Ingredients of a Sustainable Society

The technical and economic ingredients required for a sustainable society are mere resources dictated by the social ingredients. All of the ingredients to a sustainable society are 100% social.

  • Trust
  • Love
  • Responsibility
  • Patience
  • Respect
  • Listening
  • Team work
  • Can you name any more?….

The nature of our surrounding environment, infrastructure and resources does not determine a sustainable society. These things simply determine the nature of our social reactions in order to adhere to the listed social ingredients.

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New Age Business structure & community marketing

Organic Structure, Recruitment, Community Supported Business & Marketing Wellbeing

Forget the long slog of going through tonnes of applications and figuring out if the candidates are competent and honest. When you work for a company that is based on well being and local development, you will spend more time doing the ‘real’ development work and less time slogging. This means that you will also spend more time socialising and networking for the business. This means that you will come a cross all kinds of people who can contribute to your company’s growth. This means that your company will be liked by the community because they know you are working for a healthy model. This means that you will have the opportunity to support new employees in their development, rather than expecting them to be qualified. This means that the organisational structure and corporate culture will be more based on ancient values of solidarity and tutorship, not on this top down, alienated, bureaucratic, profit orientated approach of doing business. In counting GDP it seems to work well. In GPI, it doesn’t count for shit. The community are a part of the business activities. The business is there for them. It means that the business is not simply offering a service in exchange for money. The company is sharing in service in exchange for shared wellbeing.

Synergy

Let all the good hearted people work together for one project at a time. Let us fund a step by step project towards a transitional economy. This means paying for staff to research, network and organise exisitng knowledge and innovating it. This is an open forum. One project at a time. One town. One city. One world.

Let’s start a campaign for one organisation that demands all the following:

– less consumption

– warehouses & local circulation of used products and materials

– joint ownership of our means of production by building, say, vertical farms

from GDP to GPI: what are we aiming for?

When it comes to the emerging measuring tool for the economy, or indeed society, what is at the root of what we are seeking? GPI considers wellness, equality and the environment. So you would guess that it is aiming for a Utopia right? It is. But are these goals enough? What about the very core of what we are striving for so that it can exist forever?
In an equal society, for instance, people are generally doing much better and don’t need to wage hegemonic wars in order maintain their economic advantage. However, what becomes of a people that get all their ‘necessities’, and indeed luxuries, when they are spoonfed by a social machine like the state or the markets can be a risk. Contrast US society from Swedish. An American individual is more resilient in crisis because he/she is faced with a range of challenges that Swedes can take for granted. One society is cutthroat and individualist, while the other is almost commanded by its sugar daddy bureaucratic machine.

I see problems with both. But there is a lot they can learn from each other. In the end, we want love – which can be interpreted as solidarity. We want to be empowered and have an equal role in how the planet is managed, not just an equal salary.
We want to be resilient and willing to make sacrifices for the sake of love so that we can prove our true worth if ever necessary. And we also want life to be interesting. Can the current measurement of GPI provide for all of these needs? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Philisophically, I think that most of us can agree on these needs if we understand the threats we face, not just as a society but as a culture and as entities of love, strength and spleandour. To achieve this, we must also be in balance between our dependence on this love-nature and on our freedom to explore it at different angles, as we do now.

The movement for change – How to make it mainstream

There are those of us who are engaged in change

Those who are informed

Those who are actively informing themselves

Those who are aware but distant

Those of us who know some stuff but either don’t understand the threats or see no role for themselves

Then there are those who are totally distant from world issues

Those of us who are most actively informing ourselves and engaging to make change, are pioneers. However, we are many of us trapped within our own roles and/or are struggling to engage fully in what we believe is most important. As pioneers, we are recognising the importance of networking and spreading knowledge. However, to go mainstream we need to be stronger connected.

We are many of us acting individually. While we may be a part of various groups and in the loop, we have not become a brotherhood or sisterhood. And I don’t suggest a one track minded political agenda or cult. Disagreement is of course necessary. But our main focus should be on our common understanding, common goals and common strategies that follow. By this, we should recognise the necessity of a more collective focus so that we can share a strategy for change and spreading the movement. If we remain divided, the world simply will not act on time to avoid the worst case scenarios.

Central themes (common understanding):

Environment, equality, non-violent communication, natural resources, aging/urbanising/growing population, 6X, economic crises, Transition movement, etc.

Assumed common goals:

– neighbourhoods, offices, schools, etc. become more self sufficient

– Empowerment: control over means of production

– The people are educated enough to decide over the state

Timeline (collective):

Picture the end goals, relate this to current situation, visualise how to most effectively spread the movement and the activities of change,

Form working group to be paid full time to brainstorm, solve, organise and collaborate

Build a movement and

a web and media presence

Website sections:

– Picture of ‘what’ is wrong to visualise ‘why’ we need to be part of change.

– What & How

Values for a strong movement (revolutionary living)

– Sacrifice is gain: we awaken our natural state by exiting our comfort zone and engaging in solidarity

Your responsibility is also your right. Exercise it!

Collectively as a society, each of our everyday roles must somehow contribute to and be aiming towards a more sustainable planet. All I’m asking is that you, all of you, keep that in mind. Actually, I’m begging you. Who here agrees? Who disagrees? If your daily or yearly actions do not amount to some form of contribution to the conservation of humanity, then it is in scientific fact doing the opposite. I want you also to keep that in mind. I also want you to know that this is not your fault and that you will not be punished by other people for this. But nature will. And in fact already is. Besides unusually cold and wet or hot and dry summers or mild winters, weather catastrophes are literally taking money out of your pocket. How? Food is becoming more and more difficult to grow from drought, flooding, frost and soil erosion. This is just one small thing among many things happening globally. And it’s not one small thing. It’s fucking gigantic. If food is more difficult to grow, it becomes more expensive and scarcer. If this is not paid for directly in supermarket prices, you are paying for it through taxes. If you are not paying taxes, you are paying for it by having to deal with the fact that the worse off the world is, the less happy the general mood will be. This is fact. If life is harder for everyone, you are going to be affected by it.

After you get that into your head, you might decide that there’s nothing you can do, that it’s up to those who work in that field, up to the government. OK, sure. You get on with your job and everything will just go smoothly, haha! Yep! You don’t need to do a thing. Everything will be fiiiine! The politicians, scientists, volunteers and businesses are all working on it. They’ll be done in a few months! WRONG! Because they don’t have a fucking clue what’s going on… they’re the same as you. Oh I’m sure somebody else will do it. It’s not my field. IS IT YOUR FIELD TO ESCAPE IMPENDING DEATH WHEN A CANONBALL IS BEING FIRED AT YOUR FACE?! NO! But you do your best to get the fuck out of the way! Don’t you?

Facing change

Imagine you live a simple and happy life. Every day the sun is shining, you go out to the garden to water your flowers and tend to your vegetables. You always get a good harvest. Your family, friends and neighbours greet you every day and you have tea together. What a splendid life. Then one day, something changes. Your flowers aren’t accepting the water as they are beginning to look brown.

The next day, you find that your vegetables aren’t yielding and some have started to rot suddenly. Over the coming weeks you are finding that things you always took for granted are starting to cripple. Some of your neighbours are feuding. One of them has stopped talking to you for no apparent reason. At work, you didn’t get the bonus this year that you’d aimed for. In your football team, you missed goals that you’d normally score. You feel you are no longer the man or woman you once were. You begin to have doubts and no one around sees what is happening.

All of these things are trivial and can be solved with the help of other people. People you don’t just say hi and have tea with you. People who are there to make you realise that the changes are good, that you will become even better at what you do, that you can appreciate when some things don’t go to plan. This is change. And it scares the shit out of most people. We must be empathetic to that.

What if I asked you to quit your job, to sell your home, to move to another country, to start a new life? Would you decide that you are not afraid of these things, you’re just happy doing what you’re doing? That’s fair enough. But could you really do them? How about smaller things, like take the bus to work instead of the train? You probably could, but would you do it to prove it to me? Must we place a bet in order for you to make that small change? Sure, there are lots of things you know you easily could change. But how much are you willing to change?

People often face forced change a lot easier than chosen change, especially if it’s because things aren’t going well. Freedom, it is an endless abyss. It might also be something to do with veering from the crowd that keeps people in one place. If one is forced, others understand. Freedom, on the other hand, scares people because they don’t know what a free man is capable of and they might even feel inferior to someone who represents something they are not. This is nothing more than ignorance, which can be dealt with through experience, guidance and examples. This is a principle of sustainable development.

List of transition ideas

– Scrapyard trading network

– Homemade hydroponics from recyclables

– Reduce waste collection, reduce rent

– Pay-by-save (anything that replaces costs. Whether it is micro or medium scale energy, or food or transport, anything has a price and finances can account for)

– Save & pay pot (collectively reduce consumption and invest savings into further self sufficiency projects, e.g. solar panels = further savings)

– Rooftop food

– Powerplant gyms in home & workplace

– Collaborative transition marketing

– Eco directory (for products, services, online tools, groups, organisations, blogs, info, statistics, etc.)

– Renewable energy from recyclable materials

– University practical learning & community action

– Community & public recognition of services run by volunteers, students and social enterprise (social learning networks)

– ‘Be the change’ approaches you on the street instead of aid guilt workers. (from there, people develope locally and then learn about the rest of the world from an involved perspective).

– Department of Survival. The government needs a department focussed specifically on preparation for major crises. This department can authorise planning permission for projects which attempt to research & develope solutions to issues such as food , water or energy crises, climate crises and biodiversity extinction.

– International Network Organisation for Survival Research. This would have a similar function but is independent of state bureaucracy.

– Crisis planning programme to train and authorise people to use the skills of ecological resilience in the case of a crisis, e.g. ecovillage.

Educating sustainability to the masses in steps?

Deep end or gradual

Through the medium of getting people involved or a campaign that gets others in the vicinity involved, people can become educated. They know it’s a for a good cause and have an idea of what it might mean. But once they get involved, they become part of a network of information. That’s the deep end and not too far fetched in my opinion.

The gradual way of reaching people is to introduce them to various concepts over time. For example, a lot of people don’t know how the economy works, don’t understand global warming and don’t know that their daily activities are connected to these things (for that matter, why hasn’t there been a census to find out?). So you’d introduce society, in whatever media, with simple but powerful concepts about the connection between people’s daily actions and the global outcome. Then you teach them stories about what activities are bettering or worsening these situations. A media campaign or public information project could provide people with the tools to realise that change is needed and that it is possible. Right now, people don’t know that.

To jump people in the deep end with a successful campaign, that introduces them to simple concepts about making a difference while saving money, they will learn the gradual stuff along the way. The deep end campaign is in a hurry to get moving and we need to get over the hurdles before the masses start joining in.

The power of numbers

This essay is a statement some may find strong. It is designed to provoke people into realising their greatest and worst potentials.

Interviewing people all over the country, all over the world:
(go to China, Brazil, USA, Russia, Canada, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Germany, Tonga, etc…)
“I’d do something about climate change, but what can I do? Look at the rest of the world. Are they going to do anything? No! What I do makes no difference!”

Isn’t it funny how, no matter where you go, people seem to have it all worked out? Yeah, they have a certain amount of knowledge of the world and they are pretty confident that they are right. Wow, aren’t you all so smart?; an inspiration. The impression that so many of you have left in my heart is over whelming! Wrong!
In a democracy, it is not merely the knowledge that I have the power to vote that makes a difference. It is the knowledge that I am participating in a decision that I have confidence a significant portion of society agrees with and thus represents that decision together, as a community. How often is the public demanding drastic change in our economic system to mitigate the effects of climate change? Not often enough to make that change. Right now, by doing nothing, the world’s majority has voted for the status quo.
In the past, people did not have such strength to vote. But they had another kind of vote. When things weren’t going people’s way it was more blatant. Landlords threw whole families off their land (which oft they appropriated from these families’ ancestors) and rebellions kicked off. This was a stronger form of vote because voters in a rebellion were not merely expressing their choice, they were active in seeing the decision carried through till the end. Whether they succeeded or not, they could see the change happen by the work of theirs and their neighbour’s hands. This was a much stronger form of community than today’s “democracy”.
Now, with the prevalence of literacy levels and worldwide education it could be assumed that voting has never been stronger. This is not the case. It has been widely reported in the western world that second and third level education standards have been declining. The same goes for peoples’ interests in voting. So why is this happening and why does it matter? It matters because, in its most comfortable and, frankly, stagnant state in history, human civilisation not so ironically (though it may seem ironic to the ignorant) faces its greatest threat ever. That is, the combination of climate change, mass extinction, natural resource scarcity and population increase. This doesn’t merely threaten our potential to have ‘stuff’. It is not simply that we will be forced back to the land or forced to be more adaptable to rapidly changing seasons. Our culture and values are under threat.
Much of the simple little trraditions from how to prepare a certain kind of dish or how to decorate the home the way our grandparents did to being able to live and communicate with simple mannerisms or profoundly as is in great works of literature, will be lost by humanity’s desperation for necessity. I’m not saying that we will forget how to joke or forget cultural cues, but as we have already proven to have lost countless values and traditions that once kept communities together, we will continue to lose more when we will no longer have time to think of them. Though ironically, when this age of necessity reaches us, we might have more time to reflect on these things because we will have to dump all the time wasting of social pressures that has symbolised the modern age. If the scientists were telling us that the natural disasters ahead were not serious then we mightn’t have to worry about these possibilities. But the fact is that it is serious, which means that if we are to keep human civilisation intact, people will have to be forced out of their comfort zones and be coerced by nature itself to learn and act in the ways of their ancestors and in ways humans have never done before.
Education and voting is declining because, one, people have everything they need provided for them even with the most minimal of effort, two, they are distracted and entertained by mediums such as advertising and audio-visual experiences to the point that they are unwilling to focus on the things that lie beneath the haze of modern society and, three, social pressure is forcing us to invest a significant amount of in things that do not contribute to pure well-being. Given that, one might ask why the educated and active people on this planet are not succeeding in persuading or preaching the gospel of empowerment and environmental democracy. It is quite clear that many in this field are indeed lacking in certain educational tools also, most importantly solidarity.
Education is not simply about quantity of information in the brain, it is about the quality, the wisdom and the right information. To me, solidarity whispers many profound values in one word: trust, patience, faith, guidance, support, perseverance, respect, hope, empowerment, friendship, love, joy and even pain. If you lack these values, then you are as uneducated as any slave. Why? Because this means your lifestyle agrees with a system that supports the few and destroys the foundations of your current economy, your natural and human environments.
Does what I am saying sound extreme? Would any person on this planet honestly say that seeking a brotherhood/sisterhood of man is a bad thing? I don’t think so. Some might deny the concept in the beginning by drawing from examples of how humans have not been kind to one another and thus cannot achieve this. But rather than addressing the point, this evades it. That would be to say that we don’t believe in fresh vegetables because we don’t like them when they are rotting. The point is that we don’t want humans to be bad to one another, at least not as bad as we are today. That is a principle that resonates from the word ‘solidarity’.
If you do not agree with me, then I beg you to please enlighten me with a plausible argument. If you cannot deny what I am saying, then you know that everything in your life has to fundamentally change. Once you have come to terms with this, you can join the network for change by finding others who will listen to you. Believe me, if you don’t do it now, you will one day be forced to do it when you are least prepared. That is the nature of modern capitalism, an anti-nature.
In a conversation with a classmate of mine I once told him that he might be very disappointed if he does not achieve the aspiration of being rich. To that he retorted “you want to save the world. You will be much more disappointed”. My obvious reply was “disappointment will be inevitable if I do nothing.” At least I have given myself a choice to not be disappointed. He admitted that the world was in great peril, yet he believed that he would one day become rich. That’s kind of a contradiction is it not? I think he will be the ‘most-est’ disappointed.
Now, you might admit to yourself that if you are to guarantee personal success for years to come, something has to be done to sort out this planet. But, you see no realistic way to begin. You then convince yourself that the world’s problems are out of your hands and you shut them out. You comfort yourself by seeing the smiles and confidence on so many of your friend’s faces. It seems so far-fetched that modern human progress could ever bring this to a standstill. So you agree that you will be able to continue on your current trend, going to university, getting a nice career, etc. Then you are again reminded by something you heard on the television, that ‘hey’ we mightn’t be able to continue on this way. So you might think to yourself, you are among the top 5% in the world economy, you have smart friends and if the world cannot support all the billions in the coming decades, it will at least support you if you are clever enough with where you spend your money. So you have taken the individualist approach. Just like Marie Antoinette, Leopold the 16th and all the aristocrats who were beheaded and evicted when the people of France did not get the treatment they demanded, the world’s poor and indeed middle class will be demanding resources in the coming decades.
These days, a lot of people know all they think they need to know to support themselves in this economic system that the “wisdom” of non-science has been so adamantly persuading them. Just as the Catholic church authorised culture in the previous centuries, science has again been dominated by the religion of materialism. So many people claim wisdom by denying spirituality, yet they live as if science was wrong all along. All the signs of science are pointing to the greatest global disaster human civilisation will ever face. Wake the fuck up!
These days, a lot of people vote in governments based on the very knowledge they think is enough to survive in today’s growing consumption bubble. A new vote is needed, like countless revolutions of the past, people need to join arms and the government will react. I’m not talking about an uprising of violence. I’m talking about smarter living, a togetherness of living and knowing the planet and all its splendid creatures and beings, so that violent uprisings can be avoided once and for all.
Here, I propose a chart that maps out the worst and best case scenarios for the future of humanity on this Earth. An estimated guess, based on the current trends that scientists, economists and sociologists have finally been able to start getting right, points to a scenario of accelerating global conflicts in competition for diminishing resources and mass migrations from deserted lands both resulting in huge pressures on “developed” economies, the disruption of trade routes caused by political instability, food shortages and extreme weather, the need for titanic investments into solutions to weather protection for settlements and food production, etc. Each of these problems exacerbates the other, while the changing climate causes carbon and methane gases to continue being released from the oceans and peatlands long into the future.
Without knowing all of the facts, anyone can in fact easily learn enough facts to see how easily humans will lose control in the face of these accelerating challenges. That is because we know that there are enough pressures on Earth’s resources and their extraction processes to take western peoples’ comforts away from them and take low income peoples’ subsistence away from them. Having confidence in the dynamics of humanity’s logic to react peacefully and safely against challenges far greater than the ones that we today are already failing to deal with is ludicrous. Thus we can only expect our reactions to be weaker or more extreme when more of us will be faced with little choice but to accept symbols of power to save our nations, as have many previous extreme governments, western or elsewhere, even to this day.
For an “educated” westerner, it is easy to fall into the assumption that you will know better how people will react to such global pressures than would an “uneducated” farmer of the third world. But many people of poorer nations are living this experience now. They are seeing their nations tumble under pressures of climate change and resource losses, and many are turning to military extremism to survive. Choose to fight or to flee and most of you will eventually feel the brunt of climate catastrophe. There is only one truly wise way to secure a healthy future for ourselves and our children, solidarity. I am not a poor man, nor have I been under privileged in life. But I have grown up in a world where I have seen a sense of solidarity slipping in the face of mass culture. It has not been particularly enjoyable to see so many people in the society around me treat each other with such insincerity. Subtly or bluntly, I see this behaviour performed by “educated” people daily. This is because we have been at the mercy of materialism and mainstream social appeal. I see people all wearing the same clothes and laughing at others for being themselves or for appreciating the undisputed beauty of nature. If people are not unkind to one another, many are indifferent to one another. They are “polite” and avoid offending. But what is worst is that so many people who live in solidarity for the greater good, in appreciation of nature, are simply ignored. Humanity has been facing a losing battle for a long time. It has turned against itself. Since tribal peoples settled into the complexity of agricultural civilisations thousands of years ago, we have slowly been losing this battle through fear and alienation. But the strength exists within all of us. We can now use the positive outcomes of civilisation, such as science, to regain our intimate nature of oneness. I almost completely lost myself in this mess. Now I ask the rest of you not to lose yourselves either.
So, what do I propose? With strength in numbers we can start with simple changes in our communities, our neighbourhoods, schools, places of work, sports clubs, etc. Look at the basic knowledge. How much does the average person in your community or country consume? If you can’t get the information, find a group of people who you can discuss these things with so you can motivate each other to find the answers. Start a group that is willing to spare an hour each week to meet and propose a plan to reduce your consumption of environmentally damaging products by, say, 10% each month. Measure your monthly garbage weight, your water litre usage, your electricity, heating and transport energy usage, and other material consumption. Find ways to reduce this. If you don’t know how, help each other to search for the information. If you can’t find it, find someone qualified to give you guidance. A year down the line, see if your group can achieve reducing waste by 50%. How do you do this? Motivate each other to buy less packaged goods by buying more loose healthy vegetables and carrying them in your own reusable bags. Find out your transport carbon footprint by looking online what it means to drive or take the bus. Try and walk or cycle where and when you can, and use your car only if necessary. All of these things are actually pointless if you do them alone. But if you do them with other people, you not only see massive environmental and financial savings, you can have fun being involved in something that is practical, educational, moral and social.
But don’t stop there. This isn’t good enough. Make sure people know about your progress. Contact journalists and schools and prove to the world how easy and fun it is to make a difference. If you can get a whole school, office building or neighbourhood to reduce their waste by 50%, together you are saving a lot of money that can be pooled together into a pot which could be spent on further improving your community by investments in, say, solar panels, remedial supports for school kids,
I guarantee that if you can get a whole neighbourhood or office building to make these simple changes, others will follow. You might find that your neighbourhood is saving so much money that it can set up a voluntary office and fund materials and projects for further sustainable community development. Eventually, there will be some communities out there that achieve this. They will then spread their knowledge and support other communities in making such developments. This is not just about making the world better in the environmental future, it is about getting people involved in their local areas and with their suppliers outside the community, such as farmers. It’s about knowing where all your possessions and privileges come from and empowering you to decide how they be better managed. This is about making people realise their worth and stimulating them to act beyond their own immediate impulses.
What weaknesses do I see in this project? People will laugh at me. They will say it’s too cheesy, boring or it won’t come to anything and people will just end up disappointed. People will say that these are tiny goals among a sea of issues. There’s that word again, ‘people’. It is the people who stop things from happening and it is people who make things happen. This has always been the case since the dawning of Homo sapiens. When my critics look at this project, they see great efforts for simple reductions in waste or whatever. When I look at this project, I see how simple beginnings can grow if the people executing them wish to do so. And they will, some of them will. These shall be the pioneers of our age. There are two things that will get others on Earth to follow, one positive and one negative. The positive is that people can prove to society that this works, not only to solve problems that we do not feel, but solve problems that are right on our doorstep. The negative is that people will take this route of solidarity when they have no other choice. The worst case scenario is that people fail in the face of greater challenges and instead act upon immediate satisfaction by consuming more resources and attacking those who defy them. Should such a situation persist, then the planet will cease to sustain perhaps every one of us. These are the choices: act responsibly or act irresponsibly. There is no middle ground, “I did my bit, now leave me alone”. Do or do not, then see the results if you are sane enough to care.
You see, we are all of us somewhat set in our ways. It generally takes a hell of a lot to challenge our minds to think differently. I know the problems that lie ahead, yet I often do not feel them. I am alienated from it because it seems more like an idea than a reality. The same goes for creating the necessary changes to set us on the right path. I often sit and visualise how humanity might go about these changes in a realistic way. The complexity of information overwhelms me and whatever plans I have devised in my head go stale and seem senseless. It is also very easy to give up on these things when most people you come across tell you that you are wrong. But the fact is that they are wrong. Why? Because they are basing their arguments on something that has not happened. That is a lack of empirical evidence. Somehow, people decide that if something has never been done before it never will be done. But that is denying everything that humanity stands for. Everything that has ever been made in the arts, science and social progress has come from countless things that humanity had never done before. If anything, that is empirical evidence that suggests I am right and most people who choose to argue against me are wrong.
As the old saying goes, famously quoted from Oscar Wilde “whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong”.

Jagger Generation
There is another stream of hope; the Jagger generation, the people of the sixties. These days I find myself struggling to convince people of my parent’s generation about solutions to global change, when they used to do the same when they were my age. If they believed once, they will believe again.

keywords:
– Social Enterprise
– trust
– solidarity is education
– freedom