We all know that life on Earth is at risk which explains the feelings of panic (or at least anxiety) that many have. We also know that we might be able to reverse things, although we are not sure about that and it might already be too late. However, it’s not that we have an option. We have to respond as soon as possible. We could panic which is an emotion that seems to be very applicable to the current situation. However, I’d prefer to transmute the legitimate feeling of panic into the feeling of an extreme urgency to act, think it through (not too long), come up with a plan and response wisely. History has learned that no one else is going to do this for us and we also can’t save the world on your own.
This wise response is three-fold:
• Mass individual change (many people adapting their own lives)
• Policy and organizational change
• Re-invention of the commons and distribution of its resources
In short, the main idea will be explained below.
Mass Individual Change
If you adapt your own life (and your organization if you have or are in one) towards what is necessary (we’ll come later to what that is) and you do that together with a substantial number op people, then this will change demand. And here is the caveat: Although with this group you might only be able to change demand a little, this will have a much larger impact as today’s organizations are based on growth. Without growth they cannot survive. So if a large group of people (but not the whole population by any means), this will have a much larger impact than you would expect. So, if only 100.000 people in one country with a population of let’s say 20 million decide to stop eating meat, stop flying, and so one, this will have a way larger impact than you could have imagined. Companies will go belly-up sooner that you (and they as well!) would expect they would. At the same time, the new, Earth-friendly demand will create new supply. There we must make sure that this new supply is produced while meeting the needs of all involved in the production and that it stays within the means of the planet. We do not want to replace something bad with something else that maybe looks better at first sight, but is still not right.
Policy and Organizational Change
The mass individual change will move organizations and governments into the right directions as with lowered demand departments will become redundant. As an example: Lower demand for flights will not only impact the airlines, but also the governmental departments involved in designing regulations and planning airports. However, policy change is also needed. Nowadays there are many policies and organizations that have been invented to keep the existing, Earth-unfriendly system in place. These policy and organizational changes need to be demanded through activism.
Re-Invention of the Commons & Distribution of its Resources
The third part of the wise response is to re-invent the commons and decentralize the orchestration to fulfill all our demands and thereby distribute the supply geographically. I’d like to define the commons as resources that groups of people manage for individual and collective benefit. These resources are held in common, not owned privately and can be natural resources, but also technology or research amongst others. Anything that is in the public interest to have. If the current central supply is replaced with geographically distributed supply by communities themselves or small scale, local entrepreneurship we’ll remove many of the international tensions and dependencies that feed the complexity of the world that we live in today. Obviously there is no need to re-invent the wheel in every town: activities that are better carried out together should be carried out together. And yes there can be trade between communities.