Here in the U.S., politics and public life is at a crossroads with new ideas and new language flourishing. Such a crossroads also creates a perfect opportunity for the American environmental movement to grow and flourish with new ideas and language.
For those of us who care about the natural world, recent scientific reports are uniformly devastating, providing clear evidence that humanity is charging deeper into a mass extinction of Earth’s species and rapidly unraveling rich ecological communities around the globe.We need to change our ways if we hope to preserve a biologically rich world as well as preserve our human ability to live and thrive here at all. To do that, we’ll need to change our thinking.
Words change thoughts which change actions. I believe in the transformative power of language. In that spirit, I propose ten principles for Ecological JEDI: eco-warriors firmly committed to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. These principles can help re-orient all of us toward the ecological balance we need to continue to live and thrive on this amazing planet.
To be part of the solution we must:
- Promote “Ecological Justice”, defined as all-inclusive justice between species and all of nature on our home planet, such that one species – humans – has no right to take everything and extinguish another species or any part of wild nature, or deny its right to exist.
- Acknowledge “Human Supremacy”, the destructive belief that humans are the supreme creatures on Earth, who are entitled to manage, diminish, or extinguish all other non-human lives to benefit humanity.
- Practice “Anti-Growthism”, because of all the “isms”, growthism may be the root cause that merits the strongest fight against it. The work of humans to appropriate other humans – by any and every means – as well as the work of humans to appropriate nature and the environment to solely serve humanity to achieve power, dominion, and growth lies at the core of injustice, human and non-human alike.
- Realize that “Ecological Silence = Ecological Violence”, such that if you’re not speaking out against the terrible Ecocide on our planet, you are likely an active participant helping to cause it.
- Commit to “Ecological Politics”, that advocates for an expanded view of ‘identity politics’ realizing that we are simply one creature in the Earth’s ecosystem which we all depend on and share with each other.
- Guard against being “Green Adjacent”, which is a person, group, or company that looks like an environmentalist on the outside and in insignificant matters, but really believes in human supremacy and growth, and shows it in their important environmental decisions.
- Fight “Human Supremacy” using respectful and professional methods at all levels of public discourse, on social media, and in mainstream media and government, while avoiding #CancelCulture techniques that alienate potential allies.
- Call out “Micro- and Macro-aggressions against Ecological Justice”, which are the everyday verbal or physical slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages about ecological justice advocates and other species or erase them from the conversation.
- Use hashtags such as #AllSpeciesMatter and #NatureMatters, which expand our concept of intersectionality to include all of the beautiful, amazing, and increasingly endangered creatures we share this planet with.
- Finally, know that “Climate Justice = Ecological Justice”. We will never successfully meet the climate crisis unless we end human supremacy, fight growth, embrace steady-state economics, stabilize and slowly lower human populations, embrace flourishing biodiversity, and seek justice for nature and the environment.
Ecological JEDI are committed to Justice for the environment, Equity for non-human species, Diversity that includes biodiversity, and Inclusion for all voices in public discourse. Wake Up! Time is short and we have a planet to save.
Gary Wockner, Ph.D., is an environmental activist in Colorado. Twitter: @GaryWockner