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Untangling the Grip of Multi Earth Tentacles on Us

For much of my life, my consciousness remained too undeveloped to have dissented from Multi Earth living anywhere near the degree that I now believe to be necessary. Getting my ecological footprint from 3.7 planets to 1.0, I now understand, means more than daily dissent from Multi Earth living. It requires that I learn to live as a One Earther, and to do so in movement-building ways with others. Writing here helps me untangle the grip of this Multi Earth worldview that increases the danger of how we humans live. Why, given my greatly increased awareness, and an earnest desire to live at 1.0, have I not been able to shake loose from the tentacles with which Multi Earth-ism grip me? And why, all around our spinning globe, does Multi Earth-ism attract so many into loving money and desiring more?

Deceivingly elusive questions that have carried me into writing a book about them. Others are helping me with final edits. Our One Earth Team is looking for publishers for bound copy or ebook versions, or both. Sending a query letter to publishers is underway. Final titles are being pondered. You can influence this process by leaving your comments here. Weigh in on Multi Earth and One Earth living as you see them.


The Casino: Living on 1 Planet while Gambling as if We're on 5

Think of this! If all seven billion people on Earth lived according to the average American, five planets would be required. Go ahead! Check it out! Go to the Global Footprint Network website and use their calculator. Of the many footprint calculators on the web, the Global Footprint Network sets the standard.

The network tells us that in order for all of Earth’s people to achieve the standards of European societies, as many as four planets are required. Or if you lump our species all together globally, from richest to poorest, then we demand 1.4 times from nature what she annually regenerates. This means that by early fall of recent years we began using resources beyond what Earth’s ecosystems produced in that year. I was shocked to learn of a study published in 2011 in the Marine Ecology Progress Series that determined we will need 27 planets by 2050 if we cannot greatly improve on what our living practices were in 2011. My mind stumbles before these impacts on Earth’s ecosystems from human population, overconsumption, and inefficient resource use. Our species, so capable of enormous good, continues to play in a high stakes casino game headed for self-destruction.


Starting Point: Let's Calculate Our Ecological Footprints

No matter which ecological footprint calculator I use, the results come out the same: I use more of Earth’s ecosystems annually than what they generate. My lifestyle is too big for our one planet. So, I use more than my share, depriving others of theirs. I take advantage of the economic and political systems that privilege me over other people. But not only people, I also endanger the habitats of animals and plants. The Earth Day Network footprint calculator tells me I’m requiring 3.7 planets. Ouch! A similar calculator at the Center for Sustainable Economics doesn’t soothe me either. Its criteria calculate me at 3.59 Earths. Their website explains how science continually updates the metrics by which footprints are calculated to assure the greatest accuracy possible.

How can my footprint be so large? I’m trying so hard to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink. A recent decision that my spouse, Juanita, and I made is just one example. When we faced $1000 or more of repairs to our 1998 Honda Civic, we opted for a previously owned 2004 Toyota Prius, upping our miles per gallon from 34 to 50. But there’s no getting around those footprint calculations. When I look at myself in their mirror, who do I see? I see a Multi Earther, a conqueror of Eden.

Deep within me lives the unshakeable conviction that Earth generates abundance for all life on the planet, not just for me, and not just for my family or my country — not even just for humans, but for all animals and plants. A share of that abundance belongs to each of us. It’s that share that I want to learn about and live with. Not 3.7 of the shares. How I’ve come to this point, and my quest to change, is what this blog is about.


How the One Earth Project Was Born

It was March, 2009, when Michael Johnson and I met one another after a presentation I gave on “Ecological Economics.” By mid-2012, we had committed to producing a book and video on One Earth living. I would write the book; he’d produce the video. But we’d be full partners in both.

The manuscript of the book is done and getting some edits. What an encourager Michael has been to me! Anytime I was losing energy, he’d say something to infuse me with what I needed to put this book together. On the video side, he brings greats skills as an artist and producer. Just check the website of his company, Industrial Strength Television.

If you wonder about the name, One Earth Project, it states our quest for how to use only one planet’s resources by the way we live. Currently, if all the world lived like the U.S. average, we’d need FIVE Earths. In other words, U.S. lifestyles and the U.S. economy are a Multi Earth Project!

This gets personal for me because my lifestyle requires 3.7 Earths. And that’s what the book is about. How can I get to 1.0? Why does Multi Earth living have such a tight hold on us? And, I tell why I’m convinced that our current global economy will never get us 1.0 living. The U.S. and other leading countries have given up on our planet. We have not. But in this context, how do we live?

This blog will be growing faster than the U.S. economy over in the rest of 2012. Visit again soon. BUT before your next visit find out your footprint on the planet. I so hope you’re footprint is smaller than mine. But, whether it’s smaller or bigger, share what you are learning about One Earth living. Leave your comment and help expand the consciousness we need to live as part of Earth’s magnificent community of life.


Nine Convictions in an Economy for One Planet

The following Nine Convictions are developed in the Eden Series trilogy I am writing as part of the One Earth Project.

  1. Earth Community is more than human community.
  2. The Commons evokes more mature human capacities than do corporate-led markets.
  3. Commonwealth is richer than private wealth.
  4. Abundance is richer than prosperity.
  5. Limits to growth increase innovation and creativity.
  6. Economic democracy achieves fair distribution more effectively than corporate-led markets.
  7. Local economies generate life for regions without destroying global connections.
  8. Wealth is not the same as lots of money.
  9. Wellbeing and happiness happen through One Earth living, not Multi Earth economics.

A Money Autobiography — Have You Written Yours?

If you’ve never written a money autobiography, you’re missing a strong experience of better self-understanding. I’ve written several over the years. Each helped me look at my relationship with money and its deity powers over our world. Me included. Reading aloud my autobiography to a small group and inviting conversation (not critique) adds even more value. It’s part of getting freer from the economic clutches of More.

Our exodus from empire and civilization’s Multi Earths economy cannot be accomplished if we do no more than stop using empire’s socio-economic structures, big as that is. To truly leave empire ways behind and change out of the civilization story to another requires a more holistic exodus.  That exodus must also happen within us, in our relationships, and in all organizations where we have influence.

—From my upcoming book, The Eden We Can Choose, to be released in 2012

Writing a money autobiography will help get empire-think out of you. So how does one start? There’s an excellent guide in Faith and Money Study Guide, an eight session manual for groups put out by Faith and Money Network, Washington, D.C. Getting people to write a money autobiography is just one of the really important contributions F&MN has made to many lives.


7,000,000,000 Humans on One Planet? How Does That Work?

It happened somewhere in October, 2011. A baby homo sapien was born and she or he became the seven billionth member of that species alive at that moment. As recently as 1940, the year I was born, homo sapiens totaled a “mere” 2.3 billion. We tripled our numbers in my lifetime!

“With seven billion of us now inhabiting our planet, it is time to reflect on our current path.” So says the introduction of the United Nations report prepared by its Panel on Global Sustainability. That report, “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing,” has been released in anticipation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held this summer on the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conference where U.S. President George H.W. Bush said that the U.S. lifestyle was not negotiable. The report makes 56 recommendations for sustainable development and says “we need to change direction dramatically, beginning with how we think about our relationship to each other, to future generations, and to the eco-systems that support us.”


But I’m putting my money on the activists who recently gathered in Port Alegre, Brazil. They, too, were preparing for a conference on the 20th anniversary of Rio. Their People’s Summit will be a counterpoint to the UN Summit. The People’s Summit is far more likely to identify the “dramatic change” that the UN report calls for than is the UN Conference. The reason is that the UN Conference relies too heavily on the global corporations to design the green economy. Because the ruling corporations are committed first to their own profits, not the planet or people, their greening of global capitalism cannot make the sharp turn Earth now requires. Unless the U.S. lifestyle becomes negotiable in 2012, 20 years after Rio, the unequal distribution of Earth’s resources assures a system that will careen off the path for living in right relationships on one planet. As of this moment, there is NO turning from such planetary disaster. The breakdown of the current corporate-driven system in 2008, and the extreme weather episodes it accelerates, will multiply like breakdowns of an overloaded, 30 year old jalopy tagged with a sign “California or Bust.”

The People’s Summit, by contrast, will be resilient, flexible, and driven by scientific information, life-changing commitment, and love. They will decide democratically and act on the hardwiring in us for cooperative ventures that improve the wellbeing of all life in our regions.

Coincident with the time of these summer gatherings, the One Earth Project that I’m part of will be promoting my book about living on one Earth. There I detail how we, the people—the majority of the seven billion—long to live in right relationships with one another and all animal and plant species of our regions. We have the skills to create the economic structures that fit Earth’s resources. At the moment, governments, captured by corporations that are void of democracy and life-sustaining wisdom, make far more policies to hinder us than help us. When will our people’s work reach the tipping point when governments are forced to change and love the people and planet more than the money of corporations?

With 7,000,000,000 billion of our aggressive species now roaming the planet, love compels us to reflect deeply and to act justly and compassionately for one another and all life. Profit compels no such thing.