Peace and love y'all! I am (Willy) the Walrus, goo goo g'joob (remember that song?). I've always been John Lennon's number one fan and even made him write that Walrus song about me back in the '60s (I'm the secret behind his fame really).
As a true veteran hippie, my motto has always been "don't worry, be happy". But let me tell you, I'm pretty worried these days about how much the world has changed over the past 60 years. It's high time we stop and think about what we're doing and realise that over-consumption and purely financially driven economies are unsustainable. The good news is, there are other options, they just need to become more widespread. So let's challenge the norm and join the alternative economies movement - yeah, yeah, yeah!!
Our first in-depth encounter with the concept of alternative economies was through the excellent documentary Tomorrow - a must see film!
It shows inspiring examples of how people all over the world have come together in their local communities to implement alternatives to purely financial and monetary driven exchanges. The examples include local currencies such as the Bristol pound, urban or community gardening like Incredibly Edible and the local economy alliance BALLE. The common theme across these projects is that social and ecological values play a central role in their creation and operation.
The current global economy has focused around maximising financial capital, meaning utilising the natural resources to create wealth. Ethan Roland, the author of Regenerative Enterprise, talks about how we can reshape our thinking to think about 'resources' that have been forgotten. Described as the 8 forms of capital, which include, Social Capital, Material Capital, Financial Capital, Living Capital, Cultural Capital, Experimental Capital, Intellectual Capital and Spiritual Capital. A podcast explains this framework.
It has never been an easier time to find alternatives to animal-derived products with a much lower ecological footprint. Yes, you still have to be smart and navigate through the industry 'greenwashing', see the film the green lie but we can do it. We have the choice to not consume and not to waste. The time for change is now.
Alternative economies are by definition much more about valuing and investing in these other forms of capital, especially in Living and Cultural focused on repairing and restoring the damage we have done to our living and cultural ecosystems. This framework can also be used to think about our own personal investment in the various forms of capital and thereby becoming more self-sufficient and resilient in the future. Investing in a more holistic approach such as this can help not only generate a more empathetic world towards natural resources but also help in the quest to understand nature. Instead of burning fossil fuels, we should be planting trees and living in harmony which will, in turn, benefit our own personal health and wellbeing. By connecting with our inner self (Spiritual) capital too we will increase our value as social beings. These eight forms of capital can work equally well as a framework for enterprise, forming a balanced view that enables careful and thoughtful management and decision making by taking into account a holistic view all forms of capital.
Talk about putting money into eco accounts, taking money out of fossil fuels into renewables, talking about not supporting the global economic market but instead investing in local communities and infrastructure.
Other common initiatives include food cooperatives which have existed for decades.
In a typical capitalist economy, money is required to cover our basic human needs. However there needs to be a shift in our thinking that continuous growth of money, profit & possessions is a positive aspiration and the way in which we measure progress. With the planet's finite resources, infinite economic growth is logically not possible forever and there will come a point when everything is used up.
Mentioned circular enconomies.. COME ON book!
"The human ability to do has vastly outstripped the ability to understand. As a result, civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of problems, driven by over-population, over consumption by the rich, the use of environmentally malign technologies and gross inequalities. The rapid deteriorating biophysical situation is barely recognised by a global society infected by the irrational belief that physical economies can grow forever"
Blue Planet Prize Laureates 2012