I’m still reading Gregg Braden’s book, The Turning Point: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes. You may remember that I wrote about resilience yesterday. The kind of resilience that will keep humanity going in a changing world is the kind where people factor resilience into their plans. It is the kind of mindset that says, “Expect change.” It’s the concept of putting into place backup plans that will help us weather emergencies.
The systems in place today are unsustainable. We cannot continue to depend on fossil fuels to supply our exponentially growing energy needs. We cannot feed and house seven billion people with the current systems, and the cost of food is unbearably high. Corporations are trying to exert control over the food supply by forcing people to become dependent on GMO crops. There is an unhealthy disparity between the ultra rich and everybody else. There is too much of a gap between the well-educated and the uneducated. Health care costs too damn much money. Extreme weather events and natural disasters wipe out crops and livestock, irrevocably damage property and infrastructure, and cause injury, disease, and death. Economies teeter on the brink of collapse. Our air, water and soil are now so polluted that they are affecting the food supply and habitats of humans and animals. Globalization of business is putting a strain on local resources. Governments are not serving their citizens, and even in so-called free countries, paranoid governments are spying on the people.
Everybody agrees that changes need to be made, but when you ask people, “What does a better world look like?” you will get just about as many answers as there are people. That’s what happened when Gregg Braden asked 1,000 people at a weekend seminar he conducted. People’s answers tend to depend on where they live, how old they are, how much education they have had, whether they are male or female, and so forth.
In his book, Braden mentioned a project by the United Nations called “My World.” This is an online survey that you can take right now. There are sixteen options given, and you will be asked to vote for six. Here are the options, in alphabetical order.
A good education
Access to clean water and sanitation
Action taken on climate change
Affordable and nutritious food
An honest and responsive government
Better health care
Better job opportunities
Better transport and roads
Equality between men and women
Freedom from discrimination and persecution
Phone and Internet access
Protection against crime and violence
Protecting forests, rivers and oceans
Reliable energy at home
Support for people who can’t work
I would vote for all of these, but of course my six priorities as a 61-year-old woman living in the United States are different from the priorities of other people. It’s no surprise that my priorities are shared by older people in developed countries.
Personally, I’d like to see a world where babies are born healthy, with access to good food and clean water, and where access to a good education and a good job is available to all, regardless of gender and economic status. I’d like to see a world-class education system in place that teaches people how to cooperate, how to communicate well, and how to deal effectively with change. I’d like to see a world where there is a much smaller gap between wealth and poverty. I’d like to see health care available to all. and the freedom to choose modern or traditional methods of healing. I’d like to see equality of women with men in terms of education, jobs, and access to healthcare. I’d like to see true freedom of religion and speech, and I’d like to see unbiased news media, free access to information on the Internet, responsive and responsible governments, and a fairer, more progressive taxation system than we have now. I would like to see a world where quality of life for all is valued above irresponsible acquisition of material goods. I would like to see a world where the air, water and soil are not polluted and where clean, renewable sources of energy are used, instead of fossil fuels or dangerous nuclear energy. If I were asked to name one priority above all the others, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
One thing Braden mentions in his book is that in the future there will probably have to be more local control of the food supply, energy, the economy, education, and the ecology of a specific area. One size solutions do not fit all. Tomorrow I will talk a little more about Braden’s idea of forming communities. For today, I invite you to take the challenge of choosing your six priorities, whether or not you take the actual survey. If you have a chance, mention these things to other people and see how they would vote. You will no doubt be surprised at the diversity of opinion, but you might also be surprised at how many of the people in your own local area agree with you. 🙂