“EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want.” Book Review by Shirley Farlinger
Lappe, Frances Moore. “EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want.” Nation Books. 2011. 288pp.
Renowned author Frances Moore Lappe has analyzed some of the causes for our lack of success in addressing global problems in her latest book, her 18th. She describes our dilemma in seven “thought traps.”
First environmentalists are offering “no growth” as the answer and this response will not appeal to anyone especially to the unemployed.
Then there’s the excuse that our consumer society is to blame and our growing population will only increase our need for more growth.
Or it is argued that we have already hit the limits on our finite Earth. Our ecological footprint seems to affirm this. Even the organization 350.org reminds us that 350 is the parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere is our limit.
Thought trap four is the belief that it is not in our human nature to solve our problems. We are greedy, selfish, materialists.
And five, we have a natural resistance to implementing rules which would limit our freedom.
Thought trap 6 is surely true. We who are urbanized and technology-addicted have lost our connection to nature.
The worst trap perhaps is number 7 – It’s too late. Democracy has failed and decisive action is a pipe dream.
Certainly many famous books, such as “Collapse” by Jared Diamond or “When Corporations Rule the World” by David C. Korten re-enforce these conclusions.
But Lappe will have none of that. She looks at each of these blocks to progress and gives many examples of how we are overcoming this negativity and forging ahead with turning people from wasteful thoughtless consumers to what she calls “Ecominds”. She writes “There is another way of seeing our world and our place in it through the lens of ecology, the relationships among organisms and their environment.”
So she turns her attention to “thought leaps.” “Lets call growth what it is – an economics of waste and destruction.” We could choose “flourishing” and “genuine progress” that focuses our minds on enhancing health, happiness, ecological vitality and the dispersion of social power instead.
Thought leap 2 is to imagine together how to create real luxury – rich, stimulating and beautiful lives honoring the laws of nature.
It’s not too late, she says, to shift our focus to what brings health, ease, joy, creativity – more life so that our real needs are met as the planet flourishes.
In “thought leap 4” she admits humans can be greedy but sees changes in our societies to encourage cooperation, empathy, fairness, efficacy, meaning and creativity. Many examples are given.