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Ecological Intelligence - Page 6

When it comes to our collective ecological goals, the swarm rules might boil down to:

1. Know your impacts.

2. Favor improvements.

3. Share what you learn.

Such a swarm intelligence would result in an ongoing upgrade to our ecological intelligence: mindfulness of the true consequences of what we do and buy, the resolve to change for the better, and the spreading of what we know so others can do the same. If each of us in the human swarm follows those three simple rules, then together we might create a force that moves our human systems toward getting better. No one of us needs to have a master plan or grasp all the essential knowledge. All of us will be pushing toward a continuous improvement of the human impact on nature.

Signs of the dawning of this shift in collective consciousness are already visible wherever people are engaged in creating a way of interacting with nature that transforms our propensities for short-term gain into a long-term, saner relationship. High-profile investigations into the innumerable connections between human activity and the dangers to our planet's ecosystems, like the growing awareness of global warming, are a bare beginning. Such efforts help raise our sense of urgency. But we can't stop there. We need to gather the on-the-ground, detailed, and sophisticated data that can guide our actions. That takes a thorough and ongoing analysis, determined discipline—and the pursuit of ecological intelligence.

Excerpted from Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything by Daniel Goleman. Copyright 2009 by Broadway Books. Reprinted by permission of Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

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