Happy Earth Day 2016! I thought this was beautifully articulated today by The Gaia Foundation in London.
What is Earth Jurisprudence?
In response to the multiple eco-social crises we face today, cultural historian and Gaia patron, Thomas Berry, called for a paradigm shift from a human-centred to an Earth-centred world view. Thomas believed, as we do, that today we need an Earth Jurisprudence – a deep philosophy and a way of governing our societies that recognises that the Earth is the primary source of the laws we must live by.
The Earth’s laws govern life on our planet, including our own. We are born into a lawful and ordered Universe and our responsibility as one of many species is to understand and respect these laws and living processes. Our governance systems need to be derived from these laws and our ways of life guided by them. Indigenous peoples who maintain their ways of life recognise this reality. The violation of these laws, as we are now witnessing, leads to ecological, climatic, social, and economic chaos.
This understanding, that human well-being is intrinsically linked to the well-being of Earth, is common to indigenous cultures and the way in which humans have understood our place in the world for most of our history. The idea that humans are superior and unaccountable to Nature rather than inextricably part of her, has led to a planetary crisis. We have become profoundly disconnected from the Earth and treat the Earth as a collection of objects or ‘resources’ to be used rather than a community to which we belong.
Earth Jurisprudence acknowledges that the good of the whole takes precedence over the good of the individual elements. This is the foundational thought for the transition away from an extractive relationship with our planet and each other, fostered by the modern industrial society and the ideology of the growth economy. The way we govern ourselves needs to embody an ethical code of practice which requires us to live according to Nature’s laws for the well-being of the whole of Earth Community and future generations of all species.
More to explore through their work at The Gaia Foundation: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=02c4daf3f04db09cb03d78dc8&id=0a94625203&e=d742d2ce4c