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Sue Everatt - Let's redesign society! - TEDxLundUniversity (Repository)

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Tedx Lund University The Nature of Change Sue Everatt Let's design a change in Society! Throughout life there is one constant, and that constant is change. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. Some things change by accident, some things change through evolution, and many things are designed to change. For example, we're always designing new improved models of cars, washing machines, soap powders, but we never design a change to society! We don't update it, and it's about time we did. Because the way we're running things right now is killing us and the planet. And society does change; if it didn't, we'd still be living in caves. But it just moves along without any real cohesive plan for what we can see coming in the future. So I guess, the big question is... How do we redesign society? One of the first things I think we need to understand is what we mean when we say "society is a system." Like any system, it's comprised of pieces that supposedly work together to produce an end goal. Us humans, and animals are surrounded by millions of other systems, from the ecosystems vital to life's survival, that we can monitor and see when they're healthy or sick, to the cities we live in, the food we eat, the transport we use. Even the machine that made the coffee you drank this morning. That's a system of pieces that work together to produce coffee. Money is a system too: from the moment of its creation, to how we introduce it into society and how we use it. Now, if cars started coming out of the factory looking like that, we would look at the machines that produced them. We wouldn't blame the car for being faulty. (Stupid car!) We would understand that the system that produced them made them that way. We don't do that with people. We don't look, except to a very limited extent, to what has failed in society as a system, that produced the failure in the person. So, when we think of society as a system and we see the pieces are falling apart all around us, then we understand that the system has to change! And it's gonna be complex. But I've got some very good news for you. And that is that somebody has already thought long and deep about this question, and worked on solutions, gathering knowledge and experience for over 75 years. Jacque Fresco and Roxanne Meadows, of The Venus Project, in Venus Florida (it's a place, it's not a planet), Venus Florida, propose a Resource Based Economy: a total redesign of society, something unlike anything that we've tried before. One of the first and biggest changes we would begin to make to society is to design an environment that creates the opposite kind of behavior to what we see in far too many areas of society today. Why? Because the environment that surrounds us, the environment that we live in - culture, traditions, beliefs, family, friends, education, etcetera - all play a huge influence in how we are, how we behave. Our beliefs and values aren't prepackaged in our brains at birth. We learn, absorb them through the experiences we live. Now then, let me see. I can see there a blond gentleman - I'm supposing you might have blue eyes, is that true? I'd like to try a thought experiment with you. Suppose that you'd been born into a Swedish family, but then adopted by a tribe in the Amazon. You would have grown up hunting and fishing for your food, you would speak the language of the tribe, you would believe in the gods of the jungle! You wouldn't have any problem walking around totally naked, you wouldn't use money, and you might even have a couple of shrunken heads in your hut! You would live according to that tribe's system. Today's system, Crapitalis-... Capitalism [audience laughter] provokes greed, crime, corruption, and competition and therefore inequality, to deadly levels. Capitalism can never create an equal-opportunity society. It depends on money to distribute its resources, everything from food to homes. And, if money is scarce, (because otherwise we have inflation) then far too many millions of people cannot afford to cover the most basic needs for themselves and their families. However, if tomorrow all the money in the world disappeared, as long as we still have the factories, the technology, the resources, we could still produce everything we need. So, it's not money we need, it's access to the things that money can buy. We are talking about creating a society that provides everything we need, and possibly outgrowing the use of money. In this case, supermarkets and shopping malls that we have today would become access centres, where you can walk in and take whatever you need. Now the huge plus would be that instead of having to store and maintain all those products that you only use a couple of times a year, when you've finished with them, you can return them to the access centre for somebody else to use, just like a library. In this way we would start to save resources in enormous amounts. The amount to be produced would be based on the collection of data from the population. Just as a supermarket today knows how much to bring in because they monitor how much goes out. And goods would be made within the cradle-to-cradle system, from the extraction of the material to make the product, to its easy updateability, to its recyclability at the end of its life. So, access centres would be integrated into the design of the cities, to begin to create a healthier environment. All cities would be designed and built after having completed a survey of the resources in the area, some for construction purposes or fresh water supplies, and of course, a survey to determine the ecological impact on the area. The data collected then shows the parameters for how many people a city can sustain in that area. Say 50,000. We can then calculate how many hospitals we need, how many schools, how many homes and how best to acclimatize them. Clean, efficient energy systems to power everything from buildings to transportation systems, such efficient transport systems that eventually we can outgrow the use of individual vehicles. Imagine lovely pollution-free cities no traffic jams, no traffic noise, no traffic accidents. And the amount of resources we would save would be humongous. For example, one average car tire requires 7 gallons of oil to make. We know we can produce an abundance. Look at how much food and how many electronic goods we waste every year, throwing them away in perfectly good condition, effectively creating scarcity. And we haul so many cheap products from around China, all around the planet. Anything in abundance eventually becomes too cheap to monetize. We don't monetize the air we breathe-... Yet! With local production and distribution systems in place we eliminate that wasteful transportation. Food can be produced in hydroponic or aquaponic towers which reduces the amount of arable land needed and protects the produce from weather changes and pests. It's science, but it's not rocket science! All buildings would be low maintenance, with self-repairing building materials; they exist today. There are repellent surfaces that also produce energy to power the building, and if we prefabricate, we not only reduce the production time but the standardization allows us huge savings in resource use and waste. Apartment buildings can have childcare facilities or medical facilities and areas for hobbies, and meetings. And once prefabricated, all buildings can be easily customized to fit the needs of the occupants. So maybe you've got another baby on the way and you need an extra bedroom, or maybe you just want a larger kitchen. No problem. Lots of lovely lush green areas, lakes and ponds around the cities. And areas for sports and exercise, in the perimeter. Now, I can hear some of you already thinking "Oooooh! A lot of technology for this." And yes, we are talking about a high tech society, and some people are afraid of that. But it's not technology per se we have to be afraid of, it's how we use it! So we must make sure that technology is beneficial to society. And with technology comes automation And automation is moving into the workforce, and replacing men by robots. We can't do anything about it, it's going to happen. Where are we going to find all the people that design all this technology then? We're not going to find them, we're going to prepare them through a big change in the educational system. Instead of teaching children who invaded what country and when, how about we put more emphasis on science? We're leaving a terrible mess for our children to clean up; the least we can do is give them the best tools we have to tackle that task. They must understand how they are to look after the world, teach them to be the competent ones that we need in the future, teach them to be problem solvers. Science is the best tool we have to give them, to reach that goal. So let's make science fun! Take the kids out of the classroom to learn about the environment and how to take care of it and live in harmony with it. The real world is fantastic enough without us having to invent stories about animals that talk-... (I know, my kids had it too.) This is something else we have to change, and it's perhaps the biggest challenge of all: the way we think about things. Because our beliefs and traditions and cultures are so ingrained in society that it won't be easy to change these patterns. But it's not impossible, it's just gradual. Remember this. People are a product of their environment. If we change the environment, people's attitudes and behaviors change. In a Resource Based Economy our values would not be so hollow as they are today. We have met leaders who speak of “Our Nation's Christian Values” and then they turn away refugees who are fleeing to us from countries we're destroying, and running to us for safety. And we have people who are against abortion, yet do nothing to help children once they've been born into poverty. And I'm not saying abortion is right or wrong, I'm simply exposing the huge difference in values there are between people, even in the same nation. And here's another one. Some people think that by bombing a country you're spreading democracy. I have a very hard time believing that. So how about we change tactics and we start collaborating and sharing resources, ideas, science, technology - things that can really raise the standard of living for people, and let them live in peace. What a waste war is, not just of lives, but of resources too. Destroying vital infrastructures, entire cities, just to rebuild them. Of course it's very lucrative for those in the military industrial complex, to which all governments are inextricably tied. Ultimately, we need to work towards declaring all the world's resources as the common heritage of all the world's people, and surpass the artificial boundaries that separate us. Now, one of the most fun changes, one of the best changes if you will, that we could make in a Resource Based Economy, is what we can do with all that free time when so many jobs have been automated. Remember we're talking about a society that will provide everything for us without us having to worry about how much something would cost. So, what used to be working time can become quality time with family and friends. We could travel the world and see how things are done in other countries. Travel the world and have access to medical care without having to worry about insurance companies or exorbitant medical costs. We could study whatever we want to, whatever we're passionate about. And we can't today because future education costs an arm and a leg. We could be an inventor, a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, a musician, a painter. We would collaborate on solving problems that are common to all of us, instead of fighting over scarce resources and different values. Needs and wants are something else we need to change how we think about. Let's be honest about this: a huge percentage of what we think we “need” today is actually "wants," and this is produced by clever publicity and advertising to the need to continuously buy and sell. If we are to save resources we must change the focus to needs, everyone's needs, if we are to create an equal opportunity society. And it doesn't matter where we were born, we all need the same things, irrespective of age, gender, religious beliefs. We all need food, clean water, clean air, housing, medical attention, a relevant education, and security. And I have - although very briefly - explained how we can achieve these things. "Wants" however, are the product of clever publicity, and social pressure to appear to be successful. It is a necessity to continuously buy and sell to keep the capitalist economic system alive, and it's killing the planet. If we are to survive, a Resource Based Economy is a viable option. Things that we consider to have status today, wouldn't have any status in a world where everyone has equal access to things. We're talking about such a huge change in the mental paradigm that it's difficult to imagine how it would be. But as I said before, remember this: People are a product of their environment. If we change the environment, people's behaviors and attitudes change. Our world is already globalized through the monetary system and a Resource Based Economy would be global too, especially in its efforts to bring about such a change in society. Pollution has no frontiers, the air and the oceans have no borders. We can't keep supporting the idea of borders for human beings, yet products that bring us profit through trade are allowed to move around the planet practically freely. And you know, inventions that through history have improved lives weren't all invented by people of one nation. Tesla was Serbian American. Einstein was German. Al-Khwarizmi Persian, and Marie Curie was Polish, and a woman! When we reject people who are different to us, we close the doors to so many things that they can bring to us. When we allow children in far off countries to die of starvation, or preventable illnesses, we're losing millions of potential Einsteins and Madam Curies. Let's embrace these differences and recognize the benefits they can bring to all of society. When we improve the lives of others, when we help them improve their lives, when we give them a relevant education, ultimately we improve our own lives. I'm talking about creating a society that gives everyone truly equal opportunity, and we will see an exponential positive impact on society as people are enabled to create this better future. Nothing's static, no Utopias. A constantly evolving society. So, if we are to redesign society, let's go with a Resource Based Economy. Thank you. [Applause] Visit us at

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 33 seconds
Year: 2019
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Producer: Sue Everatt
Director: Sue Everatt
Views: 18
Posted by: ltiofficial on Apr 15, 2019

With the technological knowledge we have today, could we create all we need to live on the planet and eliminate scarcity and live in a world beyond poverty, war and politics?

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