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This word indicates the lasting impact of human activities on our natural surroundings. This influence has reached such a point of significance that it will leave an eternal researchable print on the surface of our planet. It resembles the geological markings that were left behind by other huge impacts on our planet and its lifeforms, s.a. climate changes, volcanic eruptions, meteorite impacts, ice-ages, etc. Those eras have received a particular name because of the unique traceable combinations of environmental impact and interaction with the existence and evolution of life, the appearance and disappearance of species and evolutionary patterns. Anthropocene is the very first era that can be attributed to the behavior of a single species, the human being.
This Anthropocene is hence the very first conscious act of destruction, pollution and manipulation. It does not mean that the consciousness is done entirely on purpose. It is a consequence of an evolutionary development of a human society that has avoided, neglected or remained unaware of the need for harmonic relationships with our universe. This awareness is now reaching the awakening consciousness of the species, demanding the intense and urgent modification of societal structuring that evolved over many millenia. The question that arises today is whether the required transformation is at all possible, considering the way the species deals with power, authority, aggression and greed in its structuring of responsibilities. Lots of modern talks consider the need to define ethics, spirituality and morality in our behavior and social organization. Hardly any reflection occurs yet on a much more serious consequence of the Anthropocene: the genetic anthropocene!
Genetic footprint of pollution
The human consists of rational intelligence which becomes aware of the Anthropocene from the traditional external sensory point of view. It is a challenge of course to translate this rational into behavioral changes that allow our species to progress in a sustainable manner. A lot of effort goes into transforming our industrial, manufacturing and logistic activities. What we have neglected in our quest for material abundance is that we are also beings with physical properties that are equivalent to those of our surroundings. From a molecular composition point of view we do not differ from our natural environment. The molecules come together to shape a human life around a purpose yet the quality of the assembly is a good as the quality of the surrounding components. Pollution in our environment is equivalently present inside our physical system. Our body is a complex machinery of harmonically interacting elements that involves the entire evolutionary complexity since the big bang. Our molecular composition and our enrichment through sensory interaction with our environment, is a mirror image of the consciousness of the surrounding universe about which we reflect. Pollution is part of that, when it occurs, and influences in exactly the same degree our composition and awareness.
What does this mean?
It means that our genetic coding is including the physical and psychological disorder that the pollution of our environment is providing. This is measurable through science. Many other species show genetic disorder already due to the Anthropocene. Some have mutuations that mutulate their existance and evolutionary chances. Others, especially on bacterial level adjust to such an extend that they become a threat to human kind.
Genetic research has found in the last few years the codes that predict the chances of any person to suffer a disorder in life. Right now this research is done from a material perspective to determine how much health insurance someone may have to pay when society becomes aware that a certain illness is more or less likely to occur. The morality of such conclusions is of course highly disputable but the same research can show that the same genetics show an Anthropocene too in our genetical footprint. In practical reality we see that more and more people suffer cancer and other types of health problems. Archaeological research on mummies, skeletons and other human remains of our history confirm this tendency.
There are of course scientists that refuse to admit this. Some simply believe that the growing problems in health are a consequence of a longer life expectancy and improved scientific level of knowledge and maintenance of statistics. This is ridiculous of course. Why accept the disorder and mutations in animals, insects and plants, and not in the human species. We are the same as our environment!
This is an even more serious consequence then the effects of the Anthropocene itself. Even if we manage to adjust our behavior we will eternally show the scars of our Anthropocene in our own genetic anthropocene, with all the related consequences in our own evolutionary quality of life. Harmony with our surroundings is therefor an issue of universal ethics that urgently needs to be introduced in our systems of law, morality and behavior.
The fact that sustainable progress is not a democratic choice nor a transformative process was a true revelation to me these days. It is an act of taking responsibility. If I take responsibility I can ask others to so too, even institutionally. And if they do not take responsibility I can ask them to justify their reasons and even ask justice to speak out. Wow! Will the near future look like that?
I came to that revelation while wrapping up my new booklet on “the new society” with my conclusions. My model takes a complex issue (a human value s.a. health) in a region and asks business, government, science and the civil community to take responsibility together. Purpose driven, multi-disciplinary ventures appear s.a. AiREAS or STIR (initiatives that I started myself). Today I am still relying on the voluntary choice of an institution to participate despite the value driven purpose.
“Sustainocracy” defines the new model for society. The word is a fusion between Sustainable Progress and Democracy.
Sustainable Progress is in my view not a democratic choice but an imperative mission of humankind. The imposition on all of us to work together on a healthy, vital and safe human community seems very logical to me. New leadership in this new society is represented by someone who takes the initiative to create new age purpose driven venture based on that moral imposition. Why would a single person take such complex initiative? Because no one else can, not institutionally anyway, because of the way economics works.
My own awareness came when I was challenged to make an instant decision of human value. The safety of my children or my money driven career? There was no middle way. For me it was no choice, I was given no transition time, I had to make up my mind instantly. My decision was to bring my children into safety. What else? Would I at that instant be at ease with myself if I had made the other choice? Once a person is aware the decision is not a choice anymore, nor a process. It become an instant change of mindset, taking responsibility at once. After that moment, the consequences are huge because the process of no return starts when the new responsibilities need to establish and organize themselves in one’s life while letting go the old securities and way of life. But there is no way back. The new mindset was instant, the decision made and the consequences are logical and permanent.
This is key. When someone who is aware and has taken responsibility for sustainable progress and subsequently takes a seat on that line of sustainable progress in my model, starting to invite government, business authorities, scientific institutions and civil individuals to join him and take responsibility too for a complex local issue around human health, vitality or safety, can any such authority decline their participation? On what grounds?
In my own experience so far the institutional excuses have been as varied as:
- Not our main priority
- No people, time or money available
- If you have no budget we are not interested
- Don’t how to contribute
- Not taxable so we cannot support them
- My shareholders won’t let me
It is amazing that in the fragmented, consequence driven, money dependent organizations, the corporate interests have no connection at all to sustainable issues. Else there would be no issue to join the venture, would there? They would be honored, but they are not. Amazing! And even more appalling is the fact that this attitude is considered normal and legally supported. Right now our common focus is on the economies of growth without any interest or even awareness of the consequences of such mentality. Even the genuine invitation of participating with corporate talent and authority in value driven ventures is treated with apprehensive policy choices.
Sustainocracy is dictatorial from a perspective of a common human goal, and democratic in how to achieve it. Democracy by itself is inclined to sum up the self-interest up to a point of self-destruction (Club of Rome warns for this already from the 70s). It is necessary that we accept the greedy nature of humankind but also acknowledge the wisdom that sustainable progress is mandatory, not by human choice but by universal logic. A simple modification in our global systems of justice, defining that all institutional hierarchies should commit to sustainable progress by taking responsibility, could help reform instantly our global wellness expectations. This is of course wishful thinking at this stage, however while precedence with the new model grows the pressure on institutions to take responsibility will grow too.
Important for everyone to know is that sustainable progress can be instantly accepted everywhere in the world. It is now not a political choice anymore, nor a transition process that takes many years. It is a simple moment of instant truth in which we take responsibility or not. This decision is not made through voluntary choice but instant awareness, an act of consciousness that opens up our eyes to universal truth. When this occurs individually the consequences are personal and demanding. But can we expect this responsibility and awareness from our institutions? Yes, of course we can. They are not more than instrumental to human progress. We can demand from them to be constructive and not destructive.
There is not one single reason that would justify the lack of our participation, individually or institutionally, in human health, vitality and security improving missions defined by sustainable progress. It is up to ourselves to open up our eyes, take responsibility and expect others to do so too.
The current and most widely used definition for sustainable development dates from 1987 (Brundtland) and is totally useless for sustainable progress. It says:
“sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This statement is not sustainable itself as it cannot pinpoint individual responsibility to anyone or current generations let alone future generations. Consider for instance what the definition of needs is of today? Needs of who? The material wealthy or the poor in Africa or Asia? Your needs? My needs? Do they refer to the needs of business or political economies, luxury or primary needs? Business needs maybe?
How about the needs of future generations? How would we know what these future generations will need? They might for all we know require massive amounts of oil for medical purposes, yet we burn it all up right now. How can we take responsibility for the abilities of future generations if they are not just dependent on our left overs but also on important other variables that have nothing to do with human behavior, s.a. climat changes for instance. Do we blame the human who killed the last Dodo because he was hungry? Or do we blame ourselves for not creating responsible alternatives for nutrician before the Dodos were made extinct in the first place. How many species have to perrish before we take responsibility for the current generation?
In fact, who would control what we use, how we use it and determine if it affects future generations at all? Is this control our individual responsibility? How can we measure this? Who is to blame if we judge incorrectly and who judges? And how can I worry about compromising future generations if we already compromise current generation around our globe? In fact, this most popular definition is a open letter that allows us and anyone to do what we please without taking any responsibility. As it stands it has been insignificant since the definition appeared and introduced a green washing wisdom in industrial and government policies around the world. It may have made us a little more aware but certainly not more sustainable in development or progress, on the contrary, and not at all responsible towards future generations as we wouldn’t know how. And really, who in command cares?
In my own foundation we work on the development of workable cooperative organizations around projects that address sustainable progress of humanity itself, segmented into key issues. Interestingly we could do absolutely nothing with the definition. We found it perfectly viable to introduce some basic environment awareness in capitalist industries but totally useless when projected onto the complexity of current humanity itself.
This motivated me to come up with one of my own, just like probably hundreds of other responsible people around me over the years. My definition for sustainable progress is:
“Sustainable progress is the development that continuously improves human health, vitality, safety and dynamic progression in optimal relationship with the constantly changing environment in which we live and act.”
I found that this definition places the responsibility with each and everyone of us, as individuals as well as business and public entities, in the here and now. It became the basis of the cooperative innovative business identities that are being developped by us around real issues that concern us today, s.a. energy, quality of life, education, smart mobility, air quality and polution, food, water, etc…
The definition helps us to define our visions away from material goals and determine specific higher purposes that matter and have a positive effect on our selves, our current generations and our environment. We feel it contributes to true sustainable progress in a measurable and accountable way with the satisfaction that whatever we do in this context it will always serve also generations to come.
We hear all the time that we are doing all right so why would we want to transform our business practices at all into multidimensionality? Well, the first thing we should ask ourselves is: “Are we indeed doing so well?” If you really look at it we are not at all. We are socially, morally and economically parasiting on the wealth that was generated between 1950 and 1985 approximately. After that we started to decline in mentality, taking wellfare for granted and allowing ourselves to become greedy. This is no basis for prosperity at all.
When we look at the ideal world as we would define it with all the knowledge we have today then we would take all we have today with two extras: that the whole world was wealthy, healthy and vital. Because such human world would be the optimum market to develop any business. And secondly that we would have no danger at all of running our of resources. Because with an abundance of (natural) resources we could we would be able to do as we please and not worry about destruction or endangering our species at any time.
This ideal world is called “Utopia” right now because we have all we have but behave in such a way that the extras that we would desire are getting further and further our of our reach. This risk we run is that we even loose what we have today, or yesterday I should say, as the credit crisisn already to an important chunck of our wealth away. That is why we need to transform. It is not that difficult to turn the trend. It is a matter of mentality. When we make our business plans why not commit ourselves to produce some product or services that improves the health, wealth or motivation of our fellow human beings. Simply by making ourselves think about it is already a mayor transformation. If everyone does it the world would evolve to be a better place day after day.
As with the resources we could dedicate our innovative creativity to challenge everything the over consumes resources and create similar added values without any dependence on natural resources or at least minimizing it while using resources that are available in abundance. Why should everything remain the same when we have changed everything already various times around during the last century? Let’s keep changing everthing: our housing, infrastructures, transpotation systems, safety ad protection, energy usage, spare time, education, …………
In change there is added value and in added value is profit and profit is wealth and prosperity and prosperity is good. As long as it is worth all our while and not just a few. That is why we need to transform and learn to compete in doing good, better and best.