are not peculiarities of 'other' cultures. All cultures are
reflections of spirit.
What we call 'cultures' emerge from relationships between people, animals, plants, lands and waters. Our engagement with the world is emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and economic. Spirit is the recombinant power of a universe whose goal is complexity. It is why a bird is not a fact, but a step between a dinosaur and something yet to be and a joy in itself. It is the 10,000 or so populations of Pacific salmon that 'appeared' since the last Ice Age. It is the belief that drives the artist, scientist and mystic in all of us to face down the border police, to ask new questions. It is recognition of the difference between 'you' and 'me' and the spark that jumps between.
everything has a spiritual as well as a physical existence is
consistent with grateful use and generosity, but not with depletion,
extinction and environmental degradation. I grew up in Northern
Ireland, so I agree with Richard Dawkins that
religion should have no civil
power, nor dictate
education. That said, exclusion of 1,000s of years of spiritual
and religious insights from our attempts at ecosystem valuation and
management is at best,
unwise. It allows the human values
concealed in the price of a barrel of oil to dominate government and
the price of a kilo of farmed salmon to distort BC fisheries out of all
To rewrite environmental law and policy to include the 'immeasurable' values of love in the sense of cherishing and protecting people, places, plants, animals, lands and waters to which we are deeply connected and committed to protect.
Lists of such values appear in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and Ecological Economics literature, with the comment that such values are equally if not more important than the measurable values of science and economics. This makes the case for inclusion of Indigenous spiritual, artistic and eco-theological perspectives in review of projects such as the Tarsands/Enbridge pipeline and farmed salmon.Core concepts
The aim is to recognize our relationship with other-than-human beings and aspects of existence. 'Community' acknowledges relationship. It is not created by measurement or from some outside or objective stance. The term eco-social-spiritual community explicitly includes the sacred or spiritual as an integrative dimension of human experience as worthy of articulation as the measurements of science and economics.
Goal: To write a full set of human values into
environmental law and policy.
Background: The long-term sustainability of non-industrial societies stems from the interweaving of scientific, economic, social, artistic and spiritual dimensions. Use is tempered by respect and the goal of flourishing of the entire ‘eco-social-spiritual community’. Fisheries collapse and damage to marine ecosystems is driving a move towards ‘marine ecosystem-based management’. At first sight, British Columbia has some of the most inclusive processes on earth. A harder look reveals that spiritual, religious and artistic perspectives are not there.
We need the
goods and services that the waters provide, but we love them too. The gift that ordinary people bring to
‘ecosystem-based management’ is the language of love for lands, waters, plants
and creatures to which they are deeply connected and committed to cherish and
protect. The powerful response to such language when
used by Indigenous spiritual people (and a growing number of mainstream
religious leaders) indicates that it belongs to us all.
Unfortunately the words of love and relationship we use in our private lives are not part of the project review or management lexicon. We cannot ask scientists to bring Indigenous and religious concepts of covenant and relationship with non-humans into their work. We can make the conversation more complete by bringing Indigenous spiritual leaders, religious leaders, artists—poets and painters, dancers and filmmakers—into the busniess of review of projects such as Enbridge, industrial salmon feedlots and fisheries subsidies.
Haggan, N. (2012) Becoming Indigenous: Measurable and Immeasurable Values in Ecosystem-Based Management. PhD, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 210p. https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/43132.
Haggan, N. (2011) You don't know what you've got till its gone: The case for spiritual values in marine ecosystem management. In: World Fisheries: A Social-Ecological Analysis. Perry, I., Ommer, R.E., Cury, P. et al. (eds). Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. Abstract.Full text.
Haggan, N., Ainsworth, C., Pitcher, T.J. and Heymans, J.J. (2006) Life in the fast food chain: Ou sont les poissons d'antan? Pages 51-74 in: Parrish, C.C., Turner, N. and Solberg, S. (eds) Resetting the Kitchen Table: Food Security, Culture, Health and Resilience in Coastal Communities. Nova Science, New York, 247p. Abstract. Full text.
Haggan, N. and Neis, B. (2007) The changing face of Fisheries Science and Management. Pages 421-432 in: Haggan, N., Neis, B. and Baird, I.G. (eds) Fishers' Knowledge in Fisheries Science and Management. UNESCO, Paris, 437p. Full text.
Haggan, N., Turner, N.J., Carpenter, J., Jones, J.T., Menzies, C. and Mackie, Q. (2006) 12,000+ years of change: Linking traditional and modern ecosystem science in the Pacific Northwest. UBC Fisheries Centre Working Paper #2006-02. Abstract. Full text.
Haggan, N., Narcisse, A., Sumaila, U.R., Lucas, Chief Simon and Turner, N.J. (2005) Pacific Ecosystems, Past Present and Future: Integrating Knowledge and Values, Anticipating Climate Change. Society for Ecological Restoration International/Indigenous Peoples’ Restoration Network session, Zaragoza, Spain, September 12 - 18, 2005. PowerPoint. Conference paper.
Haggan, N. (2000) Back to the Future and Creative Justice. Pages 83-99 in, Coward, H., Ommer, R.E. and Pitcher, T.J. (eds) Just Fish: Ethics in the Canadian Coastal Fisheries. ISER Books, St. John's, 304p. Full text.
Haggan, N. (1998) Reinventing the Tree: reflections on the organic growth and creative pruning of fisheries management structures. Pages 19-30 in: Pitcher, T.J., Hart, P.J.B. and Pauly, D. (eds)Reinventing Fisheries Management, Chapman and Hall, London, 435p. Abstract. Full text.