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With the information available and the means of communication it is conceivable for us as the people of the world to create a future of our own choosing. We do not need to be limited by those who are currently in power due to their personal wealth or political standing.
I believe that we need to start thinking about the kind of process that we want to make address the current urgent issues that the world faces so that the world is as good or a better place for our descendants to live. I would argue that there is currently no capacity of the present alliance of business interests, politicians and media to address these issues with the mechanisms available.
What I envisage is a growing movement of individuals who come to an agreement that we should have a better world for future generations and who develop a vision for addressing the major issues of the world based on the best information and understanding of the issues involved. We live in an extremely complicated world with competing influences and interactions. However, really obvious issues are being overlooked currently.
There should be no illusions that this process would achieve results that are advantageous or convenient for everyone. Many industries are contrary to the principle of a sustainable future and should be terminated as soon as possible. Coal miners, for example, could need to be redeployed elsewhere in order to reduce the risk of climate change and pollution. Part of addressing issues would be to consider those adversely affected by any changes.
We need to examine our assumptions. We have been trained to think that economic growth is a central for the well-being of society, but we could need to consider the aim of a steady state economy so that we are not placing an increasing demand on natural resources. We need to understand risks in a proportionate manner. The risk of pest invasion destroying both agricultural and natural environments needs to be understood and to be central in decision making. The risks of chemicals, radiation, climate change and pollution need to be considered, as well as the risks of conflict as the world faces diminishing resources. An integrated approach is needed in which biodiversity is seen as part of the solution rather than being in conflict with agricultural needs if failure of ecosystems is to be avoided.
There is no point in only people who agree with each other reinforcing each other. There must be an interaction of people with different perspectives. These need to understand each other and be prepared to expose their own views to the scrutiny of others.
For those who enter this kind of interaction, there can be no room for blaming another or for belittling another. Humour does have a place in communication and in getting things in perspective. Often humour is stating the obvious in a different way. However, there is no place for targeting individuals or groups so that they are marginalised and disregarded. We should forget about terms such as left or right wing, conservative or socialist. We need to focus on understanding the issues.
It is difficult to envisage how the process could work. Perhaps it could come about by people of one persuasion seeking an explanation from those with a different perspective.
Once this process is underway, those who will not and cannot defend their views will start to stand out. We could create a culture in which it is considered unsatisfactory to have a view is not defended. I hope that people will be keen for the opportunity to defend their views.
In the world of the future there has to be some kind of free market and democratic process. Free markets are necessary for people to have the motivation to be productive. However, people should not be free to cause harm to others. Legislative controls that are properly polices are necessary in a world in which human values are often driven by selfish concerns.
I find a better democracy hard to define. I expect to find that others have thought this through more that I have. In many committees it is hard to find people who want to lead. Leaders become self-appointed. People tolerate them because they do not want to do it themselves. Members of political parties represent the party involved, rather than the views of the electorate. It is rare to find a candidate that has the same range of views. I think it is more important for people to have their interests given due consideration. The interests of the largest number may not be the best for the whole.
To get things started, I am prepared to express some controversial opinions. This is an invitation to present a case to disagree. Some may choose to avoid me altogether, but I hope all of my views are open to evaluation if they are not properly considered. Comments are welcome.
Some views for scrutiny
There is no excuse for any further expansion of the coal industry. There will be a demand for continued use of coal, but only until alternative sources of energy are brought into production. Any further planning for coal needs to have an exit strategy planned about replacing the industry as soon as possible.
Proponents of solar energy need to consider the environmental impacts of dedicating large areas of natural habitat for collection of energy. They need to publicly state the cost in terms of the density of plant and animals present in the proposed areas.
Any further destruction of native vegetation should only be allowed in exceptional circumstances. If we cannot manage with the areas of land cleared currently, then the world will be a worse place in the future if further destruction occurs. In most cases, the offset required to replace a natural habitat would be prohibitive.
Opponents to nuclear energy due to fear of radiation need to face the reality that humanity has always survived with natural radiation. The risks of radiation need to be considered in proportion to the risks posed by other energy sources.
Opponents to the deployment of fast breeder reactors should acknowledge that these have the potential to dispose of nuclear arms stockpiles. The waste can be managed in a safe manner.
The introduction of weeds for the production of biofuels cannot be justified in terms of the risk posed to future generations.
Being wealthy should not give any individual the right to make the world a worse place for future generations. There need to be systems in place to ensure that wealth does not compromise the legal and judicial systems that should control this. It should not be possible for people to build on environmentally sensitive coastlines or on ridge-tops that require destruction of native habitat to make them safe from wild fires.
Saying that smaller government is better is only to promote lawlessness; a small government would have no police force. Everyone is left at the mercy of the strongest and most powerful, much as the world is currently.