It is interesting to look at motivation for the sustainable and renewable revolutions that are now gathering speed. For many people captured in a tight economic matrix buying solar panels has to be explained as a cost saving choice with an acceptable ROI. But many people, expecially in the early days of solar technology, where motivated by either purist or idealist motivation. Purists where found in the scientific community, they where the rational logical thinkers, who would try to see the world as it is, and where looking to solve problems (for instance energy supply in space for the Appollo missions).
The people that designed the ambition to go to the moon where also driven by reason. They could empirically show that an ambitions goal can have an enormously positive effect on developemnt of all kinds of technology, the dreams of children and thus the transferral of (at that time) fossil energy into wealth. They did not hesitate to push this rational insight into policy, because it satisfied their drive for sound action and increased wealth. These where no-nonsense engineers and economists.
Today we have reached the moon, and due largely to the work of Elon Musk a new goal has been presented : Going to Mars. It is not only a cathalyst for creation of new technology. In a way it is also a distraction from what is happening to our planet. Economically speaking you have two choices : 1. Work in the economy 2. Think about space.
Thinking about space is something rather contemplative, which is no surprise because most of our evolution we spend evenings in the dark with nothing more to stare at than the stars. For most of our evolution we attributed events to gods who would fly around up there, move the sun through the sky and do all kinds of other things. The kingdom of the christian god is in ‘heaven’. Part of the psychology of heaven as a good place is probably our confusion of the upward gaze with that of looking at our parents as infant. This has been cleverly used by strangers ‘church fathers’ for centuries to turn us into children “of god in heaven”. Of course the childisch mentality has economic advantages.
But today, as we are trying to think straight in our economic matrix we can once again choose a goal, one rather similar in holistic terms to a journey to Mars. We can work to reach “Heaven” here on Earth. After a century of playing god the time has come to complete the act so to say.
This may seem a rediculous idea, but think about it. What would be required to create heaven like circumstances on Earth? Maybe the “eternal life” part of heavenly existence will have to wait, but the environmental circumstances of heaven are now within reach.
We can make a world that grows, is lush and green, while we ourselves only have to enjoy it. We can make one in which we don’t need to sweat and toil to stay alive, in which most diseases can be cured..
Practically this translates into a world where energy production does not burden what lives in any way, in which automated systems maintain and expand the regions that are suitable for life, which includes deserts and oceans, in which people may work but in which pefroming heavy labour is a choice, not something one gets forced into by a harsh society.
The goal to create ‘Heaven on earth’ is not rediculous now, and the key aspect that will make it happen is that it is congruent with the way the makers and doers of our world set their goals. It is a rational conclusion that compared to todays world we can create one that is infinitely more pleasant. One in which we don’t have to ignore slavery or remote wars, because they won’t exist. One in which we don’t have to dread the death of oceans or the extinction of most life. One in which we can predict how our children will fare because they don’t have to fight over fossil fuel rations. The last generations opened the gates of hell, the following generations will ascend the stairway to heaven (ok, sorry, that’s corny)..
Are you into sustainable agriculture, you bring a piece of this future world about, if you install build wind parks you do the same. If you educated kids so they care more about what keeps them alive, you are part of the ‘movement’. If you insist on selling fossil fuels, if you want to exploit natural resources and not care about what you leave behind, you are someone that brings about hell on Earth.
This is no religious thing, religion is only responsible for teaching us to group things we dread under the name Hell, and things we enjoy under the name Heaven. Hell was always buring underground, a bit like coal seam gassification. Evil is darkness. Oily darkness? The devil’s sulfurous stench.. These attributes probably came from open coal seam fires and the observation of lava, but the translation to products of the fossil industry is an easy step. Heaven? The Sun up there, it brings life. It causes the release of Oxytocin when it warms our skin, associated with the feeling of being loved. Religion just borrowed that effect to attribute it to god.
Right now we can make empirical lists of the outcome from the actions of one kind of person : accelerated climate destruction, increased suffering and extinction of mankind and of another kind : climate conservation, reduced suffering and a better chance for mankind.
Perhaps those that want to fight climate change and return our world to a better state can all be considered servants of a new faith, one that is surprisingly rational and has a simple goal : Creation of heaven on Earth. Think it over, it is a goal well worth your effort. Accept it and you may become a knight of heaven 😉