It's crazy but it just might work...
While I'm waiting for one of my simulations to run (working from home rocks), I'm just reading Jame's Lovelock's "The Revenge of Gaia" that Jacqui lent to me a while ago (sorry Jak, it took me a while to finish the last one!).
I'm only midway through the first chapter, but I can see where the book is going. It's going to continue to state the problem in a worst case scenario type way and is basically a call to arms for us to do something about our situation. Lovelock says that it is too late for sustainable development and instead we should focus on sustainable retreat, i.e. learn to give up some luxuries else we'll lose the lot.
He concedes that to give up on technology would be the same as destruction of our civilisation, so there's no room for any of you who have that romantic, rose-tinted nostalgia for pre-industrial society with all its disease, oppression and general crappiness - especially now that we've tasted the power of science and technology and seen the benefits that it can bring us. That would be criminal.
In fact, it's comparing our continued use of fossil fuels and way we desecrate the planet as a kind of addiction that will kill us (us literally) if we carry on doing it, but will kill us (our civilisation) if we go cold turkey. Clever guy, that Lovelock.
So, instead we need to change our way of life and engage in a symbiotic relationship with the rest of the planet (or Gaia as he puts it - I guess that Gaia includes us too).
As I say, I've only started reading it, but having recently finished reading Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion", it seems that a few problems with our current model of society have become clear to me. Next add to this the problems of poverty, oppression, corruption, .... etc and it seems that its time for us to evolve it into something better. I'm not talking about Britain's society here, I'm talking about all of the civilisations of the world. We're all tarred with the same brush as we in Britain cannot enjoy the benefits of our way of life without exploiting other societies. seeing as though we're all in the same boat (well, planet anyway), what we want is a way of living which has an integral equality for all people who live this way. This is a tall order, but I've also spent a lot of time recently using and reading about the philosophy behind the free software/open source movement and I am becoming more and more convinced that it can be applied here somehow.
A few thoughts that have been occupying much of my time are starting to crystallise. What I'm thinking is that we need a new way of thinking that brings all of these ideas together and radically changes the way in which we live, without us compromising what we have so far achieved. So let's just do it then.
I've decided to lay out how I think society should work. Maybe one day I'll publish it here somewhere.. when it's done... I've been ranting about this kind of thing of late and my workmates have been taking the piss out of me for trying to start 'Hoylandism', but I honestly think that we need to create something along the lines of: liberalism, democracy, freedom, environmentalism, aethism (well, okay, secularism anyway), open-source style contribution to government (this guy seems to have come up with something similar, as I'm sure many others have already), etc, etc. Kinda like the good bits from socialism, but without pretending that we are something we're not. I want to put this out there so that I can find other people who are thinking along the same lines.
Meanwhile, it's back to work for me....