Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.



December 9, 2003

THE HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD ROADMAP

Filed under: Preparing for Civilization's End — Dave Pollard @ 10:14
curveAs promised last week, this post draws together many of the ideas I’ve written about in these pages over the past year into a single ‘roadmap’ action plan for transforming the world from one of imminent ecological disaster, massive cruelty, violence, suffering, rampant disease, poverty, misery, overpopulation, inequity, excess, ruinous growth, tyranny and waste, to one of balance, peace, harmony, stability, diversity, happiness, equality and well-being. Today’s post simply presents the roadmap. The arguments for each of these actions being essential to our world’s and our species’ survival can be found in the posts in my environmental philosophy and politics & economics tables of contents. The journey that has changed me from a depressed victim of a society gone mad to a do-or-die activist was described in my How to Save the World signature essay. This post updates the prescription in that essay.

Tomorrow I will present my first personal scorecard, a ‘progress’ report showing how I have begun changing my life, living smarter without sacrifice, to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. For the rest of my life (I’m 52 now) this roadmap will be my personal agenda, my obsession. For better or worse, for me there is no turning back now.

In the prescription in my earlier essay, I presented a ‘systems thinking’ chart to show how the actions in this roadmap contribute to the objectives of creating a better world. The chart was visually interesting, and its logic has not changed, but the chart format made it a bit cryptic and unwieldy. So this roadmap uses a more prosaic table format, where there’s room for proper description of each action. Where one action aids achievement of another action (‘reinforcing actions’) I’ve noted this parenthetically below. All actions contribute directly and are, I believe, necessary to the achievement of the objectives in green below, the Future State we must create. My novel-in-progress is set in that Future State, and hopefully will show compellingly just how much better, how almost unimaginably wonderful, our world could be if enough of us work successfully on the 27 actions in this roadmap. The actions are grouped by ‘actor’ — who needs to do them — but are in no particular order.

Where We Need to Get to: The Future State:
The Human Sphere:
Physically & emotionally healthy people, healthy communities, global peace, security, economic & political stability, and an end to suffering & waste
The Natural Sphere:
Stability & diversity of all life on Earth, with reduced human impact, and natural habitats & rights for non-humans
arrow
Getting There: The Role of Technologists & Innovators :
T1 / Technologies & Innovations that Advance Self-Sufficiency :
Renewable energy, advances that allow all communities to be energy self-sufficient; other innovations that allow each community to supply and provide as many of its basic needs as possible (food, clothing, building materials, energy, transport & communication), so that few goods need to be imported or exported outside the community
T2 / Technologies & Innovations that Advance Resource Conservation : 
Invent new materials and portable, configurable, multi-function products that allow more functionality to be provided with less weight, size, pollution and resource consumption
T3 / Technologies & Innovations that Reduce Suffering : 
Within ethical limits (i.e. without exploiting any animal species for the benefit of another), develop foods, pharmaceuticals & materials that reduce human and animal suffering and the need to consume animals for food
T4 / Technology-Driven Collaborative Problem-Solving : 
Use of computer power, networks and collaboration to develop new ideas and technologies that help achieve the Future State
T5 / Technologies & Innovations that Facilitate Activism : 
Lists and tools that allow citizens to identify, boycott and prosecute polluters and other socially irresponsible people and organizations
T6 / Technologies & Innovations that Reduce Fertility: 
RU486 and other innovative technologies that reduce human fertility painlessly, equitably and voluntarily
T7 / Technologies & Innovations that Advance Inter-Species Communication : 
Linguistic and other technologies that aid in deciphering other animals’ languages and allow us to communicate with and understand them (reinforces actions T3, S1, S3, S4)
Getting There: The Role of Citizens, Leaders & Teachers:
S1 / Re-learn How and Why Communities Work : 
Develop & teach the logic and efficiency of community-based businesses,  governments, schools,  regulations, economic systems, and other small, decentralized, self-managed institutions
S2 / Teach Critical Thinking : 
Revamp education to make critical thinking the #1 core skill;  Publish & organize to foster dissenting ideas and dissatisfaction with the existing political, economic, social and religious dogma (reinforces action P2)
S3 / Promote Vegetarianism :
Teach the benefits and social responsibility of a vegetarian diet, and vegetarian cuisine
S4 / Reduce Human Fertility : 
Support ‘Maybe One’ initiatives to get humans to reduce our population voluntarily
S5 / Exemplify & Teach Radical Simplicity :
Teach people how to reduce wasteful consumption, be less materialistic, economically budget their time & money, and live as comfortably and more freely while consuming less, and living smarter, simpler and more efficiently
S6 / Teach Conflict Resolution :
Teach people the superiority of consensus-building and compromise, to resolve conflicts and differences, instead of aggression, confrontation and litigation
S7 / Use Consumer Power :
Boycott socially and environmentally irresponsible businesses and products, and pledge to buy local whenever possible and affordable.
S8 / Promote Feminism :
Encourage greater roles for women and greater attention to feminine solutions to problems, which tend to be more balanced, more peaceful, more responsible, more collaborative, and more economical
S9 / Smash Despair, Cynicism & Complacency :
We must believe the creation of a vastly better world is possible. That means heeding the words of relentless optimists like Margaret Mead and relentless change architects like Bucky Fuller. We can’t give up hope, and we can’t give up trying.
Getting There: The Role of Activists, Economists, Lawyers & Politicians
P1 / Tax & Regulate Pollution & Waste :
Eliminate subsidies, revamp regulations and tax laws to reduce waste, resource use and pollution, and encourage clean, employment-producing, local, responsible businesses
P2 / Decentralize Power & Shift it from Corporations to People :
Ban all corporate involvement in the political process and scrap corporate ërightsí; Restore governments’ authority to set high social & environmental standards, reward self-sufficiency and protect viable local business from unfair foreign competition (taken away by ëfreeí trade laws);  Devolve authority over land & resource use, industry, energy, health, education etc. to local community level, and allow citizens a say in how government spending is allocated; Scrap redistricting and other abuses of power that make government less representative or responsible; Change corporate charters to mandate social, environmental responsibility to employees and communities, prohibit sweatshop environments and reduce the rights of passive shareholders; Strengthen anti-combines law, especially for media industries
P3 / Tax & Regulate Inefficient Human Food Production : 
Eliminate subsidies and enact laws and tax penalties to shift agricultural production from animals for slaughter to more environmentally sound organic vegetarian products
P4 / Ban Ecologically Damaging Technologies :
Examples: nuclear plants, dams, animal testing procedures, most agricultural genetic engineering
P5 / Enact Stringent Conservation Laws : 
Prohibit taking more out of the land than is put back; Remediate much of Earth to a ‘natural’ state free from significant human occupation or interference
P6 / Enact Animal Rights Laws : 
Guarantee right to life, freedom from suffering, and an end to treatment as human ‘property’, for all Earth animals
P7 / Eliminate Oppressive Third World Debt
P8 / Make Quality Universal Health Care and Education a Right
P9 / Shift Government Policy and Investment from Defense & Incarceration to Humanitarian Aid & Other Preventative Methods :
Acknowledge that the only answer to war, crime, violence and aggression is to alleviate the symptoms that give rise to it, and treat it early
Getting There: The Role of Businesspeople
B1 / Establish New Collaborative Enterprises to Create a New Economy :
These new enterprises will supplant the old economy by being more innovative, more economical, more responsive to customer needs, and more adaptive to changing public attitudes and laws (P1 to P6 above), rendering the old economy obsolete
B2 / Push Business to Take an Active Role in Education :
Encourage New Collaborate Enterprises (B1 above) to invite students regularly into the workplace so each can learn enormously from the other

  
signCan we achieve the Future State, or something tolerably close to it, by pursuing and achieving only some of these 27 actions? Perhaps. But I don’t think we can count on it. As you’ll see in my report card tomorrow, I am now getting personally involved in actions T1, T2, S3, S4, S5, S7, P1 and B1. I’ll continue to blog about the others, of course, and hope that others can bring them to fruition.

Despite being a year in the making, this roadmap is still a work in process. I welcome comments, additions and refinements. But as I said in my post last week, I no longer have time to debate the worthiness or achievability of these actions. This is a roadmap for doing something. Time to shift from whether & why to how.

Powered by WordPress