Do No Harm

English: Created in Photoshop, based on "...
English: Created in Photoshop, based on "Sustainable development" diagram at Cornell Sustainability Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was in a polite and superficial debate with an old friend recently about our economic models, going forward.

He is a staunch defender of old-school economics, but with some recognition of the failure of “profit at all costs” and “perpetual growth” thinking.

Rather than address the many injustices, inequities, abuses and injuries (caused generally in someone else’s backyard an ocean away) by our “cheap” consumer items in our current “more stuff” economy, I said this:

“Let’s keep it simple and take on for future economic systems the credo adopted long ago by the medical profession: Do No Harm. if we can achieve that, however we find to do it–and harm extends most definitely to vital ecological services and plant and animal populations and habitats–then people on both sides of the current divide can work together towards that common, just and sustainable goal.”

I stand by that claim.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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