Blog | ‘We Need An Alternative!’ A Vision For A Better World

Johnny Boxshall from XR Weston-super-Mare comments on another recent blog post about how our cities may change in the future, and shares his dreams for a different world.

Photo credit: The Lightscraper

As I read James’ blog I felt an internal, physical jolt reaction to his statement that we must increase our urban/city approaches and condense of people on this planet if we are to support all those lives.

This seems to me, with all respect and humility, to be a continuation of a line of thinking we’ve heard before without real change. We are faced with impending disasters on a scale that none of us alive have ever known. We have a glaring opportunity to take an entirely new approach which we cannot ignore.

There are movements, such as XR and Black Lives Matter (BLM), that are bringing many a glimmer of hope.

The BLM movement has brought awareness of inequality to the forefront of everyday discourse: society is based upon inequality and exploitation.

For those more fortunate still grappling with these ideas, we can turn to history: from the building of the pyramids to slave trading to colonialism and the British Empire; societies have been built on the pursuit of capital and control. This plays out in everyday life, perpetuated by education systems, in the pursuit of individual wealth and prosperity.

All groups rebelling against our current system recognise the damaging impacts of the current form of capitalism we operate within. A system that by its own design must keep exploiting natural resources, including people, planet and everything within to feed a few fat cats who genuinely believe they were born entitled.

Change on the scale required is not possible within the current system. We need an alternative.

We are currently presented with an opportunity, and necessity, to act with purpose. An opportunity to recognise one another, to truly support each and all of us. To stop looking for difference and most importantly to prevent any system or parts of said system acting in any way that separates us.

My Vision For A Better World:

My own personal dream is of a world far different to that which we live in. A world without money, without exchange or barter. A world in which we provide for one another simply because we can.

Yet, when I present this to people there is rejection, a ‘what about how things are now’ defence. I ask: please, don’t look at all the reasons that come to mind for why we can’t do this. Allow yourself please, just for a few moments to imagine that we can.

Photo Credit: Ruth Davey

The planet is crying out for help. Some are beginning to answer that call, such as Sao Paulo’s environment corridors. Replenishing nature amongst us rather than increasing our concrete footprint is essential.

Studies have suggested that the happiest people live amongst communities of approx 150; allowing meaningful knowledge of inhabitants and a true sense of belonging.

I appreciate that this number of people doesn’t allow for the maintaining & servicing of systems such as sanitation, water, power (the thing that charges our batteries not that which exploits us) so allow yourself to imagine this:

  • Small community sized towns of approx 2,000 inhabitants
  • Sufficient green space in each town
  • Greenbelt upon which crops are grown
  • Adjacent communities’ green belts

This might seemingly deny us swathes of open unspoiled nature, but we would become – all of us, including those who feel totally disconnected – far more at one with nature.

This is not to suggest a return to living off the land entirely and rejecting technological advancements. However, there is a need to change our approach to manufacturing and production away from the pursuit of profit alone.

I imagine a renewed focus on production for that which is needed. The technological age has allowed us to be adaptable and consistently improve. We should use this to consistently and fundamentally consider sustainability in every decision.

I have much more of this blueprint inside my head. And I try on a daily basis to live it as best I can (that’s another story). I’m putting it out here for a conversation, for the hope of something positive amongst so much doom and gloom.

Whilst no ideology is perfect, I believe we can learn to change and live with a focus on cooperation instead of competition; caring for all; do no harm: that is the beauty of life and the first step towards a utopia on Earth. To do this we need dreamers, storytellers, new ideas and new approaches. We can’t fix this messed up world by continuing with the same thinking in a different over-packaged package.

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