Yesterday, I set out the How to Save the World  roadmap, describing how I think we can create a better world. Today I’m going to tell you what I’m doing to help. My personal efforts concentrate on eight of the 27 actions in the roadmap (I’ll be blogging on all 27 of course). Here’s my personal plan and scorecard on progress to date. I’ll be updating this report card whenever there are significant changes.

Roadmap # Personal Progress & Plan
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

My wife & I have agreed to sell our executive energy-wasting house and build a new, solar, energy-efficient and space-efficient home on a large forested lot near where we now live. We pledge to keep 90% of the lot, on the Oak Ridges Moraine, in its natural state. The Ontario Green Party has generously offered expertise to help make it a model, a showcase of energy self-sufficiency, innovation and resource conservation for others to learn from.
S3 / Promote Vegetarianism:
Teach the benefits and social responsibility of a vegetarian diet, and vegetarian cuisine
I’m getting there. My wife’s not a vegetarian, so I’m pledging to learn to cook. I eat meat no more than 3 meals per week. Giving up dairy will take longer.
S4 / Reduce Human Fertility: 
Support ‘Maybe One’ initiatives to get humans to reduce our population voluntarily
I’ve never had any kids of my own, though I love my two step-children dearly. More on the ‘Maybe One’ initiative soon.
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
In addition to the housing and dietary changes above, I’m working through the Radical Simplicity workbook and have pledged to reduce our Ecological Footprint by 80% over the next two years, and get similar pledges from others we know.
S7 / Use Consumer Power:
Boycott socially and environmentally irresponsible businesses and products, and pledge to buy local whenever possible and affordable.
Coming up next week: The Irresponsible Companies list. We’re already boycotting them, and have reduced our dollar spending on non-Canadian goods to five percent of our total spending. And with Radical Simplicity I have the data to prove it.
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
I’m working with the Green Party and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to lobby for changes to Canada’s tax laws to shift taxes from income to resource consumption.
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
I’m leaving my current employer and setting up two New Collaborative Enterprises (NCEs): Meeting of Minds (a Social Software and Personal Productivity Improvement consultancy) and The Caring Enterprise Coach (an entrepreneurship advisory business and NCE incubator).

Well, it’s a start. Stay tuned for more details.

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  1. Raging Bee says:

    Dave: you may want to put the whole table, along with the “what I’m doing” column, on a separate site, update it as necessary, and post links to it in your blog when you update it. I suspect that will mean less effort for you, and save space on your blog. It will also be easier for us to follow than duplicate tables repeated with variations on your blog. Just a thought.

  2. Richard says:

    For ten thousand years, men have domesticated horses, cattle. pigs and sheep.And tamed Oxen.Hence arrived at civilisation?Could we have done it any other way?

  3. Adrian says:

    Very interested in the way you’ve linked up personal life and public/political action via this endeavour…I’m looking forward to reading more about this, especially regarding S5. all the best and good luck!

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Richard: Yes, I think we could have done it another way (When big, easy game got scarce we could have become vegetarians, and discovered electricity’s applications a few millennia early so we didn’t need them to pull ploughs). But the question is moot. But now, I read yesterday, 75% of the land in England is used for grazing to produce 1% of England’s GNP, so we need to go forward, not back, to fix the problems animal domestication has created.Adrian: Thanks. The Ecological Footprint calculations are fascinating, but maybe that’s because I’m an accountant as well as an environmentalist. I’ll be blogging about them nevertheless.

  5. Raging Bee says:

    “The Ontario Green Party has generously offered expertise to help make it a model…”The Ontario Green Party has expertise to offer? Do they plan to offer it to the American Green Party? They need it badly.Richard: I’ll vote “no” to your question. Agriculture, by forcing people to organize into economic classes, enabled the capital accumulation that is necessary for any economic growth or technological advancement.It may be theoretically possible to skip agriculture – and domestication of animals – and go directly to light industry, but I’ve seen no instances of this being done, and I don’t see how it would be possible.

  6. Rayne says:

    Wow, congratulations on making such huge first steps, Dave! Good for you! And us!!Richard – I recommend reading Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel”; it’ll explain a lot about how we got here. Actually, living so close to domesticated animals has taken a considerable number of human lives; I’d almost wager as many as all wars combined and then some. So many devastating illnesses jumped from animals to humans; among them as Diamond noted, smallpox, flu, tuberculosis, malaria, plague, measles and cholera.

  7. RE: B1 — Leaving current employer.Wagons Ho!, Dave. Nothing like walking the talk to get the ole juices flowing. Now that’s putting your money where your mouth is. I have no doubt you’ll succeed and I’m looking forward to the journey.– twf

  8. Jon Husband says:

    Heckuva set of first steps.Congratulations – may the fierce be with you.

  9. judith says:

    awesome dude! my kind of life… (^:

  10. Yule Heibel says:

    Dave, what I don’t quite get is the “sell the executive energy-inefficient home” aspect. Isn’t that like leaving a huge pile of garbage somewhere? Isn’t someone else going to buy that house and perhaps live even more energy-inefficiently in it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to convert that house as much as possible to an energy-efficient one first, and then perhaps — a couple of years later, once it’s really energy-efficient and a good house — sell it off to people who will appreciate those aspects, who will continue to keep it energy-efficient — after which you can build the soul-assuaging eco-home for yourself? And what’s with living in the woods where you need a car to get from point A to point B? I live downtown, in a what was a big drafty old box of a house. We bought this clunker last year, and have spent a small fortune (about 20K) just on insulation and storm windows. We’re using half as much heating fuel this winter as a result. Cost-efficient, in terms of “immediate” pay-back? No, because the oil is still a lot cheaper than all the energy improvements we’ve made. But my old house is now much more energy efficient than it was, and we plan to make it more so when finances recover. If I moved to Sooke or Metchosin (miles from everything) and built myself an eco-house, some other person would sit in this house and burn oil till doomsday to stay warm. So what’s better?

  11. Daniel Burns says:

    I think Yule makes a good point here. It might take a lot of effort, but the best scenario might be to get the current house as effecient as possible before selling, thereby ensuring you have done all you could to help the people who buy your house start on the right road, as you have done. Of course, once you make your current house environmentally friendly, you might not want to leave.I hope you blog about building your new house. I am looking for land here in Colorado to build my house. Yule does bring up a second good point. And that is:Is it better to live within your town or city where you can use the public transportation to get around?I love living in the mountains, but would I be doing worse for the environment by building a new house in the woods here or buying something in town where I didn’t have to drive as much?I just don’t know how to balance it out.

  12. Since seen your blogs a few months ago, I feel much better that there are still people who really think of doing something in a global scale to ‘Save the World’.And today, I feel that somehow, a group of people will start to really do something.I have looked into the Systems Thinking in your plan, and agree to most of it.However, I suggest you redraw it in a ‘bottom-up tree’ type. The BSC techniqueuse this, and it make reading the diagram much easier. I have done one myselffor a national health funding organization. The some pare of the diagram will bevery closed to yours. But I don’t know how to post a picture here ( I haven’t startmy weblog yet, so can’t post there either).One concern about the major driver of the plan is about “Power”. Most of the time,the ‘light’ side of the force is weaker than the ‘dark’ side. Though the dark side isself destructive. An example will be, if there are 2 competing civilizations whichcome to make decision whether to develop a war technology or not. One of thememphasizes war technology. The other emphasizes living in harmony with nature.Eventually, the first will attack the second and win. So, the dark side wins, andeventually they will create an aggressive culture that will destroy themselves.If your initiative (actually ours, ‘coz I will join it too) will start with self-sufficiency,without destroying nature and live a simple life. Eventually, the dark side (this timeit will be the greed+violence civilization) will contact with you. If you can’t convertthem from their inside, you will lose for sure. Let me give an example. Imagine ifGorge Bush can convince all the americans to think like him. No single americanthat think about save the world. If Bush was a greed-violent type with backup fromall the Business side and their people. How could any single country, or all the worldtogether stop America? No, you can’t and the dark side will will again.Fortunately, many American are not that type. Even Bush may not be as bad as Ilet you imagined. So, USA will be changed from their inside, for the peace of theworld.The issue still remain: how would you protect yourself againt the power of thedark side? They are self-reinforced (greed & power for more greed & power).The light side is self-balanced (refrain from excessive greed and power). We haveonly the network-effect as our alliance. (people convincing people to the light)But the dark side also has the network-effect too (advertising and materialisticculture convincing people 24/7 on TV). How to protect ourselves? How to win them?

  13. Rob Paterson says:

    Hi DaveIt’s your life that is the inspiration.

  14. Dave Pollard says:

    Yule: It’s a good question, and one we considered a lot. If we sell, the new occupant will live in our current inefficient house, true, while our new house will be not only efficient, but a well publicized model that will inspire others. If we try to make the current house efficient, for a whole bunch of reasons we will not be able to achieve anywhere near the efficiency of building a new house, which means no publicity to leverage what we’re doing, and with the housing shortage in the GTA the guy that would have bought our house will instead build, or have built, a house that’s just as inefficient as ours, if not worse (ours actually has some natural advantages that make it less inefficient than most houses of its size — it’s built into the side of a hill). Hope the logic of this is understandable — I appreciate it’s a bit convoluted, and has a lot to do with the explosion of new house construction happening in the Toronto area. As for living in the city, neither my nor my wife’s psyches could handle it. We currently live on a lot that is 50% untouched wilderness, and also next to a wilderness area, and walking in it regularly is part of what we are. It’s also essential that the lots ‘grandfathered’ for development on the Oak Ridges Moraine be responsibly developed and kept as close to wilderness as possible, which we want to help happen. My hope with the Radical Simplicity transformation is that we’ll rarely have to commute downtown — aside from initial meetings I hope most of my new job, like my old one, can be done virtually, and I’m hoping that by cutting waste and cost my wife will be able to retire and do the ‘cottage craft’ work she’s always wanted to do, too.

  15. Dave Pollard says:

    Korakot: If I understand you correctly, I think it comes down to what you believe fundamentally about human nature. I’m a liberal idealist, so I believe that if people are informed of the alternatives they will choose the ‘right’ path, instinctively. I know some people believe humans are inherently greedy, evil, and lazy — I don’t share that view, but presumably those that do will shrug off my ‘roadmap’ as an impossible dream (or nightmare). Only time will tell who is right. As for your graphic, could you please e-mail it to me at dave.pollard@sympatico.ca so I can see what you’re getting at? Thanks.

  16. andrew says:

    Dave: I’m most interested in the 2 NCE, both in how you think they’ll work and how they work in practice. I’ve done much thinking in the past as to how such an organisation might generate leverage so that *all* the participants (members?) are bettter off than they would be as individuals. Now that I find myself out of work and disenchanted with both normal jobs and business practices, such thoughts carry more urgency and importance than ever. I will follow this part of your journey with close interest.

  17. Good example you’re setting !Just a comment on the fertility aspect : what’s important is not as much promoting the idea of people having less children, but getting them to have them later on, and further apart. That would arguably be the best way to reduce population growth at relatively short term, and it’s an easyer pill to swallow.Among the family planning methods, sterilisation is one of the most radical, yet it presents a drawback that becomes quite important : It promots the ide of “have your children quick and early and then sterilize), which is in fact very bad for population growth.Ol, Ok, I’m verging quite far from the topic. I just wanted to say that the “children later on” idea is an alternative to the “maybe one” that may be easier to get acceptance in the countries that need it, while also attaining the same results. And of course, the two are far from incompatible.(just my two maos)

  18. Raging Bee says:

    “…while our new house will be not only efficient, but a well publicized model that will inspire others.”Yes, a “well-publicized model” of a new style of home that people who can afford it have to build from scratch. I’ve seen plenty of those already, and and they don’t have much impact on people who aren’t at liberty to pack up and move. I suggest that creating a “well-publicized model” of significant improvements to the kind of house that many people currently own (and can’t easily abandon) might be a more effective inspiration.

  19. Dave Pollard says:

    Andrew, Emile: Thanks. Posts on both subjects coming up in the next week.PTW: The whole point is to make it affordable to the average home-buyer, and to leverage the model with developers by showing it off to them as well. That way you hit the supply (developers) and the demand (buyers) side of the equation, and that’s where you get real impact. Of course we need to work on making existing homes more energy efficient as well, I’m just saying that’s not what I’m choosing personally to focus on. No one person can do everything, and I’m not an expert on energy systems, or perhaps my personal plans would be different.

  20. Indigo Ocean says:

    Congrats on leaving your job to strike out on your own. And thanks for sharing this well thought out plan. Good luck. I’ll be rooting for you all along the way.

  21. Colin says:

    Dave I am inspired by this posting and will use it to create my own personal agenda. For me this is a difficult step-by-step journey and one that seems to create fears and heartache when I discuss it with people that are close to me. In previous eras saving peoples’ worlds involved things like learning to plant crops, learning how to mass produce things and learning how to allocate resources using market systems. In the life conditions of this era, to save the world, it seems to me we need to show people both how to give up their unacknowledged fears about things like security and personal identity, and to show the benefits of living more in harmony with the world and with each other. I believe that experiencing a feeling of empowerment is part of this process. Most people still feel unempowered and consequently we hold on fearfully to the small personal powers that we do possess. These are often the things that are destroying the planet. Things like flying using untaxed air fuel, driving gas guzzling cars, heating big homes for just one or two people. To get a critical mass of people making decisions like the ones you are talking about will mean action from a position of individual and group empowerment and free will. Otherwise people will never vote for it and it won’t happen without going back to force and dictatorship.

  22. Anthony Chan says:

    “P1 / Tax & Regulate Pollution & Waste:Eliminate subsidies, revamp regulations and tax laws to reduce waste, resource use and pollution, and encourage clean, empl”oyment-producing, local, responsible businesses”Thats not a bad idea, but i think that increasing subsidies, may not be that bad, depending on the type of subsidy. For example, if the federal or provincial government can provide subsidies to things that promote environmental awareness or reduce resource usage or waste, by encouraging people to say invest in solar energy panels. Perhaps the government can provide some sort of subsidy for people who install solar panels. I believe the municipal government of Ontarion, provided a subsidy or rebate for people who bought toilets that reduced water consumption. Speaking of Solar Energy, i wish the government would promote more of this, i don’t think the general population even knows how or where to get solar energy panels. Then there is the OFF-GRID Housing project, from what i recall, there is roughly 1000 Off-Grid Housing in Toronto, why so little?

  23. pravesh says:

    Hi DaveI have been reading your blogs since sometime. I really admire them for they inspire me to think on more idealist lines. I am from India and currently in India. I have been a student in Canada (@McMaster) and have seen both western as well as the poor Indian world. I feel that your blog focusses more on the western world, though it borrows (OR uses) ideas like simlicity etc from the eastern teachings. I think everybody would like to read from your insightful thoughts on how also to save the poor eastern world. There are more problems and more people facing those in here and there are people like me who think that they should do something about it but dont know what. So here people like you can guide us. I hope you will email me your comments on the same.Keep on doing the great writting…RegdsPravesh

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