300 years ago, the Enlightenment generated an inspiring vision of scientific, technological and economic progress. What was once global ‘progress’, however, has become a climate, ecological, economic and now pandemic disaster.
We need new inspiration.
When we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic we can’t afford
to go back to business-as-usual.
We need to build ourselves a new ecological civilization
in which we live, work and play in harmony with Nature,
We face not one but three simultaneous inter-connected crises: the COVID-19 Emergency, the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency, and the Crisis of Capitalism. We urgently need connected constructive responses.
When you recall the movie When Harry Met Sally, your horny mind probably goes straight the scene in the delicatessen, and “I’ll have what she’s having”. Setting that aside, it took Harry and Sally a long time before they realized that they were natural partners. In my version of the story, Harry is the climate and biodiversity action movement and Sally is the COVID-19 community response movement. For each, the movement includes a wide mix of people, organizations, scientists, health workers, artists, businesses, banks and governments who have realized the urgency of their respective crises. Ideally I need a third character to represent the new economics movement, but since there was no suggestion of polyamory in the movie, I’ll settle for tradition. It would make for a great sequel, however.
The Mint Magazine despatches Guy Dauncey to Switzerland, a decade into the future, to report on the global summit.
It was pouring when we arrived in Davos. The local news channels were full of complaints about how useless the artificial snow-machines were in the rain. Everyone knew the continuing climate crisis was to blame. Their glum expressions said it all.
When the invitation arrived for The Mint to send a journalist I volunteered because I wanted to see how my Tesla Raven Model 5 would manage the 1,000 km, 12-hour journey on just one recharge, ride-sharing with three others. Success. We arrived with 154 km still in the battery.
How can I describe the mood among the delegates? The world had entered the final year of the 2020s, and the steady reduction in global emissions along with the full-on engagement by China and India made many people feel optimistic. But the ongoing litany of disasters, including the massive flooding in Holland and the forest fires in the Amazon, made most still feel fearful.
by Guy Dauncey, March 27th 2020 Updated March 30th.
Our food chain in BC is hugely dependent on imports, making it extremely vulnerable. On Vancouver Island, 95% of our food arrives on the ferry.
BC has tens of thousands of acres of farmland that are lying fallow, or growing hay for horses that serve no agricultural purpose. In the Cowichan Valley Regional District there are 17,700 hectares of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, of which in 2010 only 10,840 hectares were in agricultural production, and only 2,120 hectares were set up for irrigation.
The COVID-19 pandemic is growing in its reach every day. Now is the time to be planning for worst-case scenarios, including:
How can we stay strong during this crisis? With love, careful planning, and care for others – and total lockdown.
The end of the tunnel may be a long way off, but if we treat it with the utmost seriousness, keep our social distance, wash our hands regularly, and look out for each other, we can stop the spread of the virus and reach the light at the end. When we emerge, huge numbers of people will hopefully want a more caring, cooperative approach to life, and a new kind of economy, based less on greed, selfishness and the destruction of Nature, and more on the economics of kindness.
The pandemic has seized our attention, and so it should – but the climate and ecological emergencies haven’t paused out of sympathy, thinking “Let’s give the humans a break.” That’s not the way Nature works.
We can’t afford to relax our climate and environmental concerns just because we’ve got other concerns. We have to do both. And being stuck at home gives us an opportunity to do some serious planning. Serious, as in “Let’s make our family 100% climate and ecologically friendly within five years.”
A video of Guy Dauncey presenting a brief summary of this paper is here.
“This is a practical, down to earth concrete step by step transition strategy for the Canadian government to get real about the climate emergency. A must read for all Canadians to make a difference and communicate to their elected officials new policies and programs that will make a difference now.” – Professor Ann Dale, Trudeau Fellow Alumna, Canada Research Chair, Royal Roads University
“This is vital reading. It maps out an evidence-based route ahead; to open real conversations around what we actually need to do in these testing times. It should be read by politicians and policymakers, local and regional councillors, business front-runners, university and health service delivery managers, indeed everyone who wants to explore how we can collectively build the new zero carbon world we so urgently need.” – Paul Allen, Project Coordinator, Zero Carbon Britain project at the Centre for Alternative Technology
“Visionary and thorough, Dauncey’s 26 week Transition Program deserves close scrutiny in Canada and beyond. His passion for a clean economy shines.” – Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., O.B.C., singer, founder of Raffi Foundation For Child Honouring
A new ecological civilization, it whispers ever so softly
By Guy Dauncey
There comes a time in the evolution of every civilization when the Universe sends us a new message. Slowly, it works its way through the multiple layers of a long-established culture. It is buffeted by resistance and repulsed by rulers, but in spite of this it finds its voice in the songs of poets, the impulses of teenagers, and the dreams of millions.
This is most of the final Chapter 34 of my novel Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible. The book is set in Vancouver in the year 2032, by when it has become the world’s greenest city, alongside Portland and Copenhagen. Patrick Wu, a 24-year-old Chinese Canadian, is visiting a future world brimming with innovation and hope, where the climate crisis is being tackled, the solar revolution is underway and a new cooperative economy is taking shape. But enormous danger still lurks. The final chapter consists of this Dinner Party. All of the philosophers and scientists mentioned in the text are real, except Satyanendra Mukherjee, who wrote the First and Second Laws of Syntropy.
This is a long read. It’s about syntropy, entropy, religion, the question of whether the Universe has purpose, the omnipresence of consciousness, its relationship to quantum theory, the relationship between the inner and the outer realms, the nature of free will, the shortcomings of the standard model of physics, deep history, and why this is relevant to the multiple crises we face today.
Guy Dauncey is an author, speaker and ecotopian futurist who works to develop a positive vision of a sustainable future, and to translate that vision into action. He lives on Vancouver Island.