What are our natural resources? Essentially they are the inherent qualities of the planet we live upon. None of us created them or contributed to their existence. However, as we know, many if not all of them are necessary for our lives. Without the air, water, food, shelter, medicinal substances, that our provided by our natural resources we would die. Without the beauty and recreational opportunities inherent in our natural resources our lives would be much less enjoyable, if even tolerable.
Natural resources include the plants that grow and the animals that inhabit the Earth. Natural resources are the source of all the raw materials that all products are made from. Even what scientists require in order to create “synthetics”. Without the naturally occurring base materials there would be no synthetics. We come to the Earth with nothing and everything we have while we’re here has essentially been provided to us by forces beyond our control. Everything. That makes the naturally occurring resources of our planet (and others) pretty valuable, doesn’t it?
It is true that humans very often take a natural resource, add some ingenuity and work, and thereby create something more useful to human life than the raw material alone. Clothing, houses, automobiles, medicines, works of art, musical instruments, books, computers, jewelry, beer, wine! Humans have bred some plants to produce more or better food products than they did previously.
However, it’s worked the other way with plants also, nutritional value has been reduced in some strains. And similar claims can also be made for about every natural resource. At some time one or more human beings have tried to create something with one or the other natural resources which has ended up being of less value than the raw material. Trial and error, we humans seem to do a lot of that.
Somewhere along the line some people decided that because of some arbitrary situation in their life they actually own one or more natural resources. Maybe they were born into a “royal” family with a longstanding (but never the less arbitrary) claim. Or maybe they had friends within one or more governments that were ready and willing to pass laws that proclaimed they now have ownership of certain natural resources. In any and all of these cases, assertions of ownership have only worked because there were sufficient other people ready to support that assertion. All such assertions are arbitrary in that they are devised and implemented solely out of the volition of the human beings involved. In other words, if I say I now own New York, and if I can get enough people in positions of power and a sufficient army to support the claim, then I own New York. That’s how it works. We all came with nothing, everything that is, every single solitary natural resource on Earth, has been provided to us freely by forces beyond our control. Every product that exists is produced from these resources.
Whether by design or default, currently we are allowing individuals or small groups of individuals to claim ownership of massive amounts of the Earth’s natural resources. Is this really how we want to conduct ourselves? This type of practice, among other things, leads to competition among the individuals and groups vying for ownership. It has led to wars and will undoubtedly lead to more if the practice is continued. It leads to inflationary, greed based pricing of the resources and works toward the impoverishment of the general population. The psycho/emotional effects of a competition/greed based culture in general are to be seen within populations around the world: fear, anxiety, disenfranchisement, depression, or vanity, narcissism.
When enough people wake up to the reality that private ownership of natural resources, and all similar cultural structures, can only exist with the cooperation of the general population, then we will see significant change within systems take place. In the past this has often just meant that the group controlling the resources changes and the same greed/competition model stays in place. We need something better. We need to realize that as a species that our fates are inextricably intertwined. We need to realize the mutuality of our plight and then to act upon that realization. We need to utilize, to apply the magnificent body of knowledge that already exists within the disciplines of psychology, physiology, sociology, medicine, anthropology, ethics, and spiritual studies in the design and maintenance of our social and industrial systems. Economically we don’t need socialism, communism or capitalism. We need a hybrid born in knowledge and reason with the well-being of all of humanity as a goal!
A key foundational piece of wisdom comes when we realize that, in general, looking at the basics of our biology and spirituality, what is good for one person’s body and spirit provides us with a model of what is good for the body and spirit of humanity as a whole.