Thursday, June 1, 2023

Anthropocentric Environmentalism, Anthropogenic Climate Change, and All Our Relations.

I've been (or was) part of what was called the environmental movement from an early age, having a respect for plants and animals that I was told was kinda weird by family and friends growing up. I worry about the mental state of people's pets, and never felt comfortable with the idea of "owning" an animal (no judgment on anyone else -- this is only a personal discomfort).

I eat animals, but prefer to do it in what in my mind is respectful. The closer plants and animals look like themselves the better -- fish have just always "tasted" better to me if the head and tail are still all there.

When I moved from Sudbury to go to Carleton University, I met up with "fellow" environmentalists that connected me with the Peace and Environment Resource Center and from there to the Green Party, etc, etc.

Fast forward to the early 2000's and I started to not see myself in the Green parties, and started to not see myself in PERC. I saw interconnections between the Open (source, access, government, science, etc) movements and Climate Change and other "peace" and "environmental" policies which they did not.They would regularly tell me it was the wrong priority and to stop talking about anything outside narrow silos of thought.

I had to move my activism elsewhere.

Green Party leadership would say things such as "the Economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment" and the GPO even said it would abolish the provincial Environment ministry as all of the government is subservient to the environment and those policies should be core to every operation of government and every department.

They would say these things, but not believe it or echo it in policies: they were apparently brand slogans, nothing more.

Increasingly in the 2000's I became depressed. I didn't think "humanity" was ever going to change, as "humans" were simply too disconnected from the real physical living reality to understand how to protect their own species, let alone any other.

Logically I felt the big problems wouldn't happen in my or Rina's lifetimes: we don't have children, so I simply have to stop caring about these things at all. I'll be long dead before things get really bad. It was a very hard and depressing way for me to try to think, but that is what I was actively trying to do : to distance some of my emotions from my Godkids/etc, and what their lives might be like.

Then in 2020 I finally/properly bumped into anti-racism, from there anti-colonialism, and to learning about domestic (meaning Indigenous) nations.

My stress levels dropped considerably. I felt hope for the first time in an extremely long time.

The "problem" wasn't humanity or human nature, but specific problematic worldviews. Worldviews can be changed by reversing ongoing colonial/genocidal policies (Save the Indian, Save the Man ; Save the Indian in the Child ; protect Indigenous languages/cultures in the Constitution/Charter rather than English or French ; etc) .

The "Conservationist" movement I had believed in was based on the notion that all humans were Anthropocentric and Androcentric, which is simply false (and is in fact part of White Supremacy).

I see connecting to local Indigenous Communities (such as can be found via the Native Friendship Center movement -- Odawa NFC for me) to be critical for any actual Climate Action. These are groups connected to peoples who have had worldviews/laws/etc that help deal with Climate Change -- and these laws were put in place on this continent long before European contact. Domestic (meaning Indigenous) law itself is a form of Climate action policy, long before Climate Change became a visible problem to anyone.

Westerners aren't going to be leaders and should never stand in front of Indigenous peoples. We must show up and be willing to be students, followers and helpers. We still need to unlearn the very worldviews and mindsets which are the cause of existential problems such as Climate Change, and this will happen through interacting with and helping the community.

I don't actually believe in "Anthropogenic Climate Change" as it is not "human activity" in the generic sense which is the problem, but activities originating from a very narrow set of worldviews which have been extremely colonial/genocidal in spreading across large parts of the planet.

There is an extremely common belief that there is no way to solve this problem, or that "democracy" is too slow to deal with it. That policies to deal with Climate Change could somehow hurt "the economy" (however subjectively that term is used). Etc, etc... Over the decades I have heard so many excuses for inaction.

  • One of the "slowest" forms of democracy is participatory democracy, where all citizens with near-universal suffrage have a say in decision making.
  • This is in contrast with representative democracy where a small subset of people make all the decisions.
  • This is in contrast with a Constitutional Monarchy where all the power is actually vested in the crown through a crown created/authorized/etc Constitution. Canada's constitution has only received minor amendments since the first of 11 British North America Acts was passed in 1867 by the British Parliament -- against the wishes or even awareness of the VAST majority of the relevant stakeholders on this continent.
  • This is in contrast with a Monarchy/Dictatorship/etc where one person (with the help of their chosen aids/etc) make all the decisions. The Westminster Parliamentary System was first designed as a debating club to advise the Crown. (And the Senate? )

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is the oldest participatory democracy on the planet, with non-western scholars generally agreeing that it was likely founded in 1142 (For comparison, John II Komnenos /  Comnenus was the Eastern Roman/Byzantine emperor at the time).

The English called them Five Nations and then Six Nations when the Tuscarora joined this advanced democratic League of Nations in 1722. (which predates the European League of Nations, later called the United Nations, or the European Union, by quite a bit). Their Constitution is generally called the Great Law of Peace in English.

For Comparison, Britain only had comparable suffrage for its weaker democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 1928.

When did the Haudenosaunee confederacy start advocating for policy changes in reaction to climate change? From what I've heard from a few people who are citizens of one of the six nations, their elders started in the 1970's.

Canada, on the other hand, is one of the weaker forms of "Democracy" as a colony with a Constitutional Monarchy, and still actively lobbies internationally for PRO-Climate Change Policies (policies which are universally understood to make the issue worse).

Democracy isn't the problem. In fact, if Canada more closely resembled a democracy, it would not be engaged in so many horrible activities (on this continent and beyond). These are not activities "Canadians" have approved of, but activities they aren't even accurately informed about.

For me, the #LandBack movement and the restoration of Indigenous self-determination (as should be protected under the UN charter as well as UNDRIP) isn't only a matter of "the morally right thing to do". It is a key policy to help protect life on this planet. Global Indigenous peoples saving themselves can serve as examples to teach those that still hold harmful/shallow anthropocentric and androcentric worldviews how to survive, as westerners have totally disconnected themselves from life itself.

Some other potentially interesting links:

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