THE HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD ROADMAP

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
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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.

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17 Responses to THE HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD ROADMAP

  1. O RLY YA RLY says:

    “Technologies & Innovations that Reduce Fertility”Tight pants? Or something more painful?

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    My example was RU486. But whatever works for you, Harald ;-)

  3. Casey says:

    Dave, about two months ago I typed a query into Google on “How to Save the World” because I had alot of ideas and wanted to see what others were thinking out there. Your Blog popped up. I am a college student and was a bit disenchanted with the current state of affairs in the world but your Blog, I must say, has changed my life (not to sound cheesy!) but you have inspired me to take action. I am especially interested in your “Federation” for NCEs and would like to collaborate with you. I am not sure how to e-mail you so I left this post. Whether you have time to repsond or not, I wanted to say thank you! Keep up the Blog! Thank you again! -Casey

  4. Casey says:

    On your Map for a Better world, T4 is also something that I have thought a great deal about. I was thinking along the lines of creating a kind of software/ model of the Earth where we could balance out our economies etc. and run simulations of the future so we can avoid the collapse of economies (which leads to poverty, and thus to war.)

  5. Jon Husband says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Dave. I hear the determination in your words to be who you are, and to work at what you believe in with a whole-hearted generosity (I’m assuming because you’ve reached the point where personal enrichment and growing personal financial and material security/well-being is no longer something that motivates your daily action.I’m girding my loins to organize my time to follow some similar path … which for me is not yet as clear as yours for you. That being said, thanks of course for the help, in terms of laying down a background for me to consider and use.

  6. Raging Bee says:

    Um…a few problems with your plan…First, not all nuclear plants are “ecologically damaging.” “Scientific American” printed several articles, years ago, about safer nuclear-power technology. Also, nuclear power is an important alternative to coal, oil, dams, etc.P6, “Guarantee right to life, freedom from suffering…for all Earth animals,” is just plain ridiculous. As Ted Nugent pointed out, we have to preserve the species, not individual animals. Does every Norway Rat have a right to live? Every pigeon? What about their natural predators, or their prey?”P8: Make Quality Universal Health Care and Education a Right.” Paid for by…?”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…rendering the old economy obsolete.”How can you be sure about that? In case you haven’t noticed, the “old economy” is currently creating the technology that we will need to save the world and provide most efficiently for all of our needs. I wouldn’t be so quick to call it “obsolete,” especially as Marxists keep making the same mistake every time there’s a recession.”P9: …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.”The “only” answer? So good cops and good intelligence are out, then? Do all criminals and terrorists get to blame “poverty” for their actions, and avoid personal responsibility?News flash: not all criminals and terrorists are poor, and not all poor people resort to crime or terrorism. The “poverty causes crime” dodge is the standard excuse for criminals, and falling for it does nothing to alleviate either crime or poverty.S2: “…Publish & organize to foster dissenting ideas and dissatisfaction with the existing political, economic, social and religious dogma…” Which dogma, theirsor yours?T1: “…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…”So what happens when one community invents something the others need but don’t think of first? Does permission have to be obtained to export it? Whatever happened to shopping around for the best product or technology? If local self-sufficiency means autarchy, North-Korean-style, then everyone’s lives will become both poorer and more boring.Also, you forgot to provide an alternative for the large numbers of people who simply will not comply with your neat little plan. This is where space travel comes in: let people expand their populations on other planets, build industries far away from the biosphere they would otherwise pollute, and let the Earth gradually become the pristine park you envision – sort of like present-day Ireland or Wales.

  7. Mike says:

    Dave, seems to me that the number of people who would agree with the entire roadmap is but a tiny fraction of people who would agree with any single item. I myself have a strong interest (and skills) for T4 and a slightly lesser interest (and skills) in T5. I might have a slight interest in some of the others but really no relevent skills.To me, T4 is like I2 in Leary’s SMI2LE, it’s the most important component since it makes the others possible.In any case, I feel that emphasizing the components as having value in themselves would be more conducive to success than simply have them be part of a larger roadmap.Plus, the components, it would seem, could be plugged into different roadmaps. I have a distrust of such large-scale roadmaps anyway, and have my own ideas about what the ‘future state’ should look like.

  8. Raging Bee says:

    Mike: good point. Big, radical grand master plans will only turn people off, and stifle – or at least belittle – the innovative spirit we need; but individual steps can be adopted and played with by individuals and local groups, who can then observe and learn from each other.The idea of a big, premeditated, multi-phase long-term plan that fosters innovation and local decision-making seems a bit contradictory.

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Casey/Jon: Thanks. My post today describes what I’m doing personally, which might explain a bit better how the ‘roadmap’ can be tailored for personal use. Add, subtract, change to make it something that works for you.Mike: You’re right of course. We all think differently, and there is a danger that by laying out my viewpoint in its entirety, one or two of the items will turn some people off who are completely in sync with me about all the rest. However, I’m one of those people that needs to see the big picture before I can charge off and do something. I need context for my actions. I’m also a terrible politician and hate dishonesty, and this blog is an opportunity for me to ‘think out loud’ about what I think needs to be done. Maybe someone else can craft this into something more politically palatable, less likely to offend, less overwhelming, perhaps by parsing it into more digestible pieces. But that’s not my forte. When it comes to persuasion, I think my novel — which describes the Future State in what I hope will be an inspiring and moving way — will be far more persuasive than my blog will ever be, because the novel tells a story (and we all know how subversive they are!) and leaves it up to the reader to decide if and how the utopia described in the novel could be attained — so every reader will supply his or her own ‘roadmap’. All my blog does is lay out, honestly (if too radically and unconvincingly for most readers) what I think needs to be done. If some people like what I say and act on it that’s great, but I don’t aspire to start or lead a mass movement. A blog is, after all, a diary, not a manifesto.

  10. Mike says:

    Perhaps blogs fall — by default — into the category of ‘reading to persuade’, and I forget it is your diary.I’m in total agreement with the idea of stories. My studies of semantic web concepts owe much more to the fiction of Cory Doctorow than to the quite often boring business narrative in the technology texts themselves. (For instance, I recently picked up Wiley’s _The Semantic Web_, mostly since a single illustration cleared up a concept instantly for me — which I often find is worth the price of a book — but the narrative, full of trite business observations and overdone examples (usually centering around a manager’s or salesman’s itinerary, how original) — may help insomniacs but seems almost designed to turn most people off).

  11. Dave Pollard says:

    Hey, Mike, could you scan and send me the illustration from the Semantic Web? I’ve been struggling with the ‘semantic web’ concept (the very term seems to me almost oxymoronic), and maybe the picture would help me, too.

  12. Mike says:

    Uh, sorry, but the illustration doesn’t explain the ‘semantic web’, it just cleared up for a me a detail involving reification and blank nodes in N3 notation…You can see the semantic web in action just by viewing source on your own site; there’s a Creative Commons license in RDF near the bottom of the source.For a good Semantic Web overview there’s a webcast by TBL himself at:http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/live/intro.htmFollow along with slides at:http://www.w3.org/2003/Talks/0922-rsoc-tbl/Overview-2.html

  13. Don Dwiggins says:

    I was interested and encouraged to see your work. I’ve been pecking away at a similar project for a few years now; the most recent publicly recorded state of the work is at http://home.socal.rr.com/dldwiggins/FinalExam.html (which is somewhat out of date, but still representative).I have a reference section there that points to some other related work (such as Tim Wilken’s “SynEarth” at http://www.synearth.net). I’ve collected a lot more material since then, but have had little time until recently to pull it together for the next version. What I’m hoping for is an ongoing dialogue among the many people that I’ve come across who are thinking along these lines. Currently, I believe it’s going to take an active “community of communities” to create the kind of living systems that will become the foundation for post-crisis humanity.

  14. St John Kelliher says:

    From the standpoint of “money is the root of all evil”, among the most important policies that could be implemented to reintroduce stability and sustainability into the global economy is the return to real (ie commodity-based) money. This is usually considered a right-libertarian proposal, but one that the left-green would be advised to consider. The present fiat currency/fractional reserve banking system is inherently inflationary, facilitating the dominance of the real economy by the financial economy, debt creation far in excess of real savings, a requirement for constant growth in order to service this constant debt creation, and the unjust transfer of purchasing power to those closest to the source of inflation (namely the banks).

  15. Paul Bard says:

    Great proposal. You know, so much of the message IS the way the medium is structured. The way the comments above this have “read” your text have reflected many understandings of the medium itself. I have read comments on the linear progression of ideas, on the wide variety of concepts included, and nitpicking criticisms that, to me, miss the complete message of your idea.It’s a marvellous idea. Now market it, LOL! And beta test the thing against a bunch of smart guys. Show it to a dozen leaders in a dozen ways and you’ll have a dozen new ideas, I reckon.Readable, great idea. Well done!PS – By the way, I’m developing my own models for excellence and innovation, using a variety of complementary methodologies, and I would welcome the chance to beta-test your ideas and writings :-) PB.

  16. gloria allen says:

    I really like and agree with what you have to say Dave. Indeed, there are so many things that really need changing, in order for our planet to be truly free. Almost foremost, is the corporate mentality that is all-pervasive and this is scary. No longer can one just for example just sit on the park grass with my dog after walking her, without some cop (about a hundred feet away) staring at me and radioing in, thinking that that I am a homeless person (no slur on homeless people here). I’m just making the point that a person sitting on the grass is immediately viewed with suspician (loitering, vagrancy, whatever)by cops who are trained to arrest. As soon as I caught the weird vibe from the officer I got off the grass with my dog and starting walking in the ooposite direction until my dog pooped and I bent over to pick it up with a plastic bag, and the cop saw me and I guess realized that I wasn’t who he thought I was, when he saw me picking up my dog’s business. That’s what it took to change his mind!

  17. Joni Buttke says:

    Well learning to “live smart without sacrifice” may be the first error in your roadmap — most “world-saving” strategies have required great personal sacrifice. Advocating RU486 is consistent with that selfish attitude – kill the newly conceived child rather than make a personal sacrifice. I imagine that this shortsighted “innovation” will be recognized as another great blight on mankind, and sites like this promote it. “Die to yourself” and “Be fruitful and multiply” are healthier prescriptions for saving the world that don’t entail killing off the next generation in the process…I mean just WHO are you saving the world FOR with this strategy?

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