The only solution is global revolution. Not my image.

Front Row Seats for the Global Revolution

Every day I feel a kind of buzz, a hum, a tension and underlying sense of expectation that permeates my daily life. I feel like I’m waiting for something. In fact, I think I’ve always felt like this. When I was a kid I thought I was waiting to grow up. Now I’m 20 I realise I’m not waiting to grow up, I’m waiting for the world to change. I feel like there’s some huge shift, some global revolution – brewing, bubbling, about to explode. I feel like something very exciting is about to happen on the world stage, and me and the rest of my generation booked front row seats.

If you think I’m being fanciful, then let me clarify that I’m not certain that this will be a good thing. I hope it will be a good thing, but I don’t know for sure. All I know is that the world is going to change dramatically during my lifetime.

The climate is changing. Fossil fuels are getting increasingly costly and will soon be completely uneconomic to use. The global population is growing, and will be 9 billion within a few decades. The financial systems are unstable, and crashes like the one in 2008 are likely to populate the future. And people are angry. The 99% are getting increasingly fed up with austerity, wars, tax-avoidance scandals, lack of decent jobs, and the relentless shallow and meaningless consumption that’s supposed to keep us happy and docile. Marx said that capitalism would eventually destroy itself as the gulf between rich and poor got wider and wider, to the extent that the marginalised underclass would revolt. A bloody civil war is not my idea of a positive solution. But these days ‘revolution’ can be a little more civilised. The Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution changed the world, and they didn’t require any sharpening of pitchforks.

Keep your coins - I want change. Not my image.

Keep your coins – I want change. Not my image.

Whether we are prepared for it or not, the near-future is going to be characterized by less resources (especially energy), a less hospitable climate and a lot more people.

But we can deal with this, if we act as a species. There are already amazing people, organizations, communities and ideas that are the pioneers of the revolution I can feel bubbling beneath the surface. Permaculture, steady state economics, the Transition movement, social enterprise, renewable energy, urban agriculture, earth democracy, collaborative consumption, eco-tourism, blogging, cradle-to-cradle design, triple-bottom-line accounting, co-operatives, bio-mimicry… It’s happening. The future is already sprouting and it’s growing by the day, getting ready to take over as the old system crumbles.

And it will crumble, because it’s based on the impossible.
You cannot have indefinite economic growth on a finite planet.

It’s not implausible that we will change – it’s a certainty.┬áThe rule of nature is ‘evolve or die’ and I don’t think we’re quite done yet. Humans are good at surviving. If we can survive an ice age then I think we can survive this.

So get ready everyone. Whether it’s a car crash or a firework display, one thing’s for certain.

It’s gonna be one hell of a show.

The only solution is global revolution. Not my image.

The only solution is global revolution. Not my image.


6 thoughts on “Front Row Seats for the Global Revolution

  1. I have lived 51 years this month and can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like what I am seeing now. Yes, there was the 60s movement for Civil Rights and the Vietnam Protests, but now it seems it’s not just one issue. There is the depletion of fossil fuels, the mountain top removal and fracking which have destroyed and depleted clean water supplies, the anger over the economy and financial institutions, etc. It seems things are all coming to a head at one time. Like you I hope it is a peaceful revolution and people will come together to make it through but I just don’t know. I hope it happens in my lifetime as I would like to leave knowing things were turning around for the better.

    1. I agree, there’s a real sense of so many issues weaving together to form the collective environmental crisis, the economic crisis of 2008, the population crisis, etc etc. I desperately hope the tide turns within your life time as well. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate your comments Lois. (:

  2. “Steady State” seems contradictory to our needs. We can no longer afford growth, but we always need change, evolution. We should recognize that with humans, cultural (“memetic”) evolution is much faster than genetic evolution. I used to assume humanity was basically rational and cooperative, but for about 40 years now I’ve been expecting global economic collapse, needed to get us back to reality. The longer it takes, the more environmental damage and the closer we get to unchangeable damage. Let’s get to where we can inhabit another world before destroying this one.

    1. Hi Dan, thanks for commenting! I completely agree with most of what you say. However I must say that I didn’t fully explain the steady state idea in this post. A really important aspect of a steady state is that even though the overall size of the economy stays stable, human progress still needs to continue. As you rightly point out, humans need change and cultural evolution. I believe you can have this without economic growth. Art, culture, science and technology can (and should) continue to develop in a steady state.
      As for humans, I think we aren’t very rational to be honest. But I think it depends on our culture and upbringing whether we’re cooperative or competitive.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. Big changes are brewing; whether it’s orderly or chaotic is to be determined. I’m proud to be working with one of the organizations you call “pioneers of the revolution.” The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE)is working hard for an orderly transition!

    1. Absolutely – I really admire the work CASSE is doing. I hope the coming transition can be if not orderly then at least not TOO chaotic! Thanks for reading xx

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