First, some primary assumptions:
- The science relating to global heating is correct, if not in minute detail then certainly enough to know where we are heading as a species.
- Humanity, continuing on its current course, is in deep trouble – along with most advanced life on the planet. The current mass extinction event, the advent of peak oil (now dwarfed by the need to leave the rest of it in the ground), the loss of nature’s diversity – and therefore its inherent resilience, and so much more. The stakes are as high as they can be.
- The recent (rather conservative) IPCC report gives us until around 2030 to have largely turned around carbon emissions. The situation is urgent.
- The primary cause of all of these problems is the form of organisation that we in the rich nations have accepted. This is what actually needs to change, and it is here that our solutions must focus.
The damage being wrought on humanity and the planet is funded by people. This is very rarely a conscious act on the part of an individual, but a result of our unavoidable participation in the normal functioning of our institutions.
In other words it is funded by “people doing peopley stuff” – making things, using things, trading and imagining new forms of money and wealth into existence.
The profits gleaned from each stage of all this activity have become progressively concentrated in a few hands – often in the imaginary hands of imaginary people – Corporations. This progressive concentration of wealth means that the rest of us have progressively less.
Somehow, along the way, our natural resources are being steadily converted from flourishing, living systems into dead bank notes and numbers in computers – which we misconceive as real riches.
This way we have organised ourselves is traditionally called The Economy, and it is based upon (among others) the harmful institutions of exponential growth, debt, and greed, and is reinforced in this by the law. The Economies view of humanity is that of a greedy, calculating being which always acts in its own immediate self interest. This behaviour is regarded as a virtue.
Beginning from where we are today, we need to build the next system within the shell of the old. Like the Mondragon Co-operators before us (and the Wombats), we must build the road as we travel.
This is what we at CoCanberra have taken up as our Challenge!