We are not disconnected with nature [an interview with Marilyn Waring]


I have been a rabid fan of Marilyn Waring's work since the mid-90's when I 'discovered' her work in a Women's Studies class. My professor showed us the NFB film, Who's Counting?, and, in a second, my life was changed forever. I always had a gut feeling that something was wrong about what we value and what we don't value in the Western world. I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. Marilyn's book (the documentary was based on it) unlocked the examples and language I needed to start down my path. It's where my thoughts on humanizing tech come from. My thoughts about social capital come from. And now my thoughts on people owning their own data come from. I conducted an interview over at the NFB blog to help promote Marilyn and her ideas. It's long, but well worth the read. She is brilliant and changing the world. I have no idea why she isn't speaking at TED. :)

Here is an excerpt:

TH: It’s no doubt that you have been a major influence in political thinking, but it’s taken people over 20 years to start to grasp your ideas. You probably hate this question, but I’d love a glimpse into what you think the pressing issues will be 20 years from now?

MW: I am working with a lot of rights-based approaches in my work – lately with the Commonwealth Secretariat – our research on The Economics of Dignity, which looks at the situation of the unpaid carer inside a household with a person living with HIV/Aids, does this.

I’m also lucky in that I supervise a large number of doctoral students who wrestle with many public policy topics. At present a colleague and I are editing Permanent Head Damage and other thesis stories, which has been fun. It’s a collection of 20 essays.

I gain enormously from my association with AWID, the international feminist organization, and this feeds my feminism, and the knowledge that the next generations of women have energy and passion and intellect and resilience, and for those of us my age, it’s been worthwhile.

We are not disconnected with nature

In general I think about things other than the UNSNA. Most questions are more profound than economics. How do we manage and use water? There’s a major challenge around ‘public goods’. We are not disconnected with nature. We are nature. Thinking we are separated is a disorder, and economics is a key tool in this process. All of our lives are subsidized. We take from the earth without paying properly, dependent on extraction. Externalities are vast and interconnected, including major health outcomes such as the rise in asthma and bronchial disorders.

There is a convergence of crises- every living system is in decline – coral reefs, aquifers, rivers, the condition of the soil, air ….a staggering destruction of eco systems and the services they have provided and that economics has ignored. If we didn’t have occasional breakthroughs it could be very depressing.

Go read the rest of it here.

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