Throughout the past few years, I have gleaned what I believe to be threads of wisdom from a diverse range of writers. My most recent find has been Tony Fry. A few of his thoughts can be found here. As Tony indicates, we need to change the way we think about design. He is one of only a few writers who seem to understand the nature of our predicament and its causes. He is even in more rare company as someone with the radical idea that we should design our future rather than just throwing up our hands and/or sticking our heads in the sand. I have read his latest four books in the past few days and can recommend them all. There is a certain level of repetition between the books, but I found it helpful rather than annoying. The books include A New Design Philosophy (1999)*, Design Futuring (2009), Design As Politics (2011), and Becoming Human By Design (2012).
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: We need to design a loom that can weave these "threads of wisdom" into a fine fabric.** To date this has not been done in a comprehensive fashion. One more conference is not the answer. What we need is an organization/institution that permits participants to practice sustain-ability in a quality way.
What would my design for a sustainable paradigm/loom look like?
Food: Horticultural, local
Shelter: Health Spa Campuses, Private living quarters (bedroom, bath, and study) with gourmet dining dispersed throughout the campuses, the opportunity to meet with crazy individuals who question humanity's insane way of living...and converse with them
Sector (For Wall Street Types only): Integral Living (Replacing Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Energy, Financial, Health Care, Industrial, Materials, Technology, General Insanity)
Education: Shift from specialty-oriented to generalist-oriented; Incorporate design, build, operate; life-long
Finance: Private Membership Club
Necessary rules for a sustainable organization/institution:
- No debt
- No interest
- No profits -- focusing on profits distracts from the dire nature of our predicament
- No offices
- No bureaucratic hierarchies (also distracts from the dire nature...dead is dead)
- No commuting
- No vacancy
- No cars required for daily life
- No retail -- one of the most mind-numbing concepts of the consumption age
- I'll add additional ones as they come -- or maybe more accurately, return -- to me
All of the above -- debt, interest, profits, etc. -- are detrimental to sustainability in that they require the harvesting of more resources than is sustainable and they shift resources to individuals who lead wasteful and mostly unhappy lives. Implementing the rules will lead to a higher quality of life for everyone. The current paradigm is not only unsustainable, it's dumb. It's easy to see how an organization such as this could easily out compete organizations established in the existing paradigm of debt, waste, commuting, and unhappiness.
* I discovered that this book can be accessed via Questia.com.
** Paraphrasing Edna St. Vincent Millay in word, but possibly not spirit...