|My formal introduction to the quest for an environmental ethic came during the early 1970s at the National Environmental Education Development (NEED Camp), a joint venture between the Shasta County Superintendent of Schools and the National Forest Service in northern California. I am co-founder and one of two first instructors for a program that has continued for nearly 40 years. In 1990 I introduced the subject matter for Environmental Ethics at College of the Redwoods in coastal northern California and taught it for nearly 18 years before retiring to The Gulch. I could say much about envethics, as I call them, but all would be arguable for, you see, it is a new field presenting many perspectives and disagreements. It really doesn't even have a permanent intellectual home, being claimed the territory of history, english, philosophy, natural science, nursing, agriculture or natural resources. Where do I think it belongs as a curriculum or course of study? It should belong to itself. I will explain later. Actually it doesn't even exist in western culture. This fact allows for much creative and 'beyond the mind' thought.
"Beyond the mind?" Let's start with this. There is only one true reality and that is the reality of Nature. All other realities are products of the mind and are, thus, unstable. Each culture has its own realities and each person in each culture enjoys their own aberrations of those realities. The reality of Nature, which I call the "first reality," was here before humankind and will remain after we are gone. The "second reality" is the reality continuously transforming in the minds of humanity and consists of about 6 billion configurations which is, as you might have guessed, the number of humans on the planet Earth. Now, we belong to Nature...Nature does not belong to us. We are the result of the design powers of Nature. We did not design ourselves. Nature did not design us to drink Coca Cola. Our bodies are best served by water. A true environmental ethic would have to consider these and other truths before it could have any real validity. You can see the problems awaiting. And they are primarily problems of the mind of humankind. Probably more simply put...the ego.
What is Nature? God probably. The universe and all its myriad ramifications for certain. What is Life? Currently it is Nature's fussing with the Earth. It is what makes the Earth so special. Life is the gift of Nature to our Earth. This is very ancient knowledge.
"I'll be back!"