardous chemical manufacturing. The travesty in Bhopal happened 25 years ago, and while changes were made shortly after the gas leak, legislation and policy has still not ensured that the greater public and the environment are safe from future "accidents". Why? The WTO, who mandates policy for the globalized economy is not concerned with production standards. It really cares most about controlling product standards. So even after such a devastating, unnecessary point in history called to the industrialized to world to better safeguard people and the Earth from leaks of toxic gas (or fill in nuclear meltdown, left over land mines, dumping waste in waterways, etc) the emphasis the WTO promotes if how safe a product is-not how safely it was created.

The awareness of Bhopal , like many mirrored incidents since the industrial revolution, has somewhat permeated the mainstream conscious collective. Wait. No it hasn't. In reality, awareness has not really been absorbed in a way to remind people what that chain effect after Bhopal actually was. Tightening of pollution standards across the globe happened. People organized in communities thousands of miles away, in places like industrialized Worcester, MA where toxic particulates were being emitted where locals children played. The awareness came not from foresight of beating a problem before it was created, but rather from a reaction to a problem that was alive and had to be dealt with immediately.

My major point to share here is while it's essential to adapt to conditions as they present themselves, sustainability begs us to have the forethought to take action before problems present themselves. In that light adapting to catastrophe is "easier" in that precaution has brought with it the thought of what will everyone do if...
I feel a major reason that movements for peace, justice, and sustainability have failed to take a major hold of global society is because those with "Power" make those without "Power" believe that these conditions are the way it is; a natural path for humanity. That is, some have and will always have power (the affluent), while other will simply not. If people feel they are powerless to organize and act as a cohesive unit unless cataclysmic action falls by way of toxic leaks in low-income communities, war, etc. then how will lasting social change come to be?

Again, it's clear the paradigm of "civil society" must be critiqued.

Circling to the US and its escalation of war in Afghanistan, the American people were told last week that war is essential. That it's a necessity. What's not fully on the table is what interests compel the US to continue its war in the Middle East. For the US to be present, and risk lives and environmental destruction, what's really the cause?

If the main reason for action is the threat of the Taliban gaining control of nuclear weapons held currently by Pakistan, then why is that not discussed with the American people? Maybe the reason corresponds to why the WTO still has no concrete safeguards for the production of noxious materials across the world.

It goes back to power. Power held and power controlled is a major energy to understand while attempting to move forward the well-being of the total biotic community of Earth. Wealth, yeas. But not solely wealth. As I've said before, maybe if the US didn't hold the greatest amount of nuclear weapons in the world, they wouldn't be so anxiety driven to think they can defeat a radically fundamentalist group.
In the coming days, weeks, and months lets remember our power as individuals to do all what we can to reclaim our individual power, which collectively as a force can be power as Empire. It can also be a power that dismisses power, which may be what actually leads to Holistic Sustainability.
Read Holloway, think, talk, and act.

"Change the World Without Taking Power" by John Holloway