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A Little Background from Grier Raggio

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”  -Pogo

Blog premise: We are changing our world in ways that threaten all people by depleting natural resources and altering natural systems.

Evidence: Climate change with increasingly severe and frequent heat, drought and storm events; depletion of forest, soil and ocean resources; health effects of air and water pollution

Blog goal: To protect our futures by restoring healthy balance in natural systems.

Our Challenge:

Can human beings act differently from other species? Animals reproduce and consume until they run up against limits in their environment, and then they die off. Humans have used intelligence and technology to establish dominance in the natural world, and now there are over seven billion of us. We consume more than is sustainable, and by that excess consumption we are changing natural systems. Our challenge is to keep Earth friendly and supportive by using our best human qualities – imagination, creativity, empathy, and reverence.

Solution Pathways:

1.Respect nature and her balances
2.Moderate personal and public consumption
4.Develop alternatives to scarce resources

There are many partial solutions, but at bottom we need a revolution in the way we view consumption. Throughout recorded history having a big house has been linked to high status and power, with little consideration of the burdens building and maintaining it put on natural resources. Can we change? Can we make high consumption less a badge of honor? Can we alter the wants for “more” in each of us?  Can we stop pursuing growth in consumption as a goal of public policy?

Trusteeship and Stewardship:

There are two basic reasons for optimism. One is human imagination and creativity. We can plan for the future, and we can imagine how our present actions will affect our futures, and the futures of our children and grandchildren. A Native American saying goes: “We do not inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.” This is the concept of trusteeship – that our actions, our consumption of Earth’s bounty, can and should be respectful to the interests of people who will come after us.

The second is ethics and religion. Various faiths thank a supreme intelligence that has created a world so comfortable and so nurturing. Respect for the Creator demands that we respect and nurture His creation, and that we exercise good stewardship over the natural world we each inhabit so briefly. Various ethical traditions also ask each of us to look beyond gratification of our personal wants to the needs of others, both those here now and those to come.

Moving Forward:

We can succeed, but necessary adjustments will be hard. In my 2010 campaign for election to Congress, I told people that our federal deficits and our living beyond our means were unsustainable. That message was often unpopular when the voter heard anything that implied that he might get less. If that attitude prevails, we will all get less as natural systems degrade through unsustainable use.

Americans have caused sea changes before. Our parents and grandparents won World War II through amazing personal sacrifices. America has led when necessity required strong and imaginative action. Our environmental revolution will be led by women and by men from the worlds of science, business, politics, education, communications, religion – from all walks of life. They will share the ability and the commitment of this country’s Founders to look beyond today into the needs of tomorrow.

I decided in 1969 that preserving natural systems would be the biggest human challenge for the remainder of my life. I will continue to do what I can, as effectively as I can.

Grier Ragio Grier Raggio  was the Democratic candidate in the 2010 election for the United States House of Representatives seat in Texas’s 32nd congressional district. He is a lawyer who lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Judge Lorraine Raggio. For more about Grier, visit his page at Wikipedia.

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Comments (2)

  1. Craig Burma Sunday - 11 / 12 / 2011
    Great blog, Grier. here is an old blog post where I declared my belief the American Dream had died. At the end of the post, I committed to demonstrate to my kids how to: 1. Reduce consumption 2. Maintain a skeptical awareness of their ego 3. Recognize media messages fueling consumerism 4. Travel internationally 5. Live frugally, simply and in peace (God willing) I admire your efforts over the years in this area. I hope your efforts have a statistically significant impact. That is the best any of us can hope for, I believe.
  2. Beth Bond Sunday - 05 / 02 / 2012
    I would like to discuss importing your blog into our site We are the largest online website dedicate to telling the green and sustainability business news in the Southeast. You blog headlines would appear on the website but all your content would remain on your site and we would send people to your blog. Let me know if you are interested.

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