During the past week, my co-author, Stuart Scott, and I have been collaborating on the chapter of our upcoming book
that describes an envisioned global economy that will actually encourage individuals and nations to take decisive actions to improve the natural Earth.
Of course, we will need a new word for that economy and, for now, I am going to use
A way of keeping score on planet Earth that rewards all nations and individuals who take actions to improve the biosphere and punishes those who do more harm than good.
Let's not forget what the legendary 100-year-old "big picture" scientist, engineer and originator of the GAIA Theory, says about our chances for survival depending on our treatment of the fragile biosphere that gives us life.
"If the Earth improves as a result of our presence, then we will flourish.
If it doesn't, then we will die off."
James Lovelock, PhD
The focus of today's SOS Memo is on ideas for how we might transition to a way of living that would enable us to actually improve the Earth. Remember, these are just ideas. We're just trying to spark the conversation on the most important topic in the history of humanity---how we're going to avoid the near-term extinction of our species.
The image below illustrates what we have today with our neoclassical economics way of keeping score. Notice the fat cats grinning and smoking cigars as they watch the money pouring out of that meat-grinder. Also notice what is being fed into the machine from the top---every species of plant, animal, fish, insect, and mineral on the face of the Earth.
So how are we going to get rid of capitalism and replace it with a totally sustainable way for humans to live on this planet?
Our vision is that only green lifestyle options will exist in our sustainable habitat of the future---after we get done designing and populating that new habitat, a process during which every aspect of our lives must be guided by the thinking described in the slide below:
One of our ideas involves using a familiar analogy to help us imagineer a way of life that could be as green as it could possibly be.
Designing the "Game"
Precedes the Score-Keeping System
The "game" is our envisioned way of life in the future. As for the score keeping system, that's what we call the new global economy: Earthonomics. What would that replacement global economy look like and how would it work? And how do we transition from here to there?
The first step is imagineering how a totally-green lifestyle for humans might look. Last week, Stuart and I came up with a way to envision what life might be like in the completely green world of the Great Big Northern in the USA.
Now for that analogy. Our future way of totally green living might resemble, in many ways, what life is like today on the aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy. These are huge ships that are at sea for months at a time with crews of up to 6,000 sailors, pilots, officers and crew.
Here are two key similarities that exist on this huge ship AND in our totally green habitat of the future, the GBN.
1. The crew wants to be there.
The cool thing about the city of 5,000+ people aboard that aircraft carrier is that everyone onboard truly wants to be there.
That's because it's a lifestyle for which they've all trained for many years.
2. The crew has a common goal. Everyone onboard also has one overarching goal: to keep their ship afloat and to protect it from enemy attack. They all have what I call goal congruence. Nothing is more important to anyone on that ship than the
health of the vessel that keeps them alive.
Likewise, nothing is more important to all eight billion human residents of planet Earth than our
, Earth's biosphere that keeps us alive. But, unlike those 5,000 crew-members of the USS Gerald R. Ford, most of us eight billion people have no idea just how crucial the health of our
vessel, the biosphere of planet Earth
Most of us are oblivious to the fact that our
is rocketing through space at 67,000 miles an hour as we make our way around our Sun once a year within the only habitat in the universe capable of keeping us alive. We simply don't get it---and our failure to come to grips with what we must do to preserve our
will likely mean the end of our civilization---and far sooner than even the most educated and powerful people in the world realize.
Back to the carrier. Another cool thing is that the vast majority of that huge crew are really enjoying what they do---especially while deployed at sea. They've trained for their specialties for many years, they enjoy the camaraderie with fellow crew members, they enjoy the entertainment options and most of them enjoy the food.
They all get free health care, abundant food options, a place to sleep and store their personal effects, a place to work out, play hoops, cards or ping-pong, in addition to free clothes and laundry. Not surprisingly, there is a pecking order on board this massive ship. As in most societies today, along with greater skill, knowledge and responsibility comes privilege, status, and conveniences.
For example, the ship's captain has larger, more comfortable quarters and more conveniences than the other senior officers, who have better quarters than the junior officers, who have better quarters than the NCOs and so forth.
Captain's Office on the USS Ford
The point is that they all chose the specific level of privilege that each and every one of them now enjoy. They all applied for entry, then studied, trained and spent their lives preparing for the roles that they have today. No one resents the fact that the captain has bigger quarters, for most crew members would not want to trade places with him/her in a million years.
The point is that, in any society, we are all personally responsible for where we end up---provided that we're born into an environment that provides us with an opportunity to choose. Billions of people in the developing world haven't been so lucky, but in the world of the future GBN, there will be a place for people from all walks of life.
USS Ford to the Great Big Northern
Our vision is that life will be so good and so rewarding for most people who apply to move to the GBN, that few if any will ever want to leave. As for keeping score, we are envisioning an indicator for each individual that is similar to the credit score of today.
AGRA (American Green Region Authority)
We call it the
Biospheric Health Index
or the BHI score for every adult---with the highest possible score being 900. As with our credit scores of today, they will be adjusted monthly based on ongoing contributions to the mission of improving the health of our
and therefore contributing to raising our chances for longterm survival as a species. How does it work?
Imagine that you're an environmental scientist with a BHI score well over 800 and that you're leading a group of 300 people involved in dozens of ongoing projects aimed at improving the natural world.
Your high score will provide you with a great many choices when it comes to spacious, well-appointed residences, breathtaking views in the best part of town and within walking distance of the HyperLoop, the best parks, restaurants, theaters, art museums, symphony, etc.
On the other hand, imagine that you're a former migrant farm worker who speaks very little English and has a work history consisting mostly of crop picking and street cleaning. Your background and job skills will earn you a score of under 100.
But you will also be welcome at the GBN and will probably qualify for a job doing landscaping in the Parks & Recreation Department. Your housing and entertainment options will provide for your basic needs but will not be fancy. You will probably be assigned to live in barracks style quarters and you will be entitled to plenty of nutritious foods, free health care, etc.---an overall way of life that will probably be far superior to what you have known in the past.
Both the scientist and the migrant worker, and all other adult residents will receive an electronic monthly stipend that can be used for purchasing food, services, travel, bicycle rental, and a vast array of entertainment options. And yes, the higher your BHI score, the larger your monthly stipend will be---and you will pay for all goods and services with your electronic device, which may very well be in your wristwatch or your sunglasses.
As for the accumulation of STUFF, whether you are the scientist with the 900 BHI score or the former migrant farm worker, you will no longer
much of anything: no real estate or vehicles and just very few clothes and personal effects.
When you want new clothes, you will visit the
GBN Clothing Authority
where you will exchange what you have for anything you want within the budget associated with your BHI score and the funds in your personal account. As for the clothes, they will be designed by the best fashion experts and will comply with the green-clothing regulations that have been established for everyone.
What about the global economy? How will the new AGRA-managed GBN interact with other nations? It will depend on whether those other nations have bought into the BHI scoring system. Assuming that the majority have adopted a similar method for promoting sustainability, there will be plenty of time for the best scientists, creative thinkers and environmentalists in the world to optimize that BHI scoring system. We'll also soon have help from the rapidly expanding artificial intelligence community.
As for overall morale and life satisfaction within the GBN, we expect that this modern, practically stress-free life will be much more preferable for the vast majority of people. Of course, there will be a few billionaires out there who will not want to part with all of their personal property, so we wish them luck trying to stay alive in one of those doomsday caves.
Meanwhile, most of us will be having a blast in totally green, futuristic communities like the
Great Big Northern.
You also may want to refer your friends and family to that same page, where they might see something that helps to spark their interest, enthusiasm and action. In conclusion,
I choose to believe that we can turn the climate change monster into a lifeline of sorts for moving urgently toward a sustainable civilization.
In closing, I believe that if we can get this process started here in the USA, that the rest of the world will follow. That said, we should welcome environmentally-conscious leaders from other countries to join us in the design process.
PS: You may be wondering how you can help promote the never-ending search for a way to save our species. You can get me in front of some audiences who you think might be ready to hear about the long-overdue, global "conversation" about our survival.
As always, I am just trying to spark a global conversation about what is needed. By sharing a vision of what I believe is possible, I hope to influence others to think bigger, better and bolder.
As for speaking, I continue to search for mainstream audiences who may have an interest in learning more about a realistically hopeful vision for our future - and their role in making that vision come true.
As such, I will travel anywhere for an opportunity to speak to one or more groups in each city that I visit. I will create a custom presentation for each audience and I only ask for travel expense reimbursement and a modest honorarium.
In the months ahead, I will continue to focus on the urgent need for a totally reinvented greening of our civilization - beginning with a model in the USA that could be applied globally over the next fifty years.
: There are lots of open dates on my calendar as my next scheduled talk is
in Black Mountain, NC, in August.
As for the specifics of my topic, I invite you to
contact me directly
about how I might tailor my presentation to best suit an audience you may have in mind:
churches, think-tanks, legislative bodies, environmental
organizations, alumni associations, leadership clubs, PTA's
and/or civic groups who may appreciate a message of reality and hope for our future.
What else can you do to help?
1. Live as greenly as possible while doing all that you can to raise the awareness of "big picture" solutions that are crucially necessary for saving our civilization.
2. Share this BSB and my
"Mama Ain't Happy"
BSB with prominent journalists, thought leaders and/or elected officials whom you respect. They need to learn a lot more about the many reasons why
Mama ain't happy.
3. Here are a few more GRATOLA-related blogs that you can share with your most powerful friends, leaders, journalists and movie producers.
Until next time, just remember...
Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.
This SOS Memo series was created by:
J. Morris (Jim) Hicks
CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC
In the past two years, I have spoken at a
Fort Myers, at
in Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, the
College of the Holy Cross
in Worcester, MA, a
Plant Powered Manhattan
event in New York, at a lakeside health conference in
South Haven, Michigan
, in Buffalo, NY, at the
University of Scranton
, at Dr.
Golden Gate Health Getaway
and at the
Healthy World Sedona
Health and Sustainability Conference in AZ.
Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth
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