Thursday, April 29, 2010

Biotic Leadership

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.  It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”  
Aldo Leopold, A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC, “A Land Ethic”

Leadership today has come to mean many things, but more often then not, we forget that leadership without vision is insanity.  It is this forgetting that allows us to follow leaders down the same blind path to insanity that we have taken many times before.

I have been attending a conference hosted by the University of Minnesota Center for Integrative Leadership called “Cross-Sector Leadership for the Green Economy”.
I had hoped the conference would delve into the leadership issues that will be needed to help us achieve a sustainable future, a future where a simple ethic like Aldo Leopold’s might actually be followed.  Unfortunately, the guiding ethic that I heard is the same one that we have been following for thousands of years, namely, “a thing is right when it is profitable.  It is wrong when it is not.”  

A “green economy” as used by most of the speakers I have heard so far is the same economy that has created the miserable state that the world is in today that simply replaces fossil fuels as the major driver of our economic engine, with things like solar and wind power.  

What was not discussed was if it was even practical to make such a switch, nor what the economic and environmental costs might be to actually attempt such a change.   It seems the dollar signs that that can be made off of building wind mills, solar panels, or ethanol plants, blind us from looking beyond our energy sources to see that excessive consumption and production are what cause our problems, not our energy source.   

So my dilemma tonight is should I return to the remainder of the conference and become more dismayed, find some courage to find a way to spread some of Leopold’s ethic, or skip out and avoid the discouragement. 

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