The Way Ahead

Galaxy

“If fear should win our hearts
Our light will have long diminished
Before it reaches the farthest star” ~ Ronan Harris, VNV Nation

My name is Enrique Lescure, and I am a board member of the Earth Organisation for Sustainability – EOS, and has been active within the network since 2007.Energy Accounting, Earth Organisation for Sustainability, EOS

Maybe it could be seen as pretentious to say that we – we who are alive today – perhaps are the most important generation that has lived during the era of humanity on Earth. That the decisions that we make – or not – during our lifetime, will affect life on Earth during hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions of years?

Our planet has gone through five mass extinctions during its life, the last one caused by a meteor hitting the sea at the Yucátan Peninsula 65 million years ago. It ended the age of the Dinosaurs and led to the rise of the mammals as the dominant terrestrial forms of life.

While I am writing this, almost all eco-systems on our beautiful planet are put under an unfathomable stress. Complex ecosystems are replaced by mono-cultures. Heavy metals, chemicals and particles are poisoning air, water, earth and organisms alike. The rise of CO2 has been caused by emissions of fossil fuels into the atmosphere. The seas are dying. The quality of the soil is being destroyed. If this development continue, it will spiral into a sixth mass extinction event.

I am sure that you who are reading this know about this.

You also probably do know that this is caused by the current civilization that we have created.

The question is: How should we solve this?
Answers are varying. Politicians are speaking of bans, taxes and subsidies. Businesses and scientists are speaking of technical measures. Grassroot organisations are speaking of solving local problem. The complexity of the issues can seem overwhelming.

Though all these issues are really symptoms of a main cause.

What is then that main cause?

The main cause is that we have created an ecologically and socially unsustainable civilization, founded on a debt-based monetary system dependent on exponential growth. Today we are using around 135% of the renewal capacity of the Earth.

We must solve all issues with climate change, sea destruction, heavy metals and mass deaths amongst animal and plant life, and each of these problems present an enormous challenge for all of us.

The main challenge however is to reduce our usage of resources from 135% to below 100%, which means a level where the biosphere can start to recover after decades of exploitation.

I was aware of many of these problems already when I studied at high school.

Thus I started to explore ideas aimed at solving the environmental deficit we are experiencing today. I started to see that the green movement relied too heavily on changing the behavior of the individual, as well as changing details of how the systems are working today. The alternative green forces, anarcho-primitivists, deep-greens and eco-fascists, were on the other hand focusing on misanthropy and on unrealistic visions of a pre-industrial world.

At the end, my search led me to establish contact with students, engineers and researchers from many countries, who shared similar ideas on how we should proceed. Our goal was aimed at creating a realistic, tangible model on how to combine a high-tech civilization with social and ecological sustainability.

Thus we created EOS – the Earth Organization for Sustainability.

EOS was founded as a research- and grassroot network, producing a blueprint for a hypothetical sustainable civilization. This is a (well… relatively) short text called “The Design”, which is describing our ideas.

Our thoughts are the following: We are aiming to create a model for handling the Earth’s resources in a more rational and ecologically sustainable manner. In short, this proposed model is based on a) a continuous survey of the global renewal capacity, b) that all human beings get to own a share of this renewal capacity, c) that they from their share can allocate their resources to what they want to be produced for themselves, d) and that the production is determined by where the consumers are allocating their shares.

In short:

• There is a ceiling that limits how much we can use – the renewal capacity of the Earth.
• All human beings are entitled to an income floor and an income ceiling.
• No products that people are not actively asking for should be produced. This also means a radically lowered amount of working hours.

We are not aiming for a command economy, but for a libertarian, de-centralised and federated system characterised by common communication networks. Neither do we want no growth, as growth in income and living standards under a system as it is proposed by us would be a result of environmentally friendly applications and more efficient ways to utilize resources.

How realistic is our model then?

As a research network, our approach is moving towards applying scientific methodologies on socio-economic systems. Therefore, our goal is to work together with local communities, associations and groups of individuals and test aspects of the design to see how well it works in the real world, to change or scrap what doesn’t work and evolve organically.

Ideally, we aim to also strengthen local communities to increase local resilience and together form a model that can bridge the ecological crisis awaiting us, and help humanity move towards a more evolved and mature civilization.

The most important foundation of our work is that we are striving towards a sustainable world, and that we during our journey are basing our work on ethical methods that strengthen human rights and diversity.

We can all together create a civilization based on sustainability and human creativity, a stable foundation for the values which our descendants one day hopefully will spread beyond the stars.

My question to you is: What should we – humanity – become, and how should we become?

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The EOS alternative (Proposed article)

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The human civilization is a very complex series of emergent systems, connected by the multi-level activities of all participants in the process of shaping the future of things to come. Many attempts have been made to devise schemes to describe, envision and realise societies which – only if implemented, and if human beings behaved exactly as expected by the philosopher kings – would certainly solve all of humanity’s woes.

 

Of course, such an outlook would be rubbish. Forget “human nature” as an argument. It is enough to think there are 7 billion people on the planet, as well as thousands of cultures, religions, communities and conditions which adjust their choices according to differing social environments.

 

Hardly surprising, the realisation that it is very difficult to change the entire way the human civilization is organised makes it a seemingly far more attractive route to change aspects of our current society with the aim of strengthening it so it would better be able to face the challenges of tomorrow. Moreover, swearing in church would create enmity and perhaps even fear by groups who can expect that they must make sacrifices for the common good of the planet and of humanity.

 

Isn’t that, for example, what the term “green growth” has come to mean?

 

EOS is arguing that a few core tenets of this current dominant socio-economic system are the main culprits behind the global degradation of the biosphere. We will explore these core tenets and how they relate to the system later more thoroughly, but this article is a brief outline over our alternative.

 

Firstly, we do believe that the current socio-economic system employed on a global scale by the human race is short-sighted, self-destructive, destructive, growth-dependent and virtually forced by its own constraints to consume the biosphere in a frenzy. While reforms can bring us closer to a more harmonious relationship with the planet, no reform which doesn’t aim to shift out this system in return for something else will accomplish any sustainable objectives.

 

This current socio-economic system will die during this century. The only question is if it will collapse to a more primitive form, or if it will be replaced by a more enlightened system. EOS aims to actively contribute towards a shift to a higher evolutionary stage.

 

As we see it, the system of the future must ultimately serve the progress of Life, without trying to control it.

 

As we have previously stated, the existence of life is what we must treat as the most valuable thing in the universe. Without life, there would not be experiences, emotions, thoughts, dreams or aspirations, or the opportunity of them. The preservation and elevation of life is a prime imperative.

 

Thus follows that both the survival of the biosphere and the dreams and aspirations of an individual human being are intimately connected to what EOS aims to achieve. The biosphere should be able to thrive, and all humans should be able to aspire to their highest possible potential within their interests, dreams and skills.

 

Therefore, we are proposing two conditions with which to decide what goals the new socio-economic system should strive to fulfil.

 

One: The new socio-economic system should keep the usage of the Earth’s resources below 100% of the Earth’s annual renewal capacity.

 

Two: The new socio-economic system should see that no human being goes without access to basic income, housing, education, water, food and a social network.

 

That means that the new system must have both ecological and social aspects.