On the Need for New Governance
Brian O'Leary, March 10, 2011
Many of us in the scientific, environmental and progressive communities have become increasingly alarmed about the dire global emergency we now face. The nations of the world truly lack authentic leadership to redirect our course to the goals of peace, justice and sustainability. We need new governance systems to guide our future destiny for the good of ourselves, all of nature and future generations.
Those of us who are knowledgeable about future possibilities--whether they be in creating breakthrough clean technologies or in consciously ending war, corruption, greed, injustice and environmental devastation--have been divided and ruled by a tyranny so pervasive and insidious that it has manipulated us into standing by in powerlessness, ignorance and complacency.
It is now time for us to declare "enough" and to embark on a new mission—one dedicated to the values of truth, beauty, compassion, and humility.
To these ends we dedicate ourselves as we chart a new course that will ensure for ourselves and future generations a peaceful, just and sustainable world. Nothing less will serve the needs of the planet in this time of grave crisis and unprecedented opportunity.
What Doesn't Work
It is far easier to identify systemic corruptions that don't work under current governance than to propose new governance systems that do work. For example, the peaceful democratic protests of early 2011 from Wisconsin to Egypt all reflect a desire to end the tyrannies of top leadership in those jurisdictions, but they are not as clear about what kind of governance they want to replace the old tyrannies. It's often stated that you need to let go of what you don't want before bringing in what you do want.
Therein begins the revolutionary process, but it's only the beginning. We need to follow an agenda that would fulfill Buckminster Fuller's adage, "There is only one kind of revolution, and that's revolution by design."
The progressive literature spells out the tyrannies of vested interests that control our governments, particularly the U.S. government. These systems must be replaced by governance that truly serves the needs of the people and the planet if we are to have any chance of surviving these times. Some of the websites that accurately describe our collective dilemma include www.commondreams.org, www.globalresearch.ca, www.alternet.org, and www.informationclearinghouse.info. There is no need to repeat here the abundant evidence they cite for our accelerating global decline due to careless human interventions.
We can conclude from the evidence, however, that what doesn't work at a basic systemic level includes at least the following:
* The use of dirty energy, particularly oil and coal, but also most of the other energy sources now in use as well, which are simply unsustainable when full life-cycle environmental costs are considered;
* Unsustainable agriculture, mining, forestry, and land development; unsustainable water and waste management; and unsustainable chemical, biotechnical and pharmaceutical production;
* Unnecessary, expensive and morally corrupt wars, which are accompanied by torture, lies, cover-ups, domestic spying, bloated military budgets and the continuing terror of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction;
* The corrupt financial power and dominance of central bankers and Wall Street, including related bribes to politicians and judges, resulting in a growing division between rich and poor; and
* Corporate control of the government through lobbying and other monetary subversions, resulting in governmental acceptance of the unsustainable practices listed above.
We believe that, first and foremost, these practices must end as soon as possible, with a carefully planned phasing-out of those institutions that promote and benefit from them.
What Does Work
We believe that an intelligently planned design process must now begin, one that would implement truly sustainable practices in place of our current destructive activities. The design of such practices will proceed from an assessment of a broad range of technologies to determine which should be selected for research and development and what kind of governance should be applied to ensure their safe and timely introduction. Among the most urgent tasks that lie ahead will be to deploy:
• Clean breakthrough energy systems, previously suppressed, that could effectively solve the energy crisis, eliminating the extracting and burning of fossil and nuclear fuels and the pollution from other central station/grid sources;
• Clean water, energy and waste management systems, based on technologies such as those of Viktor Schauberger;
• The power of combined human intention to heal ourselves and our environment;
• Sustainable organic and medicinal agriculture to replace large monocultures, GMOs and the use of pesticides and herbicides;
• The cessation of all other unsustainable practices, such as chemtrails, toxic dumping, unnecessary mining, and geoengineering;
• Protected research and development centers to phase in the new sustainable technologies under the guidance of new governance systems that are not influenced by financial gain or outside parties;
• The end of unnecessary war, military spending, and secrecy; the abolition of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; and the creation of an Earth Corps to clean up the planet;
• A total revision of the monetary and financial reward system that would ensure the end of the current domination by central banks, which has resulted in unlimited wealth for the few and growing poverty for the many; and
• An abandonment of economic growth as the principal driver of public policy.
A new governance system must ensure that these goals and others of the same nature be implemented as soon as possible. Our very survival depends on adopting these measures.
Overcoming Vested Interests
Perhaps the greatest challenge lies in overcoming the inertia of powerful vested interests. By following the money, we generally see that the more profitable the enterprise, the more it is likely to be involved in pollution and unethical practices. A dramatic example involves the billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch, who both pollute the environment and also fund leading Republican politicians, who then pass laws that enable polluters to continue polluting and increasing their profits while cutting their taxes—a dynamic that is ultimately unsustainable to the nation and the entire planet.
Of all the polluting activities that humanity pursues, there is none more damaging to the environment than the abuse of energy. The extraction of oil, coal and uranium in increasingly sensitive ecosystems, their transport, their incineration and their disposal are causing more environmental havoc on Earth than any other single factor. But the awesome multitrillion dollar vested industrial interests have so far staved off any attempt to curb this extraction. Whether it's the BP Gulf oil gusher, the Chevron-Texaco decimation of the Ecuadorian Amazon, the leveling of West Virginia mountaintops, the dirty extractions of tar sands in Alberta or the resulting deforestation and water and air pollution or earthquake-induced radiation emissions from nuclear power plants, the story is always the same: the vast extraction and burning of hydrocarbons are destroying the planet. The mandate to cut way back on coal, oil and nuclear use—now 80 percent of the world's energy mix—is reinforced by the scientific consensus that the principal cause of global climate change and the acidification of the oceans is in fact the routine burning of hydrocarbons and uranium. Yet public policies remain unchanged, even in the face of our headlong race into ecological catastrophe. There is little time to spare before we experience an irreversible tipping point of instability in our climate and in our dying ecosystems. Is it not collective insanity for humanity to rely on such dirty energy? Our top priority should be the introduction of truly clean, sustainable energy.
Building a Consensus
The requirement to design truly sustainable energy systems is in many ways the easiest place to start. Energy involves physical problems that demand physical solutions. We must insist on having sustainable energy regardless of how the technologies are eventually implemented, which ones are selected or when they come on-line. Those decisions will emerge from an ongoing process of assessment. First we need to research, assess and develop a variety of parallel technologies, any one or some of which will become dominant in our future energy mix.
Our mantra should always be, Is this particular approach truly sustainable? Is it cheap, totally clean, decentralized, safe, reliable, publicly transparent and selected honestly for its environmental friendliness? The design requirement for the systems to be developed is that they be as sustainable as possible from a wide variety of options being assessed.
The best way to achieve these goals is to create publicly supported R&D centers to assess and build the most promising options, ranging from bridge technologies that work for nature rather than against nature (e.g., Gunter Pauli's "Blue Economy") to the most elegant breakthrough energy systems. We should pursue many approaches in search of the best ones, and we will advance our knowledge even from those approaches that are not selected for further development.
The ongoing process of selection is not likely to be as challenging a task as the equitable distribution of the technology for the common good. Selection will be largely based on an ongoing assessment of which technologies best fit the criterion of sustainability generations from now. But the more difficult challenge will involve introducing innovative technologies to the world so that everyone benefits from them. This will be the principal task of the new governance system.
The new governance will need to be sovereign for it to do its job effectively. We can no longer tolerate the suppressions of the past. The new initiatives should apply to governance at all levels—local, regional and global. Evolving the wisest consensus will involve an ongoing process of assessing, researching, developing and introducing the most sustainable innovations —in an environment where we are protected from all vested interests. We will need to be free to move forward independent of outside influences.
Given that we are all knowledgeable about the dire circumstances of today's world, we won't need to spend time focusing on the destructiveness of the old paradigm, but instead we can move forward briskly on conceptual designs for the new governance and breakthrough clean energy systems. The planet is crying out to us to adopt a kinder and better way of life as soon as possible. We needn't be confined to any particular locale, bioregion or planet as a whole, because the requirements of sustainability and sovereignty everywhere are the principal drivers for the new world we wish to create. It's time to get on with the job—before it's too late.