IMAGINE A WORLD where the very way we live is steadily enriching the ecosystems around us. It is a world where our households and communities, just by thriving, make the biosphere a greener, more abundant and more livable place for us and our fellow species. It is a world in which all our enterprises, large and small, account for not just their financial expenses and revenues, but also their grey and green ecological impacts. It is a world where every company and corporation, just by doing business, is subtracting carbon from the biosphere and enriching its diversity. No longer do we strive to simply minimize our grey harm. Instead, we spiral our greening contributions ever upward: overpaying our carbon debts and ever increasing our net-green impacts. In this world, our diverse cultures and well distributed economies are like voices syncing in song with the planet’s cycles; a chorus of ecological harmony rising up with us towards the stars.
Forgotten to many of us, such worlds have thrived in nations ancient and ongoing. I believe that to the extent that we can recognize them, we can imagine a similar synchrony unfolding around us today. And insofar as we can imagine it, such a world is not nearly as distant as many of us despair.
Like our love of a song well sung, of complimentary colors and of symmetrical shapes, I believe that the yearning towards ecological contribution unites us across culture and continent. Whether it is adding our voice to a choir, playing our role on a team or contributing to our community, we long to enrich that with which we are a part. As the parts we play in our local ecosystems and our global biosphere becomes clearer, so too does our yearning to make it meaningful. Indeed, I have come to see that our transition to authentic ecological contribution is part an epic planetary story whose direction is literally in our hands.
So, how do we get to this beautiful world we all long to see?
I've got one word for you.
It is said in permaculture that the problem is always the solution1. Through the struggle to find my own green way, I have come to see that our every day plastic is in fact a grand opportunity for awakening.
That ubiquitous material we all love to hate, is in fact a portal backwards into the Earth’s primordial story and forwards into the green world that awaits.
By looking at plastic closely and stepping through its story, a great ethical advance awaits us on the other side. Up until now, our understanding of how to contribute to ecological harmony has been juvenile— our notions human-centered, limited and incomplete. Our definition of ‘greening’ has been limited to simply reducing harm.
However, through insights gleaned from the stellar story of plastic’s primordial origins, we can gain unprecedented clarity into the fundamental principles of biosphere enrichment. With this foundation we can reorient our households, enterprises and technologies and build deep green ones from the ground up.
But first, let’s address the hate.