Solutions

The Sun

 

“What is your solution?” people constantly ask us. The truth is that there are thousands of solutions for sustainably and democratically producing energy, growing food, protecting forests and eliminating waste.

 

Clean, Renewable Energy

Existing technology allows for the world population to rapidly meet all of its electricity, heating and transportation needs with wind, sunlight and water, according to research by Stanford University engineer Mark Jacobson and UC Davis research scientist Mark Delluchi, and others. We simply don’t have any need for dirty energy right now. The researchers say it would take until 2030, but Energy Justice Network argues, “with enough political will and a shifting of subsidies from dirty energy and militarism to clean solutions, it can likely be done much sooner.”

As shown in an article by the Environmental Union Caucus of the Industrial Workers of the World, a decentralized and lower-consumption economy can use recycled rare earth metals for its renewable energy infrastructures, thus reducing or eliminating the need for mining.

“Rare earths, like most metals, are fairly easy to recycle. Not only are they relatively easy to recycle, they’re widely available. The widespread use of rare earths in modern electronics ranging from batteries to laptops and plasma screen televisions makes the one and a half to two million tons of electronic waste produced every year a gold mine of reusable material. Recovering rare earths through recycling is far less energy and resource intensive than conventional mining by neatly bypassing the extraction and refining phases of the process”

 

Small-Scale Farming

Agroecology is the practice of combining modern science and local knowledge to sustainably grow food. In the words of La Via Campesina, a global network of 200 million small farmers, “small farming cools the planet”. Permaculture expert Eric Toensmeier writes that we can grow food in ways that actually repair soil and take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. “To save the planet we may need to turn it into an edible paradise,” he writes.

 

Zero Waste
Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

 

Consuming Less and Experiencing More

The most important solution is for the Global North to drastically reduce what they consume. We’re not saying individual lifestyle changes are the answer, but it makes an impact when entire communities and movements affect such changes collectively. We are not asking the Global North to sacrifice the experience of living a meaningful, varied, and even luxurious life. Far from it! We are asking them to start consuming less and experiencing more. After all, our lives aren’t made any more beautiful by having our own private televisions running for hours on end, or refrigerators full of junk food shipped from countless miles away.

 

Working Less

A shorter workweek would mean less production and would put less stress on the planet. Even the capitalist economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that by now we’d only be working 15 hours a week. Going much further, many of us share the autonomist Marxists’ vision of a life with “zero work“. With technology so advanced, why should we work so much merely to grow an economy that makes us miserable and destroys the planet?

 

Direct Democracy

A direct democracy is where all laws and policies are decided by the people themselves (the decision is based on what the majority decides).

A representative democracy is where the people vote for an elected representative to create laws and policies on the people’s behalf.

In addition to the resources above, we recommend Rising Tide UK’s Positive Solutions page, Naomi Klein’s Beautiful Solutions page, and the Energy Justice Network’s Solutions page.