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Universal Platform for Developing Sustainable Earth Vision1/Model Cooperatively:
Global Citizens Envisioning the Future Together.

by Mr. Jan Hearthstone - ModelEarth.Org .

A sustainable world can never be fully realized until it is widely envisioned. The vision must be built up by many people before it is complete and compelling. (Meadows 2004, p273)

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
(R. Buckminster Fuller - )

One can--and eventually must--decide that a fate is an inadequate substitute for a future.
(Umair Haque
- )

We have to know what kind of a world we want to live in, if the one that we live in now we don't like.

The challenge is to come up with an idea of a world that would optimally suit us all; an ideal that all of us on Earth could focus on and strive for--a harmonious, truly sustainable co-existence of us all on Earth.

It has to be an ideal accessible, discussable, and amendable by every- and any-body at all times--the germ of a true global (and, of course local at the same time) governance--a government where the governing would be done by the means of a "vision"1/model in common worked on, held and striven for by all continuously.

The valid competition would be to improve on the ideal (vision/model), and to find better ways of achieving this ideal, instead of competing for advantage over others to the detriment of the whole, as has the prevalent practice been till now.

There would, eventually, cease any need for "leaders" and "followers"--everyone would have the potential to take a part in embodying their own ideas (in concert with the wishes for an ideal existence of all others) in the continuously being shaped collective vision/model. The resulting collective vision/model would not be static--an ideal could not remain an ideal without the possibility of improving on it perpetually. It would be a space to resolve any differences, controversies, conflicts, and any complaints that there ever might arise among us; it would become a superior way of a collective self-rule.

What is being referred to in the quote at the beginning of the article--the "envisioning" and "vision" of the ideal to be realized--are indeed essential for achieving that which is being desired:

... Vision without action is useless. But action without vision is directionless and feeble.Vision is absolutely necessary to guide and motivate. ... (Meadows 2004, p272).

The vision, indeed, " ... must be built up by many people before it is complete and compelling. ..." (Meadows 2004, p273)--But how to do this? How to allow a vast number of people (potentially all who live on Earth and have a stake in the future of this world, each perhaps with their own vision) to co-operate on creating one vision of one Earth's future?

This mind staggering task might stop many from even ever contemplating such an undertaking--an assumption validated by the lack of any progress in presenting a platform on which to unite all of the possible visions of a sustainable Earth ever since Donella Meadows' passing away (2001).

Despite Donella Meadows' "visioning"/"envisioning" being taught at many places in the world, the one thing needed for starting to work on a to all acceptable future--a place where all could relate their ideas with the ideas of everyone else--is missing. Where is it that anyone could compare their vision with the visions of others?
On a local level it might be possible (even though it is not done properly anywhere, to my knowledge--correct me, please, if you know otherwise), but how about coordinating all the local visions with the vision for the whole world?

There could, possibly, be a way that would allow to accommodate all of our personally and locally held visions/models on a global level, but, only as long as we can all agree that we all want to live truly and provably sustainably.

Consider this:
Imagine an Earth where humans exist in zero population growth communities situated amidst wild, by humans unregulated nature, where all the other species that we share this planet with live untroubled by humans.

Each of the communities would consist of any and all possible forms (no matter how simple or complex ) of sustainability--from hunter-gatherer way of life to anything more complex, with the most complex forms at the center--as long as those communities would be transparently and demonstrably sustainable, so that their way of living would not adversely affect the existence of other human communities and other life on Earth.

In order to establish the basic population density level on Earth, it should be based on the least complex ecologically and socially sustainable life-style, so that should any forms of a sustainable life-style existing on Earth fail for any reason, hunter-gatherer life-style is the least complex one at which humanity could exist comfortably, providing there is an ample territory to do it on with sufficient safety margin that would allow for any, even now unforeseeable exigencies--this in order to establish the basic human population level. (N.B.--I am not advocating that all humans become hunters-gatherers at first and then develop sustainably, as opposed to the way that we developed actually.) In this way there would be no need for having to accommodate all other species sharing the Earth with us in any special way--those would always live in balance with humans who would not be able to inflict much damage on them due to their small number.

Any communities at a level of sustainability more complex than that of hunter-gatherers within this universal vision (i.e.--withing a model) would be "evolved"--not driven by external circumstances, instead pulled towards the vision of the ideal--from the least complex one possible step by step, demonstrating that each more complex level of sustainability would indeed be sustainable ecologically and socially in every aspect, all communities together making sure not to exceed the total population level of humans on Earth that would always remain fixed at what it would be if all humans lived as hunter-gatherers--this as a safety measure in case that people, if not satisfied with higher complexity level of sustainability, would always have the opportunity to fall back to living at less complex levels of sustainability. More on this in "Defining 'Sustainability' by Illustrating the Concept Using Modeling
(instead of by merely describing it

I imagine that people (both--in constructing the vision/model, and in the sustainable world that would be the vision realized) would be able to "vote with their feet"--at any time when they would feel that they would like to live, either at a different place, or at a different level of sustainability, they would just re-group/re-locate. In this way social sustainability would be ensured--no one would be forced to stay at any place, or at any level of complexity of sustainability.

Again--it must not be understood that I advocate that all the billions of people on Earth that there are now should become hunter-gatherers and then tried to work their way to the level of complexity of sustainability that they would like to live at in real life! All this above would be happening in models (of any appropriate kind, e. g. "gedanken experiments, etc.) for the purposes of getting a practicable "vision"/model together.

The what-so-ever model(s)/vision(s) that would be arrived at should not be anything less than a portrayal of an as perfect as possible situation. (However--"visions" should never be considered as being static; they would evolve along with the evolution of thoughts on the subject.) The model(s) arrived at should not be impeded by what might be considered possible, or impossible, in our current, very imperfect world that we are forced to live in now:

Visioning means imagining, at first generally and then with increasing specificity, what you really want. That is, what you really want, not what someone has taught you to want, and not what you have learned to be willing to settle for. Visioning means taking off the constraints of "feasibility," of disbelief and past disappointments, and letting your mind dwell upon its most noble, uplifting, treasured dreams. (Meadows 2004, p272)

The ideal should not be limited by what might be thought of as being "possible", or "impossible" at any given time!:

"... In order to conceive of what you truly want to create, you must separate what you want from what you think is possible. ..." (Fritz 1984, p71)

The ways of achieving the ideal depicted in the "visions"/"universal models" should start suggesting themselves as soon as the model would appear to be practicable enough.

A great number of variations on this "vision"/model suggest themselves--the result would still be a humanity that would harmoniously exist with itself and all other life on Earth, providing that humanity would adhere strictly to the "zero population growth" policy, and to living demonstrably and transparently sustainably.

A way of providing a satisfactory definition of "sustainable"/"sustainably" would be to demonstrate transparently in models (of any appropriate kind) that any situation would, or would not, indeed be "sustainable", that at no point there is anything that would be deleterious to the comfort of other humans or other species.

There is a need for such a model of what the Earth should ideally look like that would be freely accessible by anyone on Earth, so that everyone can, at any point, see what progress is being made towards the ideal at any time, so that there is a reference available for any undertaking that might concern the welfare of anyone on the planet.

"Model" - definitions:

"... 10. a simplified representation of a system or phenomenon, as in the sciences or economics, with any hypotheses required to describe the system or explain the phenomenon, often mathematically."

A representation of a system that allows for investigation of the properties of the system and, in some cases, prediction of future outcomes. Models are often used in quantitative analysis and technical analysis, and sometimes also used in fundamental analysis.

Note (1):
The "vision" in the title harks back to Donella Meadows' "visioning"/"envisioning", which owes its being to Robert Fritz's "Technologies For Creating" (TFC). What "visioning"/"envisioning" is for Donella Meadows, Robert Fritz calls a "choice". Fritz' The Path of Least Resistance (Fritz 1984) is a necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand what Donella Meadows' "visioning"/"envisioning" is.
I think that "model" could be a more fortuitous choice of a term in the context of this writing.

Donella Meadows' "Envisioning a Sustainable World", in which she explains what "visioning"/"envisioning" is, is online:

and so is what I wrote that touches on what her "visioning"/"envisioning" concept is:

"Visioning": Global Citizens Designing a Sustainable World Together - donella-vision.html

In Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update the authors write about the "sustainable revolution", the next biggest social change coming. (Meadows, et al. 2004, chapter 8, p273)

The "Universal Platform for Developing Sustainable Earth Vision/Model" is a basis for a complete, all-encompassing vision of a sustainable Earth; Complete, because any sustainable life-style can be accommodated within the model, as long as that "life-style" indeed is provably sustainable.
What is needed now is to make this all-encompassing vision/model of a sustainable Earth "compelling".


Fritz, Robert
        1984 The Path of Least Resistance.   Salem, MA: DMA Inc., ISBN: 0-930641-00-0

Meadows, Donella H., Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows
        2004 Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update.
        White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
A synopsis of Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. Online at the Sustainability Institute (founded by Donella Meadows): (accessed 10/06/2009)

You might also, perhaps, look at what I wrote about R. B. Fuller's "World Game" -
Buckminster R. Fuller's World Game and ModelEarth.
- buckymodelearth.html


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