By Mark Rogers, South Australia, Australia
A Resource Based Economies (RBE) main goal is to use the resources of the planet, in sustainable ways, to raise the standard of living for all humanity, to help restore the biosphere to one that sustains not just the human population, but the remaining flora and fauna for generations to come.
Let’s look at some core challenges facing humanity today :
- 'Shortages' and Equitable Distribution of Food.
- Shortages and Equitable Distribution of Fresh Water.
- Shortages and Equitable Distribution of Energy (Electrical/Oil).
- Oil Production now constant, with rising demand, driving prices up and stalling national and world economies.
- Rising Unemployment due to Automation reducing people spending ability and ultimately their ability to survive.
- The Decline of the Global Monetary System: As Debt Mechanisms and Consumer Cycles destabilise, sometimes in dramatic ways with unforeseen results.
- Development and Failure to Roll Out of Third Generation Renewable Technologies to minimise our reliance on oil/coal for energy.
- Equitable Distribution of Safe and Healthy environments of second and third world states.
- Corporate 'Ownership' of Genetic 'patents' & GM Foods that benefit only the corporation.
- The Increasing Extermination Rate of global flora and fauna.
- Green House Gases accelerating Global Warming.
- The increasing amount of waste produced as a by-product of the Monetary System.
- The destruction of the Biosphere, which humanity needs to survive.
- Increased Population and population growth exasperating all of the above.
- Increased wars and confrontations to forcefully take what is needed to survive.
- The lack of political willpower, backed with long term vision and resources, to tackle all of the above.
One way or another we are all approaching a time of dramatic change. If we are to have any chance of surviving we need to examine what is failing us today and investigate what solutions we may have, even though if at first glance appear to be radical ideas. With this in mind I propose that a realistic look, research and evaluation of the RBE is highly advised as a way of tackling all of the above, not just for survival, but elevation of the whole human race and the world we inhabit.
Ok, so now you have watched tens of hours of video, a couple hundred pages of text and hopefully come to a few Zeitgeist movement meetings in your local area. That puts us at a similar level of understanding.
At this stage often one of the first questions is "what can I do to help?"
Well the most important thing we can do at this stage is raise awareness of a RBE, The Zeitgeist Movement, and The Venus Project. So simply talking to friends, family, acquaintances definitely helps. Even showing them Zeitgeist Moving Forward etc. should be even more informative to those interested.
Remember 15 years ago - had you heard of Global Warming? Nope, very few had, but because people from all walks of life started to talk about it, had it appear on News, Radio Interviews etc. raised awareness until today where it is one of the top 10 public and personal topics around the world. Raising awareness of the RBE option will help everyone as the idea cross-pollinates around the world just as the systems listed above start ringing alarm bells nationally and globally.
So then what?
We do appear to have a dichotomy, how do we get to a lovely new sustainable city environment from the chaos we live in today, and do it while trying to overcome the challenges above?
It is naturally a HUGE undertaking, and some may sit back and say it’s not possible or worth it (Though I wonder what messed up world they will be living in when even just a few of the above scenarios play out).
I for one believe it is entirely possible and achievable within the required time frames. We have the resources, the technology, and I believe the willpower once enough people decide that a RBE is the way forward.
Some people may say "It can’t be achieved, it’s all utopian ideals!"
I am a conservative pragmatist that isn't scared to think outside of the square for solutions. To people that say the above I will point out two examples of why I believe they need to expand their frames of reference :
1) America and World War 2.
I believe we can learn from anything, and WW2 taught us that one nation, America, dramatically realigned its entire production industries to produce massive amounts of military equipment. Not just realigned but expanded upon it, producing items faster, larger and more extreme than ever before. New technologies were bought into play and people pulled together for a common goal. Money wasn't a core factor in what was achieved, it was more the survival instinct of 'do it or perish'. If one country can do it 60 years ago,
Why not ALL countries today?
2) Utopia - an ideal that is a matter of perspective
Let me expand on this. Utopia is our current view of an ideal existence sometime in an unreachable future. To point out a Venus Project City as a 'Utopia' is an easy way of dismissing it. However I would point out that anyone making this comparison is doing themselves, and others, a great disservice.
For a moment pretend I have a time machine and go back just 100 years, and grab someone and show them the civilization we live in today. I am sure they would not only be amazed, many things possibly appearing to be science fiction to them, and some magical. Then I take them back to their time. Imagine how that person would describe what they experience. In all likely-hood those listening would assume that we today live in a utopia! (And I won’t even get into what would be said about the experiences of bringing someone from the middle ages here lol)
The only real difference between the two time periods is the amount of technology and energy that humanity today has at its disposal. A citizen today may not know how a car, or TV, or mobile phone works. They may not know how buildings are constructed, or the massive systems that look after energy, water, waste etc. - but we all use and benefit from that progress every minute of every day. This is our current day Utopia. A Utopia based on technical advancement and the energy to power it all.
So what am I saying? Simply this, that any city created, will be better than any city in existence today, however it will not be perfect. Technology, systems, design etc. will improve with each new city, just as it is today, none 'Utopian', but with every step taken we approach that utopian ideal. (Whatever that actually is)
OK, so we have the "how do we get there from here" problem.
What does The Venus Project have to say about the transition?
From my understanding it is something like this:
- Once the movement reaches enough active members, and by using the variety of
resources and money at their disposal, then creates a "Research City". Here
engineers, scientists, etc. Design what will become the first city, Version 1.0
if you like.
- The first few cities based on this design will be produced, taking into
account local conditions and resources. These will be placed in various parts
of the world as showcase cities. Once again these will be created from the
resources and money provided by RBE supporters, whether they be private,
governmental and/or corporate.
The two above points will require huge efforts to get off the ground.
For one, let us look at the research city, who is going to put their personal time and effort into it? For that matter why am I writing this, or working in the Solar Industry? It has everything to do with Intrinsic Motivation : Doing what makes you feel good and if it helps society then everyone wins. I want what is best for me, and if that helps others then that’s great too!
So we are going to need technicians from many fields, where are we going to find them? Well it all comes back to 'spreading the word'. The larger the movement then the larger the talent pool we can draw on. I know Computers, and Solar Power Systems, your neighbour maybe a Doctor, your sister could be Mechanic, your friend a personal trainer. Individually we can’t do much, but as a group we can achieve great things.
Remember that often a dedicated group of individuals can often create change for the better, and society today can do even greater things when we act as one - the last time we really did this was when fixing the hole in the Ozone layer, and we fixed it! I firmly believe that todays civilisation can make the war time transformation of the American Production system seem like organising
a party for 100 guests. We are after all fighting for not just for survival, but the uplifting of all humanity. It’s not a task we can afford to mess up.
So how can we transition past just a city or two?
I must admit I like the word 'Transition', it implies progression from one point to another. It is not a black and white term. I often find black and white terminology (absolutes) counter-productive when discussing progression.
For example at the moment there is antagonism towards the oil industry, sure their products pollute with our current usage of them but without discoveries of oil progress over the last 100 years may not have occurred. So let’s look briefly at energy progression, one of the cornerstones of modern civilisation.
We have gone from burning wood, too burning coal, to oil, to natural gas, Nuclear and most recently renewables. Have a good look at that list, I bet you know of several instances of almost all of those forms of energy being used by yourself, or people you know. One hasn't replaced the other, but we have progressed up the technology chain as newer and more abundant forms of energy have become available to us. All have their place and application in some form in todays technical society.
So in a transition let’s look at some of the core things that have to be focused on :
- Access to Material Resources
- Access to water, fresh or otherwise
- Access to Energy - preferably in renewable form.
- Access to Food.
- The ability to create long lasting and energy efficient buildings using large scale automation and solid building design.
- The ability to create efficient and flexible city transport systems.
- Access to other technologies from the Old World until they can be reproduced within the RBE.
- Access to Money to enable trade with the Old World up until the point of the Monetary System Collapse or until the RBE is fully sustainable.
- Global Communication and Problem solving Information Storage, Sharing and Technological Enhancement over time (No
- The application of the scientific method to quantify actions as we move forward.
So below I am going to present some ideas of how some of the above may be achieved. Please keep in mind that these are ideas that I am proposing that can be used in moving forward and transitioning toward a RBE. I am one voice, these ideas do not necessarily represent anything official, they are just ideas, however if these ideas help in moving us forward then let them live and thrive as we do what needs to be done to move this world forward.
So let’s look at some transition ideas :
1. Turning the Worlds Junk into the Future
Being one to walk the talk we should focus our first cities initially on
resource recovery and re-tasking. In essence turning the worlds junk into the
future - mining waste for humanities future.
The core aspects of this idea are:
- There are huge amounts of resources in trash, from organics to precious metals, we can transform these into initially basic resource blocks (Fuel from waste, base Metals, Organic Nutrients, Building Wastes to new construction materials etc.) until we can later process them into 'high value' products
- This means running our own waste collection, storage and processing facilities (downwind of the city and forested with high environmental, health and safety standards.)
- What can’t be used within the RBE is sold back to the Old World at 10% under the going market rates.
- Waste is Cheap - the Old World will pay the RBE to take it away!
- We could provide trash removal and processing services to Old World cities
- We could provide building demolishing services to Old World cities.
- Money received would be used to buy resources that are not currently produced within the RBE.
- Fuel from waste could be used to power RBE trucks that pick up the trash.
- We could sell fuel from waste to those delivering 'trash' items to the RBE cities at a 30% discount to current prices.
- Organic Nutrients to be used to power the hydroponic systems and nourish the city grounds.
- Stockpile precious resources like platinum, gold, etc. until they can be used within RBE production (gold for computer chips etc.)
- Surplus food production to either be sold at a 10% discount to the Old World price, or distributed to those in need around the world
- The whole system to be powered by renewable forms of energy
- Note: It’s imperative for people to understand that until everything can be produced within a RBE that those items/resources will need to be purchased from the Old World.
2. Voluntary Donations
This could take a variety of forms, some of which could be:
- Yearly membership to the RBE - or local chapters of the RBE
- Contributing a dollar amount per week/month
- For those actually leaving the Old World to live in a RBE city I would expect a donation of their old house etc. to the RBE. The house/land would either be sold or used respectively.
- Monies from sales would go toward purchasing resources and/or equipment not yet available within the RBE. Land that is not sold would be used as new "wild" areas, or possibly as areas for a new city.
- If the monetary system collapses then sale may not be an option, however demolishing a house and using its resources for the new cities, and letting the land go back to nature, would also work.
- Donations of all forms of resources are naturally non- monetary and just as important
3. That Horrible "M" word, Money
Remember several paragraphs above I talked about how we transitioned through several forms of energy production and usage? Well the same can be said for money, as a system it has changed over the years to become the dinosaur it is.
I won’t go into why as a system it is becoming increasing fragile and will fail us into the future as the consumer and debt cycles collapse. What we do have to acknowledge is that as a form of trade we need to use it as a means of exchange between the Old World and the RBE until it reaches a point that money itself becomes worthless.
So the Money aspect is only short term until the monetary system collapse.
How would it be used?
- Sales/Purchases between the RBE and the Old World.
- Which would imply bank accounts, which raise the question which bank?
- If time and red tape allows I would suggest that the RBE sets up its own bank - this will allow freedom, and we can use the 'monetary value' of the cities to purchase Old World resources at interest rates of say 0.01% - so negligible and legal.
- This may also allow smoother transactions between the RBE and the Old World
- Money Borrowed from the RBE Bank can be used for the creation of cities in third and second world nations, as well as the acquisition of needed automation and production systems so that into the future very little will need to be purchased from the Old World.
- Remember that using standard monetary banking policy a RBE bank would be able to fund at least 7 cities on the capital of just one city. (Yes banks produce money from nothing)
- Note I propose that for every city built in a first world country that an equivalent city is created in a second/third world state.
4) It’s the Energy Stupid!
One of the pillars of todays civilisation is the abundant energy from oil. This has powered us strongly over the last 100 years. So why not continue to use it?
Let’s look at oil closer :
- Oil is a finite resource.
- Oil is much more useful and has a higher monetary value to oil companies when used to create things like pharmaceuticals, plastics, rubbers, food wrap, lubricants .... this list is almost endless, that's how pervasive oil is in our civilisation.
- When burnt has huge environmental impacts that could still see the planet go through a massive change via the greenhouse effect.
- Knowing the above why do we insist on burning this precious resource for energy and transport?
I touched earlier on how we have progressed through different levels and types of energy usage. We are now on the cusp of a new, renewable, and amazingly abundant energy revolution. If you haven't guessed I am talking about Solar, Wind, Wave, Tidal, Geothermal, and other unrealised technologies.
So before you think I have gone nuts let’s look at some facts about renewable energy :
- If you put wind turbines in all the windy places in the USA they can provide EVERY USA energy need several times over.
- The amount of Sunlight that falls on the earth in a single daylight hour is enough to power the WORLD for a whole YEAR!
- The still in development wave power generators promise to be able to supply at least 5% of less sunny climate locations like Britain.
- Peer review documents released by Beyond Zero Emissions ( http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org ) shows that a country like Australia can be fully powered by available and proven renewable technologies within 10 years at a cost of around 3% of GDP over a 10 year period.
- There now exists three different types of solar power plants that can provide electrical power 24 hours a day - yes even at night!
- Renewables can and should take their rightful place at the top of the energy ladder, but why aren't they?
What are the roadblocks to renewable energy? Let’s see:
- Growing but still small public awareness as to how powerful renewables can be.
- Lack of long term government and industry planning and support.
- Money, oodles of it, to push the progression forward.
- Shaky national, worldwide and corporate economies that have either slowed or stopped roll outs of the newer technologies.
- Old World Multinational Corporations influencing government and the public alike to maintain the status quo so they can make as much money as possible with at best lip service regarding the results of their actions.
- Under the above conditions large scale roll outs of the technologies that can save the planet will not occur fast enough.
So in a nut shell, the roll out of RBE renewable powered cities, where money is a reducing factor over time, is pretty much the only way forward that I can see. Without energy we perish. With energy we can turn salt water to fresh, transport anything anywhere, run automated factories to produce what is required, help to grow as much food as is required, and dare I say it - have a bit of fun! Imagine going to the other side of the world on a supersonic train to visit friends, cousins whoever - this is what unlimited energy can do, it’s what oil has done for us, now we need to let renewables take the batten and run hard!
5. RBE as the Ultimate Renewable Participatory 'Corporation/collaboration'
The global and viral idea of a RBE means that peoples in states all over the world will want to create cities. Even if just one city of 50,000 people is created in each state of the world would mean that the movement has tangible global presence, and 'buying power'. By default that also means that it starts to mimic some attributes of a corporation. Let’s look into this a bit closer. What aspects are similar and how can they help push the RBE forward?
- Global Reach and Global Presence. This is fairly self explanatory, once there is even one 50,000 person city per state it means that the RBE would have around ten million "employees/members" which would make it one of the largest "corporations/collaborations" as far as people participating in it.
- With,or without a RBE Bank, the RBE becomes a powerful entity, its ability to produce goods, or even if used for just waste removal, would make it more powerful than many of the smaller nations on earth. Lucky for the RBE all the nations peoples would be involved in rolling out RBE environments. It’s hard to needlessly fear something that's helping your country and peoples.
- Due to the global spread, diversity of talent, and intrinsic motivation within the first cities the RBE will see rapid development of new technologies and processes, which could have the RBE outpacing the world as a whole over time - further improving standards of living and reducing global environmental impact.
- All of the above means that over time, as the monetary system reels from one crisis to another, that the RBE can purchase the means of production from
- both a mechanisation and a pure resource perspective. So over time the RBE may buy out companies / equipment / technologies etc. required to fill gaps in the
- RBE system. For example this might include buying out small mines/mining companies, or manufacturing plants (or robots within them) etc. As the
- monetary system collapses, and energy, water, food becomes expensive this will become easier and cheaper for a self sufficient RBE to do.
- In effect the RBE becomes the Ultimate Renewable Participatory Corporation that is based and runs on environmentally sustainable systems. While Old World cities, businesses and Corporations that profess the same go into decline and collapse.
If you have gotten to this part of my little ideas paper then pat yourself on the back!
I don't profess to hold any answers, and I am sure what I have said above will lead to much discussion, I hope none heated, I don't want anyone dying for beliefs, I am just sharing some ideas and ideas are easier to change than beliefs. I am sharing these for the potential good of all on the globe, and for the globe herself.
So think about what has been shared, you may have better ideas - even better!
I think it is time for humanity to wake up, stop waiting for governments, messiahs, corporations etc. to get us out of the situations we are heading towards, its up to each of us, every single one of us, together we can move mountains - we have collectively changed the world for the worse, its now up to us to put things right, for ourselves, our family, our neighbours whether they me next door or on the other side of the planet and the generations to follow us. It is time to spread the word, to empower yourselves, to make things happen.
Creating a better future for all.