Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
As this reflection paper is being written, industries and consumers are dumping chemical waste and fertilizers into rivers. Petroleum is being consumed in quantities so excessive that estimates for how long it shall last continue to shrink daily. The rainforest as well as trees across the world are being chopped down. Power plants and cars are emitting carbon dioxide, which keeps warming our planet to the point that in thirty years it is likely there shall be no more skiing in Vermont. And CFS are being emitted from such things as air-conditioning and other sources which are attacking the ozone layer. Unfortunately, Gaviotas does not exist anymore, but the little community in Columbia that never had a church, had an understood environmental morality. The basic principles of a just society that take into consideration the environment are exemplified by Gaviotas’ environmental practices.
“It had been an axiom at Gaviotas that 70 percent of life on earth consists of water, and they had been bringing water to the world. But they had to make way for another thing the world needed: a renewable industry” (178). Throughout Gaviotas’ industrial career they always touted renewable energy sources. They desired to create a just society that used renewable resources such as: “grass, sun, and water,” (47) resources unlike petroleum, which could not be used up.
“Surrounded by a land seen either as empty or plagued with misery, they had forged a way and a peace they believed could prosper long after the last drop of earth’s petroleum was burned away” (221). Rather than using petroleum and coal for power, the Gaviotans used wind and water. Yet, the Gaviotans used the sun as their primary source of renewable energy.
When Paolo Lugari bitterly commented that the world evidently did not need Gaviotas, Calderon countered: “They do. They just don’t see it right now because there’s so much petroleum. But with more people using more oil than ever, it won’t last forever. In the meantime, you have to keep solar energy alive and incubating. Not everyone can afford an oil well: they’re in just a few places. But everyone has a sunshine well. Someday they’ll have to go to it” (154). Gaviotas created alternative ways to create power using solar energy such as in their hospital kitchen where they created solar-powered distillers and pressure cookers.
Gaviotas was able to display to the world how to create a just society using renewable resources. The rest of the world started to realize after the Arab oil embargo that Gaviotas was not merely: “An intriguing experiment with little practical relevance. Journalist appeared. The Columbian National Academy of Science struggled out to Vichada to hold its annual meeting. After the Wall Street Journal published a front-page feature about a South American community that had ‘solved’ the energy crisis by devising implements powered by energy that was actually replenishable, a delegation arrived from the United Nations Development Program” (51).
Not only were Gaviotas’ power sources renewable, so were the products they consumed and sent to other parts of Colombia. “He was aware of Gaviotas’ ban on hunting, which made sense to him, since the reparian habitat bordering the Cano Urimica was so small. But nobody had raised any objection to fishing” (57). Due to the fact that hunting would damage a species’ existence, the Gaviotans did not hunt. But since fishing would not damage the fish population, they were allowed to fish. Even the resin that they shipped to industries throughout Colombia was renewable.
The Gaviotans did not use anything that would negatively affect the environment. The Gaviotans had a sign on their land which read: “In Gaviotas, we don’t cut the grass so that flowers may bloom, that birds may find food, and that soils may defend themselves against erosion” (149).
The Gaviotans exemplified environmental justice by not negatively interfering with nature, rather they let it take its own course: “‘The biggest difference between them (the Gaviotans) and Venezuelans,’ Oto speculated, ‘was that the Gaviotans weren’t using herbicide to eradicate extraneous foliage that inevitably sprang up in the pine rows.’ Partly to avoid chemical spray [. . .] Gaviotas hadn’t bothered to eliminate the growth in one of their earliest experimental strands of pine” (168). Later, the Gaviotans learned that this decision to let nature take its own course ended up working in their favor.
The Gaviotans also took resin from the trees in a manner that would not harm them. “They could safely tap a pine for at least eight years, working their way up the trunk on all four sides, two years to a side, then resting the tree for another eight years, then beginning again. This would mean never having to chop their forest down in order to make a living from it” (170)
After Lugari returned from Brazil and brought back lessons he had learned from Brazilian monks concerning the use of minerals in gardening, the lessons he spoke of were not immediately accepted. Sven Zethelius reminded Lugari of the effect of fertilizers on their surroundings: “The problem is when too much fertilizer washes downstream, and algae starts to clog waterways and suck up all the oxygen” (54). Zethelius points out that the fertilizer would create an algal bloom, and that the decomposers who take apart the algae after they die require oxygen, and would thus deplete the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.
Rather than installing air-conditioning systems which emit harmful substances which help to destroy the atmosphere and the ozone layer, the Gaviotan engineers labored and successfully created a natural air-conditioning system in the hospital. They took into consideration the same principal when constructing a solar-powered refrigerator: “Jorge Zapp handed Geoffrey Halliday a Danish brochure for a refrigerator whose coolant was ammonia instead of conventional Freon. Shortly thereafter, the discovery in late 1985 of the Antarctic ozone hole, caused mainly by the chlorofluorocarbons contained in Freon, would make the choice especially prescient” (117).
The people of Gaviotas realized that they needed to attempt to correct the errors of their fellow humans around the globe and those who preceded them. “This forest is our future. Our lungs are out there. We’re breathing oxygen that Pompillo and Dr. Zethulius planted ten years ago. I want to be around in ten more years to harvest what we’re planting” (180). Henry Moya wants the ability to simply be able to harvest oxygen, the ultimate human need that they were giving back to the world.
Gaviotas envisioned that: “Humanity might restore to the earth what it borrows” (172). Lugari displayed this ideal of restoration when he said: “There are two hundred-fifty million hectares of savannas like these in South America alone. There’s Africa. The tropical Orient. Places where there’s space and sun and water. If we show the world how to plant them in sustainable forests, we can give people productive lives and maybe absorb enough carbon dioxide to stabilize global warming in the process. This is a gift we can give the world that’s just as important as our sleeve pumps and solar water purifiers. Everywhere else they’re tearing down rain forests. We’re showing how to put them back” (177).
Gaviotans stressed recycling and not wasting anything: “The UNDP looked around approvingly at the truly useful tools being contrived out of cheap, recycled materials” (51-52). Not only did the Gaviotans realize that recycling is fiscally beneficial, they realized it is more environmentally sound. Rather than living amongst a clutter of bags floating around their community, the Gaviotans not only got rid of the clutter, but recycled it. “They found cheaper, locally produced plastic bags that had the added advantage of being accepted by a Bogotá recycler, who turned them into plastic pallets and black hose” (170). The Gaviotans, who set up recycling baskets for “paper, aluminum, and plastic” (205) around their community, also made an effort to inform the Guahibos of the recycling process. Since their community was centered around recycling, it does not surprise the reader that Lugari hated waste with a passion: “Paolo picked up a fallen mango. ‘We should be canning these things. Or making jelly. Something.’ He shook it, nearly in front of her (Teresa’s) face. ‘What a stupid thing to waste food.’”
Paolo Lugari took the ideals of a utopia and created a topia through the effort of striving to meet environmentally just policies. Yet, they were not simply satisfied until the rest of the world started reaching for the same policies. Gaviotans went throughout Colombia installing solar-powered apartment complexes. Gaviotans also informed the Guahibos how to recycle, and the benefits of doing so. And they led by example how to stop waste and not harm their environment. Through their environmental practices, Gaviotans not only exited the cave of ignorance, but helped pull many others out as well.
Is a just society only a dream in our world, or is it possible to live in a practical utopia? Places where the individual, the society, and the environment can all exist for the better. Where everyone lives with moderation, and they work together in harmony. A place where the environment is not ignored and used improperly, but rather becomes highly important for the society to live a healthy life. Where individuals give back rather than take. Where people can live joyful lives that do not require relishes to fulfill their wants and desire. Is there such a place that can support healthy citizens, and a healthy environment at the same time?
We live in a society that is not just, and we are aware of this fact. Yet we are acquainted with these just societies, these utopias that are formulated in our minds. We fascinate about living in a perfect world where the individual, environment, and society all live for the better. We create these societies, these worlds, and communicate them out into the world so that others can learn about these humanities. Except nothing is being done. We are not taking the imagination and putting it into reality, into a place where people can actually live. It is not enough that we philosophize, discuses, and write on paper. It is about taking a dream off of the piece of paper, and constructing it into matter; a substance that you can feel and see. In this case we need to take the theories of utopias and build topias. Utopias are dreams that are built with imagination. Topias are also dreams, but they are fantasies that are imagined in the real world with real material, and not just the mind. â€œPeople who dare to build a utopia use the same materials available to anyone, but they find surprising ways to combine them.â€™ â€˜In a dream you arenâ€™t limited by what is assumed to be permissible or possible.â€� (Weisman, 8). If we can create these places in our minds then what makes it impossible to create them in our world?
Oftentimes when we think of utopias we think of perfection. Except in reality, in order to make such places become bona fide, we have to recognize that there are problems that will always stand in the way. Such issues cannot be ignored. Alternately, we must resolve whatever the problem may be. Therefore, our just societies can become better; they can become the ideal place. Yet, isnâ€™t the dilemma that when we finally fix the problems that are keeping us from our just societies, we donâ€™t believe that new predicaments can arise? This unfortunately, is what is keeping us from getting closer to what might be a just society. Then, what might be the methodology that can help us make fantasy become reality, to transform utopia to topia?
A man named Paolo Lugari established a society in the 1970s in Columbia. It was named Gaviotas, and was the closest man had ever reached to a just society, a topia. Paolo had studied the history and literature of utopias such as The Republic of Plato, and wanted to make those places become in existence. Thus Gaviotas was established. It was an area in Los Llanos of Columbia that was not an ideal piece of land. There was no vegetation, and the soil was terrible for flora. Nothing could grow and survive with the type of soil Gaviotas offered, but Paolo Lugari picked this imperfect land to create his topia; his just society. â€œI want Gaviotas to be real. Iâ€™m tired of reading about all these places that sound so perfect but never get lifted off the page into reality. Just for once, Iâ€™d like to see humans go from fantasy to fact.â€� (43).
Paoloâ€™s methodology was what would help to recreate the forest and land in Gaviotas. It was what would bring people together in harmony hence working as one. â€œCooperation at Gaviotas was symphonic, each section adding its part without overpowering the rest.â€� (156). Here there was no leader figure. Instead, the people learned to solve an issue on their own. As described, no one over powered each other, which allowed them to become one. All the different parts of the society that were performed by the individuals combined to create a just society. Gaviotas would teach people to live in moderation only use what was necessary. They would never take too much or too little. More importantly, this society would learn the fundamental feature to life, which would help them to become nearer to justice.
When communities or individuals encounter problems that will disable them from attaining something, itâ€™s looked upon as a negative in our lives. Something that wonâ€™t help us, but hinder us from our goals. However, if we do not look at dilemmas as being antagonistic, but rather the opposite than many obstacles would be accomplished. Lugariâ€™s theory was not to look at a problem as being a failure, something that could never be modified because problems can have solutions; they are not the finish lines of our dreams. Instead, they are barriers that we learn to break through via our experiments. They help us improve our mistakes. Paolo held the belief that if one believed that there were no failures, but only opportunities to improve things when others didnâ€™t work, then life could survive in the llanos for both the environment and the society. â€œThereâ€™s no such thing as a failure here,â€™ the ever-sanguine Lugari encouraged the researchers. â€˜Every obstacle is really an opportunity in disguise.â€� (46)
Gaviotas was a place that was developed on the basis of making a harmonious life. It wasnâ€™t a place where materials were manufactured to provide luxuries for people because that was not the point to this society. The goal was to live in a place with moderation, where individuals would be content and healthy, and the environment an essential part to life. It was a place that was for the people. â€œDevelopment,â€™ Lebret finally told them, â€˜means making people happy.â€™ Eyes snapped toward him. â€˜Before you spend your money on roads and factories, you should first be sure that those are what your citizens really need.â€� (24).
Paolo Lugari created a challenge. He went to the universities in Columbia, and purposed that graduate students should come to Gaviotas. Paolo was seeking for engineers and thinkers who could make Gaviotas part of the Amazon again. Make Gaviotas flourish into a forest instead of an empty area. These students would earn a degree if they could accomplish their goals for Gaviotas. Paoloâ€™s inquiry was a brilliant idea. He was getting great minds to come and create ways in which Gaviotas could transform into a livable place. These minds were filled with imagination and one goal. Each one of them came up with remarkable solutions for making Gaviotas habitable. They created solar power in order to cook with and create energy. They created water systems that were designed to clean the liquid through a specific system before it was used. They created an irrigation system that was controlled naturally, and no computers were involved to regulate the amount of times and when the plant would be watered. The engineers fashioned a sleeve pump that was controlled by a seesaw, a childâ€™s toy. The sleeve pump was designed to retrieve water from a deeper well than a hand pump could. â€œDuring the dry season the water table in llanos usually dropped below the limit of conventional hand pumps, leaving disease-ridden surface streams as the only water source.â€�(67). Thus, they used the sleeve pump so the land wouldnâ€™t get destroyed. The amazing factor to this development was that children could control it. It didnâ€™t need any special equipment to control the system. It needed two children to play and have fun. The imaginations of the engineers, who eventually fell in love with Gaviotas and stayed, regenerated the land in which it provided life for all kinds. Their remarkable innovations not only provided a clean and healthy life in Gaviotas, but they were environmentally friendly and cheap to create and use.
In Gaviotas, everything was an experiment. Trial after trial they would find a mistake in the design and figure out how to improve the creation so that it could work. Nothing was set on paper and in blue prints. Inventions werenâ€™t hypothesized if they could work for months and months. They were brought to life immediately. It was a case of trial and error. There would be many tests on a creation before it could actually succeed, but it was the way in which they learned from their mistakes, and seeing how they needed to be fixed in reality.
The environment was an experiment; it was a chance that the people of Gaviotas took in order to make it filled with life again. In addition, Paolo initially noted that life, people, would be able to survive in Gaviotas, in Los Llanos, if the land wasnâ€™t suitable itself. â€œBut in order for a substantial population to live here, Lugari realized, they would need to cultivate the llano itself, not just the thin arable strips along its river banks.â€� (41). They could not live off a small portion of land that was cultivated. They needed the llanos. However, there was a problem that Paolo, the engineers, and the people of Gaviotas would have to overcome if they were going to survive in the Savanna of Columbia. The soil in Los Llanos was not fertile enough for life, but that didnâ€™t stop them from finding a solution. If they did give up, and had no faith, then Gaviotas would of never existed, and the topia would have been like any other utopia, a dream of dreams.
They were taking chances, not knowing what the answers would be, but using the results to expand on their knowledge, to get over the barriers. Thus, they took a chance on their environment. The result was a missing part of the Amazon. Paolo, and his researchers tried to find some fertile areas of land, and planted crops and fruit trees to see if they would be successful, but they werenâ€™t. Yet, they still did not give up. They found university students who studied soil chemistry, and asked them to look for areas that were capable of planting. The result was a suggestion to try and grow Caribbean pines, a type of tree. There was finally success. They had reforested the llanos. The soil became rich, and replaced missing minerals that made it possible to grow anything. Plants and animals that they never saw in Gaviotas, before they planted the pine trees, now roamed the land as if they had always been there. They recreated a forest. â€œPaolo pointed through the pines at a doe and fawn, lapping rain water from resin catchments. â€˜Weâ€™re seeing wildlife in this forest that had nearly disappeared.â€� (175).
Gaviotas took every crisis as an opportunity to improve life in the llanos. They did things for the people, to create a better life that didnâ€™t entail unnecessary products to survive. They formed a society that wanted to give back. â€œShow the world how to be environmentally aware, creative, egalitarian, and still make a decent living.â€� (125). If they couldnâ€™t tell the world about Gaviotas, and how they live in a clean environmental place where they work together and solve problems without frustration, then they wouldnâ€™t be a just society. If they couldnâ€™t go back in the world, the muck, and guide people to a better life, then what was the point to Gaviotas. Paolo realized one very important thing. â€œWe need the world as much as it needs us.â€�(154).
December 8, 2003
Global Studies 2A
A just society that takes the environment into consideration is hard to come by. With a just society, there is an individual stand point and every one as a whole. If you want to have a just society, then the people aren’t going to live that good a lives. If you want to have individual justice, the society will break down. It is a give and get type of situation. If you add justice from an environmental stand point, you are adding another weight to the already heavy load put on the individual or the society as a whole.
In Gaviotas, they came very close to this. A group of scientists went to the llanos, a desolate area with implantable soils. They took this wasteland and made it a lush and fertile area again. All of the members of this society had faith in Gaviotas and they all made it work. There philosophy was that “There’s no such thing as a failure here,” the ever-sanguine Lugari encouraged the researchers. “Every obstacle is really an opportunity in disguise.” The idea, he kept reminding everybody, was to try absolutely everything, to see what would work to make llano likfe livable.” (Gaviotas, by Alan Weisman, p. 46). This idea made it so that the people of Gaviotas new that they wouldn’t be shund for any idea. All of there ideas that didn’t work lead to new ones that did. This partly led to individual justice, and to a just society. People weren’t discounting others.
These ideas also helped the environment. “Several earlier models worked fine but requited more maintenance than could be expected from struggling peasants. The problem was driving Jorge crazy: Wind power was the cheapest source of energy in the Third World…On the fifty-eighth try, he had what he was looking for…” (Gaviotas, by Alan Weisman, p. 93). This quote shows how because they excepted all ideas, a good windmill was created eventually through trial and error. This windmill was very environmental friendly and it, in the end helped the struggling people on an individual level. It also helped out the community. This is an example how all three elements of this just society benefit from something.
You also see how individual justice was overshadowed by that of the society on page 69 of Graviotas it says: “A week earlier, a young adult male Guahibo Indian had been carried into Gaviotas. He’d been bitten the day before on the right leg by a local pit viper called a montanosa—a South American lance head. Magnus saw immediately that the man was in an advance state of septicemic shock…This was the rainy season: trying to get him to a hospital would take three days. “I’m sorry,” Magnus told the family.”
The individual is the one who is getting the shaft. They could have been successful doctors, and scientists, but they chose to help a community grow, and an environment to become reborn. Overall, it seems like the basic principals of this just society are that the individual has to help the society grow, by being innovative and helping the environment. The society and the environment coincide and feed off of each other to help further themselves as a whole. This will in result make the quality of life for the individual better as well. But in the end, this couldn’t last for ever, because as the quality of life gets higher, more people want it and the people who have it get lazy and stop raising it. This will cause for the environment and the society to collapse and the individual quality of life to drop.
This Paper Just Might Make You Hate Me
Basic principles ? Please, find me another society that actually survived besides Gaviotas on being just to the environment and even that came to an end. Sure, they were just and what not, and they cared about the environment, but where did that get them? They were destroyed and shut down by Columbian drug traffickers. Hey, mad ups to the Gaviotas crew, I’m not knocking them, but facts are facts. No matter where you go, where you colonize, what ever it is that you do, it will always come to an end. Do you think the Indians ever thought that anyone else would ever touch their soil? Before we talk about being just to the environment, how about being just to your fellow man. Don’t get me wrong; I think the environment is very important. But in some ways, it’s man over nature, not man for. nature. Before you beat me with sticks, read the rest of this paper and hopefully I will have got my point across.
I didn’t really enjoy this book, at all, but the one part that stuck out the most was this part. " I want Gaviotas to be real. I'm tired of reading about all these places that sound so perfect but never get lifted off the page into reality. Just for once, I'd like to see humans go from fantasy to fact. From utopia to topia." (Gaviotas43) This is a great, great message to preach, especially the last two sentences. The first thing you are going to need to start a society like this is the attitude that it can happen. With the attitude to have a just environment, your followers will want a just environment. You’ll need renewable resources; food, liquids, and what not. You’ll need power, what better way than solar energy. Would hunting be aloud? Of course, everyone likes a little meat every now and then. That is basically as just as you can get.
There is the out line, but can you seriously tell me that you would give up what you have to live in something like that? I like my life, and I think that I’m a just person. Maybe not just by Plato’s standard, but by today’s standard. I’m not even going to try and explain what justice is. I attend mass regularly; I give the guy looking for a buck on churchstreet some money. To me, you take care of your fellow man before nature. I don’t feel like altering my life style to fit others, as well as you don’t want to alter your life style to fit mine. It’s a lose, lose situation. Face it people, Gaviotas is a one time thing. There is too much hate in the world now. In the United States, Gaviotas would be viewed more as a cult than a society. Unfortunately, these people in Gaviotas would be viewed as hippies today.
I’ll admit, I could be a little bit more just to the earth, but so could you. Do you drive a car? Regardless, if it’s emitting a little bit of toxic fumes into the atmosphere, you’re still helping the problem. Until everyone stops driving cars and resorts to public transportation, you just sound hypocritical by telling people they are “ destroying the earth’s atmosphere.” The only person I will ever listen to when they say something like that is Amber Romero because she actually lives by what she says. She takes the bus everywhere. So all you people who say, “ You have an SUV, you’re destroying the earth!” I’ll drive just a little bit extra for you, and I’ll do it with a smile. :0)
Monday, December 08, 2003
What are the basic principals of a just society that takes into consideration the environment?
When considering a society that takes the environment into account as a major concern, one must venture for environmentally sound resources. Through the example set by the Gaviotan society, there are many solutions for environmental issues. The people of Gaviotas engineered multiple different devices and systems to provide cheap and environmentally safe sources of energy and water, they used solar power and different natural oils that are renewable and can be used around the clock.
It is often a misconception that technology has to always be shiny and ‘eye-candy,’ but the engineers of Gaviotas have utilized natural resources such as clay to irrigate their fields. “Gómez’s system consisted of flexible quarter-inch tubing through which water flowed directly from a faucet to a plant’s roots, as in a typical drip-irrigation system” (Gaviotas, 63). Utilizing modern techniques of drip-irrigation systems and applied environmentally friendly materials underscore this concept: they enhance the basic technology in the sense that no computers or any other technology are needed because the clay will dish out water in the correct concentration due to the change in soil temperature.
By utilizing inexpensive materials to create genius creations solar powered machines, the culture of the society must be versatile. The Gaviotans utilize most of the techniques and equipment that they invent and or sell, prompting smooth societal functioning. This is not the case for many other already established societies due to cultural beliefs, disallowing certain techniques presented to them because of cultural denial. The great thing about Gaviotas is that the society was new and past notions were forgotten in an effort to accomplish a beautiful topia where the needs of the individual, society, and the environment are simultaneously met. Meeting the needs of the individual and the society were relatively simple, thanks to references such as Plato’s Republic etc., but the environment variable was one that needed more attention. In order to meet the needs of the environment post cultural beliefs were discarded and by doing this the people of Gaviotas could achieve moderation with all three variables.
With cultural bias beliefs pushed aside, Gaviotas was ready to be put in motion. Paolo Lugari, founder of Gaviotas, can be quoted, “I want Gaviotas to be real. I’m tired of reading about all these places that sound so perfect but never get lifted off the page into reality. Just for once, I’d like to see humans go from fantasy to fact. From utopia to topia” (Gaviotas, 43). Through this quote, Paolo expresses the motivation and attitude of the entire population of Gaviotas. Paolo and everyone else are willing to make the Gaviotan experiment work at almost any cost.
Derived from this philosophy of experimentation and a positive attitude to achieve success brings the Gaviotans to a progressive position. Wielding the power of the mind to make their reality, they approach what might be conceived as “obstacles,” but the Gaviotans would view the situation as an opportunity in “disguise,” (quote) “‘Every obstacle is really an opportunity in disguise.’ The idea, he kept reminding everybody, was to try absolutely everything, to see what would work to make llano life livable” (Gaviotas, 46). It is very imperative for the peoples of the Gaviotas society to maintain this attitude and methodology of thinking in order for their success in the llanos.
By combining the technology, the attitude, and moderation, the Gaviotans have come enviously close to the ideals of a utopia. Although we will never know the lasting results of their society, in the short term they accomplished one of the more real societies this world has ever seen.
What are the basic principles of a just society that takes into consideration the environment?
When looking at Gaviotas, everything is in moderation. Gaviotas is in a remote spot in Colombia, and takes 16 hours to get to from the nearest suburbanized area. I believe that it is in the middle of nowhere because it is meant for people who really care, and go out of their way.
Paolo didn’t want the people of the city to have too much money, or not enough money, sort of middle class. A lot of money will disallow people to come up with cheap, efficient, creative inventions. Also people with a lot of money get separated from people who don’t have as much money, in at least the class sense.
It also seems that technology is needed to create and hopefully maintain a Utopia. Which is one thing that Paolo talked about. Paolo said, “Gaviotas isn't a utopia, Lugari interrupted. 'Utopia literally means no place. In Greek, the prefix 'u' signifies no. We call Gaviotas a topia, because it's real. We've moved from fantasy to reality”’. This is actually quite smart because everyone says they’re going to create a utopia, or a perfect place, without knowing that utopia actually means not place. Paolo although is saying that he is going to create a utopia.
Paolo’s goal in creating a society is to identify a problem, for example bad water, and improve it by doing tests, seeing what works and what doesn’t. Sort of like a scientific paper. You create a hypothesis, which is an educated guess and see if it works. Although in this society it doesn’t even really have to be that educated. Everyone is very open minded, and willing to try anything no matter how crazy it seems. Through trial and error they eventually find a solution, which for the water example was this water-treating machine that eventually allows you to access water right from the tap.
Through this testing they also found out that when a certain pine tree is planted its seeds spread and create more trees in this specific kind of soil.
I believe that Paolo saw that society will be centralized around its environment, and so made a healthy, creative and inventive environment. The opposite is also true if your surroundings are bad, then you will reflect this in some way.
A just society itself is hard to come by. A just society that takes into consideration of the environment is close to impossible. We do know of one example of a just spciety that does exactly that. This society is called Gaviotas.
Gaviotas came up with some ingenious ways to make a barren wasteland into something livable in. Their technology alone astounds the reader as they flip through page after page. They built windmills, solar power, pumps, and in fact brought a whole section of the rainforest. They did all of this with one thought flowing through their minds conservation.
The first invention that Gaviotas made that I will talk about is the windmills that they use. “On the fifty eighth try, he had what he was looking for: a five bladed beauty, its individual aluminum vanes patterned after the cross section of landing flaps they found in a NASA airfoil catalogue, each torqued to turn leeward, eliminating the need for a tail.” (Gaviotas 93). “Wind power was the cheapest source of energy in the third world” (Gaviotas 93). So not only is Gaviotas saving the environment by using wind power to power their society, but they are also using wind power to use their money in a less spending way. In other words they are saving what little money they have for bigger projects. Also through their use and invention of these cheap windmills they will inspire other people in other third world countries to do the same. Thus causing a world that looks much better than it ever had in the past. Another invention that Gaviotas created was their solar energy panels. Now, solar energy existed when Gaviotas was created however not in the way that Gaviotas re engineered them so that they would even run in the rain. “One fifth of all of Colombia’s electricity comes from heated water. That’s a waste. We can show the country how to save twenty percent of its electricity costs, by doing that for free with the sun.” (Gaviotas 99). The preceding quote proves that Gaviotas was really all for the environment, and their inexpensive inventions that helped the environment. They were also huge into educating the public about these creations in order to make more people use them.
Next I will discuss Gaviotas creation of a new rain forest right in Llanos that was really a revolutionary thing. “Once the trees in Gaviotas were inoculated with mycorrhiza mixture, they never seemed to need more.” (Gaviotas 169). “Partly due to cost and labor, partly out of curiosity, Gaviotas hadent bothered to eliminate the other growth in one of their earliest experimental strands of pine.” (Gaviotas 169). By ignoring the undergrowth of the pines the people of Gaviotas discovered a incredable thing. That if nature was left to its own devices with these trees then they could in fact reproduce the jungle that formally existed on the llanos.
With this discovery Gaviotas became a revolutionary place that soon most people knew about. And even though Gaviotas failed to exist forever we should all remember their practices and beliefs. Because one day all of the things that we once found so common will be gone. And we will need to turn towards an example of a place that succeeded in bringing those things back.
lord t-mo the king presiding over all cynics:
i agree with you to some extent, but like always i tend to disagree with about 99% of waht you just said... first of all i would agree that people come out as clean slates, and i would agree that the environment someone is around shapes who they are, yet this is more the parents and freinds than anyone else, for instance how many fathers who beat their children are the product of being beaten at an early age , or racists whose parents were racists. But for the sake of the argument, i shall include parents, freinds, in the society and accept your theory that society influences many of our behaviors and ideals. Yet this cave is not all powerful my freind, and i find that you seem to get caught up like i do from time to time with equations for life... such as since society influences these thoughts, it must spurn other ones. Loss is a natural quality which can not even be close to be defined by words, such as most intangible things can't be, or adequately enough to get at the feeling of loss. Love is also one of these things. One loves another, or likes antoher and finds qualities in them which create relationships. When the relationship is destroyed due to death, inwardly or outwardly, if we truly care for this person we mourn... i mourn both ways and u apparently try to hide the later. Yet i shall not simply use rhetorical statements such as the previoues to back up my oppinions... i have dogs who i love dearly and they take a particular liking to me and my mom for some reason.... when she is gone u can see them almost in a state of the doldrums... as if they think they lost her and they mourn in their own way, when she returns they are overjoyed. This is due to the relationship my mom has created w/ them as well as i have. I use dogs as an example for they are not influenced by society... or at least their sense of caring isn't if you can somehow find a way to argue the other points... y
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Aaron trying to argue with me, but can't Voldman:
When you say programmed, you make it sound like this is the case at birth. I believe that at birth they are like a clean piece of slate that hasn't been written on, but as time goes on society writes on the slate. Feeling sad is just emotional bullshit, I try to be as unemotional as possible inorder to see as much truth as possible. Mark let emotion take him over, and now lives life according to his emotions.
i am shocked: wait... so are you seriously saying that we have been programmed to feel sad when people around us die?
The cave to me is basically what you think it is, when society stops someone from seeing the light or the truth ie getting out of the cave. I also agree with you when you said, "it appears that it's simply what he knows he must try to do with his life." I agree with you exactly, it's all he knows, it's all society has told him, society of course meaning those near and dear, family, friends, teachers, politicians, the government. He only knows what they have told them. Do you see how it is very easy to make someone believe anything you want. IF they only know one thing that's all they can go by. Do you see how it is portrayed that, whenever someone dies close to you that you must feel sad, why is that? Because that's what your supposed to do, that's what you were told to do, that's what society has let you see.
Tell them what they want to hear,