An Earthen Ethic
Towards the green world for all, we all long to see.
MORE AND MORE WE ARE BECOMING aware of the severity of the ecological crises looming on our horizon. As our collective awareness grows, more and more we want to do something. Alarmed and well meaning, many of us are attempting to ‘help the planet’, to live ‘sustainably’ or to ‘protect nature’. To do so we’re striving to go ‘organic’, ‘natural’, “net-zero” and in particular– to go ‘green’.
But how do we actually “help the planet”? What does it mean to protect ‘nature’? What are we actually ‘sustaining’? Does going organic natural or natural actually make the difference we long for? What in fact, does going ‘green’ really mean?
An Earthen Ethics is an ongoing deep dive into the formulation of a regenerative ethical theory. It is inspired by my time living amongst indegenous peoples, my last decade working on plastic transition, and my academic background in philosophy. The essay proposes that the way the Earth has transformed the planet’s surface into liveable, green, bio-diverse and conscious biosphere is the definition of greening– of what it means to contribute to the enrichment of the biosphere. And an example is one well worth being followed.
This treatise is for designers, inventors, politicians, activists– anyone keen to be green and a force for regeneration. I believe that the ways of the Earth provide a way to ground our ecological intuitions in both science and indigenous wisdom. Thus grounded, we can move forward with unprecedented wisdom and confidence with our enterprises to manifest the green world for all that we all long to see.
This philosophy paper represents a decade of deep reflection on plastic that is directly inspired by my time living with the Igorot people of the Norhtern Philippines. As one of the few unconquered indegenous people of south east asia they have long lived in harmony with their ecosystem. Their ancestral wisdom tradition and Ayyew ethos, focused as it is on ecological harmony, has much significance for us today and inspires this paper.
- Summary of Earthen Principles: www.ecobricks.org/principles
- Recycling in Ottawa: what to do? https://russs.net/recycling-in-ottawa/
- The Long Story of Plastic: www.ecobricks.org/plastic
- The Criteria of Plastic Sequestration: www.ecobricks.org/sequest
- Recycling The Evil Illusion: www.russs.net/recycling
- 1000 Years Pollution Free: www.russs.net/ayyew
Proposing ecological solutions is a big responsibility. Given all our personal as well as collective complicity in the consumption of plastic and burning of carbon, I beleive that Ghandi’s words and emphasis on personal responsibility are more important than ever.
So, inspired I make the distinction between our household impacts and enterprise impacts. I believe that if we cannot manage to make our own households green, then we’ll never be able to manage our enterprises, let alone propose a manageable solution for everyone else.
“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” – Ghandi
We all long for a world where our enterprises and technologies contribute to the greening of the biosphere. However, with our definition of ‘greening’ limited to minimizing harm, our ability to make enriching contributions to the biosphere has been minimal. Plastic as an ancient and modern creation is uniquely poised to assist our transition to authentic green contributions. Created from ancient compacted carbon, our plastic embodies the ways that the Earth greened our once barren planet. Created from the refinement of petroleum, plastic represents our economic dependence on the extraction of these ancient carbon stores. By looking at plastic’s billion year genesis we can observe the Earth’s process of transforming a barren planet to a thriving biosphere. In this process we can see six fundamental principles at play: the indefinite cycling of carbon in the short-term, the compaction and storage of carbon in the long-term, the net-subtraction of carbon into storage, the raising of net consciousness, the raising of net biodiversity and the benefit the biosphere over the biome. These principles are found in all ecologies and organisms to the extent they are contributing to the biosphere. These six principles establish an Earthen Ethics: what follows the Earth’s example is green; what is conflicting with the Earth’s ways is gray. With this vantage we can make sense of our place in the petro-capital economy and to evaluate our current technologies– such as our current means of processing plastic. Using Earthen Ethics we can build new technologies and enterprises from the ground up that we can be sure are ecological contributions– such as the concept of plastic sequestration. By quantifying plastic sequestration and enabling its valuation, we can ignite petrol-capital transition towards a world where individually and collectively we are contributing to a biosphere of unprecedented abundance.
Earthen Ethics Updates…
At last-- it's up. After two months of steady revisions the six earthen ethic essay is published on Medium. This wasn't just any essay. This was the laying out of an ecological ethic. It wasn't just about my writing, but about my living too-- a deep dive into my...
PHEW. That was the hardest one yet. After four weeks of revisions, my latest Earthen Ethic is now up! And that's not counting the weeks to write it. Ever single day for the last four weeks, I've sat down to refine the words and craft the meaning. Oh... and let's...
Start Tracking Your Ecological Impact
My Ecobricks.org team have been hard at work the last year generating a household plastic assessment system. It's a great way to start tracking your ecological impacts and tend them towards green.
Full R&A Household Regenerativity Report
Russell & Ani's Home Office CO2 impact report - 2020 - v1.0
Household Plastic Impact Report
Russell & Ani's Home Office Plastic Impact Report - 2021 - Live
Latest Earthen Ethic Posts
August 18th 2021 | Medium | Earthen
A Final Ethic to Guide Keen Green Acts & Enterprises
The Ways of the Earth
April 6th 2021 | Medium | Earthen
The Six Principles of Ecological Contribution
The Oyster's Example
May 7th, 2021 | Medium | Earthen
Towards Sequestration in Pursuit of Green