Our Future Path!    A plan for a better world!

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Challenge

When the twenty-first century began, our world had become a very different place than what it was when the twentieth century began. In those 100 years, our world changed at an incredible pace. Advancements in science, agriculture, industry, technology and medicine have helped many people to live better and longer lives, and to live a modern lifestyle with many new opportunities and without many of our previous problems. Unfortunately, this has in turn led to an explosion in our human population and a host of new problems for us and for all the living things with whom we share this world.

In order to create and to perpetuate our current “modern” lifestyle, we have already depleted vast quantities of our nonrenewable resources, polluted our environment, and driven countless species to extinction. With our continued population growth, it will not be long before many more of our nonrenewable resources are completely gone and many more species have gone extinct. We have also exceeded the limits of many of our renewable resources. Our current “modern” lifestyle is simply not sustainable. It is destroying our environment and it is forcing far too many people to live in poverty.

Further advances in technology and further depletion of our natural resources will make further change inevitable. We must accept the fact that our current lifestyle is not sustainable and that our future lifestyle could be very different from the one we have today. What our future will look like depends on the decisions that we make today about what kind of world we want to live in and our willingness to work towards creating that future.

A better and more sustainable future is possible for us, our decedents, and all the inhabitants of our world. We just need to find and to follow a path that will take us to that better future. Given the current state of our world, with all the problems that we have caused, we do not have any time to waste. We must act while our world and its remaining inhabitants can still be saved.

Human Population

Currently, our biggest problem is our own overpopulation. The size of our human population has grown so large that we have become a plague upon our world. We are depleting our world’s natural resources, polluting and destroying our environment, and driving many of our world's fellow inhabitants to extinction.

In order to feed our current population, we are using many extreme measures that are not sustainable. We are pumping water from deep aquifers that are not being replenished, we are over farming our land so that the soil is becoming less productive, and we are overfishing our oceans to the point of species collapse. Even with these extreme measures, there are already more than a billion people who are not getting enough to eat and many millions who are starving to death each year.

Although there are many things that we can do to reduce our individual contributions to our world’s problems, the biggest contribution we could make would be to reduce our own human population. We need to get it down to a level that can be sustained by our world. In fact, if we currently had a smaller human population, all of our other problems would be correspondingly smaller as well, and we would have more time and more options with which we could better deal with our remaining problems.

Eventually, one way or another, our human population will come down. Our choice is between using some self imposed controls that will bring our population down in an orderly fashion and that will limit our future population growth, or having it reduced for us through a painful combination of starvation, disease and war.

Energy

One of our other big problems is our civilization’s dependence on oil and other nonrenewable and finite resources that are fast becoming depleted. By the 1980’s, most of the world had already been thoroughly explored and most, if not all, of the major reserves of easily accessed oil had already been found. Today, we have already put all these major oil reserves into production and have already depleted many of them. If we keep using up this oil at our current rate, we will soon run out of it.

The consensus among most leading experts is that without a major investment in production or an unexpected drop in demand, our oil production will soon peak, and that supply will then begin to rapidly decline. At the start of this century, it was thought that the peak would have occurred by 2010. It might have already peaked if it was not for extreme measures to exploit harder and more expensive sources, and a major recession. Sadie Arabia's bid to regain market share has increased production, but at the cost of speeding up the depletion of their reserves.

Even with all the added production, if we do not start making changes soon, there could still be a severe oil shortage by sometime around 2030. Even by adding more production capacity right now, we are going to end up just running out of oil sooner. In addition, in many parts of the world, including China and India, people are vastly increasing their use of oil, so that demand is dramatically increasing just as our supply is about to start decreasing.

If we stay on our present path, what will the future look like in the coming years? First, we will have major increases in the price of all oil related products like gasoline, heating oil, and plastics. Transportation costs will increase, which will increase the price of everything else. The resulting inflation, along with the oil shortages, will cause unemployment, which could create a worldwide depression that could rival, if not exceed, the great depression of the 1930’s. This would temporarily reduce our demand for oil, which might lower prices enough to allow the world economy to start recovering. Unfortunately, a recovery would just cause our demand for oil to rise again, which would cause prices to start rising again and would lead to a new depression.

Eventually, our supply of oil would shrink to a point where even a great depression would not lower demand enough. Then, in an effort to secure oil, many countries, including our own, might decide to go to war. Some countries could get so desperate for oil that they might resort to using nuclear weapons. This could all turn into World War III and end up decimating much of the world. In short order, we would still run out of oil, which could cause widespread famine, disease and strife. In the end, our standard of living would plunge to the point where those who were still alive would find themselves living in a new Dark Ages.

Unfortunately, there are signs that we have already started down this path. We have seen rising oil prices, we have been in competition with China over oil rights, and we fought a war in Iraq where we might not have been if it were not for our need for oil. Today, we are still coming out of a devastating recession that temporarily reduced our demand for oil, but, when our economy fully recovers, demand for oil could jump again.

Is there an alternative path? Yes, but we need to change our lifestyles to ones that include conserving energy and using renewable energy sources. The good news is that this can all be done while actually reducing our cost of living and increasing our standard of living. In fact, there are many efforts underway to create more renewable energy, which could save us, but there are many people who are so invested in nonrenewable energy sources that they are trying to derail renewable energy.

Awareness

Why haven’t more people paid more attention to the extent of our overpopulation and energy problems, and have been doing more about them? For one thing, there are people who tell us not to worry, since we usually come up with or stumbled upon solutions to our problems, so we will do it again. Unfortunately, we do not always find solutions in time to prevent suffering, and sometimes we have not found solutions at all. For instance, after countless decades of knowing that people are starving to death in many different parts of the world and that drastic change is needed, we still have not been able to fix the problem of food shortages.

Why has our government been slow to acknowledge and to do something about many of our problems? The main reason is that our government is being controlled by big business and special interests who have their own agendas. They want our government to focus on their special issues and needs. In fact, they may not really want us to solve some of our problems, like those with overpopulation and energy. For business, overpopulation just means cheaper labor, and more customers, who will create higher demand, higher prices and more profits for them. In addition, the dwindling supply of nonrenewable energy, plus the higher demand, means even higher prices and more profits for them.

Many business leaders have been mainly concerned with their company’s short term return on investment and stock price, which affects their current paychecks and wealth. For instance, some car manufacturers prefer it when people are not concerned with energy, so they will buy bigger cars from them, which will earn them bigger profits. In addition, these business leaders are often wealthy enough that any energy shortage would probably not affect them seriously. Some business leaders may even see an energy crisis as just another opportunity to make money.

Since our representatives have needed to keep business leaders and special interests happy in order to get the campaign contributions they needed to get reelected, they may often try to ignore or to downplay our overpopulation and energy problems. Then, since most of our representatives did not seem concerned, most of us have not become as fully aware of the true extent and seriousness of these problems as we should have.

Politics

Out of all the numerous forms of governments that have ever been tried over the millennia of human history, our current democracy is usually considered to be one of the best. Even with the flaws in our nation’s earliest form of democracy, most of our nation’s citizens were better off than people were in other countries. Over time, some of the early flaws in our democracy were corrected, but some of the fixes and some of the advances in technology have highlighted other flaws or have created new ones. Today, we are still far from having an ideal form of government.

Not only do special interest groups, big business and the wealthy have too much control over our government, but partisan politics has also shifted many government policies and laws in extreme directions. The basic problem is that our current form of democracy allows for a few extreme ideas to dominate our political system and does not provide for an equitable way to protect everyone’s rights nor to enforce everyone’s obligations as citizens. Without some changes to add the needed protections, various groups and political parties will continue to take undue advantage of our political system.

Even if we could ensure that the majority does rule, we may not be able to protect those in the minority. The strength of our nation comes from our differences. Our government and political system must respect the rights of everyone to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs, so we must not allow even the majority to dictate how anyone should live their lives. As long as people are not causing any real harm to others nor to our environment, people should be able to live their lives as they choose.

Can we make our government function in an equitable manner for everyone? Yes, there are a number of simple changes that we can make that would not require us to create an entirely new form of government.

Will these changes be easy? They should be, but there will be resistance from groups that currently have undue influence and power over our government. To succeed, our political system must embrace the concept that we can only truly live our lives as we choose when we are willing to let others live their lives as they choose.

Economy

Our economy is one area that often does get a lot of attention. In order to get elected, politicians always seem to be promising ways to stimulate economic growth and to create jobs. In most cases, they spout the same old ideas that have been tried over and over again, and have failed over and over again. For instance, some politicians will promise to lower taxes and to reduce regulations, while others will promise to create new programs and to pass new stimulus packages.

The problem with all of these old ideas is that they do not address the underlying fundamental problems that exist in our current economic system. With each of these old solutions, money is somehow pumped into the economy, which stimulates some additional temporary economy activity. Unfortunately, for the amount of money that is spent, we rarely get a good return on our investment, and any economic stimulation ends when the money runs out.

There are only so many projects that have a good enough return on investment to be worth doing, and most of those that do exist would normally be done without any government assistance. Of course, many of these projects do not get done, because the government often diverts the needed money towards less deserving projects that are backed by special interest groups or businesses.

One of the things that is preventing us from fixing our economy is excessive globalization. Our economy is now so heavily intertwined with and dependent on the other economies around the world, that we are all at the mercy of the global economy and have little real control over our own local economy. Problems in far off corners of the world can ripple their way through our economy. This effect can be greatly multiplied when a large part of a local community is dependent on a single industry.

If local communities produced a balanced mix of most of their needed necessities, then they would be better able to keep their economies functioning even if economies in other parts of the world get into trouble. Globalization should be limited mainly to goods that cannot be obtained locally, to luxury items, and to goods needed when the occasional disaster strikes and the local economy temporarily cannot provide enough of those goods.

When it comes to job creation, our politicians seem to forget that labor and productivity gains both have dual natures. For employees, their labor is a way to earn money and productivity gains can equal lost jobs, but for employers, labor is an expense and productivity gains can mean staying competitive and may mean more profits. Compromises may be needed in order to overcome these differences in employee and employer goals. One way is to link employee and employer goals so that things like productivity gains will benefit both the employees and the employer.

Since productivity gains are an important part of providing for everyone’s long term prosperity, we must encourage it, and we must adjust the way we manage our employment so that people can transition smoothly into newer and hopefully better employment. The real key to job creation and to full employment is in spreading out the work load to everyone and in ensuring that employees share in the profits from their productivity gains. By keeping most people employed, even if everyone works a little less, we greatly reduce the tax burden needed to support the unemployed and give people more free time to enjoy life or to prepare for a better job.

Solutions

Can we change course in time to prevent a crisis? Yes, but we must start right now while we still have enough time and resources. The longer we wait to get started, the harder it will be to fix our problems and the more that people will needlessly suffer.

Unfortunately, before we can get started on our economic problems, we may first need to take back control of our government from the wealthy, big business and special interest groups, or our own government may hinder our progress. We may then need to fix our economy so that we will be financially able to make many of the other needed changes.

To control our overpopulation, we must all make some hard choices about our family sizes and our immigration policies. We need to get a handle on our population before we drive too many more plants and animals to extinction.

To solve our energy problems, we must immediately dive into a major effort to become energy independent with a major focus on renewable energy. We will need to complete this effort well before we have a really major oil shortage, which might otherwise occur by 2030.

Will the needed changes be hard? Maybe or maybe not, it all depends on how committed we can become towards making the needed changes. When we have committed to doing something in the past, like gearing up for war after the attack on Pearl Harbor or landing a man on the moon, we have been able to achieve great things in a short amount of time. At some point, the dire consequences of doing nothing or of failing to do enough will become evident. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we can commit to making the needed changes. The sooner we commit to making the changes, the easier it will be to make those changes, and the sooner we can all start reaping the rewards that these changes will bring.

Are overpopulation, energy, politics and the economy our only problems? No, but we can take the opportunity during our transition towards a sustainable population, energy independence, equitable politics and a stable economy to work on our other problems and to create a better place for us and all living things here and around the world. In fact, I have a vision of how the world could be transformed into a much better place by just using what technology we already have available to us today. This new world would actually give most of us and our descendents a better life and a higher standard of living in both the near and the foreseeable future, and it would be better than anything we have seen before.

My Ideas

When I started looking at things, it seemed to me that we were trying to solve many of our world’s problems with the same old solutions that had already failed time and time again. When I took a closer look at those so called solutions, I could see that many of them just dealt with the symptoms of our problems, and that they were only serving to cover up our real problems without fixing them. By only dealing with the symptoms, the real problems were left to eat away at our civilization and to resurface with new symptoms at a later time.

What we needed were solutions that would fix our real problems. In order to determine what our real problems were, I decided to go back to the drawing board and take a look at things from a fresh perspective. This fresh perspective turned out to be something old.

At its foundation, my perspective was a fundamental respect for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we should all have for all current and future living things. Therefore, instead of looking for what our nation needs and working down, we must focus our efforts on what individuals, groups, and all living things need, and work our way up.

Looking at things from this fresh perspective has allowed me to come up with some truly new ideas, but many of my ideas are not really all that new or radical. In fact, much of what I have come up with is simply a return to many of the best ideas from our past, which I have updated to work in our new technological age. Most of my other ideas have simply come from my attempt to put a sense of fairness and equality into our dealings with our fellow human beings and with nature.

My goal was to look at all that we know today about what has and has not worked and to use that information to determine how things really work. I would then come up with a design for a new and better civilization that would work with just our current science and technology, and that was designed around making life better for each of us, for our environment and for all living things. Not only did this new civilization need to be one where I would really want to live, but one where everyone would be able to live a better life based on what each one of us wanted to get out of life.

Once I had come up with a design for this new civilization, I tested it against our current civilization. Each time I read or heard about a problem, I asked myself what would have happened in this situation if we were living in this newly designed civilization. In every case, the problems that existed in our current civilization either would not exist or would be far less of a problem in this newly designed civilization. Not only would there be far fewer problems, but people would have a higher standard of living with more freedoms and opportunities, and our environment would be better protected.

I then compared our current civilization with this better designed civilization to see how difficult or easy it would be to get there from here. Although there are many things that have been destroyed by our current civilization and lost forever, it looks like there is a relatively easy path that we can take to rebuild our civilization into this better civilization. If we are to save our world, we must create a better and more sustainable civilization, which means we must make this Our Future Path.

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Future - Preview of what our future could be like.

Last Updated:
Sunday, November 26, 2017
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