Rapid Transition Strategy of the Center for Planetary Culture
= an integrated plan for the sustainability transition, by the Center for Planetary Culture
Daniel Pinchbeck et al.:
"A preponderance of scientific evidence tells us that industrial civilization is transforming the planetary ecology at a rapid pace. According to the National Academy of Sciences report, "Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change," “The rate of climate change now underway is probably as fast as any warming event in the past 65 million years, and it is projected that its pace over the next 30 to 80 years will continue to be faster and more intense." We confront a variety of known and unknown factors, including species extinction and ocean acidification, that threaten our collective future. There is real potential for a rapid rise of global temperatures and the engagement of many positive feedback loops in the climate system, potentially leading to depopulation or even an extinction-level event for the human species in the near term.
At the same time, we are experiencing accelerated technological innovation, an almost overwhelming increase of information in every field, and a global awakening of ecological and political consciousness. Through a coordinated movement of civil society, we have the potential to transcend or supersede the current world system, based on Capitalist economics and nation-state governance. Such a systemic transition may be necessary for our near-term survival.
We appear to be reaching that threshold where, as social ecologist Murray Bookchin warned, our world “will either undergo revolutionary changes, so far-reaching in character that humanity will totally transform its social relations and its very conception of life, or it will suffer an apocalypse that may well end humanity’s tenure on the planet.” We would need to orchestrate a massive effort to transition immediately to renewable energy sources, "degrow" and "deindustrialize" our society, remediate and replenish natural systems, plant forests and local gardens on a massive scale.
The current global political and corporate order seems incapable of making the deep, structural changes necessary to forestall or prevent an ecological collapse. Rapid climate change could lead to increasing famines, droughts, refugees, terrorist attacks, and wars over natural resources such as fresh water and fuel. We have a moral responsibility to prevent the worst outcomes, to the extent that we can.
Confronted with these scenarios, how do we develop and distribute an alternative? One question is whether sustainability and economic equality are inextricably linked. According to Bookchin “The private ownership of the planet by elite strata must be brought to an end if we are to survive the afflictions it has imposed on the biotic world, particularly as a result of a society structured around limitless growth."
Many social theorists have proposed that the only legitimate alternative is the constitution of a truly free society, where political power is decentralized, with local communities functioning as autonomous elements, producing their own food and energy. These local municipalities and regional orchestrations would be meshed together in bioregional alliances, within a planetary confederation.
A systemic paradigm shift seems necessary to bring human activity into alignment with the limits of the biosphere. The principles of this paradigm shift to a regenerative society have been explored in previous sections of this Wiki. The question we now need to address is, How could such a transition be brought into manifestation? We would need to overcome the tremendous inertia of our current social, political, and economic system. We would need to mobilize a mass movement of global citizens who believe in a different vision of what our future could hold, and have the inspiration and fortitude to bring it into being.
A change in paradigm would have a number of requirements. We would require universal pacification, the liberation of knowledge and the commons from private control, and an equitable sharing of wealth and resources. This transition would require a comprehensive retraining for the mass populace, who have been conditioned into a consumerist worldview, as well as various identifications, based on nationality or religion or cultural background. We would have to demilitarize global society, deindustrialize to a certain degree, and transition to a worldwide manufacturing and transport system based on renewable sources of energy.
Any movement toward a post-carbon society must convey the truth: that the future continuity of humanity on the Earth requires shared sacrifices, in many areas, from the present generation, for an unknown timeframe. However, this truth can be expressed as a part of a communications strategy that is inspiring, positive, and non-divisive. Memetic analysis has revealed that global warming, species extinction, and climate change are insufficient motivators or drivers for coordinated social action, on a large scale. Similarly, calls to “deindustrialize” or “degrow” our civilization do not motivate the multitudes into action.
The movement must convey a sense of incandescent hope and possibility. We require a vision that is inspiring, accessible, and sensible, for the multitudes. We must define not only what we are fighting against, but what we are fighting for.
The transition to a post-carbon world is inevitably destined to unite our human community as one. An effective communication strategy will begin with this sense of unity - it will convey the tremendous opportunity presented by the crisis. Through our response to it, we can transform our civilization in accord with humanity’s greatest hopes and highest ideals.
The movement could promote, as a positive goal, that humanity intends to establish a social infrastructure which provides universal abundance, liberating humanity, as a whole, from insecurity and insufficiency, as well as meaningless and tedious labor. This can only take place within an ecological framework that restores and replenishes the Earth’s natural systems. We would integrate indigenous design principles with postmodern technics and advanced automation.
As a model, we propose a future civilization - a new planetary culture - without debt or nation-state boundaries, where everyone on Earth receives a basic subsidy, where free access to knowledge and information is a basic human right. We also propose that humanity’s quest for scientific knowledge and technical mastery can be integrated with religious faith and mystical modes of self-realization, through a creative synthesis. Since past human conflicts were based on resource insufficiency, we can envision that, in a future state of sustained abundance, most forms of conflict will be outmoded
Humanity must commit to elevating its beliefs and practices, through an evolution of global society, where we apply our technical powers, rationally and systemically, for the benefit of the whole. This requires a planetary concordance. The mass media acts as a tool of indoctrination. Most people believe they have little power and no responsibility for the state of the world. Media entrains people into a consumerist, passive state. This trance can be broken through new media campaigns and social movements that combine an alternative vision with an immediate plan of action.
Such a movement would need to use social media, mass media, and direct action techniques to garner universal support and global consensus for the transition to a regenerative culture, a truly liberated society. Iceland’s recent success in rewriting its constitution through an open-source process provides one model or template for what can be accomplished on a planetary scale, where all of the Earth’s peoples are recognized as equal stakeholders in our shared future.
If we agree on this goal and this messaging, then the question remains: How do we accomplish such a transition? What are the means to establish a truly planetary civilization, in a short time-frame? What follows are some notes on these questions. Over the next year, we intend to develop a strategic plan of action, and then execute on this plan."