This, my first article of 2019, will investigate the need for our movement, its goals for the near future and what its purpose is. Despite being a small seed of an organisation, the EOS in our view is a harbinger of the leading ideas and directions of the Third Millennium, as we who inhabit this organisation are not only offering a framework of solutions, but more importantly are guided by focusing on the most important issues for humanity, our planetary civilization and the planet itself.
Moreover, this article will focus on what separates the EOS from any other similar organisation, with which we mean organisations from the green or futuristic progressive environments which postulate new and radically transformative theories about how human resource management should be organised.
This crucial difference is that while the EOS is fervent on upholding the principles outlined in the Three Criteria, the proposed solution – the trinity of the Energy Survey, Energy Accounting and the Technate – are not set in stone and in fact only is a proposed hypothetical model, which we intend to break down in its component parts for the usage of field test runs. We intend to ruthlessly and without any emotional attachment or sentimentality question the foundations of our hypothetical model, expose it to stress and field tests and investigate ways in which for example Energy Accounting potentially could be abused by both users and nodes, as well as vulnerability for different types of attacks.
Only by a vigorous, cool-headed and scientific effort can we hope to transition from the current unsustainable model, towards a model which is more sustainable.
We are not asking for the political mandate to implement The Design. We are not asking for any kind of power, social status or adulations from the public. The only thing we are asking for is the opportunity to run field tests for The Design.
That is all.
- The Earth Organisation for Sustainability is established on the basis of fomenting a transition of humanity’s relationship to its home planet.
- The foundation of this transition is “the three criteria for a sustainable future”.
- These three criteria are for us not negotiable but represent the minimum requirements for a sustainable Earth.
- The Design, like the Criteria, is composed of three components – a trinity if that would make it easier remembering.
- The main difference is however that the Design is a proposal to achieve the Three Criteria, but not the only potential proposal.
- The Design as it looks like today will probably never be implemented in the basic form outlined by the EOS.
- Rather, it is a basis for experimental platforms and models intended to approximate practical, scalable and implementable frameworks for solutions in terms of sustainable resource management.
- The EOS needs the means and the space to conduct and inspire others to conduct experiments with The Design.
- The framework is known as a “proto-technate”, a network of interconnected hubs internally trying on methodologies of energy accounting.
- Our goal is to launch a proto-technate and find ways to break down Energy Accounting, to get empirical field test analyses of our model.
What is settled
What is beyond discussion is that currently the emergence of the industrial civilization during the 19th century has presently grown beyond our control, and that the logics of an economic system built on exponential growth has altered not only the composition of land surface and shallow oceanic regions, but is also transforming global planetary systems like climate, currents, rainfall patterns, droughts, soils and aquifers. Humanity is now on the brink of a global tragedy of historical proportions – steering the planet towards a massive loss of biodiversity and an ecological collapse, while being aware of the implications of this on a purely theoretical level.
If we had been happily oblivious of the predicament we’ve caused, it would in some manners have represented a greater tragedy, but then our ignorance would partially have absolved us of the full blunt of responsibility. Right here, and right now, nobody can claim that we are ignorant dunces. The system which we through our individual and collective choices choose to legitimise every day is driving us closer and closer to the edge of an abyss opening before our eyes. And we know it.
That is a settled matter.
And that is the singularly most important issue for our time.
If we continue this current trajectory, and degrade the planet’s ecosystems further, we will initiate not only a loss of biodiversity, but a loss of civilizational complexity. This will mean a worldwide degradation of human dignity. If we disturb the climate, leading to rising sea levels, seven out of eight humans would need to relocate themselves. If we destroy groundwater and soil reserves, producing nutrients will become more complicated and strain more resources. While this adjustment, if it relates to 10-20% of our economic output seems minuscule in relation to the world economy, it should be reminded that we are 7,5 billion people and the number is ticking up.
We can choose what attitudes we want to have in relation to this slow deterioration of our planetary habitability, but its veracity cannot be considered up for debate. It is a fact that we all must have a relationship to. The urgency of the need to adopt a position in relation to this chain of events will most likely only grow. After all, this issue will affect us all – especially those with least power to currently affect the trajectory of history, i.e the majority of the planetary population.
There are basically three paths which are not congruent but which can address this issue.
- Strive to maximise economic growth and hope to discover some wunderteknologie which can establish sustainability and solve all our problems.
- Strive towards efforts to expand the foothold humanity has in the solar system to try to relieve the Earth with extra-planetary resources.
- Strive to scale back our usage of the planet’s renewal capacity and live within the framework of a global ecological budget ceiling.
The EOS is, to a very large degree, advocating that humanity would choose the third path, since it is least reliant on hope and least reliant on techs which we currently do not possess, and which in the first case we don’t even know whether or not they are physically possible to achieve on Earth.
We find that the first two paths advocated are either based on cornucopian super-optimism, or on arguments made in bad faith. Firstly, the relationship between more sneakers, hamburgers and cell-phones sold, and technological innovation, is not necessarily straightforward. Why must investments in innovation necessarily be a fraction of economic growth which is continuing to – on a growing scale – increase the stress on the planet’s environment?
Space, on the other hand, represents other challenges. The types of habitats we need to construct to entertain human life outside of Earth would need to be even less resource intense than sustainable housing on Earth, and would probably initially represent a higher cost in terms of resource usage (from planetary resources).
This does not mean that we shut the door to scientific and technological innovations and space colonisation, only that for us as an organisation our number one priority is and will always be the establishment of sustainability on Earth. Other organisations are basing their outlook on more cornucopian ideals, and they have the liberty to do so. We may be wrong in our focus, but if we are right and they are wrong, then it would be a criminal offence by us to not pursue our path to provide humanity with a wider array of options at the table.
From our point of view, the Three Criteria are – as we use to state – our minimum requirements for a sustainable future for mankind. For sake of repetition, we can mention that they consider the areas of a global ecological budget ceiling, a global circular economy and a social state of the world characterised by a living standard floor below which no human being would need to fall.
There is a delineation between the Three Criteria and the Design. One could say that the former rather than being a part of the Design constitutes an intersect between the Ideology and the Design, anchoring the Design in relationship to goals based around 1) our assessment of the current global situation, 2) our judgement in regards to what values should be the paramount drivers of human civilization on Earth. The Three Criteria are set in stone in relation to the Ideology, but are in no means tied to the particular Design we have proposed as a hypothetical model. This provides us with a flexibility which doesn’t tie our hands to necessarily one particular solution.
The Design – Survey, Accounting and Technate
The Design which we aim to test can be summarised as consisting of the following three components:
- The Energy Survey
- The Energy Accounting System
- The Technate
The Energy Survey is a continuous process of creating a map of resources, resource usage and ecological system parameters, which can determine the size of the available economy beneath the ecological budget ceiling.
The Energy Accounting System is the process of creating and distributing Energy Units as well as determining the ecological cost of production processes.
The Technate is the virtual infrastructure connecting users, creators and production nodes within the framework of a de-centralised network which is responsible for transmitting impulses which then in real time will be translated into commands.
If that civilization would be comparable to an organism, the Energy Survey is the DNA map of the structure, the Energy Accounting System is the brain stem responsible for governing bodily functions and receiving signals, and the Technate would of course be the brain itself.
This theoretical model of a society has the strength that it is relatively simple as we have approached human civilization not from the point of view of its current development, its economic structures and the power relations which they entail. In short, when we first envisioned the Design, we made the conscious choice – in the words of our former chairperson Dr Andrew Wallace – to “approach the Earth as if was an alien world, where we only took into account the amount of persons living on it and the amount of surface and resources it could sustain us with and still be ecologically sound”.
This approach allows us to not show any inhibition in envisioning the rearrangement of our future without factoring in present and established political institutions. This could be seen as an attempt to undermine the existing order, to foment a violent overthrow of the planetary system of economic management and rush us towards an unknown future dictated by a Utopian vision for a better world.
If we were a political movement, so to say.
Two roads ahead – the Wager of the Millennium
Right now humanity is at a crossroad. It is widely known that we have built our current civilization on unsustainable foundations. If we look at the situation with sobriety, we see that the present debates currently dominating the political spectrum – on the most encompassing level the conflict between pro-globalization and populist nationalism, and on the most superficial level the conflict of identity politics – we can see that the only choice that matters for humanity under our current century and millennium, is and will for a foreseeable future be our relationship to our home planet. Globalists want to make permanent the current doctrine of exponential growth and capital accumulation, whereas the populist-nationalists want to preserve the conditions of the second half of the 20th century, with the working class of the West living in prosperous welfare states shielded from competition by upstarts like China, India and other developing countries. That conflict is not productive and not relating to the painful transition somewhere humanity would have to have.
The only relevant debate is about our relationship to our planet and how our current unsustainability will affect us in the long run. In this regard, the most important conflict is not whether how freely capital, goods and people should flow, but a conflict consisting of two positions, which both affirm the severity of the situation.
- Cornucopians, who recognise the direness of the situation, but believe that the current monetary-financial system is fundamentally good and must be preserved, and that adjustments to the system, new technological discoveries and extropian colonisation of the solar system will allow us to continue with business as usual indefinitely. This faction will support continued growth.
- Gaians, who view the world from the lens of humanity’s relationship to nature and see the current socio-economic system as fundamentally incompatible with sustainability. While highly divergent in their opinions regarding solutions, or even the possibility of solutions, gaians tend to favour solutions aiming for an end to the compulsion of exponential economic growth and the squirrel wheel.
Of course, the gaian position(s) can in no way currently attract mass appeal. In fact, both populist-nationalists and globalists have reasons to dislike it – the former for the loss of the type of economic standard and the individualist culture which follows it, the latter for delegitimising and undermining the current order of things.
And EOS is, for all extent and purposes, a predominantly gaian organisation, with one big caveat – that is, we accept the cornucopian position that tech has a big role to play in the transition. In fact, the EOS straddles the gaian and cornucopian positions in that we simultaneously stress the paramount importance of a global ecological budget with an emphasis of using new technologies and innovations to reduce our impact while maintaining a good quality of life wherever it is possible. We also have reasons to believe that the development of new technologies are not necessitating by the proliferation of junk production and continued monoculturization of the globe. Our agenda is the survival and improvement of human civilization on Earth.
As for the moment, the globalists are almost to the individual level agreeing that there is a severe environmental crisis – though they single-mindedly tend to focus on the climate and gloss over the way we currently utilise land surface. Yet, they insist that we continue running the current trajectory, stating that only through continued growth can we gain the resources to afford developing new wonder technologies and improve the standard of living to the extent that the public will be motivated to accept a form of transition. Thus, they are predominantly cornucopian as a faction. This is hardly surprising, as the entire legitimacy of their worldview derives from the fundamental benevolence that they ascribe to our current civilization, its monetary-financial systems and institutions, and the perpetuation of its economic, cultural and civilizational tenets. While they do not desire the collapse of the civilization, for them and for much of the world’s population currently invested in the status quo the current civilization represents the epitome of human ingenuity and history. The marvels ushered in by the industrial revolution have, no matter what we think about the issue, been made possible by our current monetary-financial system.
Our current civilization is simply the best, or at least the one with the until now best ability to realise human potential. Yes, there are glaring social problems, but these have existed in every state in every time. And yet, the tragedy is that this – the until now most developed and most dynamic of human cultures – is in the process of destroying the planetary biosphere and usher in its own collapse, while its own citizenry is aware of it happening.
The wager is this: Will this current civilization be able to continue to violate the laws of Thermodynamics and continue on with its compulsion for exponential growth indefinitely until we discover new technologies which will save us from the impending ecological disaster? Or must we transition towards a new civilization where we follow a different set of rules and institute a global ecological budget ceiling and a regime where everything must cost its environmental weight?
The wager is on, and the EOS is betting on the latter. We might be wrong, but we do not believe that and we believe that our perspective is needed.
Building the Proto-technate
The Design consists of a secular trinity of concepts – the Energy Survey, the System of Energy Accounting and then the Technate itself.
- The Energy Survey is the process of examining the planetary ecology and its relationship with our planet.
- Energy Accounting is the system of creating and distributing and tracking Energy Units, the post-monetary currency which would be used under our hypothesised system.
- The Technate, finally, is the institutional system within which these aforementioned systems are administered.
While the Energy Survey and Energy Accounting are interlinked programming systems, the Technate can be described as the hardware or the cellular structure within which these commands take place. There are various hypothetical models of how technates can work and operate, but the standard model is a continental or global mechanism to oversee resource flows and serve as a conduit for information, allocation and distribution of resources.
A proto-technate, on the contrary, is a far more scalable, basic model which does not concern itself with the oversight and management of information regarding global resource usage. Rather, it concerns itself with a few environmental factors, a few resources and a small network of nodes utilising these resources. Neither would the energy units initially be distributed directly to the users, but rather to the production facilities directly involved in the proto-technate.
One could say that while a full-scale technate would involve itself with a population the range of 100 million to 10 billion, a proto-technate would consist of a minimum of two nodes, with a “population” ranging from ten and upward. The structural form would thus correspond rather to a typical eco-village than a planetary civilization.
For an example, let’s say that we possess a wind- or solar park, as well as a factory floor with 3D printers and sensor heaters. In this case, we can get an energy transfer from the power plant to the factory, which would be a one-way transfer, and measured not in terms of money but in energy units, meaning that the factory would not pay money to the park. If we would like to have a loop, the factory can devote some of its production and time to producing spare parts for the power plant.
More nodes, for example nodes producing food, can be added to the network, adding nutrients to the other holons, which in their turn will provide the newcomer with tools and electricity. And so on. This internal relay system will of course not work as Energy Accounting in the full form, but our reason is not primarily to seek an organic transition – at least not initially. Rather, we are striving towards experimentation.
The abovementioned form of model is just one of the many test formats which can be run within the framework of a proto-technate.
The goal is to test launch Energy Accounting, to refine it, morph it into various evolutionary forms, find ways for it to be implemented, scaled, and to let the test of reality put stress on it – to see where it can be improved and where it fails to provide the desired results or would cause unforeseen consequences.
In short, a proto-technate is a hub, consisting of several holons, which aims to work both for its own sake but also to find ways in which to test Energy Accounting. The data will be gathered and analysed by the EOS and with enough experiments we will start seeing trends where factors can be taken into account, adjusted and then used as the basis for more experiments.
Ideally, our model will be applied and tweaked by hundreds of holon clusters, and through numerous failures we will begin touch something resembling a working template for a sustainable socio-economic post-monetary system.
Image by Jonas Dero
The core of it all
The analysis put forth by the EOS is centred around the idea that any form of functional transition must adhere to the Three Criteria, and that we cannot rely on wishful ideas that future technologies we have not yet imagined will magically solve the contradictions of our current growth-based monetary-financial system and its relationship with the planetary biosphere which embeds it. Since our movement do not have any vested interests in the idea of the continuation of the current status quo, we look at the world and the human civilization from the perspective of the Three Criteria rather than political or socio-cultural prisms.
What prevents us from moving forward and attain what today seems unattainable, is that every discussion and therefore every solution is occurring within a framework where our current monetary-financial system is seen as inevitable. While there are thousands of proposed alternatives, none of them can be said to be tangible, since they only exist on a theoretical level as of yet.
While the Design was formed as such a theoretical model, our goal is not political advocacy, nor even traditional advocacy in its own right. We do not recommend the immediate transition from a fiat-based monetary-financial system into a post-monetary system on the global or even national level.
What we say is absolutely necessary for any form of transition from the current unsustainable system to a system that is sustainable in terms of fulfilling the Three Criteria. According to our analysis, this is not attainable within the framework of the current system and its insatiable need for exponential growth. Therefore, we need to explore alternatives, and these alternatives need to be scalable and capable of evolving organically.
When testing the Design and forming variations of it, there need to be control groups capable of making independent and unbiased studies of the processes to identify weaknesses and risks with implementing the Design. Gradually, by the elimination of theoretical models that don’t work, we will approach something that may fulfil the Three Criteria.
The EOS is nearly unique as a movement of its form, calibre and kind, because we do not assume a priori that our alternative post-monetary model, which is untested, unverified and currently not scaled, would solve all problems only if implemented. That is one of the contributing factors to our small size. Yet, those attracted by our message are not those who only want to dream, but those who want to build and who are capable of daring to stare the truth in the eye. In the long term, we are convinced that is a winning strategy.
Do you want to join our journey? Then join our community: