And still the amazing peoples of the small island of Vanuatu teach us how to live with grace and equanimity – even in the face of terrible devastation, as happened this week when Cyclone Pam scorched across their land leaving many dead and 100,000 people homeless.
You may remember the New Economics Foundation praising the island society back in 2009:
This was because Vanuatu had an awful lot to teach us about living in harmony with the earth, being stewards of the environment immediately around us, and fostering a culture many times more enlightened than the grubby fossil-fuels addicted, economic-growth fixated idiocies of our own rather venal cultures back in the West.
Well, against astonishing odds they’re back at it, reminding us all what it looks like to live within our environmental means; efficienctly converting natural resources into meaningful human outcomes; and then processing those meaningful outcomes with exemplary calm:
Maintaining mutually supportive communities and remaining mindful of the dynamic equilibrium with the biosphere on which we depend:
It is a heroic and salutary story, of pressing significance for all of us – but especially those deniers of the benefits of careful, modest stewardship of the planet that infest our culture over here. People like Matt Ridley, who only this week was pushing the filthy line that the disease (fossil fuels) was actually the cure (with inaccurate assertions to the effect that development encourages resilience instead of, as is actually the case, vulnerability).
The only fly in the ointment for us here at LFG is the NEF’s Andrew Simms odd change of heart on the subject:
Tragic, ironic news from Vanuatu – once top of the Happy Planet Index – as cyclone Pam leaves trail of destruction — Andrew Simms (@AndrewSimms_uk) March 14, 2015
“Once top of the Happy Planet Index”? But Andrew – what’s changed? Nothing. They’re still there mate, doing those things they’ve been doing for hundreds of years: meeting people’s needs while respecting environmental limits; developing deep cultural respect for ecosystems; teaching lessons it’s taken a millennia to arrive at. In other words, bonding with each other and the environment. Humble and happy.
The happiest society on earth.