Actions to be taken to achieve a sustainable civilization
What can be done to create conditions that allow civilization(s) to continue?
Various organizations dedicated to influencing the here and now in one way or another already exist, and have for some time. Progress on some fronts has not brought us significantly closer to achieving a sustainable civilization and it seems that threats such as global warming, extinction of species and consumption of resources close in on us while we are not able to change our ways significantly despite ample warning. That may have to do with a lack of clear and attractive alternatives.
If you want to act, it helps to know where you want to go. This site is about where to go and why. Contributing to milliongenerations.org, however, should not excuse from attempting to be a good ancestor, even before truly sustainable solutions are found. Actions that provide for more time to find sustainable solutions are certainly worthwhile. That would seem to include
- Making collecting energy from renewable sources easy and cheap, preferably cheaper than energy from coal or oil now
- Leaving natural resources such as coal, oil, and gas in the ground
- Reducing consumption of resources to leave more time to find lasting solutions
- Improving our status in society is one of our strongest motives, probably because status increased the odds of reproduction. Status is currently closely linked to the consumption of resources (e.g., property, travel). Once most people realize that consumption prevents future civilization, it will reduce status. We will then reduce consumption and look for ways to live without consumption as a result. Communicating the need to find ways to continue without consumption and making consumption of resources socially unacceptable thus helps to create conditions for civilization to continue.
- Sharing information about reducing consumption of resources (e.g. on Appropedia and Ekopedia) and maintaining a low carbon footprint- and implementing such information
- Making people healthier, happier and better educated, especially the poorest
- Making food production more efficient
- Reduce the consumption of meat and fish so that food prices drop and more people have enough to eat and can afford health, education and peace ("Can't build world peace on empty stomachs and human misery" Norman E. Borlaug)
- Close material flows
- Designing and using "cradle to cradle"
- Making as much as possible from materials that nature reuses (biological metabolism)
- Avoiding waste
- Consider waste only what is not a natural part of a biological metabolism (leaves may still fall to the ground)
- Prevent all abrasion and corrosion of all materials used in a technical metabolism (term used in cradle to cradle)
- Reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to below 350ppm
- Taking action to mitigate global climate disruption
- Reducing the probability of and mounting defences against existential risks
- such as promoted by the Lifeboat Foundation
- Understanding that this planet will be able to harbour life for billions of years and understanding that getting to any other livable place is very difficult and unlikely to be achieved in a few centuries
- Identifying ways to survive progress i.e., create only progress that is safe and shifts the balance from offensive to defensive capabilities to avoid destruction by a "bad apple"
- Maintaining natural diversity
- Thinking about humans with a comprehensive and global and temporal perspective rather than a regional or group focus that ignores what can be
- There is but one type of human on earth.
- All long term descendants will be common descendants.
- Incorporating the rights of generations that can exist into our decision making
- Increasing the knowledge of human nature
- (such as that our brains easily categorize people into groups and think with the same brain cells about ourselves and people in our own group and with different cells about people in other groups)
- Learning from history and science how dangerous (and easy) it is employ group feelings and discriminate on the basis of group membership
- Defusing conflicts and fostering peace e.g., by
- Creating a better understanding between individuals from different groups (cultures, convictions, languages, nations, organizations, sexes, maybe even soccer club fans...)
- Changing the overall working of politics and, possibly, impacting the nowadays individualism (explaining how to...)
- Eliminate any negative impact of our activities on the environment
- Implementing Mission Zero through little actions that make a difference
- Using the terms such as sustainable, resilient, green, eco etc. thoughtful in order to strengthen the public's understanding rather than greenwashing it
Many organizations, governmental, commercial or not-for-profit, work on these issues.
Contributors to milliongenerations can (hopefully do) work on these in small private ways or through such organizations. But not here. Here the focus is different.
What does milliongenerations do?
Milliongenerations started in the hope that viable visions or inspiring ideas will emerge and that we may hope for beneficial feedback to current affairs. Until, however, someone can come up with clear, convincing and attractive alternatives, the focus of milliongenerations.org should firmly remain in the long term, no matter how (or if) we believe it can or should be reached. One should be rather cautious about lobbying for actions. Attractive solutions should sell themselves. Meanwhile, other worthy organizations are better equipped to lobby the public or institutions for improvements. milliongenerations.org should help by trying to find conditions of truly sustainable civilizations. The focus on the steady state and the value of future generations may help many different efforts by providing a frame of reference and should help towards achieving a sustainable civilization. Thinking about it does not need to prevent work for other worthy causes. This site, however, should remain true to its purpose.
The hungry man and the fish
When you see a hungry man, you can give him a fish. Or teach him to fish. Or find ways so that all who are hungry can get fishing poles. These are important. milliongenerations.org is different. Here, we assume that a very long time from now there still is a man who can fish. Which requires that he knows how to fish and also that there still are fish in the water. These are not likely to come about together automatically. We look for what is needed so that they will.