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About

how and why plurality.eco came to be

I’m a philosopher and a writer, and I love doing these two things. I realised that the world I wanted to live in, and the world we have now, were two very different things. I started a PhD in philosophy, focusing on political ecology: that is, how we can organise ourselves in a way that puts us within ‘nature’ and its rhythms, and not outside as a separate and destructive force.

I think about how we could live our lives. I realised that profit and the accumulation of stuff (capital) is not really a worthy goal for an individual, or a society. I started looking at happiness, the removal of suffering, the flourishing of each and every one of us (animals and plants included). Why did we not choose these as goals?

When I imagine our future, I fear that we will continue down a path where people are marginalised, treated unjustly, have no say or ownership over their own lives and choices, and, ultimately, we will live in a society which will collapse because of the gravity of the ecological and environmental problems which we haven’t been able to take into account. I often wonder how we should stay calm in the face of this knowledge. How can our leaders continue in the knowledge that they are leading us towards a disaster?

Human beings, as biological creatures, are adaptable and resilient. We have societies in order to create stability and certainty, against what we thought of as the backdrop of nature. In fact, nature is not a backdrop, but rather the scene in which we play out our lives. We are nature, and nature is us.

I realised that a 9-5 job, a flash car, a nice house, a trip to Hawaii, and the ensuing global destruction were not things I wanted to participate in. To “succeed” in this kind of culture doesn’t interest me. Either I watch a beautiful, complex, and fascinating planet head towards catastrophe, or, I put the things I love doing to good use, and help others to understand just what is going on. Only once we understand our predicament can we begin to adapt, modify and develop our societies to become more compassionate and more ecological, and in so doing, save ourselves, and a large majority of the life forms that inhabit planet Earth.

What I believe we can be is citizens of a planet who recognise the fact that it is because of our diversity and our adaptability that we have been able to thrive here. That we understand the way in which our actions, and the actions of the collective, impact upon other collectives, whether it be plants and animals, or the climate and oceans.

When we know what is going on, we can begin to change.

I’m reminded of a whakatauki, a Māori proverb, which talks about how when we have knowledge, and put it to an intentional use, we can open up the world. I found it when reading Hinemoa Elder’s beautiful book “Aroha: Māori wisdom for a contented life lived in harmony with our planet.”

Te manu kai miro, nōna te ngahere; te manu kai mātauranga nōna te ao.

The bird that eats the miro berries, theirs is the forest; the bird that consumes knowledge, theirs is the world.

Take this knowledge, share in it, gift it to others, and discuss how we can change ourselves and our societies. Remember that it takes a lot of experience and insight to begin to understand the crisis we are in, so don’t give up early, or believe that you know everything after watching one video. I am still learning too, so let’s learn together. Read with intent and purpose, comment with respect, and together, we can build a diverse and ecological future.

the guiding threads

The net of knowledge that we are weaving on this site contains some strong foundational ideas. You’ll see these a lot throughout the articles. They are really important to understand if we are to confront our ecological crisis properly.

  • The problem is not just ‘climate change’. The earth is warming, yes, but it is also becoming more and more polluted, the oceans more and more acidic, the number of animal and plant species is declining rapidly, and our social and health systems that are necessary for human survival are showing signs of collapse. All of this is connected. That’s why we will refer to the ‘ecological crisis’, and not just climate change.

  • There is no ‘solution’ to the ecological crisis. There is not one thing that we can do that will make it all alright, and these problems will not go away if we only reduce our emissions. We must look from many different angles, changing many different things, for a durable response to be created. Likewise, no one way forward will work for all countries, and all people – we are human beings of difference and diverse responses are needed.

  • The crisis is not coming, it is happening. Sea levels are rising, our health is being jeopardised by pollutants and plastics, animal species are disappearing, and parts of the world are becoming unliveable, just to name a few of the effects. This is now, and we need to act now.

  • Science and technology will not get us out of this mess. I know it’s really common to think that we’ll develop a new technology that will solve our problems, but this is unrealistic given the time frame we have available, and fails to address the social aspects of this crisis. It’s our behaviour that is causing this problem, and continuing down the same path that created this problem is not going to help us solve it.

 

Plurality isn’t about values and mission statements and hierarchical editorial chains. These capitalist modes of coming together aren’t the only way human beings can collaborate. Instead, we focus on publishing well researched, diverse, and easy to understand content that doesn’t shy away from the important details. This content can be from scientists, activists, nature-lovers, citizens… because it is through discussion and community that we will forge a new way forward.

Plurality is a collection of people, and not a business. That’s why I ask for your donations, to help fund our operational costs, and to be able to keep writing informative and detailed content on the ecological crisis. I hope that you learn things when you read these articles, and that you’re able to use the things you’ve learned to have better conversations with your friends and family – and also with those who think differently to you.

writers and contributors

Profile image Jacques Lawinski

Nom de plume of the founder of Plurality.eco. Philosopher and public intellectual on political ecology.

Adventurer, ‘weed’-writer, research-creation activist & poet, interested in tales of intersectional ecological utopias.

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Why plurality.eco?

Our environment is more than a resource to be exploited. Human beings are not the ‘masters of nature,’ and cannot think they are managers of everything around them. Plurality is about finding a wealth of ideas to help us cope with the ecological crisis which we have to confront now, and in the coming decades. We all need to understand what is at stake, and create new ways of being in the world, new dreams for ourselves, that recognise this uncertain future.

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