This blog was originally posted on the website Valuing Nature.
Society needs a major shift in its core values to stave off an environmental crisis, warns a Yale report “Toward a New Consciousness: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities”.
“For a long, long time the environmental community has been running on the original fuel from the 1970s,” said Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “We felt then that if we put in place a well-thought-out, well-planned, economically sound proposal for the private sector, accompanied by a little lobbying and litigating, we could get the end result we sought. Nothing major was required in terms of people’s values or lifestyles. What we have come to realize is that if we are going to deal with environmental challenges on the scale needed, we need a profound change of values leading to major behavioral change.”
The report, which includes a foreword by Speth, synthesizes the insights and recommendations from over 60 leaders in the natural and social sciences, philosophy, communications, education, religion, public policy, business, the creative arts and the humanities who participated in a conference organized by the environment school last fall in Aspen, Colo. The conference focused on examining the role of cultural values and worldviews in environmentally destructive behavior in modern, affluent societies.