Universal Platform for Developing Sustainable Earth Vision Co-operatively.
(draft--updated, at times, online: www.ModelEarth.Org/seed.html )
(Print Brochure - http://www.modelearth.org/seed-13.50.pdf )
"A sustainable world can never be fully realized until it is widely envisioned. The vision must be built up by many people before it is complete and compelling." (Meadows 2004, p273)
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"*
(attributed to Buckminster Fuller, though I have not been able, so far, to find the source)
We have to know what kind of a world we want to live in, if the one that we live in now we don't like.
The challenge is to come up with an idea of a world that would optimally suit us all; an ideal that all of us on Earth could focus on and strive for--a harmonious, truly sustainable co-existence of us all on Earth.
It has to be an ideal accessible, discussable, and amendable by every- and any-body at all times--a true global (and, of course local at the same time) grass root governance--a government where the governing would be done at the grass root level for the grass root level by the means of a "vision" commonly worked on, held and striven for by all continuously.
The valid competition would be to improve on the ideal , and to find better ways of achieving this ideal, instead of competing for advantage over others to the detriment of the whole, as has the prevalent practice been till now.
There would, eventually, cease any need for "leaders" and "followers"--everyone would have the potential to take a part in embodying their own ideas (in concert with the wishes for an ideal existence of all others) in the resulting collective vision. The resulting collective vision would be far from being static--an ideal would not be an ideal without the possibility of improving on it perpetually. It would become the space to resolve any differences, controversies, conflicts, and any complaints that there ever might arise among us; a superior way of a collective self-rule.
What is being referred to in the quote at the beginning of the article--the "envisioning" and "vision" of the ideal to be realized--are indeed essential for achieving that which is being desired:
"... Vision without action is useless. But action without vision is directionless and feeble.Vision is absolutely necessary to guide and motivate. ..." (Meadows 2004, p272).
The vision, indeed, " ... must be built up by many people before it is complete and compelling. ..."--But how to do this? How to allow a vast number of people (potentially all who live on Earth and have a stake in the future of this world), each, perhaps, with their own vision, to co-operate on creating one vision of one Earth's future? This mind staggering task might stop many from even ever contemplating such an undertaking--an assumption validated by the lack of any significant progress in presenting a platform on which to unite all of the possible visions of a sustainable Earth since Donella Meadows' passing away.
Despite "visioning"/"envisioning" being taught at many places all over the world, the one thing needed for starting to work on a to all acceptable future is a platform, on which all could relate their ideas with the ideas of everyone else. Where is it that anyone could compare their vision with the visions of others?
On a local level it might be possible (even though it is not done properly anywhere, to my knowledge--correct me, please, if you know otherwise), but how about co-ordinating all the local visions with the vision for the whole world?
There is, possibly, a way that would allow to accommodate all of our visions globally, but, only as long as we can all agree that we all want to live truly and provably sustainably.
Imagine an Earth where humans exist in zero population growth communities situated amidst wild, by humans unregulated nature, where all the other species that we share this planet with live untroubled by humans.
These communities could exist at what-so-ever level of complexity of sustainability (from "hunter-gatherer" way of life to anything more complex), as long as those communities would be transparently and demonstrably sustainable, so that their way of living would not adversely affect the existence of other human communities and other life on Earth.
The basis of this "platform" for developing a vision that would encompass all possible sustainable life-styles would be an Earth populated by hunter-gatherers who would have a more than ample room to live in, with a plenty of safety margin that would allow for any, even now unforeseeable exigencies. In this way there would be no need for having to accommodate all other species sharing the Earth with us in any special way--those would always live in balance with humans who would not be able to inflict much damage on them.
Any communities at a level of sustainability more complex than that of hunter-gatherers within this universal vision would "evolve" from the least complex possible step by step, demonstrating that each more complex level of sustainability would indeed be sustainable ecologically and socially in every aspect, all communities together making sure not to exceed the total population level of humans on Earth that would always remain fixed at what it would be if all humans lived as hunter-gatherers--this as a safety measure in case that people, if not satisfied with higher complexity level of sustainability would always have the opportunity to fall back to living at lower levels of complexity.
I imagine that people (both--in constructing the vision, and in the resultant sustainable world) would be able to "vote with their feet"--at any time when they would feel that they would like to live, either at a different place, or at a different level of sustainability, they would just re-group/re-locate. In this way social sustainability would be ensured--no one would be forced to stay at any place, or at any level of complexity of sustainability.
It must not be understood that I advocate that all the billions of people on Earth--that there are now--should become hunter-gatherers and then tried to work their way to the level of complexity of sustainability that they would like to live at in real life! All this above would be happening in models, and such (e. g.--"gedanken experiments, etc.) for the purposes of getting a plausible "vision" together.
The what-so-ever model(s)/vision(s) that would be arrived at should not be anything less than a portrayal of a perfect situation(s) (even though "visions" should never be considered as being static; they would evolve along with the evolution of thoughts on the subject.). The model(s) arrived at should not be impeded by what might be considered possible, or impossible, in our current, very imperfect world that we are forced to live in now:
"Visioning means imagining, at first generally and then with increasing specificity, what you really want. That is, what you really want, not what someone has taught you to want, and not what you have learned to be willing to settle for. Visioning means taking off the constraints of "feasibility," of disbelief and past disappointments, and letting your mind dwell upon its most noble, uplifting, treasured dreams." (Meadows 2004, p272)
The ideal should not be limited by what might be thought of as being "possible", or "impossible" at any given time!:
"... In order to conceive of what you truly want to create, you must separate what you want from what you think is possible. ..." (Fritz 1984, p71)
The ways of achieving the ideal depicted in the "visions"/"universal model(s)" would start suggesting themselves as soon as the model would appear to be practicable enough.
A great number of variations on this "vision" suggest themselves--the result would still be a humanity that would harmoniously exist with itself and all other life on Earth, providing that humanity would adhere strictly to the "zero population growth" policy, and to living demonstrably and transparently sustainably.
A way of providing a satisfactory definition of "sustainable"/"sustainably" would be to demonstrate transparently in models (of any appropriate kind) that any situation would, or would not, indeed be "sustainable".
There is a need for a model of what the Earth should ideally look like that would be freely accessible by anyone on Earth, so that everyone can, at any point, see what progress is being made towards the ideal at any time, so that there is a reference available for any undertaking that might concern the welfare of anyone on the planet.
The "vision" in the title harks back to Donella Meadows' "visioning"/"envisioning", which owes its being to Robert Fritz's "Technologies For Creating" (TFC). What "visioning"/"envisioning" is for Donella Meadows, Robert Fritz calls a "choice". Fritz' The Path of Least Resistance (Fritz 1984) is a necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand what Donella Meadows' "visioning"/"envisioning" is.
Donella Meadows' "Envisioning a Sustainable World", in which she explains what "visioning"/"envisioning" is, is online:
and so is what I wrote on her "visioning"/"envisioning" concept:
"Visioning": Global Citizens Designing a Sustainable World Together -
In Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update the authors write about the "sustainable revolution", the next biggest social change coming. (Meadows, et al. 2004, chapter 8, p273)
The "Universal Platform for Developing Sustainable Earth Vision" is a a basis for a complete, all-encompassing vision of a sustainable Earth; Complete, because any sustainable life-style can be accommodated within the model, as long as that "life-style" indeed is provably sustainable.
What is needed now is to make this all-encompassing vision of a sustainable Earth "compelling".
1984 The Path of Least Resistance. Salem, MA: DMA Inc., ISBN: 0-930641-00-0
Meadows, Donella H., Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows
2004 Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update.
White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
A synopsis of Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. Online at the Sustainability Institute (founded by Donella Meadows):
The Systems Thinker--"Moving Toward a Sustainable Future." includes chapter 8 from Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
*) copied from http://www.siberg.net/2009/09/buckminster/
You might also, perhaps, look at what I wrote about R. B. Fuller's "World Game" -
Buckminster R. Fuller's World Game and ModelEarth.