Getting From Here to There

An article by Mike Nickerson.

Mike Nickerson is the author of Life, Money and Illusion; Living on Earth as if we want to stay (2009) Planning for Seven Generations (1990) and Change the World I Want to Stay On (1977). He first encountered sustainability co-directing the Institute for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Mike’s objective is to help our communities recognize that as a species, we are grown up now, that while continued expansion can be disastrous, there is a long and satisfying future awaiting us when we acknowledge that our planet is finite and accept responsibility for the impacts we are having on each other and on the Earth.

The article can also be found on Mike’s website along with other interesting and thoughtful material.


Getting From Here to There

A meme to remember when the challenges of climate and inequality get you down: MORE FUN, LESS STUFF.

On a good day one can sense, through the fog of our world’s problems, a faint light.  A glimmer of a place where humans live in balance with the Earth and with each other.

Viewed from the challenges of today, that place seems to be another dimension.  And it is.  The values by which people manage themselves are dimensions of worlds we might build, and this alternate dimension can be entered through More Fun, Less Stuff.

Renewable energy and electric equipment will be needed, but they are not enough.  A positive future requires a shift in social values.

No longer can Growth be our goal.  No more producing and consuming, earning and spending ever more!  We need to maximize fulfilment from living, with the least possible material entanglement.  We can compete with one another to see who can get the most satisfaction from living with the least material throughput.

Almost every dollar we spend represents extracted resources and pollution.  The benefits go to enrich the top 1% and leave the bottom part of the population to deal with the waste.  If your purchase won’t cause waste or inequity, go for it!

Learning, love and laughter, sport, music, dance, creativity, appreciation and helping others offer unlimited opportunities for satisfaction with minimum material requirements.  And they’re fun.

Material necessities of food and shelter can be sustained by integrating with the natural world.

Nutrient flows have maintained all life since it began.  Humans can eat well forever if we use our intelligence to avoid overshooting local capacity.  Air, water and a handful of soil elements are the building blocks for all living things.  These elements can cycle indefinitely through soil life, plants, animals, ourselves and back to the soil.  By caring for soil, communities can have everlasting life.

For shelter, buildings can be assembled that require almost no outside energy.  Comfort is maintained by facing the Sun to capture its warmth when needed, and for cooling, we can engage shade trees, hold onto the cool of the nights and tap the chill of underground.

Health care at the preventative level, and education rely mostly on the unlimited resources of knowledge and our willingness to help each other.

If secure, healthy life is what we want, we can quickly shift our over-productive economy to systems that fulfill our basic needs.  The energy from wind and sun can keep these systems going, with the surplus used to make other useful items designed for durability.  The problems facing us today will become a chapter in history books.

More Fun, Less Stuff.  These four syllables can lead us out of our overgrown self-destructive place toward a place that can assure the grandchildren a world in which to raise children of their own.

Hard to imagine?  Let the meme “More Fun, Less Stuff” dwell in your consciousness.  Bring it to mind each time you feel disheartened in the face of climate change, pollution, resource depletion and inequality.  Let it soak in.  Share it with others.  The goals we pursue are the seeds from which our future grows.  Thought by thought, contact by contact, choice by choice, step by step, we can be amazed by the joy of this shift.

Can such a meme nudge its way past the well-funded directives to earn and spend, earn and spend, grow, grow, grow?  It can, if we share it each time people appear unable or unwilling to address the issues facing us.

More Fun, Less Stuff.