Organization: COP10.org & Big Medicine
Author: w. david kubiak
Defending Biodiversity with Biomimicry
– A Brief Introduction to Corporism, Immuno-activism and Eco-Social Germ Theory
“Let us raise our vision high enough to dominate the problem.” — Teilhard de Chardin
Big Medicine and COP10.org hold three odd truths to be increasingly self-evident: COP10, the tenth Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), could be the most critical UN conference in eco-treaty history; activists have a lot to learn from their own immune cells; and big corporate bodies now cause or worsen most of Earth’s deadliest ills.
Together they suggest a truly daunting crisis, but they also help redefine our challenges in ways that give activists, native peoples and Nature herself a plausible chance to prevail. COP10.org and Big Medicine are working to launch “Corporism and Biomimicry for Activists,” a memetic initiative to revolutionize the way we look at corporate bodies, activist campaigning and the evolutionary future of our world.
COP10 may well be the most important environmental conference the world has ever seen in terms of scope, potential impact, and repercussions for future eco-treaties.
Scope: The CBD’s unprecedented purview includes the entire web of life, climatic health and sustainable economics as well as the future of medicine, agriculture and indigenous rights. No other eco-gathering has ever had more life and death issues on the table all at once.
Impact: COP10′s accomplishments or lack thereof will affect every major ecosystem in the biosphere and the lives of billions of the poor. We are not talking about distant Seventh Generation impacts. COP10 actions or omissions will wreak fateful changes in the next twenty years.
Treaty implications: After the collapse of the Copenhagen climate talks last December and the CITES debacle in Doha this spring, the relevance, efficacy and thus legitimacy of global treaty efforts are facing their third strike. It is not just species and ecosystems facing danger at COP10; if this conference also fails, the entire future of the UN treaty process is deeply imperiled as well.
Activists really are the planet’s immune system and our win/loss record could improve a lot if we studied immune strategies. Our immune cells are always vastly outnumbered, attracted to trouble and pretty impossible to organize. They are also diverse, creative and incessantly communicating. In other words, immunocytes and activists share many things in common, but these tiny watchdogs seem to defend our bodies rather more effectively than we protect the living earth.
Immunocytes’ big edge over immuno-activists is that they don’t obsess on specific symptoms. Their primary shared mission is to seek out and disable whatever class of pathogens is causing an entire symptom array. Once they incapacitate the background disease agent, scores of different troubling symptoms can fade away at once.
Activists tend to converge around specific symptoms and form separate teams to deal with them. We can thus grow very divided very fast, not just in broad arenas like war or health or ecology, but in narrow single issue groups devoted to nukes or GMOs or dying reefs.
Among biodiversity activists especially there are a bewildering variety of single issue groups fighting for polar bears, koala bears, plankton, whales, orangutans or a hundred other besieged creatures in the rainforests, mountains and ocean depths. Since such diverse concerns breed more competition than synergy, immune wisdom might lead some of us to look upstream for common causes to these threats instead devoting all our energy to specific symptoms on the ground.
Huge corporations constitute a new class of being that now cause or exacerbate most earthly ills. Many now see these corporate leviathans–the collaborative fraternity of Big Energy, Big Pharma, Big Agrobiz, Big Arms, Big Finance, etc.–as the lethal common denominator behind a host of plagues we face. Some indigenous leaders even call them an alien invasive species and the biggest single threat to planetary health.
“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” — Sophocles
Taxonomically, this Big Body species includes the monstrous conglomerates, multinationals and banking firms that rule most of the world’s economy and determine the policies, media content and conventional wisdom of our age. They are the primary drivers of war, pollution, over-consumption and eco-devastation, as well as intensifying oligarchy, tyranny and human rights abuses worldwide. Most are publicly listed corporations, many are global in reach, but all are dangerously over-sized and out-competing human beings for planetary control.
This is not about capitalism, communism or socialism, by the way. It is about toxic organizational scale within any socio-economic system, and how big bodies inevitably turn cancerous when they exceed a certain size. Once such bodies incorporate more than a thousand members or start to diversify promiscuously, their own growth in any direction becomes more important than their avowed utility to the body politic—and malignancy is near.
Focusing on these big bodies and their destructive influence on our politics, global treaty-making and the biosphere as a whole can birth powerful new strategies and collaborative possibilities for NGOs of every stripe. Beyond just organizing and lobbying on behalf of a wide diversity of symptoms, which always tends to divide and weaken us, we can also emulate our immune cells and look upstream to the malignant corporate entities that cause so much of our suffering worldwide.
We simply must start asking ourselves such fundamental questions as, “How large and powerful should humanity allow commercial bodies to become?” Or, “Can peace, justice or ecological well being ever really be achieved as long as they pursue endless growth and dominate our governance?” Or, “How can we downsize, decentralize and democratize monstrous corporate bodies back to benign scale and human control?”
Highlighting such issues can kindle a truly radical debate that exposes the deepest corporate roots of eco-social malaise. If we hope to transform the Earth and human life swiftly, we must move beyond conventional single issue activism and finally join hands to miniaturize and disempower the mega-corporate parasites that now disease (and rule) our world.
Reorienting just ten percent of activist attention toward this challenge could revolutionize the impact of grassroots politics, renew democracy locally and globally, and pave the way for a new life-affirming evolutionary renaissance. In sum, it offers one of the few credible ways we could ever meet the 2014 goal.
For more info see:
Shrinking Corporate Tumors with Immunogentility
Evoking Earth’s Immune Response to Mega-Corporate Maladies (pdf)