Nature Cure Politics
Do you think modern life is rubbish? Do you think the hype, spin, and lies of modern life has turned everything into a money-making scam?? Do you despair as macho capital and the global mega-machine kill civilisation, the natural world and future generations??? And do you shed tears at the endless mining, drilling, logging, driving, killing, dumping, flying, draining, shooting, fishing, poisoning, bottom trawling, bombing and ploughing of planet earth as it is turned into a dead thing???? If so, read on for a roller coaster ride into the weird, wacky and wonderful world of NATURE CURE POLITICS...
In NATURE CURE POLITICS modern life is condemned for turning planet earth into a sick and dying toxic dump! Macho capital has created a nasty warrior planet, bristling with weapons of mass destruction while the poor starve. Frankenstein science, alpha male capitalism and the sermon of the spreadsheet are generating global slavery, toxic masculinity, structural violence, endemic war and psychopathology. Our world has become a mega-city, wage slave slum planet ruled by the sicko doctrine that ever more money, stuff and a relentless GDP is the only form of progress. Vast technological infrastructures now supply our every human need and secretly dictate the time, space and place of our lives. Brainwashed by a corporate screen slave culture of mass individualism and conspicuous consumption, we are complicit in our own control and act against our own best interests. This is UK PLC as a green but unpleasant land of nature depletion, hypocrisy, techno-consumerism, pollution, abuse, planned poverty, porn, fake culture candy, tatty tourism and factory farming. All this, and more, has condemned future generations to a broken world of hothouse climate chaos, mass extinction and social barbarism? In this apocalyptic broken future each succeeding generation will have less than the one before.
But don't be tricked or brainwashed into thinking that there is no alternative to the nightmare broken future that macho capital and its global mega-machine is creating. And don't be conned by false consciousness into thinking that we are evolutionary programmed for hierarchy, greed and war. We are not! It is this false consciousness that helps give macho capital its power. Viable alternatives to evil empires, hierarchies and greed have always existed, but have always been censored and hidden away from us by official history. (Check out the 'communal' Turkana African herders of 5,000BC, the 'republican' English Diggers of 1649, the 'three acres and a cow' Chartists of 1838, the 'anarcho-communist' farmers of the 1900's, and the 'drop-out' hippies of the 1960's). In NATURE CURE POLITICS remembering the past is radical because viable and realistic alternatives to macho capital and the global mega-machine already exist in history. People better than me have already thought things through and come up with alternative answers and solutions to the horror of modern life. With NATURE CURE POLITICS these alternatives are reclaimed from history and used to heal our sick planet, sick society and very sick 21st century way of life.
To do this NATURE CURE POLITICS puts together the revolutionary ideas of Thomas Spence (1750-1814), Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) and William Morris (1834-1896). It then applies their combined ideas to 21st century UK PLC. They would all claim that the existential crisis we now confront arises from a spiritual blindness and the psychological inability to live the good life under the yoke of macho capital and the global mega-machine. They would also claim that human psychology is designed and has evolved for people to live natural lives in small scale communities with a simple level of technology. For Thomas Spence NATURE CURE POLITICS means accepting that our natural world cannot be privatised or planet earth privately owned. A more natural life means a new social contract giving the natural world, all citizens, other species and future generations inalienable rights. For Peter Kropotkin mutual aid and diversity are the real engines of evolution, not competition, not the survival of the fittest and not nature red in tooth and claw. By mutual aid Kropotkin means the common ownership of all nature, public goods and the means of production as essential in a more natural way life. With William Morris we get a political settlement with nature and the vision of UK PLC as a healthy abundant ecosystem supporting a low tech, culturally rich civilisation. In his 'NEWS FROM NOWHERE' we also get liberation from wage labour and socially useful work in a setting that measures productivity in terms of community benefit, biodiversity, lifelong learning and deep time sustainability.
NATURE CURE POLITICS is an alternative story of progress that puts these ideas into practice to replace the failed macho politics of history. It is the child friendly natural politics that could save the planet and guarantee every citizen cradle to grave welfare while protecting future generations. All it needs is a change in attitudes and a shift in our behaviour that leads to a new kind of society based on mutual aid rather than competition. Such a simple, more complex way of life could become possible when we agree to dismantle and disengage from macho capital and the global mega-machine. This dismantling could begin with the devolution of political and economic power from London Westminster to the regions. London Westminster could be replaced with ten bioregional parliaments and a proportionally democratic electoral system. These bioregional parliaments could in turn devolve power to local councils with the eventual ideal of direct democracy at parish and ward level. This 'small is beautiful' politics could replace corporate capital control with autonomous bioregional parliaments controlling resilient and adaptable small scale bioeconomies. With devolution, politically toxic UK PLC could be transformed into a human scale global village of vibrant local economies producing sufficient food, energy, materials and shelter for its citizens.
To inhabit the earth in this new way would mean giving all citizens, other species and future generations inalienable rights and a new kind of social contract. In this new social contract every citizen would be obliged to tread lightly on the earth and live a more natural life within a globally sustainable carbon footprint. And the great leveller here is that a sustainable carbon footprint that stops climate change and protects future generations is considered to be around one ton of carbon per person per year. (The average carbon footprint of UK PLC citizens is currently around 16 tons of CO2 per person per annum). As bonkers as this seems such a dramatic reduction in our carbon footprint is the only way the nightmare juggernaut of environmental destruction and our broken future can be stopped. The choice is yours! Getting our carbon footprint down to a sustainable level can be done. But making it happen means creating a completely different way of life and a different way of thinking about how we inhabit planet earth.
This different way of life would require an economic transformation to rebalance society away from the love of money and the corrosive power of finance. So in a total break with economic orthodoxy NATURE CURE POLITICS could make private banking a crime and usury illegal, making it impossible to make money from money. Commercial banking could be replaced by 'not for profit' public banks such as friendly, mutual, provident societies and credit unions. Big money fundamentalism could be replaced by local gift, exchange and barter economics. In policy terms NATURE CURE POLITICS would also mean the public ownership of all land, housing stock, utilities, transport, welfare, education and healthcare as essential public goods. Bioregional parliaments could manage these public goods as a commonwealth for all and raise revenue from taxes and rent at democratically decided rates. The revenue raised could then be used to provide high quality public goods and welfare services in order to create benefits such as re-enchanted communities and healthy landscapes, cultural diversity and psychic wellbeing.
To make NATURE CURE POLITICS happen we need to think the impossible and accept the fact that trees and forests are the real wealth of nations. Saving UK PLC from a broken future will only be possible if we rewild and reforest Britain on a massive scale. Rewilding and reforesting at least half of Britain's land surface is the only natural way to reverse anthropogenic climate change and restore a sweet temperate climate on a sustainable basis. Trees store carbon, restore biodiversity, beautify landscapes, provide raw materials, induce human wellbeing, act as eco-lung and strategic reserve, preserve soil structure, reduces wind erosion, purify air and water, and prevents flooding and desertification. Fruit and nut trees provide more protein per hectare than both cereals and livestock. Rewilding, reforestation, compassionate tree farming, agro-forestry, sylva-culture, forest gardens, aquaculture and permaculture systems could easily provide sufficient essential needs for all citizens. Rewilding and reforesting half of Britain by planting at least Trillian trees could transform toxic UK PLC into a living botanic paradise. Reforestation and rewilding could do this while at the same time absorbing fast amounts of carbon to help reduce current global CO2 pollution levels of 416 ppm to safe pre-industrial levels of 300ppm.
Imagine a nature friendly political economy based on mixed forestry and farming systems using only natural processes as sources of energy, food and materials. Consider regional consumption and production producing abundant public goods, food, energy, housing and materials. Think of vibrant small scale urban and rural economies ending the need for mass commuting. Picture infrastructure transformation as a reliable carbon zero public only transport system replaces the private car. Imagine replacing all fossil fuels with renewable and sustainable sourced products. We can now make from wood all the products and stuff we have traditionally made from oil. Envisage locally sourced building materials such as wood, brick and stone with which we can build anything from a small cabin to a grand Cathedral. Think back to the future with low tech analog radio and landline telephone nurturing a progressive and non-violent civilisation. Consider carbon zero off-grid and unplugged housing with their own supply of energy, water and waste management systems. Picture wage slavery replaced by socially useful work and cooperative structures of small scale craft production, community livelihoods and skilled artisanship. Finally, imagine toxic UK PLC reinvented by NATURE CURE POLITICS and inhabited by a future fit, forest bathing and child-friendly pacifist civilisation living happy, natural lives among magical forests. Dream on...