Creative justice: Restoring art, Indigenous spirituality and religion to environmental impact assessment and ecosystem-based management
Ancient societies are the outcome of a complete conversation between people, animals, plants, lands, waters and spirit. While marginalized by enlightenment science and mission Christianity, this conversation continues in Indigenous societies and in the relationships that all of us, scientists, economists and engineers have with our personal sacred spaces and family friends and non-humans.
The issue therefore is not that the voices of science and economics are too loud, but that they are too lonely. The voices of art, spirituality and religion are as just as lonely on the other side of the wall. Creative / epistemological justice requires that we restore the full range of values to environmental impact review panels and take 'resource management' beyond the mantra of measurement, monitoring, surveillance and control to systems that reflect love as well as need. The groundwork has been laid. Spiritual, aesthetic, religious and other intangible values are recognized in ecological economics and ecosystem services as at least as important as monetary and material considerations. The same holds for the UK National and Millennium Ecosystem Assessments.
I conclude with two modest proposals: First is to update the 1990 Declaration on Preserving and Cherishing the Earth signed by 42 scientific and 270 religious leaders to include art. Second to mount a legal challenge to Keystone-Excel/Enbridge and other reviews on the basis that they exclude major categories of value.