Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever in US Congress, dances on a roof
First published on ecohustler.com
1. It is darkest before the dawn
Alcoholics have to “hit bottom” before they realize they have a serious problem and get help. Likewise, the mainstream economy will keep burning oil and killing the planet, until things are so bad that there is widespread dissent. We have reached that point.
The industrial economy was very good at some things and very bad at others. It created vast wealth but this wealth has been increasingly concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite. These rich and powerful men own arms, energy and media companies. They are doing everything they can to keep their violent, fossil economy grinding on, but change is inevitable.
The people currently running the world are grotesque… but they are a dying breed. As we shift to the post-industrial economy new types of businesses will succeed, new types of leader will take charge and a new world will emerge. Hold onto your hats… it is going to be a wild ride… and we are all part of the change that is happening.
2. A radical new global movement is taking shape
The science is clear – humans have a short amount of time to radically change everything to survive. The UN IPCC gives us twelve years, but this is arbitrary.
We need to change now.
The major institutions currently running the world are embedded within the fossil economy and have resisted change for decades. Their reckless greed leaves ordinary people with one hope for survival – we must rebel against the system and create new ways of living and being that restore the global ecosystem. These extraordinary times call for each and every one of us to stand up and do what we can for our home planet.
Extinction Rebellion is a new initiative spreading fast calling for: a climate emergency to be declared, people’s assemblies formed and the immediate implementation of new policies that put people and planet before corporations and the political elite. These new initiatives happening everywhere stand shoulder to shoulder with diverse existing campaigns, indigenous movements and the forward progressive momentum that has grown out the civil rights movement. A tipping point approaches where power will shift away from industrial institutions and new systems of governance, economy, agriculture and spirit will supersede the crumbling, hollowed out wreckage of today’s status quo.
3. Networks of citizens beat industrial hierarchies
A small number of people control all the world’s energy, food and media companies. Under their spell people have become increasingly obese and depressed while nature dies outside our windows. But what happens when we take the power back?
Community energy companies allow citizens to own the renewable energy assets that bring them power. Octopus Energy gets you 100% green electricity at a cheaper rate than what you pay now and gives you and a friend £50. Growing food, empowers us to eat fresh, seasonal food without giving our money to corporations. We can step out of the fossil economy today.
Increasingly, people can bypass the right wing bias in the mainstream media by going to the plethora of alternative online platforms providing better information. Great examples include: The Intercept, Democracy Now, Plant Based News, Wikileaks, The Ecologist, Positive News and Positive TV.
New technologies change the playing field. Once, all money was controlled by central governments, now blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies enable new, independent forms of value transaction. The internet was largely controlled by giant silicon valley corporations, now DADI (DADI.cloud) is creating an alternative internet owned by citizens.
All around the world new technologies are being rolled out that empower regular people. On paper, Donald Trump and the corporations he represents hold all the power but that changes very quickly when people choose to link up, spend their money differently and be more proactive about creating the kind of world that we want to live in.
4. Women are rising to the top
Over the last 200 years the world has been run almost exclusively by old white men AKA “Gammon”. The pale, male and stale perspective is both boring and deadly. Diversity isn’t trivial – we urgently need new ideas, new energies and new approaches to survive.
A male perspective may be more extractive and violent – nearly all wars have been started and fought by men. In contrast, a female perspective may be based more upon relationship building and concern for children. At a time when both the biological and cultural diversity of Earth is catastrophically collapsing more women in power gives hope.
Jacinda Ardern, the inspiring progressive prime minister of New Zealand describes climate change as her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”. 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever in US Congress, said that the government’s next steps toward fighting climate change need to be as momentous as the civil rights movement or NASA’s push to put a man on the moon. “This is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require…”
Ocasio-Cortez proposes a 70% tax upon the richest in the US to be used to fund a Green New Deal – a proposed era-defining and transformational economic stimulus program that aims to address both economic inequality and climate change by redistributing wealth to create jobs to build green infrastructure. Game changing policies are tantalizing close to breaking through.
By far the most exciting politician in the UK is the Green MP – Caroline Lucas. She backs Extinction Rebellion saying – “When the democratic deficit is so enormous, people are left with very little option but to take peaceful, non-violent direct action.” With a broad coalition of others, she is also pushing forward the UK version of the Green Deal. Her awesome, spunky deputy Amelia Womack just told the arch-bellend – Piers Morgan he had “got his knickers in a twist over a small sausage” on breakfast TV in an argument over a vegan sausage roll. Take that patriarchy!
5. People care more about nature and other species than ever before
Whether you are opting to go fully vegan or to simply eat less meat you are part of a massive and historic, global upswell of concern for the planet and animals. 2019 has already been named the Year of the Vegan. It is estimated that in Britain alone there will be three million new vegans in 2019 and record numbers of people have signed up for Veganuary.
Pioneering organisations are working to radically change agriculture. Compassion in World Farming are gathering 1 Million signatures to ban cage farming in Europe. Not only will this end the torment of all the animals who spend their lives suffering in cages it will also help to promote more natural styles of producing food which are also better for the environment. The Gaia Foundation gracefully demolished outdated arguments for industrial agriculture with their stunning exhibition showing the small farmers who skillfully work with nature to grow food. Dr Bronners helps set up the restorative ecological businesses that make the raw materials for their soaps. It is possible for humans to thrive without harming the planet.
If large numbers of humans eat lots of animals then there is no room for habitat for wild species. The wild world people love watching in nature documentaries just gets turned into a giant plantation creating crops to feed factory-farmed animals. As humans get switched on to the immense, unique and irreplaceable beauty of nature we realize we don’t have to just sit at home and eat it while we watch TV. Our bounteous biosphere is ripe for exploring. Loving nature and caring for animals does not limit the human experience. On the contrary, it goes hand in hand with a desire to have the best possible experiences on our extraordinary wild world.
Regenerative Agriculture in Benin by Fabrice Monteiro via The Gaia Foundation
6. The Earth heals
Biological life is tenacious. Our bodies can recover from horrific accidents. In a similar way, ecological systems have in built resilience and also heal. The industrial economy has ravaged vast areas of the planet but it is still possible for this land to be restored. Palm oil plantations can be turned back into rainforest; barren agricultural land can be transformed into lush restorative, ecological farms and even cities can be reengineered to be ecologically productive providing homes for other species.
World leading scientists tell us that 10 billion humans can live happy and productive lives on planet Earth… but we cannot do it on a barren planet or without myriad other species and a thriving global ecosystem. For humanity to thrive we need at least half of the planet to be wild. This means that half of the total land area and half of the oceans must become 100% natural, pristine and free from human interference. Just simply from a travel, adventure and wildlife point of view – how totally awesome will this be!!??
To rewild half our planet, immense tracks of land that are currently used for industrial agriculture and degraded land and deserts need to be skillfully brought back to life. We need to plant billions of trees and we need to help reintroduce the creatures that live in the forests. It is going to be fun.
Transforming into a restorer species and getting back into step with the ecology of our planet isn’t just our pathway to survival. It is our redemption. It is how we heal ourselves and raise our collective aspirations of what it means to be human.
Winner of wildlife photo of the year 2018: gazing monkeys. Picture was taken by Marsel van Oosten in China’s Qinling Mountains
7. The future is awesome
When the industrial revolution started most of humanity lacked access to many of the things that we now take for granted as essentials of a happy life: energy, food, information and healthcare. The path to improving human well being depended on conventional industrial development – which essentially meant converting nature into: fuel, machines and products.
Today, we have crossed a threshold where further industrial expansion into nature harms rather than helps our species.
We are entering the post-industrial, Ecological Age – a time when improving human well being and increasing our future opportunities for prosperity depend upon one thing and one thing alone – ecological restoration. The human economy is a subset of a larger system – the biosphere. If our planetary home stops working for us – there is no future for humanity.
The task facing our generation is to reconnect with natural systems and re-orientate the entire economy to be ecologically restorative. Our forefathers earned a living digging coal, working in factories and organising the construction of the modern world. They imagined themselves as being like cogs in a giant machine. Our generation’s mission is to plant trees, reintroduce wolves and establish 2-way communication channels with whales.
What metaphor will describe the post-industrial, ecological human?
The urgency of the environmental crisis is so immense that ours is the generation that gets to rip up the rule book and reimagine what it means to be human. It is abundantly obvious to a growing number of us that we were not put on this planet to sit five days a week at a desk staring at a computer screen. So what are we going to do?
It is 2019 – let’s make it rad…