The dilemma of the Sustainable Development Goals is that their achievement is paramount to our world future, yet the current skillsets of our global structures and ethical and moral tenor appear to fall far short of what is needed to achieve them.

Conferring with His Holiness The Dalai Lama in the fall of 2019 at his home in India, his message echoed this difficult divide. Where the deepest inner values of our heritages are most often are not where the fulcrums of power and policy are, and where the fulcrums of power and policy are these deep inner values seldom reign. We either resolve this issue or we go extinct.

The greatest internal and external challenges of our time—“Greed is good” as an internal value and Climate Change as an external challenge– both involve destructive habits in human behavior. Nature, and our understanding of it from science, show that universal structures are based on reciprocal organismic and ecosystem-based principles. These clearly reflect the values of mutuality, synergy, co-creativity, kindness, compassion (and a long list!). If we live in tune with these evolutionary principles we can survive and thrive. It is our choice, or the choice of the leaders around us. “Greed is good” and the power play of dominance hierarchies are not evolutionary principles.

Our choices in history at this point are quite stark. The current global crisis, including the pandemic and the challenge of achieving the SDG’s, begs the question of how we will respond in these perilous times. The stakes could not be higher and our behavior to date is not ahead of the curve.
Feature Image: Dr. Kurt Johnson with Al Gore at climate-related conference hosted by the Center for Earth Ethics founded by Karenna Gore.