ETech 2009: Population Boom, Wealth, and 6 Ways to Stave Off Environmental Collapse (Video)

alex steffan worldchanging etech speech photo

photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

As the developing world increases in both population and prosperity, we face an impending global meltdown. Why? Because they're emulating the Western world, specifically Americans, and we've set a really bad example for how to use the planet's resources and what wealth means. If we expect to see the developing world be green as it grows, then we need to walk the walk. According to Alex Steffen, there are six ways to do that.

Yikes - tall order, right? As Steffen notes, getting gout of poverty is a tough job, but reinventing wealth is harder. Yet that's what needs to be done. He states that if we sail ahead with total disregard for what everyone else does, we will destroy the planet. We need to see the up-and-coming making changes, so they need to see us making changes. He outlines six areas where we need to make major changes:

6 strategies for change that will help us make a major difference:
Open - Including political transparency, revealed usage for energy and consumption both by individuals and by products we consume, and holding other people accountable.

Smart - Including connecting people and information flows, which will eliminate "stupid waste." Also, smart infrastructure, smart pricing for true cost, smart metering, smart cars and driving, and so on.

Compact - Including the design and density for communities. It is, he says, the single best investment we can make in the United States for reducing consumption, materialization, and quality family time, along with changing land use for improved ecological impacts.

Green - Think of weather as a resource. It includes passive heating and cooling, energy creation, rainwater harvesting and gray water use, lunar-resonant street lights, habitat preservation, climate-adaptive preservation, biomass use such as topsoil and compost, and other green thinking.

Remade - Including reducing consumption, sharing goods like cars and tools, zero waste and closed loops, recycling everything (which means redesigning everything to be able to be recycled), precycling and prefabrication, and making and choosing highly durable goods.

Reconnected - Including finding real happiness, open innovation and sharing ideas, and a deepened sense of time.

If we rethink what prosperity is, then we'll not only get richer, but also end up saving the planet.

More on ETech 2009:
ETech 2009: AMEE, Your Energy Identity, and Scary Futures to Avoid
ETech 2009: Ending Obsolescence with a Post-Consumerist Economy (Video)
ETech 2009: Tim O'Reilly and Our Reality Bubble Burst (Video)
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