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Parecology: What is it? Does IOPS need it?

David Jones
21st Jun 2012

Hi EARTHers,

I decided to start this thread based on discussions over at Verena Stresing's latest blog post, in light of some of the comments posted there, particularly something Peter said:

"The conversation above has inspired me. Thank you everyone. All the arguments that need airing so badly in IOPS where, indeed, ParEcology seems 'somewhat of an after-thought' when it should be at the centre, given human/humane survival is at stake. Not to mention the need for an evolutionary leap into One World Consciousness, a spiritual-economic-political-eclogical revolution as has never been attempted. Exciting times. Tick tock. As the clock ticks, will Joe & Mary Blogs see the light and come to the party of revolution or continue to play follow the leaders over into the abyss as in so many collapsed/overshot civilisations before?


If THESE are the stakes, should not IOPS, at the very least, say so? Loudly. Clearly. Internationally. Poetically. Make it a central part of the Vision, theory, strategy, organisation? At the moment IOPS is more tack-on environmentalist than radically ecological IMO. Can we change that for a start perhaps?


My fear is that this wonderful discussion is going to get lost here in the long tail of Verena's geat blog, so why not come on over folks to the EARTH project for further subversive discussion in the quiet of our own 'oikos' (home/household)?"

Persoanlly I think ecology should occupy a more central role within the parecon vision. I expressed that view (quoting Peter as above) in a post on Michael Albert's latest blog and Florian Zollmann said to me:

"Hi David,


I think nothing stops you from following environmentalist or other issues. For example, I have considered to engage in environmental groups and advocate for IOPS within them. This could be mutually beneficial for IOPS and them... Just a thought."

And I replied:


"Of course, I am already involved in bits and pieces elsewhere. The thing is, I think IOPS needs 'environmentalism' more than 'environmentalism' needs IOPS. We need a habitable planet to situate our participatory society on! We need to be able to feed people. Such prerequisites look far from guaranteed, to me at least. They shouldn't be taken for granted. 'Climate chaos' is a game-changer.

That's why I think IOPS itself needs to incorporate ecology more centrally. It is absolutely crtitical to every other aspects of the vision succeeding"

Basically, I think we need to be advocating 'environmentalism' (meaning radical ecology based thinking) as a more central part of IOPS than it currently is, because we need it more than it needs us. For example, there is currently no sub-category in the forums for "ecology" (or indeed inter/trans-nationalism, despite both being listed in the IOPS vision). I think this is a serious oversight.

Do you agree? If yes, how should we go about it? What does "parecology" mean to you?

Would love to know what the rest of you think :-)