Some Thoughts on Radical Change

Author: John W. Head

A recent issue of the Defenders magazine, published by the Defenders of Wildlife, opens with an essay on the need to “reverse course” on the wildlife-protection front. The organization’s president writes this:

Pulling a 180. Reversing course. Making a U-turn. Whatever you want to call it, it’s time for a complete turnaround from the direction we’ve been heading. That is what wildlife and wild places need after being under constant assault the past four years.

This year, our country must chart a new course through strategic partnerships and a nationwide campaign to restore, protect, and strengthen wildlife conservation in America.

In my view, the Global RESTORATION Project should endorse and expand on this “reverse course” attitude. Globally – not just nationally – tremendous opportunities exist for radical change. Granted, the prospect of radical change frightens some people. In common parlance, we might be tempted to say, “better the devil we know than the devil we don’t know”.

However, the devils we (figuratively) face today, and especially the agriculture/soil crisis and the climate crisis, are so destructive – and the possibilities for ridding ourselves of them are so promising – that we should embrace a campaign that involves these steps: (1) a prompt discovery, through intense science and robust civil discourse, of how best to arrest the current trajectory of species extinction (including our own), followed by (2) a vigorous campaign of global cultural, political, and social change designed to set a new trajectory in which humans are re-integrated into the natural world, as well as (3) the implementation of specific policy and legal reforms. These reforms – focusing on responsible energy, smart technology, organic regenerative agriculture, and effective global governance – will support and sustain that new course.

Are these generalities? Yes, and an aim of the Global RESTORATION Project is to help supply specifics. Would the changes be radical? Yes, because the current trajectory poses too much of a threat to let it continue. If we do let it continue, changes will be thrust upon us by the crises themselves, leaving us in still worse shape. So I believe we should embrace the opportunity to fashion the change ourselves instead of having it thrust upon us.