The living world, Ecology and Politics

The needs of the living world and the preservation of the ecological equilibrium are of fundamental importance – of such vital significance that their organisation and care should not be left to politicians, technocrats and legislators whose competence and legitimacy in such domains are severely limited.

The political decision-makers are advised by “experts”, but these experts are frequently linked to the industrial lobbies and are entrenched in the paradigm of the currently dominant “conventional methods”. For these reasons, their motivations often diverge from the common, collective interests of the population at large. In addition, the “experts” often have an extremely specialised, narrowly focused field of expertise which doesn’t take into sufficient account the big picture and the real-world implications of the questions; common sense; simplicity; efficacy and economic value for money from the user/consumer’s perspective. In essence, the “official expert” is by training and by experience a stranger to alternatives to the conventional paradigm in which (s)he works and is not equipped to be able to master and judge these alternatives adequately.

However, coherent alternative solutions which are well adapted to the problems of today and the future do exist, though they are being systematically eliminated by the legislative frameworks put in place by the National and EC authorities in recent times. This is because, by definition, an “alternative” is a method which is different from the “conventional” or “official” methods and therefore will not fit into the administrative framework which has been created for the latter “authorised” methods, practices and products.

Wide-ranging and in-depth consultations between groups, organisations, associations and unions representing the professionals on the ground and the public at large need to be instigated and supported. Communication links should be forged to ensure that the subjects of food production and health can be discussed in such a way as to combine the practical possibilities of the professions concerned and the needs of the consumers and users – in order to integrate the demands of society into the evolution of principles and practices in agriculture and health care – demands which are very clear and of vital importance in the context of the living world. In the European Union this open and widespread consultation is currently inexistant or ignored by the political decision-makers. The lobbies representing such public associations and citizens’ action groups have little power and very limited financial means when compared with those supporting the interests of multinational industrial companies. 

The majority of politicians are regularly criticised by the public and by professionals of many sectors for their lack of medium and long-term vision. Their preoccupations seem to be orientated primarily around opinion polls and the next election. Their judgement is strongly influenced by the most powerful industrial and financial lobbies with whom they often have very close relations and from whom they frequently receive financial support for their party’s political activity. 

The demands of society, the biological and ecological needs of the natural world are taken into account only, at best, as secondary considerations – the priority of the political powers being the support of the industrial and economic activity which appears to them primordial, and the respect of the legal regulations of international business which have been engineered by the legal teams of these same multinationals and built into the legislative framework for their exclusive benefit.

The growth of GNP (Gross National Product) remains a fundamental target criterion for the political world, despite the fact that the majority of external observers criticise this vision of the state of affairs which is fundamentally opposed to the indispensable and urgent need for social and ecological transition. To maintain an exponential growth (and bear in mind an annual growth of 1% year on year represents not a steady linear expansion of the GNP, but an exponential growth) is neither sustainable nor realist, it is suicidal.

No living structure or population (humans included) is able to expand indefinitely in a limited environment and with finite natural resources. The consequences of such a goal is accelerated to an even greater extent when the population is insistent upon the production and consumption of goods which are unnecessary, redundant, become rapidly obsolete and create waste and pollution which we are unable to deal with.

An attitude and personal philosophy of self-restraint, recycling, re-using and sharing of goods and essential resources are the ONLY paths for the future, EVEN IF THEY ARE PAINFUL AND HARD TO SWALLOW FOR THE WESTERN OR “DEVELOPPED” CULTURES.

Let us remember that the myth of growth and of power is actually in the hands of the huge multinational companies, who each have the objective of being in the top five companies or better – the “world-leader in their field”…. In the world of big business, a vocabulary of war is used to state the business objectives, describe the purchase of competitor companies and to motivate employees and sales forces. All that without the smallest step back for self-examination or self-criticism – as if this paradigm of aggressive, war-like attitudes towards work, social inclusion and economics was normal and “human”.

Under such conditions, the respect of the environment becomes at best a sales pitch, a green smokescreen, which aims only to give legitimacy to the seeking of ever increasing sales, profits and the elimination of the competition. As far as consideration for the imperatives of the natural living world is concerned, that is off limits because it brings too many activities and practices into serious question.

The political and economic decision-makers either have not internalised these vital truths or feign ignorance of their existence. In future decades they will probably be prosecuted for the ecological  crime which this short-sightedness and lack of conscience which this constitutes – when the consequences of the ecological disequilibrium become dramatic and irreversible.

As grass-roots biologists, we wish to develop through these pages certain important aspects of the living world – with a focus on good sense, science and ethics.  The political aspects of the discussion of the living world and its needs are of major importance – in particular because of the biological and economic constraints nature imposes on the viable long-term options open to the legislator.

 A quotation from an interview in Télérama with the economist Gaël Giraud, 3rd April 2013:

 “I understand all the better the social violence we see around us since I heard this phrase come out of the mouth of an MEP (Member of the European Parliament): “As long as no politician is brought down by the crowd, we’ll continue as we are doing”. What I say there is not an incitation to take up your arms, but to realise that a portion of the political powers – notably at the European level – already has an extremely forceful and violent relationship with the population.” 

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