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Discuss: The Moral Climate



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1 Karen Pratt on Aug 21, 2008

The author of the article talks about when we stop seeing nature or ourselves connected to the whole. I suspect that a large part of our culture has not been connected to the natural word in any way for a very long time. We have no clear land ethic as a society. Fragments of our society have some form of connection to the land, but it is not common. Actually I see more conversation indicating an interest in understanding the environment in recent time, so perhaps there is substantial reason for hope.

2 Elizabeth Guss on Aug 21, 2008

For several years I worked for a company where many employees had this statement on their individual tackboards. “The chief cause of unhappiness in the world is giving up what we really want for what we want at the moment.” It seemed true then and more so now. Our social moral climate is full of fog that we hardly see what is ahead of us. Around us are thousands of means of distracting us from the truth just inches from our faces. Yet, the truth will not be silent. From somewhere comes a yearning to connect. I, like Karen Pratt, am encouraged by the increasing concern for connection to the land. Such growing interest in land and conservation and doing with less gives me reason for hope.

3 Deena Stryker on Aug 22, 2008

This is the best statement on the moral climate that I have seen since I wrote about it in “A Taoist Politics: The Case for Sacredness”.

In that work, available on Amazon or on my website,, I show that because we are part of the Whole, which is the only thing that Is, we have a moral obligation to preserve it.

” Life is not defined by an external authority, nor does it have an ultimate meaning.  Life simply is, meaning lies in the recognition that we are a part of it, and morality springs from our obligation to preserve this Whole of which we are a part.”

4 Lorna Salzman on Aug 22, 2008

With all respect to your eloquent authors, only Carl Safina’s essay came close to expressing the moral outrage and suppressed anger that is lacking in the discourse about global warming. I continue to find it strange that so many deeply concerned, ethical and intelligent people have not yet found the muscle and motivation to directly challenge and rebut not just the decadent values of our consumer society but of our political leadership. We have powerful and just ideas and purpose but they are being wasted on hand-wringing and inner sorrow rather than being used in the service of political organizing of a movement that will at least attempt to oust those who, in power through our votes, either waver from doubt or stubbornly refuse to rebut the lies and excuses that now pass for energy policy in our legislatures. It is high time that all of us come together not in fruitless prayer or disapprobation but in clear, principled and undiluted action, to oust the lawmakers and policy makers who are, because of their inaction, directly responsible for the threat to humanity and the earth itself. An Ecology PAC is needed to rid the body politic of the sloths and replace them with public servants who are willing to fight for the tough measures that are needed in these last few years available to us before the tidal wave of irreversible climate change crushes us. Who out there will help create this movement?

5 Mimi Katzenbach on Aug 22, 2008

Yes and again yes.  Carl S. has put it perfectly: We have “sacrifice” completely reversed.  We are now engaged in sacrificing the WHOLE PLANET to a morally and ecologically autistic few who should not even be called ‘leaders.’  They are just the biggest ‘takers’ on the planet.

Lorna, as for “where is the movement,” see Paul Hawken’s Blessed Unrest.  The movement is happening, it is just that it is not like other movements.  It is global and diffuse.  Hawken likens it to the body’s immune system. 

The key to this movement is that people simply act rather than ‘call for action.’

Imagine Orion turned into ACTS.
Imagine if the many beautiful articles in Orion were turned into podcasts, speeches, rallying talks.  Imagine if activists figured out ways to blast the eloquence of Orion writers into the streets.  Imagine bicycles equipped with speakers.  Imagine walking down sidewalks and hearing words to inspire us to action coming from the trees.

Imagine parking lots “talking” about global warming.

Imagine ACTION, people.  Amazing, beautiful, wild, salutary human action.

6 Laura on Aug 23, 2008

The paragraph on sacrifice speaks volumes to the perception of the whole issue.  It is brilliant.

7 Robert Riversong on Aug 25, 2008


Your naive faith in political leadership misses the entire point of the essay. Those in political office are not leaders but servants of the dysfunctional commodity culture we have created and which our lifestyles sustain. And that culture of greed and universal exploitation is built upon a foundation of amoral values.

Changing the faces of the figureheads on the steeples of power will do nothing as long as the corrupt foundation of our (now global) society remains unchallenged.

We are facing a profound moral challenge, not a political one. As long as our inner nature remains as it is, we will continue down this path of destruction regardless of who is leading the march.

8 Charles Weber on Aug 26, 2008

Dear editor;
    Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is undoubtedly increasing climate warmth. However I suspect that an even greater affect on warmth is the baring of soil by increase in annual crop acreage, roads, buildings, grazing, and desertification. You may see an article that discusses this in more detail in 

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