People are intelligent beings capable of responding rationally to new knowledge particularly if it can be shown to be directly relevant to their own circumstances. For this reason, the eco-footprint concept resonates better with the public than do more abstract and impersonal sustainability indicators. In particular, people appreciate the way EFA draws them into reflecting on their personal consumption habits as illustrated by the popularity of EFA-oriented web-sites that offer simple calculators that visitors can use to estimate their personal eco-footprints. Attributes of EFA that help to communicate biophysical reality to the public include the following:
The method is conceptually simple and intuitively appealing. Even sceptics recognize that that they have a positive ecological footprint.
EFA personalizes sustainability by focusing on consumption—everyone is a consumer and must ultimately take responsibility for his/her own ‘load’ on the planet.
EFA consolidates measurable energy and material flows into a single concrete variable, the corresponding appropriated land/water (ecosystem) area.
Land itself is a powerful indicator. Everyone understands ‘land.’ (Popular understanding of the ecological crisis is prerequisite to any politically viable solutions.)
Eco-footprint estimates can be compared to finite local and global ‘supplies’ of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (i.e., people and populations can compare their demands to available bio-capacity).
The ‘ecological deficit’—the difference between domestic bio-capacity and a larger eco-footprint—requires little explanation and many people see it as more important than the fiscal deficits with which their governments are often preoccupied!
EFA appeals to both the ecologically and socially conscious. For example, it reflects gross material inequity but also shows that growth is not a sustainable option to relieve it.
Perhaps as important as any other factor, ‘ecological footprint’ is a powerfully evocative metaphor—would people be as quickly captivated by the concept had it been called the ‘human impact index’ instead?
The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity and until they do (and find the cure) all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.
Germany appeared in my eyes a very tiny portion of the earth. I had emerged from abstract Mysticism, and I learnt a love for Matter. Beauty of material and brilliancy of wit were lordly things to me: as regards my beloved music, I found them both among the Frenchmen and Italians. I forswore my model, Beethoven; his last Symphony I deemed the keystone of a whole great epoch of art, beyond whose limits no man could hope to press, and within which no man could attain to independence.
It may be that we should stop putting so much emphasis in our own minds on the monetary value of a college education and put more emphasis on the intangible social and cultural values to be derived from learning. The time may be coming when we will have to start accepting the idea that education is life, not merely a preparation for it.
Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created.
The One so good and so great desires you to embrace him and is waiting to embrace you.
Put your heart at His feet. It is the gift He loves most.
What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust.
The psyche cannot tolerate a vacuum of love. In the severely abused or deprived child, pain, dis-ease, and violence rush in to fill the void. In the average person in our culture, who has been only normally deprived of touch, anxiety and an insatiable hunger for possessions replace the missing eros. The child lacking a sense of welcome, joyous belonging, gratuitous security, will learn to hoard the limited supply of affection. According to the law of psychic compensation, not being held leads to holding on, grasping, addiction, possessiveness. Gradually, things replace people as a source of pleasure and security. When the gift of belonging with is denied, the child learns that love means belonging to. To the degree we are arrested at this stage of development, the needy child will dominate our motivations. Other people and things (and there is fundamentally no difference) will be seen as existing solely for the purpose of my survival and satisfaction. Mine will become the most important word.
There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.
In horror, in terror, she accepted the metamorphosis — gnat, foam, ant, until death. And it's only the beginning, she thought. She stood motionless, as if it were possible to play tricks with time, possible to stop it from following its course. But her hands stiffened against her quivering lips. When the bells began to sound the hour she let out the first scream.
In spite of so many stubborn lies, at every moment, at every opportunity, the truth comes to light, the truth of life and death, of my solitude and my bond with the world, of my freedom and my servitude, of the insignificance and the sovereign importance of each man and all men. There was Stalingrad and there was Buchenwald, and neither of the two wipes out the other. Since we do not succeed in fleeing it, let us therefore try to look the truth in the face. Let us try to assume our fundamental ambiguity. It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our life that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for acting.
He lifted the lantern with trembling hand so that the light danced around us. Miss Morstan my wrist, my heart pounding. He would go out into the night from the big dark house of the most painful and melancholy sounds: the sob of a woman frightened
The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as science collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need to invoke miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's history into the biblical span of a few thousand years; their unwillingness to abandon claims clearly disproved, including the assertion that all fossils are products of Noah's flood; and their reliance upon distortion, misquote, half-quote, and citation out of context to characterize the ideas of their opponents.
We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.
Yet, just as individual selection emerged relatively unscarred after its battle with group selection from above, other evolutionists launched an attack from below. Genes, they argue, not individuals are the units of selection. They begin by recasting Butler's famous aphorism that a hen is merely the egg's way of making another egg. An animal, they argue, is only DNA's way of making more DNA. Richard Dawkins has put the case most forcefully in his recent book The Selfish Gene. ‘A body,’ he writes, ‘is the gene's way of preserving the gene unaltered.’ For Dawkins, evolution is a battle among genes, each seeking to make more copies of itself. Bodies are merely the places where genes aggregate for a time. Bodies are temporary receptacles, survival machines manipulated by genes and tossed away on the geological scrap heap once genes have replicated and slaked their insatiable thirst for more copies of themselves in bodies of the next generation. He writes:
So the thing I realized rather gradually - I must say starting about 20 years ago now that we know about computers and things - there's a possibility of a more general basis for rules to describe nature.
In the age of the individual's liquidation, the question of individuality must be raised anew.
I repair, then, fellow-citizens, to the post you have assigned me. With experience enough in subordinate offices to have seen the difficulties of this the greatest of all, I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it.
A secret and ardent stirring within the frozen chastity of the universal.