Gail Tveberg’s latest article on the Corona Virus Convid19 lays out its likely effects on not just health but on our way of life. We are likely to see the complete failure of health services, the economy, our just-in-time production systems, welfare, education and food production.
The globalised economy, relying on specialization, optimization, financialization and all the other wonders of the 20 th century are actually ways of creating scarcity and vulnerability not to mention imbalances in equality. This understanding emerged over twelve years ago as thinkers like Gail started to consider the possibility that oil production would peak and this energy-dependent way of life would be unable to adapt to lower energy inputs.
We do not need to be pessimistic however. This is a great chance to put right what was wrong with the extractive industry approach of the 20th century and create something better. We created the problem and so we can fix it.
We need to call an emergency and start to work our way out of it. Not only do we need to limit travel and put people in quarantine as necessary but we also need to re-engineer the economy to take care of people’s real needs first.
There are many ideas out there how to do this. Basic Income/Services is one. If we do not respond, however, the risk is multiple failures including bread-basket failure.
The Baltic-one of the most polluted waters on Earth is in fact a treasure trove of easy-to -retrieve minerals, metals and composting material. If you remove the sediment that contains the legacy of hundreds of years of latrine and chemical farming you restore the waters and get pristine raw materials.
The restauration of the Baltic would be a gigantic win for the circular economy. It might require a shift. Either we pay little for our food and sewage and a lot (via taxes) for restoration or we pay more for food and sewage and much less to restore our nature.
Imagine. You buy an orange from the store and trigger a whole chain of positive reactions. Staff get paid, public infrastructure gets repaired, rebuilt and improved, the land the oranges grow on gets fertilised and new orange trees get planted. It is not such a stretch of the imagination as you might think, because that is the way nature operates. By feeding, creatures actually steward and improve the eco-system. You could say their feeding, moving through and manuring nature regenerates the capability of the eco-system.
UBI means Universal Basic Income and guarantees people who are not in work a basic income level. About UBI people have a lot of different opinions – some say it frees up people and their entrepreneur spirit – others say it makes people lazy. How are we going to pay for it? is another objection.
We designed and built this downloadable single player/small group version so you could try out ideas around UBI for yourself.
As I write this, COP 25 is going on. Children activists interviewed on stage, including Greta Thunberg, are stating simply that they represent the younger generation who want a chance to be able to live on the Earth in future and they see no action that is going to offer them more than a 50% chance of an inhabitable planet. No change since their last COP, only increasing CO2 levels. They, like most people cannot understand why they, their needs and the voices of scientists and ordinary people have no agency. Maybe there is way … building on insights from chimps.
Just started to publish in blog format chapters from my new creative writing project with the code name Common, not Economic man.
The book follows Max Wahlter, a journalist who decided to enter a competition asking for proposals for alternatives to the UN. Understanding that there is a tragedy of the commons but also a sustainable, regenerative future of the commons, Max set out to use the creative inventing technique of imagestreaming to invent this new World Governance, and to win the prize.
The technique of imagestreaming allows users to “visit in one’s mind’s eye” a place that has successfully solved the challenge. The technique suggests imagestreamers record their impressions and analyze and document them.
Max made several visits to this “place” and brought back som really deep insights. However, it was not all plain sailing as he realised the task asked for a lot more intellectual power than he felt like like applying. On the other hand without it he could not solve the problem.
The Sankey diagram below covers Sweden but could probably apply to most of Europe and the US. It shows the total energy input into the country and what it is used on. It tells us an inconvenient truth that no-one seems to be talking about: domestic CO2 emissions come largely from use of passenger cars. If we are serious about killing CO2 we have to look at killing the car as we know it. We have hardly started to even dare have that conversation. The other inconvenient corollary is that our transport system is oil-dependent. And oil is finite. We need to redesign from the ground up the way we arrange things. It is high time. Let me explain.
I know that the term sustainable is old fashioned, and people prefer “regenerative” for many good reasons. However, there are good reasons to take a look back at what sustainability is. One of them is that there are already well-accepted and widely used standards frameworks that, if put together, could give governments, local authorities and corporations best practice guidelines. That indeed would be a lot better than People, Planet, Profits triple bottom line thinking as I will explain.
My recent article on how come capitalism is an extractive practice, and the later explainer of how it degrades real capital got, for me at least, a lot of interest. Very few, however, asked what could be done about it. Once you know the problem you are a long way to solving it. There are several ways to turn the extractive nature of capitalism around, and they are surprisingly simple. Read on!