Hurricanes Evil? You Anthropocentric? Explore YOUR ‘Environmental Identity’ here…

One Point Zero
Howard Fairbank
Thu 1 Sep 2016 03:21

ANL Bindaree's position today:     20:08.20N 129:23.90W

'From the Bridge'
                                        Inline image                    Inline image
                                Length or Looks??       ANL Bindaree        vs       Cap Capricorn! 

Yesterday afternoon we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, my 4th surface crossing which was good for me, as each time I remind myself of the significance of the Tropic. It’s latitude is exactly the same angle as the inclination of the earth’s axis, and it represents the latitude at which the sun reaches its furthest most Northern traverse before ‘heading back' South to the other Tropic!  We all know the sun doesn’t move and that it’s our planets orbit of the sun that creates the illusion. And with all that we get our seasons!  A magical design, that runs on Nature’s, own design, autopilot! 

We all know this but good to remind ourselves: ‘Without Nature we are Nothing!’  

It’s 3 am and I have just come down from the bridge after having a ‘graveyard watch’ chat with Andrei, the 2nd Officer from Romania.  With no moon for the past two nights, and a totally clouded sky, it’s just pitch black out there for 360 degrees.  I sensed he welcomed my company.  These are the nights the solo sailor dreads but at least tonight the wind is light, the seas calm, and I’m not out their solo in ‘little Allone’!  The big container machine’ just thumps along at its robotic 17.5 knots, smack bang on track for New Zealand. 

Andrei is 32 years old, married, with a 2 year old daughter, and home is just outside Bucharest. The conversation moved between ocean crossings, the challenges and rewards of a married officer’s life!  Then as it drifted to One Point Zero type stuff he shared with me the mind set of many post-communism Romanians:  Capitalism has ‘swamped out’ socialism and created a very short term, focused, grab whenever / whatever you can mind set.  As he described it all it appears the need for conspicuous consumption seems even ‘worse’ than the more mature capitalist western societies.  We explored how this can continue and where it was all going, and in the context of yesterday’s blog he then said something quite profound: “Romanian’s know how to live very simply, so they don’t worry if it all stops and they have to go back to a simple life. They don’t fear it, as they know they will be OK.”

Having been through my own transformation, and now living simply and free of the conspicuous consumption / materialism prisons, I related immediately to what he was saying, and the freedom that brings.  We then spoke about ship life and how simple that is, and how in many ways it has a freedom that most could never see… Speaking with the Captain yesterday, the same theme came out and it makes one wonder from whence freedom cometh hey? 

                                              Inline image                              Inline image
                                                                            Impressive plume!                                                     During the day maintenance is done!

That reminded me of French Philosopher Michael Foucault who in his search for freedom from all hegemonies, concluded this about ships of the past: 

“.....if we think, after all, that the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea and that, from port to port, from tack to tack, it goes as far as the colonies in search of the most precious treasures they conceal in their gardens, you will understand why the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development, but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.”

Ooh, to only be able to be Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus, etc, again!! 

Maybe in dealing with the Referendum decision the Swiss and all of us dealing with our own One Point Zero fears need to think in terms of becoming Nature’s “adventurers” and “pirates” and have the courage to follow the ‘dream’ of liberty in a simple and truly free, One Point Zero world?

                                                                                                                  Inline image
                                                                 Officers Mess complete with closed curtains, with the Pacific outside!

Ha-ha, the Bridge was a bit more philosophical than normal, but Hurricane Lester continues below!! 

Relationships:  Nature, Humans and Anthropocentrics!
                                                                                                          Inline image
                                                                                Our relationship with the Non-human world!

We humans have many facets to our inner identity, and today I’ll introduce one of those facets defined by S Clayton in the book “Environmental identity: A conceptual and an operational definition”   

Environmental identity 

Defined as a sense of connection to some part of the non-human natural environment, based on history, emotional attachment, and/or similarity, that affects the ways in which we perceive and act toward the world... 

An environmental identity can be similar to another collective identity (such as a national or ethnic identity) in providing us with a sense of connection… and with recognition of similarity between ourselves and others.” 

Can you maybe see an ‘Environmental Identity’ facet to your identity?  If so what is that relationship to the ‘non-human’ world?
                                                                                                         Inline image

Before setting off from Long Beach, I posed a few questions for pondering, and maybe in the context of seeking to understand your Environmental Identity these could be useful..........?

What exactly defines Nature for you?  

Where is the demarcation line between Nature and Human life? 

Are we Humans part of Nature, or are we a special ‘species’ outside Nature? 

If we ARE part of Nature, what is our role, rights, and responsibility in ‘The Scheme’? 

Was this Planet given to Humans to use merely as a short term, ‘test ground’ in the qualification process for some ‘higher eternal prize’?  

Are disease, sickness, even Hurricane Lester(!) some form of ‘evil’, ‘flaw’ or intervention designed by ‘someone’ with ‘remedial purpose’ against ‘wrong doers’? 

If ‘God’ made ‘it all’, what role does ‘he’ expect from us in relation to its use and preservation?

Silly questions, or maybe not so silly? After years of discussing, observing, and listening to what my fellow humans think and have found, they are ‘not so silly’.  I wonder what your thoughts are, and if this helps you work out your ‘Environmental Identity’..?

As Clayton points out one should try to see this Nature relationship issue as ‘just another’ you / other relationship and explore the ‘basis of belonging’.  From the same paper, Schulz helps clarify:  

“Environmental concern is tied to a person’s notion of self and the degree to which people define themselves as independent, interdependent with other people, or interdependent with all living things.  From this perspective, concern for environmental issues is an extension of the interconnectedness between two people.”

                                                                                                          Inline image

As much as most of ‘us’ want to deny it ‘The Facts’ show that the dominant ‘style of relationship’ humans have had with Nature is one of a very strong Anthropocentric form which you can read more about here. 

Taken off Wikipedia, Anthropocentric is defined as “A philosophical viewpoint where human beings are the central or most significant entities in the universe (or world)”.  

Where are you on the Anthropocentric scale?  Twenty years ago I used to be about an 8, and now with still some work to go, I sense I’m hovering around 2 or 3! (10 is max!)

Maybe as you explore you find, that for this to be useful, you need a clearer picture of ‘what’ you define as ‘Nature’?

I often hear people say they are heading off to Nature?  I say: “But I’m here in Nature?” They look at me strangely and say: “No you're not, we are in a big city.  How can we be in Nature?”  To which I add:  “But you are still breathing the air, your body is functioning as a human!  How do you think the air stays the right oxygen / nitrogen ration all the time?  It’s windy, and going to rain here tonight, how does that work?  Ooh, and all those trees.... and did you see that bird fly by?  Best you get home before sunset too - it’s going to be cold after dark!” 

The travel magazines are full of ways you can ‘buy a Nature experience specially created by humans, to make money from Nature, so we can live our high consumption lives on the other side of The Chasm from Nature?  Just move around with an exploring mind and you’ll be amazed how we present our relationship with Nature as something that’s separate from us and exotic, and it’s usually about taking from Nature for our happiness and pleasure. What do we give back?

All simple stuff but, I have found, important to contextualize for my definition of Nature.

We all ‘use’ Nature and depend on it for every life second!  Surely we need to understand this relationship as almost the most fundamental Human Relationship Belonging Need.  Simply, I believe this relationship is about:  

Without Nature we (humans) are Nothing….

Nature gives us the very basis for life, and understanding this as a relationship, at minimum provides us with our fundamental ‘Earthly Belonging’ context.  Beyond that, a deeper understanding has the possibility for the most tangible, transcendental / spiritual relationship context for all Humans. 

I see One Point Zero as ‘very simply’ an issue of deciding about correcting our fundamental Human relationship with Nature or not….?  And in that sense, there are no half measures.  That’s the beauty of One Point Zero: The Facts show that the relationship is broken and it will only be truly fixed again when we are at One Point Zero!  Anything less and we are fooling ourselves we have solved ‘our’ problem. 

We humans are already paying the ‘non-Belonging’ price, and each day as The Chasm in our relationship increases, each day the price and consequences of the broken relationship become greater.

That it is ‘Only a Relationship Problem’, is a huge statement, but one I believe will be the final driver of our change to a path towards One Point Zero or not!  It’s a Moral and Ethical call for us living Humans and future generations.

What about ‘God’ and Religion?  I don’t see this Nature / Human relationship context as being in conflict with religious beliefs and contexts, as this is about the ‘spiritual’ context of our earthly existence.  Irrespective of who its creator is deemed to be, we surely need a fully functioning, healthy earthly relationship context? 

Maybe it’s ‘creator’ set this Nature game up to see how us, ‘more than capable of destroying themselves’, humans can live within the rules of The Game or not!  

Time to take off the Anthropocentric armoury, accept liberating submission to Nature!  Let’s try and get everyone working together, as good ‘little Nature’s creatures’, guys!  Losing this game is not just embarrassing, it’s eating the soul of Humanity!