Testimony for Earth: a worldview to save the planet and ourselves
By: Harrington, Robert F., Harrington , Linda
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Publication Date: 2008
Testimony for Earth is founded on the six core principles and five action principles of the Manifesto for Earth created by two talented Canadian scientists, Dr. Ted Mosquin and Stan Rowe, and published in the January-March 2004 issue of Biodiversity - Journal of Life on Earth.
The value of the Manifesto principles is that they offer concepts that can serve as a guide to what we should and should not do to help save the planet and ourselves. Testimony for Earth expands upon, illustrates, and gives examples that encourage a more sustainable worldview than is currently held.
Political, economic, and religious principles rest on the erroneous assumption that human beings are the only creatures of importance in the universe. Testimony for Earth compels us to realize that all living organisms are Earth beings - earthlings - born and sustained at all stages of life by the health and integrity of Planet Earth. In a philosophical sense it suggests that we can only justify our own being by realizing that we are but parts of the wholeness of our planet. This book makes us look around and realize that all living beings hold their lives by the same thin threads by which we hold our own.
Linda and Bob Harrington live with their bullmastiff, Shadow, on a forested acreage at Galena Bay, British Columbia. They have also reforested a piece of logged-over land by planting thousands of trees and scattering millions of tree seeds. This story is told in The Soul Solution, recently reprinted by Hancock House, with a new foreword by David Suzuki.
Bob is a veteran of WW II, and holds a degree in geology and a master's degree in education. He is the author of several books, and numerous feature articles for newspapers and magazines. His diverse experience includes working as a prospector, as a geologist on dam construction, on the USS Nautilus during its construction, and teaching secondary school sciences and university ecology courses. He was elected selectman and, later, chairman of the Board of Selectman, in a New England town. He served for several years on the editorial committee of the Journal of the Idaho Academy of Science, and he was Western Representative for the Canadian Wildlife Federation for five years. Working in the 1950s for the USDA as a foreman–supervisor of pesticide spray operations led him to focus on the study of ecology as the overall holistic science.
Fellowships in ecology gave him more insight in this field. In 1990 Bob received the British Columbia Environmental Education Award. Linda has worked with Bob on his books and articles for many years, and shares his passion for Nature. She loves gardening, collecting and sharing wild and traditional garden seeds, and working to ensure they leave as small a footprint as possible on the planet.
The CCPA Monitor
Review by Ed Finn Senior Editor
Testimony for Earth is an indispensable blueprint for humankind's survival. In a world that has been plunged into chaos and crisis by he unthinking folly of business and political leaders, the Harringtons' new book...comes as a welcome and urgently needed corrective. Drawing on many years of communing with Nature, and observing the plundering and pollution of the planet, Bob and Linda offer a clear prescription for replacing economic madness with ecological sanity.
Review by Henry S. Carey
Environmentalists and ecologists have for years been warning us of the growing problem of climate change, and have been warning us of the need to save the oceans and waterways, the air we breathe, rainforests, whales, polar bears and other endangered animals. In that time Bob and Linda Harrington have been walking the walk, moving to an undeveloped area of British Columbia, busying themselves with an extensive reforestation project and evangelizing through books and lectures for saving our earth. Now they have published 'Testimony for Earth: A Worldview to Save the Planet and Ourselves,' their magnum opus, which encompasses all of the specific problems they and so many others have noted, but compellingly shows us that the root problem is our prevailing homocentric worldview.
In 2004, Ted Mosquin and J. Stan Rowe published their 'A Manifesto for Earth,' beautifully setting forth eleven principles which, if honored, would lead us away from the destructive, even fatal, path humankind is on. It was the challenge implicit in the 'Manifesto' that was taken up by Robert Harrington, with his wife, Linda, in this remarkable work. Breathtaking in both its breadth and its depth of detail, 'Testimony for Earth' puts flesh on the principles developed by Mosquin and Rowe.
In his introduction to 'Testimony for Earth,' Bob Harrington states, 'One of my strongest convictions is that humanity has unwittingly created a perilous situation by detaching itself from Nature, and in considering itself to be superior and the only species that is important to the universe.' In masterful fashion, Harrington identifies specific problems we have created, the consequences of our actions and the necessary courses of action we must take to save our planet and ourselves.
Harrington first noted that the worldview overwhelmingly adopted, at least by people in the west, places man in the center of things in the universe. In this homocentric view, man's welfare is the most important, the only important, consideration. He argues persuasively that an ecocentric view, which honors earth, energized by the sun, as the source and sustainer of life, is the only way to avoid irreparable harm to earth and all its inhabitants and the possible extinction of man.
After demonstrating that the ecosphere is the center of value for humanity and that the integrity, the wholeness, of earth's ecosystems is essential for sustaining balance and continued life, Harrington goes on to explain the need for greatly increased education in natural history. This education will insure that we become more conscious of our place in nature and thus behave more ethically toward our earth. Instead of our narcissistic mode of living we will come to revere and revel in the diversity of life and will, as Harrington states, 'face the simpler truth that the Earth is the common denominator for all beings. Since it is a oneness, we cannot damage it in one place without damaging the whole. It is axiomatic that if we display justice to Earth we will as a matter of necessity have to extend it to one another.'
The Harringtons present a remarkable array of examples demonstrating the incredible unity in diversity in the world around us. They use the earthworm as one example of the value of an apparently lower life form as it contributes to the richness of the soil and offers one proof of the extensive interdependence existing among all things. On the other side, they cite the great harm done by man's projects, such as great dams, often built without enough care or without sufficient reason. One of the great complications impeding our efforts to make progress in 'healing the earth' (the title of a wonderful earlier book of Bob Harrington's) is the pervasive mis-information and dis-information generated by many of our large corporations and even our government. The greatest problem of all that they present is that of over population. They contend, with great good reason, that the earth cannot sustain life with a population of six-and-a-half billion people, and growing. They warn that with an optimum population of only about one billion, our numbers must be dramatically reduced, if not by our own efforts, then by the old Malthusian trio of war, famine and pestilence. They not only bring their own knowledge and experience to bear; they cite numerous other supporting experts, lending even greater authority to their thesis.
While others have pointed to solutions such as better recycling, producing cars getting better mileage, and a host of other obviously 'doable' actions, the Harringtons insist on much more radical answers to problems that plague us, answers which will not come if we do not change our worldview away from our present narcissism to one which puts the focus truly on the ecosphere as the center of value and ourselves as a valued but interdependent part. The overriding question we are left with is whether or not we will heed the warning the Harringtons have issued before it is too late. The book is densely packed with information and statistics, but is saved from heaviness by Harrington's striking use of language and by a poetic quality to much of it.
For anyone concerned for our future generations, 'Testimony for Earth' is a must read.
By Barbara MacPherson
Appeared in the Arrow Lakes News Oct. 22, 2008
The only thing that makes more news today than the predicament of our beleaguered environment is the present predicament of the economy. The headlines are truly frightening. But perhaps it's all a blessing in disguise. High gas prices and a slashed personal budget, painful as they are, could bring about changes that are actually beneficial for the environment. Staying home rather than travelling, living simply, eating lower on the food chain, resisting consumerism -- these are messages that Bob Harrington preaches in his new book Testimony for Earth: A Worldview to Save the Planet and Ourselves. Ironically, the same strategies that can help us survive the dramatic downturn in the economy are the very ones that can also help save the earth.
Testimony for Earth is a disturbing read, although most of us have read or heard smatterings of these facts on the devastation of the environment. Bob Harrington puts all the facts together and spells out the problems. His overview pulls no punches and his view of governmental cowardice in dealing with the issues is scathing. The crisis in leadership is universal, not just in North America. He makes it clear that if our environmental crisis is to be solved, it will have to come from the grassroots. I definitely do not believe that politicians have the fortitude to save us from the fate we are inviting. he writes. They are too used to compromise, too subservient to industry, and too concerned with re-election...
But there is hope and that is action by all of us, becoming aware of the problem, educating younger people, changing our lifestyles. Bob Harrington knows about education. He taught for many years at Lucerne School in New Denver and his passion for teaching is evident throughout his new book Numerous examples are given of readings, discussions and assignments that could be given in school to help educate younger people on how the ecosystem operates and how they can change the perilous course we're on. But so far, the school system has not given priority to this all-important subject.
Bob had a close relationship with the late Stan Rowe of New Denver, who was an environmental ethicist and a geo-ecologist and Ted Mosquin, a specialist in Systematic and Evolution. These two scientists formulated A Manifesto for Earth, a system of eleven principles that offer positive concepts for making peace with Planet Earth. Bob and Linda based their book on these principles, elaborating on each of them. The book covers a great deal of territory, from the effects of deforestation to the perils of overpopulation. One of the main messages put forth is that we must change our view that we are the most important beings on Earth. We share this planet with other species and life forms and if we are all to survive, respect for needs other than ours has to become paramount.
It's not just the governments and corporations of the world who have responsibility. Bob's message is that each person is vital in this effort, both in demanding that governments take action, and in taking their own personal action. Bob and Linda Harrington do live what they preach, leaving as light a footprint on the earth as possible, repairing whatever damage they can. They have planted thousands of trees and scattered tree and plant seeds everywhere, among many other things. The book they co-wrote, Testimony for Earth, is a clear and inspiring guide to change we can all make, hopefully before it's too late.