Can the Current Global Sustainable Development Movement be Reconciled to the American Value System or Can the American Value System Accommodate a Sustainable Development Concept? In both cases, the most accurate answer is probably a resounding: Maybe!
Sustainable Freedom Educational Concepts is a response to the global sustainable development concept. The current sustainable development movement, for the most part, fails to take human nature and human instinct into account in an adequate way. The best logistical planning in the universe is destined to fail if humans reject the initiatives. History has proven that humans do not initially reject centralized planning at first, rather they revolt when they begin to feel pushed by the plan. Humans revolt either violently or passively when their liberties are infringed upon. A non-violent outlet and valid participation for all human beings must be the central component of any long-term plan to conserve natural resources and improve living standards. To believe that a simple re-education campaign will suffice is a common, yet naive idea. Yet, planners often choose to believe what is convenient in adopting and implementing a plan. There are a set of basic human needs that must be accommodated:
Human to human freedom of association
Freedom to defend ones life, well-being and property
Freedom to acquire more property
Freedom to disburse or gift property
Human desire to be mobile, to move about with minimal restriction
Human desire to produce products of their own creation
Freedom of trade without restriction
Freedom to seek well-being
Freedom to self-govern
Freedom to own and control personal assets.
Connection to the land
Universal fairness for all (a set of consistent durable universally applied values)
Freedom to reproduce
Freedom to feel valued
Freedom to live where they choose and to relocate where they choose.
Freedom to provide for one’s future security
Freedom to live secure from excessive threats to life, health, safety, family and associates.
Freedom from excessive manipulation.
This list of human instincts is an off-the-cuff preliminary effort and will be modified, likely resulting in a much more extensive listing. It may be said that Americans are too focused on personal liberty and independence and that is likely true in the perspective of a large portion of the world’s citizenry. However, most Americans can verbally express why they feel the way they do. Americans do not see their personal liberty as outdated or even very negotiable. However, Americans in general are a very reasonable people, but like all other nationalities, they do not like being condemned without a hearing nor prodded into change without due consideration. The American psyche is what it is and cannot be summarily dismissed without repercussions. That is not to be taken as a threat, but should be considered as a fact of life. Americans are jealous of their liberties and freedoms. They will, when forced, forego many luxuries and comforts in the protection of those liberties. They are especially wary of centralized government power, but do postpone staunch resistance as long as possible. We may be seeing the evidence of a certain determination concerning American liberty ideals with the emergence of the Tea Party movement in the United States. Americans may seem to be self-centered to some, yet there is an inherent cohesiveness, supported by a common set of American principles that must be considered. Many of these principles are set out in the American Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. These documents, although considered by some to be outdated or insignificant, actually form a common bond to a majority of Americans. Differences may exist in the meaning and gravity of specific articles and phrases, but a strong reverence for the bodies of the founding documents is unquestionable. These American documents are not daily studied by most, but viewed as a weapon against the threat of sustained tyranny to be revealed, affirmed and employed only in a case of infringement upon the rights of American citizens. Planners should be aware of these American attributes and ideals when conceptualizing and initiating sustainable development initiatives.
Planners for human development will be wise to give human instinct and nature the broadest consideration, for this is the whole foundation for any successful initiative. Humans will revolt or balk when their liberties are directly infringed upon. The revolt may often be violent, but at first there will be indicators that reveal a dis-ease in the population. Planners generally rely on the idea that inclusion of a few representatives of the citizenry in the planning phase and a cursory notification of coming initiatives are adequate to satisfy a populace and that subsequently the planner may continue to plan away as if human nature were a thing once satisfied, forever compliant. The “I notified you that changes were coming, now why are you complaining” mindset will lead to widespread revolt when broad initiative are imposed. Central planners are taught to plan very well, but their understanding of how to account for human nature is virtually nonexistent. An example may suffice: Imagine a person wished to find a marriage partner. They find a wonderful person they wish to marry. The suitor has planned a wonderful life for this potential bride and proceeds to approach her, telling her all his plans and explaining how wonderful life will be once they have joined forces and begun living as he has envisioned. The problem is that the potential bride wants to “fall in love” and live a romantic life that is not pre-planned. Even if the woman accepts the fellows proposal, but there is no love in the relationship, no lasting happiness will be attained. A wise fellow would seek a woman who loves him, rather than trying to force a woman into a role for which she has no heart. In the heart are found all the basic human needs and instincts. Humans will always feel they have a “right” to seek these needs and any planner dreaming to subvert these traits will cause immeasurable harm to humans and their environments. Thousands of years of instilled values cannot be replaced by a “good plan.” The good plan must accommodate human instilled values.
The first problem in planning is that planners do not consider human beings as a valued component in the natural environment. Yes, humans now make unnatural products that do not return to the pre-existing natural condition in a suitable manner. But simply mandating, “No More Plastics” by a ruling elite only generates resentment, especially if that elite group gobbles through volumes of plastic-laden products themselves. A wise woman, asked how she managed to raise such fine children once replied: There are three simple guidelines; You teach others by example, by example and by example.” A few transgressions by the sustainable development movement need to be recognized and measures taken to change those attitudes and practices.
First of all, virtually every planner has his (or her) own unchangeable long-term plan for change.
Secondly, government leaders, environmental advocates and sustainability planners are usually the worst examples of living in a sustainable manner or employing sustainable practices.
Thirdly, planners are prone to “tunnel vision.” This is caused by the human inclination to govern by imposing rules rather than by adopting a set of sound principles. By only by realizing and accepting the need for the planners, leaders and environmental advocates to develop an ability to change and adapt to the realities of human instincts and needs will the planner be able to convince a populace to change their own practices. Planners almost always fail to understand and account for the impact of their decisions on citizens. People have lives to live, instincts, needs and desires. Planners must somehow find ways to make their own goals align with those human traits. The foremost trait is that humans generally refuse to be coerced and forced into lasting change. Lasting sustainable development can only be founded on a firm and valid basis of sustainable human freedom.