Climate Change and Building an Ecological Civilization:An Optimistic View
At the start of Spring it was over 80 degrees, where I live in Webster, NH, warmer than Orlando, Florida. Global warming, somehow, has become the truth that politicians dare not mention.
On the surface, we’re stuck, and it’s frightening and depressing. President Obama proclaims, steps toward completion of the Keystone oil pipeline, while Newt Gingrich flogs his plan for $2.50 a gallon gas through more drilling.
Despite the apparent paralysis of politicians to deal with the clear and present danger, there are reasons for optimism. It’s darkest before the dawn. And a new dawn is coming. And it’s not all unpleasant, except for the most inveterate polluters.
Everyday market realities, as well as emergence, the fundamental potential for sudden qualitative change, can assist in reversing the pell mell race toward global climate catastrophe, and help us build an enduring ecological future.
There are new tools, which will allow us to shift our paradigm from fossil fuels to renewable energy. With Advanced Energy Performance Contracts (AEPC), we can use the market to ease our shift without raising taxes, without cap and trade schemes, and without raising utility bills. Advanced Energy Performance Contracts combine the high income stream from efficiency with the income from renewables to allow the market to finance an efficient renewable transformation. This is being done at SNHU, Southern New Hampshire University on a micro scale. The AEPC adapts successful tools of Performance Contracting, Competitively Bid Feed-in-Tariffs, Efficiency Utilities, and Renewable Portfolio Standards to enable an energy transformation.
Using Ecological Consumption Assessments to replace income taxation can make the market send price signals for sustainability. What’s sustainable will cost less, become more profitable, and gain market share. We could abolish the income tax entirely, and balance the budget using ecological consumption revenue, such as an Ecological Value Added Assessment (EVAA) on all goods and services. The EVAA will be phased in while income taxes are phased out. A negative income tax will phased in to deal with the regressive nature of all consumption taxes, which will be used to end both welfare and poverty.
An Ecological Civilization presents more than just the replacement of oil derricks with wind turbines and solar panels. An ecological civilization presents a qualitative change, a healing response to industrial excess, the emergence of a new way of life that will change almost all aspects of how we live for the better. It will affect not only technology, but all aspects of our society, how we live and how we work, how we produce and consume, how we believe and how we dream.
Emergence is a fundamental principle, the appearance of new phenomena from the current existing conditions. Solid matter, such as the earth, suddenly emerged from a quantum world of largely empty space. Planets are an emergent phenomena of the universe. Life is an emergent phenomena of planets.
Consciousness is an emergent phenomena of life. Self-Consciousness is an emergent phenomena of consciousness. An ecological social order is an emergent phenomena of consciousness in response to industrial excess.
It’s time for us to realize, first, that “business as usual” is self-destructive and unsustainable.
Second, that democratic, market based solutions like Advanced Energy Performance Contracting and ecological consumption revenues are available tools that can help bring us toward a sustainable ecological future. Third, we don’t need revolutions or new inventions. We need to use our power as free people to demand change, and to be the change we seek.