Earth can't live without a Solartopian vision
Mother Earth can't live without a Solartopian vision
by Harvey Wasserman http://freepress.org
See original here
At last our dying Mother Earth has taken center stage.
Thanks to Al Gore's global concert, the major media are finally filling with coverage of the climate crisis. It all comes with a dire dual realization: our economy will collapse, and we could all die, if something drastic is not done.
There are many piecemeal formulas out there. But there's also a holistic vision of a post-pollution civilization that is clear, absolute and all-encompassing.
It's a "Solartopia" built around a democratic, green-powered millennium. It is as simple as it is necessary:
Technologically, the vision rests on four pillars:
1. Total renunciation of all fossil and nuclear fuels. In a sustainable, survivable future, they are a 20th Century pox, neither green nor clean.
2. All-out conversion to renewable energy, led by the "Solartopian Trinity" of wind, solar and bio-fuels. Mother Earth gives us the natural power we need.
3. Complete commitment to maximum efficiency, including revived and solarized mass transit and passenger rail systems. We may "remake" the automobile, but can't survive without transcending it.
4. Zero tolerance for production of anything that cannot be re-used or recycled, including chemical-based food. Solartopia is an organic, post-pollution world.
Along with wind, solar and bio-fuels, Solartopian energy comes from the waves, currents, rivers and tides; from the geothermal heat beneath the earth's crust; from the interplay of solar-heated water at the oceans' surface and the frigid deep.
Hydrogen and electricity are the chief power carriers, but they are always produced by clean Solartopian means.
The conservation/efficiency revolution drives Solartopian energy consumption levels ever downward. Compact fluorescent bulbs are transcended by Light Emitting Diodes and more. An evolving armada of efficiency devices, many invented in backyards and garages, spreads at warp-speed through a hyper-linked global community.
Advanced methods of organic food production get us past the "silent spring" of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and genetically modified crops.
The ever-evolving internet fuels a geek-driven torrent of Solartopian innovation---and the raging e-network of green grassroots democracy ( http://solartopia.org/Links.php ).
In our 21st Century global economy, renewable technologies are already on the whole more profitable than the obsolete "alternatives" of coal, oil, nukes and gas.
But from bio-fuels to wind, from hyper-efficiency to organic farming, no green technology is without costs and limitations. All demand vigilance, limitation, regulation and innovation to stay clean, current and useful.
When done right, the Solartopian revolution spawns the decentralized wealth, full employment, and community-based economic power of a prosperous, socially democratized society.
Homes, buildings, communities and farms control their own energy. Power and prosperity are widespread, not concentrated in the hands of King CONG---the coal, oil, nukes and gas cartel---and its corporate minions.
Indeed, Solartopia can't happen without transcending some primary barriers:
5. Corporations can no longer enjoy human rights without human responsibilities. Revised corporate charters must break the grip these giant economic organizations have held on our political, economic and ecological systems.
6. Population is the province of women, who in Solartopia are empowered, educated and equally paid. In synch with Mother Earth, they bring us the number of children She wishes to accommodate.
7. Where everyone has a right to the basic necessities of life, including free education, nobody starves. The Solartopian rich may be plentiful, but no civilization thrives unless all are guaranteed the necessities of life and dignity.
8. Big Money is barred from the campaign process. Free and fair elections and referenda power non-violent community-based evolution. The universal right to ballots on recycled paper mean accurate vote counts and recounts for all.
Solartopia demands that business serve society and the planet, rather than vice versa. Capitalism may be one thing, but Enron cannibalism is quite another. Indeed, from the "isms" of the last century---capitalism, communism, socialism, environmentalism---must emerge an alchemical mix that actually works.
Balancing competition and the profit motive with human and ecological need, the Solartopian vision demands accountability, efficiency, service and justice.
The switch to renewables defunds global terrorism. Atomic reactors are pre-deployed weapons of radioactive mass destruction. Shutting them ends the fear of apocalyptic disaster by both terror and error. Transcending coal and cars cures much of global warming.
But everywhere we turn, the King CONG corporations build barriers. They use government subsidies and media disinformation to prolong their failed investments in obsolete technologies and the fossil/nuclear fuels that run them.
Inseparable from those fuels are authoritarian power structures that produce wars for oil, financial imbalance and social chaos, leading to biological extinction.
By contrast, Solartopia is the diverse, democratic, organic vision that gives us a framework from which we can survive and thrive.
Now we see the spectacular take-off of a worldwide concern with what's happening to our atmosphere.
Yet simultaneously, the King CONG corporations push to revive nuke power, the very worst technological and financial boondoggle of the past century. With it has come a raft of nonsense about "clean coal" and other obsolete technologies.
To survive, we cannot be diverted, we must keep our eye on the prize.
There is much to debate in myriad aspects of the Solartopian vision. But there is no doubting that if we could sweep the world clean of all its polluting facilities, energy and otherwise, we could replace everything with available technology that would easily supply all our needs while allowing a sustainable planet to survive and thrive.
Solartopia's ultimate importance is as a holistic vision, a mind-organizing framework toward which we can carry humankind's greatest technological revolution, the birth of a clean, green, sustainable post-pollution engine of peace and prosperity
In humble synch with Mother Earth and all her children, Solartopia is the 21st Century vision of our necessary future. Pete Seeger has written a song for this vision ( http://solartopia.org/Song.php ) . Next time we gather to sing for our green-powered future, let's open with his "Song for Solartopia."
Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030 is at www.solartopia.org He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and senior editor of www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared.