1. Introduction: On Paradigms and Policies
Ours is the era of the Anthropocene, where human action has unforeseen impacts on global ecosystems. The “human colossus”  (p. 510) is increasingly crowding out other species in order to satisfy its gigantic appetite for natural resources. It has led to the current mass extinctions, the overshoot of the carrying capacity of the planet and the worsening scenarios of climate change. Humans have changed ecosystems to an extent to which biological resources are going to endure rapid and unpredictable transformations within the near future (e.g., ).“Vision is the most vital step in the policy process.”
2. The Pitfall of the Human Exemptionalism Paradigm and the Promises of Relationality
- Humans are separate from nature. Unilateral domination of the natural environment is feasible and desirable.
- Nature is a stock of resources to be converted to human purposes. Environmental sink and source capacities are infinite.
- Humans are superior to other species, which gives mankind the right to exploit them.
- High value is placed on the single individual or the single nation; it is me or us against others.
- Mainly the benefits gained in the short term are taken into account in our action.
- Progress is equated with endless economic growth, and wellbeing is largely associated with the material standard of living.
- Risks are accepted and actively embraced.
- The problems we face can be solved through technological development.
- Economic considerations are paramount in decision-making.
- Rational faculties are seen as superior to intuitive and affective faculties.
- Humans are a part of nature; we are fundamentally interconnected with ecosystems.
- Nature is an ally that provides us with all we need for living. The boundaries and regenerative capacities of ecosystems are respected.
- All species are interdependent, and all living creatures are intrinsically valuable.
- High value is placed on the web of relations, and our horizons for caring are wide.
- Human activities have both immediate effects and effects that radiate for centuries to come.
- Progress means sustaining healthy living conditions for all species on Earth. Wellbeing is understood relationally, and nonmaterial aspects of life are appreciated.
- Precaution and risk avoidance are important guidelines for our action.
- Technology offers useful innovations for sustainable needs satisfaction.
- Decision-making is based on holistic deliberation. Environmental protection and social sustainability outweigh economic aspects.
- Humans rely not only on their intelligence, but on their intuition, emotions and inner wisdom.
3. Relational Understanding of Wellbeing
3.1. The Dimensions of Relational Wellbeing
3.1.1. Having: Decent and Fair Standard of Living
- Natural resources: water, food, materials for clothing, construction, etc.
- Economic resources: income and wealth
- Basic consumption items
3.1.2. Doing: Meaningful and Responsible Activities
- Meaningful paid work
- Social and political action
- Education and learning
- Leisure-time activities
- Nature activities (gardening, hiking, etc.)
3.1.3. Loving: Connective and Compassionate Relations to Others
- Family and kin
- Local communities and society
- Global community and future generations
- Other species and nature
3.1.4. Being: Alert Presence
- Is in good physical and mental health;
- Can fulfill his/her inherent potentials;
- Feels a sense of autonomy;
- Is creative;
- Is striving toward serenity, goodness and unselfishness;
- Has experiences of wholeness, aliveness and self-sufficiency.
5. Discussion and Conclusions: On the Feasibility of Paradigm and Policy Shift
Conflicts of Interest
References and Notes
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