Sunday, 22 April 2018

A Better World is Possible

Bruce Nixon writes: We are in a situation we have never been in before – an environmental crisis that threatens our very existence. Essentially, it results from our failure to live in harmony with the earth on which all life depends and each other. With another global economic crisis now unfolding, it is frightening.

"It is a time of breakdown but the good news is that breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. We have survived thorough history by learning and adapting. Human beings are enormously creative. We are capable of rapid mobilisation, as World War 2 showed. "The trouble is that political and corporate leaders appear wedded to ideologies that have not worked and they don’t see that whole system change is needed. Continuous growth defies common sense when we’re already consuming 30% more than the earth can provide and population may rise from 7bn to 10bn by the end of the century. They also think short term and fight with each other rather than collaborating., click the cover
"We know what needs to be done. We need total system change.  A vision of a better way of life will inspire and bring hope to everyone. We need a Great Transition (as proposed by the New Economics Foundation).  We need to find a new Prosperity - without growth (explored by Tim Jackson in his book of that title). Such a transition offers massive work opportunities, a better balance of work and leisure and better health for all. It can be achieved through fairer, sustainable taxation; tackling corporate tax evasion; principled foreign policies; investment in conflict resolution to save lives and release the vast sums spent on war; providing funds for green investment; and shifting subsidies from industries that accelerate climate change and harm lives to those that are sustainable. Comprehensive monetary reform is needed giving reserve banks the sole right to issue money. A citizen’s income, partly funded by land value taxation, can reduce the humiliation and cost of administering complex benefits.

"The means are available. Sun, wind and wave can meet our power needs without harming people or planet. We can feed ourselves if we waste less, learn from each other and work with nature. All over the world, these things are being done. There are good models for better businesses and government at every level from local to global.

"We need to believe that fundamental change is possible. We need to put the wellbeing of all, all forms of life, before individual affluence. It will mean a change of lifestyles, giving up some things, choosing instead what truly matters. Apart from saving our lives and those of future generations, this will lead to far greater happiness. To bring about such changes we need to reform our democracy, introduce fairer voting and address the causes of widespread cynicism about politicians and politics.

"The big question is: will we act in time? Some estimates are that we may have only five years before climate change becomes out of control and irreversible. Individual actions can bring about much of the change but government action is needed to enable it. Governments need to learn from the past and regulate to control excessive power and financial markets.

"All of us need to accept personal responsibility. People power is needed. The brave people in North Africa and the Middle East are showing us the way. We need to inform ourselves, lead, collaborate, lobby, educate politicians and demand they do what’s needed. 

"So that is why I have written A Better World is Possible. It is a handbook for Everyman, people who want to get engaged and not be bystanders. My approach is to give hope and encourage people empower themselves. I say we need whole system change. The first step is to make sense of the system. The first part of the book sets out to do just that. The second part sets out a practical vision of a better world; describes the best proposals and the many existing models that are transforming the situation for the better. I suggest the actions people can take in their own lives, how they can influence their communities and workplaces, equally important, what they can do as activists to influence politicians and  demand that  governments do what is needed. I list key campaigns to support." 

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