Suzuki: love, carbon and being

CdZsH3PVIAA2ENh    Rhodora! If the sages ask thee why
    This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
    Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
    Then Beauty is its own excuse for being. 

Some things just are: Too much carbon. The need for fast change. Low carbon business is profitable. We think we are motivated by money. We’re carbon change laggards.

David Suzuki, speaking at WOMADelaide, advocates answering these perplexing paradoxes by preferencing love.

David points our that love is a driving force of our species. “Our love of our kin, children and grandchildren, overrides economic pressure” he says.

That may sound limiting. Love and care. Is that all? Knowledge and understanding is equally important, if not more so?

If climate change represents the greatest challenge of our species and our greatest opportunity we surely want all the data possible.

Such hard data is necessary but not sufficient. The way we see the world, what our values are, determines how we are going to behave and act. Considering values and worldviews is important. It is a dominant focus for success in our interconnected world.

David highlights that a lot of environmental work didn’t shift the paradigm, we’re still stuck thinking about things in the old ways.

However, we’re motivated by love and care, connected and interconnected to nature. We will prioritise our family and kin. Similarly, the mother earth is our kin.

If this sounds a little too unscientific, some compelling and logical argument – on interconnection, the earth as our kin, love, the limitations of science and accepting what just is – from David’s Womadelaide talk is here.

Notes: The poem is an extract from The Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1847. Click here for David Suzuki’s WOMADelaide bio. More on David’s argument and what ‘just is’ follows in the next blog post.



Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 1.07.55 PMSometimes, frequently we can’t ‘solve‘ a problem without creating another one. Often we need to manage this, manage polarities, rather than trying to create a singular focused outcome.

Nature and nurture is a classic example. Freedom and responsibility is another one. So many sustainability issues need this type of both-and thinking and the following is a lovely summary of polarity from Seth Godin.

Freedom and Responsibility – Which do you want?

Freedom is the ability to set your schedule, to decide on the work you do, to make decisions.

Responsibility is being held accountable for your actions. It might involve figuring out how to get paid for your work, owning your mistakes or having others count on you.

Freedom without responsibility is certainly tempting, but there are few people who will give you that gig and take care of you and take responsibility for your work as well.

Responsibility without freedom is stressful. There are plenty of jobs in this line of work, just as there are countless jobs where you have neither freedom nor responsibility. These are good jobs to walk away from.

When in doubt, when you’re stuck, when you’re seeking more freedom, the surest long-term route is to take more responsibility.

Freedom and responsibility aren’t given, they’re taken.

In the environmental field, for example, we wish people to be responsible, to be held responsible for impacts. However, we also want to encourage innovation, change and progressive solutions – the types of creativity that are often assisted by freedom.

Quite often the debate is polarised – today’s problems and our future sustainability and environmental repair requires both.