Toward an Ecological Civilization
The path toward an ecological civilization moves us from an uncivilized society based on selfish wealth accumulation to one that is community-oriented and life-affirming.
Beloved YES! readers, it’s been a year now since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States. As I write this, the virus has taken nearly half a million lives in this country. Tens of millions of U.S. jobs have been lost as hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. And still, millions of frontline workers around the world continue to put their lives on the line.
How’re you feeling in this moment? Really. Dispirited? Hopeful? Something in between? Or just flat out overwhelmed? You must know by now that you’re not alone. This may be the first time in a long while that we’re all experiencing this intense conflux of emotions—and challenges—at the same time.
Over the past several years, YES! Magazine has addressed the historic systemic issues that have brought us to this point. Most recently, in our Building Bridges issue we looked at how to heal deep national divides. In subsequent issues, we shared our vision for The World We Want, revealed Community Power in the face of COVID-19, and explored the best ideas for quelling pandemics, inequities, injustices, and catastrophe in What the Rest of the World Knows. And we shed more light on state violence in Black communities in our Black Lives Issue.
All of this while witnessing and in many cases experiencing the climate devastation of hurricanes and wildfires. We sat on the edge of our seat bracing for the outcome of the 2020 general election. And if all of that wasn’t exasperating enough, we brought in the new year watching an insurrection at the nation’s Capitol by White supremacists, leading to a U.S. president being impeached twice. The first time ever.
All of that brings us to this issue, Ecological Civilization.
As we begin celebrating YES!’s 25th year, we wanted to explore a vision of the world that is healing—and foundational to every solution we care about. The path toward an ecological civilization moves us from an uncivilized society based on selfish wealth accumulation to one that is community-oriented and life-affirming.
In this issue, you’ll hear familiar YES! voices: Vandana Shiva describes an expanded version of the commons—our common home, Earth, and the commons of the Earth family. Winona LaDuke reports on tribes reviving traditional hemp economies. Leah Penniman highlights the Afro-Indigenous farming practices that challenge the idea of human supremacy. And YES! senior editor Chris Winters explains the “doughnut economics” that can lead to healthy, thriving cities.
The hopeful news is that progress toward an ecological civilization is already in motion—and has been for years. The movements for climate, racial equity, economic fairness, and others all fit into this new, better world. We’re on our way.