We presently are using whatever we can, with little to no concerns for our children’s future, as they, on present trend have little prospect and less to no chance that their offspring will be able to survive. Yet the continuation of life is life’s primary concern. But not in civilisation, with the new socioeconomic system of global capitalism, education primary purpose is to increase the growth of its economy regardless of consequences.
All mammals benefit with an education, while humans are hopeless without it, so, we can only be the result of our education interpreted by our genes and intellectual abilities, which requires nearly everyone to persevere with whatever we are taught. That’s why most of our educated one, although concerned people, can only think within the system that is creating the disaster, although we try to avert the worst effects and improve life within a capitalist socioeconomic system, life is getting harder. Reformist pursue that task as in the innocent heydays of cheap oil before the 1980s when the world economy saw endless growth, however, today for all practical purpose we’re near the top of that economic growth curve on a per capita base with some sectors and communities starting to fall. How far will we fall, as the bottom is the end of life it will depends on how long we keep functioning on our reductionist world view. We still have a fairly easy escape from the fatalities befalling us and nature, but not if we keep maintain business as usual much longer, if we go beyond the critical stage where nature due to an unliveable hotter planet takes over with vengeance. But then there’s nuclear warfare to do a quicker job.
A growing population on an overpopulated world of depleting resources, including fisheries is disastrous but there’s worst to come, within 50 years many cities will be drowned by rising seas, aggravated by more severe storms, there will be floods or uncontrollable fires. Currently, it’s estimated we will reach 9 billion people half way through this century. Definitely not in a civilised capitalist system, we will need a very social system with a rapidly degreasing competition replaced by an ever increasing cooperation, locally and worldwide. But, what is cooperation, selling and buying isn’t a cooperative act, nor is working for wages, they are competitive domineering acts, direct or indirect. The distressing aspect of that, except for a few who are doing well in a competitive economy, is no one is in control of societies’ destiny as the outcome in any competitive activities must be unknown. The real competition is in between the most powerful who have control of the media and teaching institutions, but their goal is to increase their power to get more of it. Nevertheless, the power of the wealthy can only exist, if it’s fulfilled by the powerless ones and nature’s ability to provide.
The advantage of a cooperative society is the wide choice and freedoms the individual can have, through mutual concerns to improve and strengthen relations, which sequentially improves individuals’ security and widen their abilities. All actions are acceptable if they don’t diminish the socialness of society and other people’s freedom or is more beneficial than destructive to nature. Everything we do to be acceptable or praised must preferably enhance present and future life.
One of the many squabbles leading to fights we have is due to people seeking an advantage, or on a wider scale not been at too much at a disadvantage, this is an outcome of competition, it’s a socially guideless, wasteful, and is dangerous in its pursuit to dominate it has indoctrinated civilised people from its inception. That increasing competitive life requires growth to be tolerable, but growth requires evermore stuff and energy and both have limits. The difference and beauty of a cooperative life is its flexible, therefore it’s adaptable to a variety of circumstances and can avoid difficult situation.
It’s not possible for the planet to support the expected 9 billion people and survive with the present way of life. Even today’s young will be in severe difficulty and that’s not just the down and out unfortunates, but our wealthiest one will suffer the turmoil from the inability of nature to maintain the exploitation, it will lead to a likely annihilation of life if continued.
What we must realise and do to survive
These are a few obvious items that need some understanding.
There are so many things we do that are unnecessary and destructive, such as, manufacturing and using military equipment, they multiply social problems, causing many very distressing casualties, and they inflict social and environmental damage. Furthermore, we must replace road transport with rail powered by renewables, it would save carbon emissions and the waisted effort in making millions of cars as they deteriorate fast compared to rail rolling stock, which also save space, however even more important is the lives it would save. According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries caused an estimated 1.25 million deaths worldwide in the year 2010. In the USA 34,064 deaths that year and there’re worried by terrorist. According to a September 2016 study released by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, some 3,024 Americans died from 1975 through 2015 at the hands of foreign-born terrorists. That number includes the 9/11 terrorist attacks (2,983 people) and averages nearly 74 Americans per year. Since 9/11, however, six Americans have died per year at the hands, guns, and bombs of foreign-born terrorists. So it’s the automobile that is the real terror for Americans.
Whichever way we may look at our transport it kills people directly, poison us, destroys the city environment, and eventually, added with all we inflict on nature, life will be impossible for our offspring. We must realise that moving people and stuff from one place to another and back again is a wasted effort, it produce global warming gas which in capitalism we ignores the many indirect consequences. Ships have stowaways in the ballast water and on their hull spreading unwanted organism throughout the world. It’s insane to transport goods halfway around the world, in most cases we only need to send the information needed to produce what we need, all it takes is cooperation. To survive we must act holistically because generally every single thing has an effect on everything therefore, by just remaining and using what we have in our neighbourhood before we expect other people to provide for us, we would save so much effort and reduce pollution. It a small price to pay as it would be well repaid by giving opportunities for local people to supply their needs as part of enhancing one’s life.
Air travel and transport is extremely vulnerable to fatalities, but being a public transport instead of a private one, it’s very safe and reliable. Nevertheless, air travel uses a great deal of fuel and when emitted at 10 km height it’s five times more effective than at sea level in its warming ability. So, air travel is no light-hearted matter, the seriousness is ignored by airlines, nations, and travellers, furthermore most flights are for business reason or excuses for it. From Quora “I wish everybody could fly, just once, to see the world in a new way, but probably only a relative handful of people worldwide will ever have the chance to do so.” Therefore, only very few aircraft flights would be needed if we decide to save future lives.
We can make life much easier and better by eliminating commercial advertising, all we need is information that’s has as its aim to produce knowledge that allows people to understand life and our planet accurately. We would then see that eating less meat not only lessen nature’s ordeal but would give us a healthier diet. To further reduce energy need agriculture must be more local and of smaller size, as it will bring growers and consumers physical and mentally closer.
However, population reduction to be effective in the coming situation will necessitate a different social arrangement, to both improve our life style and reduce our population as quickly and still giving us the joy that children give, and we give them. Difficulties we must overcome, however formidable they may appear, must be dealt with to survive, in spite of our establish belief, that population must grow to satisfy our economy, regardless of it being dysfunctional.
Commune composed of people who known each other are ideal for social living, they can be self-controlled base on unanimity of purpose and action enabling a harmonious cooperative group living with the environment and other groups of people. If we can establish such life style, people will then be able to deal with a drastic population reduction required and still be involved and enjoy the rearing of children whose welfare will be given the best possible start with multiple parents as we had when we were hunter-gatherers. For in civilisation we value possessions above people, and as children have been and are in some way a possession belonging to one or a married couple, but no matter how dedicated one is we can’t be every where or be everything and cope with all possibilities on one’s own. It’s time we prioritise children’s welfare and their future, instead of GDP growth.
Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member