Owning the Anthropocene (2050)
In March of 2022 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC), informed humanity that the worlds economies must pivot toward that of Degrowth, and unless greenhouse gas emissions peaked in no later than three years and were not cut in half by the year 2030 Earth would likely experience extreme impacts. It was in this moment when all nations collectively accepted the reality that self interest did not come before global preservation and formed an alliance to declare the battle against climate change WWlll. Facing impending global destruction, armed with the knowledge of the history of successes and failures of the entire human species, we summoned a plethora of the best and brightest from around the world to humbly put aside our national and cultural pride to launch a mission to save ourselves from annihilation.
Assembled was an international team of professionals from multiple disciplines who, using the advanced computer modeling and AI of the time, produced data to determine what human beings need to be healthy and content with minimal affect on planetary systems. They studied the molecular affects on emotion and analyzed what in nature contributed to our evolution that we were no longer being exposed to in the sterile environments we created, and what chemicals introduced by industry were interfering with gene expression and causing chaos within our bodies and minds.
The first phase of the mission was an agreement and acceptance that social failure to protect all members from the trauma of exclusion and oppression was prohibiting the evolution of our species and leading us toward self destruction. The recognition that a society is only as strong as its weakest link led to programs for protecting children from trauma at crucial developmental stages. Emphasis placed on human development for giving every individual a sense of self worth and contribution created a dramatic decrease in mental illness and consequential antisocial behavior. Rates of crime and suicide plummeted, as did depression and anxiety. So did the use of alcohol and various other molecules which caused more harm than good and only masked the pain of the generational trauma caused by poor childhood development, competition, division, and a priority of GDP above health and wellbeing.
Ultimately it was pharmacology that saved humanity from division and cultural inflexibility. The study of molecules on consciousness led researchers deep into what was left of the ravaged jungles of South America where they found a plant with a molecular structure capable of creating the ideal balance within the duality of the physical and spiritual. Used therapeutically the substance created the ability to cut through our cultural conditioning to see our connection to each other and all other life, while keeping feet firmly on the ground in the realm of the physical. Considered a vaccine for the disease of cultural inflexibility and conspiratorial thinking, it was approved by the CDC, synthesized and offered to the populous who, with some initial distrust, (and a great deal of irony), embraced it after seeing the affects it had on others.
For those who did not succumb to the abundance of false information circulating at the time, it lifted the fog of spiritual ambiguity which for so long had led to the justification for the destruction, conquest, and genocide of peoples and cultures throughout the world. This reminder of what was lost unraveled the arresting cultural and religious beliefs which had solidified over millennia. Beliefs which fabricated good and evil, us vs. them, cultivated competition and division for tribe and creed, and stunted our natural ability to evolve through unity. Gone was the pain of cognitive dissonance felt while questioning our cultural conditioning and susceptibility to succumb to false political and religious figures. We had found a tool to remind ourselves what we had forgotten through the pain of the sentient experience and bring ourselves back into the Goldilocks zone of consciousness – a place of connection, love, and unity not bound by cultural identity and fear of change.
Diminished was the desire for excessive material possessions and it became apparent what was once viewed as necessity was in fact only illusion – insidious, and consequential to health and resources. What became clear was the superficiality of many aspects of culture that for too long were held so dear. Eliminated from the global supply chain were services and products unnecessary, destructive, and purely for profit and sold under the illusion of need, as well as luxury habitation, travel, and adornment—beneficial to a few but detrimental to many. With competition and individualism no longer viewed as values, this was the beginning of the era of unity, equality, and the Eco Renaissance. It was the collective revelation of humanities true purpose.
The second phase of the mission, was the development of a universal culture which emphasized equality, sustainability, and community. Truly functional and sustainable communities were built which housed, fed, and employed all members whose contribution was equally valued and respected. It was understood that the new universal culture is evolutionary and would be amended through the course of time as needed. Children were educated on the dangers of tribalism, nationalism, and the illusion of supremacy – ideologies understood for their place in history and as part of our evolution, but recognized as destructive and serving no purpose moving forward. Children were taught the true history of the cultural destruction of colonialism, slavery, and genocide. Many of the sustainable practices of land use by the indigenous cultures conquered were studied and reimplemented. The ignorance of superiority through military domination was acknowledged, so too was the insanity of war for land and resources justified by religion and nationalism. It was understood that culture is a tool which is malleable and only justifiable if equitable to all life within the global ecosystem.
Communities were designed at human scale where everything needed on a daily basis was in walking distance. Gone was the frivolous use of inefficient transportation which required energy beyond that produced by the human body – a vessel for mobility unsurpassed by human ingenuity and for so long neglected and underused. People developed pride in their community and felt less need to escape through travel. The land that had once been stripped of life, flattened and turned to stone on which grossly inefficient vehicles would travel was vastly minimized. This greatly revitalized the ecosystems once destroyed or altered, including migratory patterns of animals. With the vehicles and infrastructure which had become such a dominant feature of the landscape gone, nature was once again able to set roots. The experience of travel retuned to being as much about the journey as the destination as all paths were returned to nature and travel was experienced with all human senses in real time and space.
With a higher level of consciousness comes a level of empathy which makes a society unable and unwilling to ignore the injustice and suffering of all life. Individuals recognized and began taking responsibility for the affect their personal footprint was having on communities and environments nowhere near where they lived, and the threat of the extinction of countless species worldwide. Eliminated were the bovine concentration camps which clear cut land and stretched for miles fouling land, water, and air. All processed and animal products were eliminated as the food chain became streamlined by the science of nutrition and the understanding of the long term benefits of healthy consumption for sustenance over short term pleasure.
Monoculture was ended and subsidies were redirected to community grown food. The land was allowed to return to its natural state and within its intelligence was found the inspiration for restructuring industry through biomimicry. As a result of our advanced food industry and travel, health care became more manageable and predicable. Contentment through diet and exercise reduced comfort eating and craving for excessive sugar, alcohol, and animal products and many of the ailments – both physical and psychological – which had plagued humanity were reduced or eliminated.
As we collectively began to shift our focus away from harmful energy intensive production we had become dependent on in exchange for nature and community based activities, what we once viewed as sacrifice became choice. Gradually we began to see that many of our habits and customs were not as beneficial as originally thought and that the alternatives being developed and implemented made our environment cleaner, brought us closer together, and made life far more enjoyable. Emerging from the haze of the Industrial Revolution was the revelation we had become the quintessential frog in the proverbial pot of slowly heating water – we had the choice to leap and we took it. Through unity the human race had become one of willful self control. By eliminating pain, fear, and craving, and reconnecting to the dimension beyond culture, we had achieved order in the chaos of the physical – natures ultimate goal for life.
There are infinite possibilities and variations of how the history of humanity will play out. It is science and ecology which are going to steer us away from the iceberg we are on course to collide with, not outdated cultural, political, and religious ideologies and the belief that some time in the past we had it right. What we can say, with absolute certainty, is that our current mode of operation would create a scenario that would not be looked upon favorably by future generations. Do we want to be remembered as the generations so blinded by the illusion of capitalism that we burned through the planets resources by choosing luxury over sustainability, and that we failed to recognize our love affair with consumerism came with the sacrifice of the natural world? That our emphasis on competition and financial wealth was no means for achieving unity, but instead perpetuated greed, selfishness, and entitlement that led us to self destruction?
As we enter the Anthropocene epoch, we are now in control of the ship and are running out of time to veer from the path of the iceberg. Our long held human centric belief in our dominion over nature and all other life is a fallacy we can no long afford to entertain. Only through global unity and recalibration of energy and resources can we course correct. Through human will and imagination we can not only find solutions to the climate crisis but use it as an opportunity to undo many of the unhealthy affects of industry which disrupt the tendencies embedded within our genes by distorting our evolutionary intuitions and diminishing our human experience. By using what we have learned through both our successes and mistakes we can restructure society around sustainability, biomimicry, and renewable energy. Our world was not made in seven days but through the slow meticulous process of evolution over millennia. We, in a cosmic blink of an eye, have bent it to our will with reckless abandon. It is time to give it back through humility and acknowledgment of our hubris.