Why a Virtual Model of an Ideal Sustainable Society?

César Emilio Valdivieso París | March 19, 2019 | Leave a Comment Download as PDF

Image Credit: Except |Flickr

Despite the invaluable work being done by thousands of environmental activists around the world, the bulk of the world’s population is not aware that humanity is advancing inexorably towards its destruction, either by an environmental collapse generated by the occupation, exhaustion and contamination of the natural spaces and resources, or by wars. Unfortunately, the vast majority of citizens are victims of an incessant brainwashing campaign aimed at creating avid consumers in favor of a praised economic growth. Ecology and sustainability seem to be for them nothing more than a fad.  

Is there a different strategy, complementary to those that environmental activists carry out, that could lead mass amounts of  citizens to finally open their eyes and change the ominous future that awaits our species? I think so.

It has been demonstrated that people assimilate messages better through images. Researchers from the University of Waterloo, Canada (Wammes, Meade and Fernandes, 2016) proved with experimentation in 2016, that drawn information is better memorized than written information.  “A picture is worth a thousand words” the saying goes. It has also been shown that the development of virtual or scale models assist the public in understanding architects’ and industrial designers’ creations better.  

Therefore, why not design a virtual (or scale) model of a society depicting citizens who can achieve a state of well-being equal to or superior to that obtained by the citizens of the so-called developed nations, a society that does not compromise the preservation of the environment nor foster human conflict?

A prototype, like the one I propose, would consist of a self-sufficient and sustainable city-state, presented in the form of a movie or TV series with real or animated actors, and complemented by mock-ups and theme parks alluding to its characteristics.

Designing a society with these features is a monumental task.  We must dispense the contaminating and traditional waste disposal techniques and material resources that have become an important part of our daily lives, such as fuels, plastics and chemicals derived from petroleum as well as atomic energy. Most importantly, to avoid the collapse of humanity, we have to radically change our way of thinking and open our mind to effective long-term solutions, different from the half-hearted ones usually offered.

Some of the following characteristics should be present in a model society:

  • Community property. The means of mass production of goods and services would be community property (never an almighty state’s property) of all its citizens. This would allow society to produce according to the real needs of its people and, in no way, based on the profit motive of a private owner. Some consequences of this would be the limitation on economic growth dependent on the tolerance of the environment, and the end of the alienating advertising campaigns issued by mass media whose function would be solely to educate and entertain.
  • Accepted family planning. In a model society, population control and choice around fertility would not be taboo. Families would have complete freedom to voluntarily use all available contraception methods and sufficient education would be readily available to assist everyone in understanding the consequences of their use.  
  • More efficient ways of handling the remains of the deceased. In our model society, the mortal remains of the deceased ones would not continue to be buried or cremated with methods that occupy and contaminate large amounts of land and pollute the air. Instead, those remnants would be treated with sustainable techniques (that turn them into sterile and eco-friendly compounds)   such as alkaline hydrolysis and freezing with liquid nitrogen, and kept at home in recyclable or biodegradable coffins or returned to nature to give life to plants.
  • All education would be free. We should not risk losing the talent of potential excellent professionals who can’t afford to study, constituting a possible intolerable waste of human resources.
  • Free health and justice services for all. As a simple humanitarian action, no city resident  should have to pay for health and justice services.
  • Increased ability for citizens to dismiss public officials. All voting age citizens, through a majority vote, would have the power to dismiss any public official, at any time during his or her term in office. The bureaucrats would be mere representatives of the people, the true repository of the power. This method would force officials to do their best at all times, because people would be able to dismiss them at any time before the formal elections. It would be done via an electronic vote.
  • All inhabitants of the city would have an equal treatment to each other. Veneration is a domination technique that makes people submissive to authority; therefore there would be no reverential treatment for any official or citizen in general. This behavior would be the result of an intensive formal and informal education process that would help people understand that equal treatment to each other increases self-esteem and prevents abuse of power, whether this comes from parents or any other person with authority.  Of course, a respectful treatment to each other would be strongly encouraged at the same time, because that is the mark of civilized persons. All the reverential titles such as “your highness”, “your sanctity”, “your honor”, “your excellence” and so on, would not be used anymore. In a more advanced stage of that future society, even the titles of “Sir” and “Mrs.” would cease to be used, and everybody would call each other by their first names.
  • An education system that teaches and promotes logical and scientific thinking. Religion and practices that promote hatred, violence and discrimination would continue to be debated through the freedoms of thought and speech granted by the irrefutable rights of citizens. However, scientific thinking would be encouraged as a source of truth, accompanied by a moral and civic education that instills the positive values which identify ‘good’ citizens.

Carrying out the design of a sustainable virtual society with the proposed characteristics requires the assistance of numerous professionals of all specialties gathered with a common objective.

I repeat, it is a titanic task, not only because it implies a substantial change in the way we use our natural resources, but mainly because it involves opposing a system of economic, political and religious manipulation that has been entrenched for centuries in the minds of people, forming part of their cultural heritage, but which inevitably will lead us to catastrophe.

Who dares to undertake a duty like that to protect the future of our children and grandchildren?

I dare.

P.S. Given the critical situation my native country Venezuela, a materially rich nation whose inhabitants suffer from famine, lack of medicines, repression and blackouts (like the 96 hours one that affected us a few days ago), is facing nowadays, I am totally convinced that the so-called developed countries are more prepared to cope with the global challenges successfully. They put emphasis on scientific knowledge, freedoms in general, and have respect for rules and meritocracy, which are essential ingredients to build the sustainable world of the future. Unfortunately, the so-called Third World Nations, specifically the Latin-American ones, including Venezuela, have a longer way to go.They are victims of their history. A past which goes back to the moment they were colonized, mostly by European barbarians that took by force the native women, later enslaved women from Africa and engendered children to whom they transmitted their uncivilized way of life and so on until our days. If we add to that the ancient superstitions and the religious dogmas that were instilled in them later the outcome is the ignorance, corruption, negligence, fear and authoritarianism that characterize these nations. This moves them further away from the path of what a modern sustainable society should be. I am proud of the many brilliant Latin Americans who have shown their talents around the world, but I regret that they are a minority.  

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César Valdivieso lives in Venezuela and is a retired English teacher. He has a strong vocation to unravel  the mysteries of human happiness to which he has devoted himself to for decades with a totally open mind. He as arrived at the conclusion that while the meaning of the existence to individuals is the pursuit of contentment, in order to achieve an acceptable and sustainable degree of well-being it will be necessary to correct the many defects humans have evolved with. Currently, he promotes the idea of creating virtual models of ideal societies to serve as examples of how humans can change their mentality to overcome ignorance and individualism to achieve sustainability, while still being happy! 

The MAHB Blog is a venture of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. Questions should be directed to joan@mahbonline.org

 

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Geoffrey Holland

    Your characteristics of a sustainable society work for me. It has to begin with gender equality, an compromised mass media, and governance focused on the common good on a local, national, and planetary scale.

    • César Valdivieso

      Hi Geoffrey! Certainly, the characteristics you mention are included in the model we propose. Thanks for your participation.

  • JohnTaves

    “Accepted family planning. In a model society, population control and choice around fertility would not be taboo. Families would have complete freedom to voluntarily use all
    available contraception methods and sufficient education would be readily available to assist everyone in understanding the consequences of their use.”

    What ensures that the model society does not average more than 2? I assume we all know that averaging more than 2 attempts exponential growth and this model society does not have an infinite environment.

    Oh, wait, our non-model society back here in reality on Earth does not have an infinite environment either. There is nothing that has ever ensured we do not average too many babies for too long. When we average too many babies over too long of a time span, we cause child mortality. Killing children is the one and only thing that nature can do to stop the attempted exponential population growth in this finite environment. Child mortality IS THE THING that nature must do to slow/stop population growth.

    Nature does not care what proximate cause resulted in the dead child. Bullet in the head, disease, lack of water or nutrition are all are acceptable to nature to. However, if bullets in the head are not killing children as fast as the capacity of the environment and our birth rate demands, then starvation related causes will be the swing producer of dead children.

    Groups of people suffering starvation related child mortality is proof that we are averaging too many babies right now and have always averaged too many babies. A group of humans will beat all animals to the subsistence that grows on this planet, except other humans.

    In other words, it makes no sense to discuss a model society without first figuring out how to ensure we do not average too many babies. Our population scientists are totally clueless. They do not state what I stated above. They do not state that (x-2)/x children must die when we average x babies (where x > 2). They instead state that I=PAT which is a completely useless formula.

    Malthus published a paper over 200 years ago in response to the very same nonsense that we can create some sort of ideal society. His famous paper had many logic flaws. He failed to state what I stated above about dead children. He failed to grasp the fundamental principles
    involved with reproduction in a finite space, but his main conclusion was totally correct. He stated that there will always be groups of people suffering for want of food.

    He stated that in response to the perfectibility of man. I am stating essentially the same damn thing 200+ years later in response to the same damn thing!

    COME ON PEOPLE!!!! THINK!!!! What must happen if we average too many babies for too long? What stops us from averaging too many babies for too long? Jeezus, this is not that complicated!!!

    • Arnold Byron

      I might be thought of as a silly do-gooder. My thoughts on problem solving is that all thoughts and actions need to be of a positive vein, always. When I think about overpopulation my thoughts are tempered by the following pillars: It’s all about the living and It’s all about the future.

      Global warming is a consequence of overpopulation. Because both of these problems are global in scope we need a global office to order, direct, and oversee the various actions that humanity can take to remove carbon dioxide and reduce the population. Trust me, there are ways that can be utilized to remove carbon dioxide but today our first concern is reducing the population.

      If there is a global office that means that there will be thousands of local offices spread throughout the world. These local offices will be staffed by people trained in the ways to remove carbon dioxide and there will also be people trained in the ways to reduce the population. If it were up to me, population reduction would be done by using contraception methods. After two people have one child the male will undergo a vasectomy and the female will be fitted for an IUD.

      Since this will happen throughout the world at the same time the population will be reduced by half or more in three or four generations. No children will need to die. There will not be a need for abortions because there will not be a second pregnancy.

      The noticeable drawback of this kind of program is that the adults will have to cooperate by submitting to things such as vasectomies and IUDs. I disagree strongly that there will be any need for infanticide or allowing starvation to limit the size of the population.

      How long should adults be allowed to live? Should medical progress for one group of people mean the death of children for another group of people? Adults should be allowed to live as long as they medically can but at the same time the number of births must be controlled by using contraceptives in such a way as to not allow fertilization. Allowing fertilization will lead to death from overpopulation.

      You see, the future is all about the living. The future is all about reducing the population; using contraceptives to do it; and establishing a global office with thousands of local offices to accomplish it. Think positively, It is all about the future. It is all about the living.

      By the way, a global office doesn’t have to be autocratic. It can be fair and positive in everything it does. Look around this website to find some of my writings titled “A Plan for the Nations”.

      • JohnTaves

        I don’t see the point of anything except the few sentences devoted to how many babies we average, and those sentences were rather bizarre.

        If we comprehend the fundamental concepts of reproduction in a finite space, then we all know that:

        1) we must average less than 2 until we no longer require the use of resources faster than they renew.

        2) to ensure we average less than 2, we must all know these concepts. If my descendants average more than 2 they will cause child mortality even if everyone else on the planet has zero babies. This means that I cannot have another if I already have 1 or if my parents have 3 or more grandchildren, or if my grandparents have 7 or more great grandchildren.

        In short, “people trained in the ways to reduce the population” is bizarre. I just wrote the damn training above. It’s not complicated. Everyone has to know these concepts. There is no such thing as “the ways to reduce the population”. There is only one way that makes any logical sense.

        The comments about global warming and carbon dioxide demonstrate to me that you are a bit fuzzy on the fundamentals. If we average more than 2, then children must die. That is just the ugly reality of reproduction in a finite space. If we don’t give a shit about dead children, then what difference does it make that CO2 is harming the environment? If we do give a shit, and we act on it such that we average less than 2, the CO2 problem needs no attention, because we can ensure we average less than 2 until we no longer consume resources faster than they renew. Once we are back to the state where we are no longer consuming resources faster than they renew, we can average 2. Notice what I am saying, we have never managed to ensure we do not over breed. If we do that, then averaging less than 2 vs averaging 2 is trivial.

        “I disagree strongly that there will be any need for infanticide or allowing starvation to limit the size of the population.” — This comment seems very odd. Nobody is allowing starvation to limit the size of the population. We are forcing that to happen by averaging too many babies.

        • César Valdivieso

          Hi John.
          Certainly, no one can doubt that we live in an irredeemably finite space, and that we are having children at a suicidal rate. If this trend continues, possibly within a period of no more than a century, death from famine will affect billions of people all over the planet, regardless of their age. The only thing that you and I can do is keep trying to make people understand these facts, and I know that it is extremely difficult. The brainwashing to which citizens have been subjected for centuries by religious, economic and political powers has left a very strong burden of irrationality in the world population’s minds that is very problematic to eradicate. Because of that, at this moment in history, I still believe that the destiny of humanity will be catastrophic, and that nature, helped by our bad behavior, will be responsible for limiting population growth the hard way. But it does not make sense to be discouraged by it. The sensible thing is to continue, with enthusiasm and positive mind, taking a chance on educating people to convince them that there are alternatives to that ominous future. Never force them because violence is not a solution. If education fails, then we simply deserve to perish as a species.

          • JohnTaves

            This is not a problem of brainwashing. The general population does not understand the fundamental concepts because our population scientists do not understand them either. For example, Paul Ehrlich, the president of MAHB does not understand these concepts properly. If he did he would not have invented the I=PAT formula, and he would have been able to show Julian Simon where his logic is totally bogus. If population experts understand the concepts, they can be taught in schools.

            You wrote: “no one can doubt that we live in an irredeemably finite space, and that we are having children at a suicidal rate” — Find any population expert that will state something similar. I don’t think “suicidal” is very good. “murderous” or “lethal” seems more logical to me.

            However, I am not convinced you understand the concepts properly. Because you wrote the following which seems to indicate that you believe the “suicidal rate” is going to cause death in the future but are not killing now.

            “If this trend continues, possibly within a period of no more than a century, death from famine will affect billions of people all over the
            planet, regardless of their age”
            1) What trend? The concepts I am trying to get across have absolutely nothing to do with trends. Frankly, the pile of trends produced by our population scientists are counter productive.
            2) We don’t need any predictions whatsoever, and trends provide nothing towards a good prediction anyway. We are killing children today by averaging too many babies right now. This has been going on forever. 1000 years ago, we were killing children because we averaged too many babies. 10000 years ago, same thing. It is not possible to not average too many babies without knowing these very concepts.
            3) Averaging too many babies kills only children and only kills children, so “regardless of their age” indicates to me that you don’t really comprehend the fundamental concepts yet.

            Hans Rosling (now deceased) produced a bunch of very entertaining population videos. Search YouTube for them. He does not understand the population fundamentals.

            Joel Cohen wrote a huge book “how many people can Earth support”. He does not understand the population fundamentals.

            Paul Ehrlich does not understand the fundamentals either.

            I have found no population related organization that comprehends the concepts either.

            The population sciences have bad definitions, that prove the experts are ignorant of the fundamentals.

          • César Valdivieso

            Dear John, in spite of the fact that we use different terms, I think you and I agree on the belief that there are too many births. There is nothing else we can do, each one in our particular style, than to keep trying to make people understand the danger that overpopulation poses for the present, and very especially for the future.

          • JohnTaves

            No, sorry, that is not acceptable. Science totally fails when the scientists do not have definitions that achieve 100% acceptance. Observations must be consistent, and the conclusions from those observations must be 100% agreed on, or it’s just a bunch of religion.

            Look at the definition of overpopulation. It is the situation where the numbers exceed the carrying capacity. The carrying capacity is the maximum that can be sustained indefinitely. Therefore a population is overpopulated when it is consuming resources faster than they renew. This is not the situation where averaging too many babies is causing child mortality. Overpopulation is nothing more than the potential for premature death.

            There is a separate concept, I call it “being at the limit”. This is the situation where births are killing. The births are attempting population growth that the environment cannot support. Note that the limit can be rising at the same time that the population is at it, like we are experiencing today. A population can be overpopulated, but not at the limit (I doubt this has ever been true for humans). A population can be not overpopulated but at the limit (the bulk of human history). A population can be overpopulated and also at the limit (today).

            I am sorry, but “each one in our particular style” is a recipe for failure. Either we define terms that are unambiguous and get 100% agreement, or we will totally fail to understand the world, and will fail to achieve anything.

            The term “overpopulation” is defined unambiguously, yet nobody understands that meaning. The term is used in a manner that means nothing more scientific than “bad stuff”. This is a huge failure of the population scientists. IT MUST BE CORRECTED!!!!

  • Arnold Byron

    Mr. Valdivieso has an idea that may be very workable if given the chance to come to fruition. The problem is that unless Mr. Valdivieso is a multi billionaire there is no way he will be able to consummate his plan. So it is with all of the ideas that are being suggested. Why is it impossible for good plans and ideas to come to fruition? The reason: because there in no one to plant the idea and then tend it to its fruition.

    The problems facing humanity are global in scope. There is no global entity that has been given the authority to act. No action will take root until there is a global authority. I have tried to put my thinking toward the developing of a global office designed to be free of special agendas and limited to solving overpopulation, global warming, nuclear disaster and plastics degeneration.

    A global authority, having been created by the nations and having been given the protection, support and the wherewithal to solve the problems by the nations, needs to be put in place before any ideas can be put to the test and made to bear fruit.

    See https://mahb.stanford.edu/?s=A+Plan+for+the+Nations

    • César Valdivieso

      Hi Arnold.
      I believe that the concept of particular nations is very ingrained and will continue to work for many more years. Therefore, in each country should operate an office like the one you propose, coordinated with the offices in the other countries by a world body, which would be responsible for continuously making an environmental balance and proposing relevant alternatives in terms of population and use of natural resources. We agree on that. Of course, as I told John, getting to that point will require a long and difficult educational process free from any kind of authoritarianism. We are working in that sense.

      • Arnold Byron

        Dear Cesar,
        Thank you for agreeing that my suggestion that a global office be created for the purpose of establishing thousands of local offices throughout the world and using those offices for the purpose of educating about reducing the population. I wish that the United Nations could take up this mantle and vigorously push for a negative population growth scenario. Unfortunately, the United Nations has had climate change meetings for twenty five years and has not reduced population growth nor reduced the amount of carbon dioxide. I blame the United Nations inaction on the security counsel veto which give the richest, strongest nations the ability to serve their own agendas rather than acting on behalf of all of the nations.

        Two world bodies are needed: the United Nations to keep peace among the nations and to help people in every way it can and a separate association of nations that will be in charge of creating and administrating a global office charged with ending overpopulation, global warming and nuclear disaster. I would call on the global office to reduce the population in a nonviolent, non-eugenic, fair, safe and humane manner. This is the educational format that I would propose. One thing to consider is the term nonviolent. Requiring the use of contraceptives such as vasectomy or IUDs may have to be officially defined, worldwide, as nonviolent.

        I have proposed that an association of nations can be created if the colleges and universities of the world would work together to create an association of colleges and universities. I believe that colleges and universities are the repositories of intellect and creativity for humanity and they have a responsibility to help end these crises that humanity is now facing. An association of colleges and universities will be a strong force; and will be able to write the treaties, constitutions, laws and rules that will be needed to help the nations join in an association of nations that will create a global office and become the overseer of the global office.

        • César Valdivieso

          You are welcome Arnold.
          P.S. when I say nonviolent, I mean voluntarily.