The Discovery Solar Transition Project

Mark Mahnke | September 30, 2021 | Leave a Comment

A currency project for energy transition and a more humane and just society


– Seeking team members for collaboration, support, and participation –

There is a good chance that the long-term future of humans and other species on Earth will be decided by around 2050. 

Civilization could drive the Earth across a stability threshold in that time, thus triggering a spontaneous transition to a hotter state mostly or entirely uninhabitable for humans and many other contemporary species. 

To reduce the chances of this, not only should pressure for government policy supporting the transition to sustainability be intensified and made comprehensive but the scope of action beyond political protest and policy advocacy should be further broadened. 

This article briefly describes and invites participation in a broader scope of action through a supplemental currency system project, named the Discovery Solar Transition Project, intended to create, distribute and allocate economic power to assist a transition to sustainability and to help make civilization more humane and just during the struggle.

The design and modeling of the proposed system’s development and operation can be found here.

A destructive path

Civilization is following its destructive path at least partly because of an irresponsible capitalist-market-financial-political system in much of the world that is fundamentally unsuited to making a transition to compatibility with the Earth. 

With its drive for never-ending growth and attachment to fossil fuels, the current system may push the world across a threshold. This is happening despite the efforts of enlightened elements of civil society and others: outsiders relative to the irresponsible system in a sense, including activists, environmental scientists, some forward-thinking researchers, engineers and investors, some business owners, and possibly some executives such as solar company leaders – even a few politicians who work for positive change. There have been some positive accomplishments but not enough and the world is headed in the wrong direction.

It may be estimated that for a transition to a sustainable, more just, and humane society, there is only a low chance for protest and policy advocacy to make governments do all that is needed that conventional investor-market-capitalism won’t do. 

For one thing, government policy would not only have to support a sufficiently rapid technological transition away from fossil fuels, which alone is opposed by the fossil fuel industry and wealthy entities invested in it, but would also have to establish priorities for the use of resources on other things due to the high rate at which energy, materials, and human work would have to go into technological change.  

This high rate would require the sacrifice of other activities. Contrary to market forces, policy would impose a constraint against the building and flying of private jets, manufacturing big-screen TVs, extravagant/unnecessary gadgets, and unnecessary commuting – rather than say, growing crops, investing in medical care, dealing with pandemics, running basic appliances, and alleviating poverty (such as helping low-income people with veterinary care for their pets). Such policies would also have to recognize that population growth is and will make the transition to a better world more difficult and impossible if it continues. 

Some plans calling for World War II-style mobilization are close to what is needed in some respects at least. Such policies would be or are opposed by many wealthy powerful entities in the system, whose mode of profiteering would be interfered with. Some entities, such as solar companies, could certainly benefit but it seems they have been outgunned by the fossil fuel industry and other large wealthy entities that are interconnected with the government.

So far, in the U.S. at least, comprehensive policies have not been put into practice much, if at all. Responses by the overall corporate-government system to political pressure for climate action have been delayed and are inadequate. Responses by the fossil fuel industry have been misleading and perverse. Mainstream politicians rarely publicly deal with the situation comprehensively. Thus the combination of protest and policy advocacy by civil society is or would be up against a stubborn complex.

The proposed model

To increase the chances of a successful, just and humane transition, innovation and a broader scope of action beyond protest and policy advocacy may be helpful. 

The Discovery Solar Transition Project combines technological and economic innovation and existing technology to add a new dimension to the struggle for a humane and just transition. Technology without systemic change is often considered as the answer to all environmental problems, however, a simple analysis based on the IPAT equation, with consideration of population growth, a finite Earth, and resource constraints, and how fast change needs to happen, shows that this is unlikely.

Recognizing the need for technological change and its limitations within the status quo system (including the need for more and more technology), the Discovery Solar Transition Project aims to enable advances in solar energy, transportation technology, and existing technology, to support systemic change by developing a supplemental electronic currency system.

Such a system would create, distribute, and allocate economic power for what needs to be done. This includes further development and deployment of the technology and would also work to make society more sustainable, humane, and just, including work to humanely reverse population growth which would benefit many. 

For example, members of the Discovery Solar Transition Project community would receive currency that they could use to help pay for solar installations, with energy storage from participating companies. Contributors to environmental and humane causes would receive bonus currency to empower more contributions. To set good priorities in the transition and to produce permanent improvements, the currency system would fill in for the lack of government subsidies and help compensate for deficiencies.

The currency system can be developed and produce results in the U.S. without approval from the U.S. Senate with its over-representation of climate change deniers, the fossil fuel industry, and associated fossil-dependent entities. 

The development of a large membership base is key to success but majority participation is not needed for a currency system to develop and function. Although once it becomes advanced, it might have to defend itself legally or politically from the irresponsible capitalist-market-financial-political system. Furthermore, even if some political action succeeds in getting better government policy, a currency system can further accelerate progress and help overcome deficiencies, loopholes, perversions, and deceptions in the policy. Thus the Transition Project adds a new dimension to civil society in addition to political action for better government policy against powerful, wealthy stubborn forces.

If any kind of technological civilization is to survive long-term on Earth, the scale and nature of the technology must become compatible with the earth’s limitations. This requires the establishment of a more ecologically sound and humane system for creating and distributing the fundamental economic power to use this technology. I hope that this project will be a step in the right direction and become a major contributor to achieving this objective. People who become members and support the Discovery Solar Transition Project will receive authorization to use its supplemental currency.

How to participate

The proposed model for the system’s development and operation can be found on the project website at

There should be discussion, questions, constructive comments, suggestions, and consideration of the various tasks that are required as well as the consideration of risks and obstacles. 

A team, advisors and a group of collaborating organizations for continued development, operation, and fundraising would be formed. 

The project is intended to produce income to support operation and continued advancement. The team would be compensated, although at least at first it would probably be meager. 

Participation in the early stages can be in the form of membership along with the authorization for the supplemental currency (in exchange for a small lifetime membership fee or team participation such as collaboration or advising). Please view the website’s main page and the page on currency system design and development, and contact the author with questions or comments, and information on how you might participate.

Some of the roles needed are assistant director, promotional specialist, recruiter, IT specialist for developing currency capability, community currency specialist, researchers and research assistants, science and technology advisors, social scientists to support population and other projects, and business start-up and development advisors. We also seek collaboration with existing organizations for sources of information, analysis and promotional collaboration, operations, and possibly more.

Mark Mahnke created the Discovery Solar Transition Project. He has a Master of Science Degree in mechanical engineering with thermal science specialization from California State University, Sacramento. He has studied quantum mechanics and solid-state physics and has developed simulations of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with solids. He has also been a part-time community college instructor.

Please contact Mark Mahnke about the project at if interested.

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