What an opportunity, to delve into our imaginations and share our vision of
the sustainable future that we like to think we are working towards!
In my perfect world, humans have evolved beyond violent animal instincts and
have given up violence as a means to any end. This includes violence against
other humans as well as violence against the Earth. What follows is
acceptance of difference between individuals and the end of oppression. The
nuclear-family model will be supplanted by an extended family model, not
joined only by blood but by common interests, common endeavors, and common
affection. Children will be raised in community, with the burdens and joys
shared by a number of people who love and care for them.
The hierarchical structures of politics and commerce have fallen away and
left room for locally based, environmentally sound economies to develop that
are well-matched to the native resources. Trade is still carried on between
bioregions, which swap surpluses of the local specialties--whether these be
wind power, high quality grain, or products made using these resources--for
items produced in other regions. Alternatives to fossil fuels are well-known
and used as a matter of course.
With a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, population
growth will level off and decrease to a level that can be sustained by the
environment. (this is the most problematic part of the vision)
The bulk of food production is local, even in extreme environments, as
methods will be developed that allow food production in the increased area
of the planet that has become desert. More intensive water conservation and
storage and soil conservation techniques will be an essential component of
this effort. Polycultures and mixed animal-cropping systems will be the norm
on all food-producing lands, reaping the benefits of complex systems that
approach the complexity of natural systems. Food production will be a
More people will live close to the land. There will be a new respect for the
few wild areas that remain in the world, which will be saved from
exploitation for their resources because of the acknowledgment that their
main contribution is to remain wild.
These are some of the main features of my dream. I contend that we all know
the answers, we simply need to apply what we know.
I don't agree with the notion that discussing methods will send us into
tail-chasing circles. In fact, the way to accomplish this end is, to me, an
even more vital question than what every single detail may work out to be,
because it seems that becoming a truly sustainable society is a huge project
and even beginning it would be useful. Most people would probably say my
dream is very unlikely, and most days I would agree with them! Yet holding
such a vision, especially at the end of the century, when the seeds for the
next hundred years are being planted, is important to me.
Some of the methods I've considered are: global enlightenment, global crisis
that brings us very close to the brink of extinction, non-violent revolution
(again, how?) ...
Any thoughts are welcome.
Thanks, Vicki, for bringing it up! What's your vision?
University of Nebraska-Lincoln alternative crops research technician
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society western organizer
High Plains Ag Lab
3257 Rd. 109
Sidney, NE 69162