Miles and Miles of dreary dead buildings, producing no oxygen at all. Want to live here? Care what city is is? This is the world as it is developing now. Human cities spreading as a concrete disease, read deserts with little life for anything but humans, all across the planet. And we consider that progress and profitable. Yet who truly benefits? (Shanghai by cc Geza Radics) Now dream green on top of all those buildings, and many designed just for that.

The great ‘GREEN OVERHAUL’

Purpose, meaning and a future for our planetary society

Floris Koot
Apr 24, 2018 · 15 min read

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The Gentle Revolutionaries. The ethical pioneers. The Solutionaries. The changemakers. The social activists, caretakers, visionaries. To those that put the human race forward towards a more healthy, beautiful, inclusive future. Don’t ignore them. Help them. Don’t believe your current ‘normal’ is healthy. It can be improved upon. Because the wise ones, we call crazy, who act to better the world, are the ones who do” ~Update of the advertising text that Rob Siltanen wrote for Apple. No, not written by Steve Jobs.

We need CHANGE. While corporate media give so much attention to terrorism, people getting shot or local hypes, we miss out on the long term situation. We worry about some aggressive nations that gear up for war, because others don’t bow enough (have stuff they want?). Yet every day things happen that aren’t mentioned in the news, killing more people every single day* than terrorism in a year or even a decade! I look around and see an overall degrading eco-system and billions of us either poor, hungry, lost, depressive, worn out and or sick through lack of meaning or sustainable food. These problems seem huge, and each has many people around the world committed to make a difference to each of these issues. Yet, what if there was a plan, a SIMPLE BIG PLAN, that could solve all those issues?..

*) 50% of all wildlife gone, insect life even 75% (and don’t tell me it’s the temperature it’s also Monsanto poisons everywhere) About 20.000 children die every day of reasons that could easily be prevented, like malnutrition, simple diseases, violence, abuse. Over 6 million die in China every year of pollution alone. Globally the number is much higher. The US Opioid crisis and state of health care claims more lives, than most politicians even want to discuss. Cancers are soaring because of poisons and pollutions in food and water. Did anyone consider how much the amount of city space in roads, buildings and such adds to global desertification, land devoid of nature? Etc.

If all we see is straight lines, what happens to our thinking? If we never see nature, how can we truly know how essential it is for our lives?

Do you care for a healthy planet? Would you like to see all primal forests (incredible complex webs of life still harboring many secrets) protected and allowed to grow again? Would you prefer clean oceans teeming with life?Would you like to buy nothing made of non degradable plastics? Would you love all fine dust removed from your cities? Would you prefer organic foods that have way lower cancer risks? Would you like to be warned on the package if your food was produced with antibiotics, GMO’s, RoundUp, hormones? (Isn’t it crazy, that isn’t normal?) Would you love a job, helping to clean up the mess and have purpose in helping save the planet? Would you love to be part of a movement that provides work, change, health, beauty, life, freedom, possibilities for billions? Would you love to see all those immigrants and refugees return home, because their own culture has become so attractive you want to visit as a tourist too? If you have many yesses (even when you don’t think it feasible), then you understand the why, this should be the new natural normal.

Green Sustainable city. Plan for a livable, breathable, beautiful Paris in 2050 by visionary architect (and realist I’d say) Vincent Callebaut. How our eyes long for some green in our lives.

“Everything invested in the thriving of the whole, is benefit for all.” For me an essential principle. Just consider how the Eiffel Tower or Gaudi’s works delivered huge value to their respective cities. How free education helped the West take a huge leap forward and how the middle class disappears when it’s gone.

THE GREAT ‘GREEN OVERHAUL’

Some years back I watched some overhaul shows. People gathering to overhaul a house for a great human being who had back luck, or people loving the professional pride in engineering a classic car to new heights. These shows are about giving, are human and the craftsmanship to make things better! So, let’s do a global GREEN OVERHAUL. Let’s take all of our societies on a journey towards a ecological healthy and thriving planet.

Is it possible? Yes. Very much so. For this we’d need a plan that includes success in economical, ecological and social fields. And that is possible! And much needed, like this example towards organic agriculture, very actual now roundup is discovered in many foods in the USA. With vision and with and/and or win/win/win thinking this is possible. To imagine the idea alone it is good for the spirit, society and your creativity. Imagine the Green Overhaul! It helps to return hope to people who’ve given up. It gives me hope (and as those who followed me a bit, I can be very critical) and direction. In fact, it has been doing so for a long time.

This building will earn it’s money back. It’ll bring tourists, produce food, stimulate engineering, help develop new materials and architecture and help people stay healthy longer.

What would happen when we put this huge effort in greening the whole economy on all levels? First: we’d create millions of new jobs! Just consider the mountain of garbage in need of cleaning up and all the new products, systems we’d need to replace them. Read all consumers globally replacing most of their stuff. True capitalists should be dancing! Second: We’d create a huge extra sense of meaning and direction for all people looking for meaning and direction. Compare the difference in attitude and mindset of those that feel their job matters to those in senseless shit jobs, pushing products even they don’t believe in. That’s why teachers and caretakers keep fighting in deeply underpaid jobs. And if you are a hedge fund manager, you should have this same sense of making a difference for many! That is possible. Third: It would make the planet much, much greener. Our long term safety, healthy and beauty would be ensured. Nature could flourish again, and we could breath in/with it

Yes, but…(read only when you already doubt this)

Yes, but what about our investments in oil, what about all current jobs, in the current machine system? Yes, what about all people selling plastic gadgets no one needs? What all doctors visits because of cancers, depressions and lack of nature around you? What about bankers who prefer the arms industry which guarantees power and control, over the threat of popular votes taking down such investments, when they’d realize that war was made with their money?

Swiss banks (smart people) already stopped investing in oil. Free energy is possible. The oil industry makes the mistake of fearing that. That’s why they so heavily invest in getting much more oil on the market to keep it very cheap. All to keep you away from pushing for change. The mindsets of men who prefer (the very polluting) fracking in former national parks over investing in sun, wind and water energy will not be missed. If our current (fortune 500) billionaires really cared, they’d be all Elon Musks, trying to be at the forefront of making everything better for everyone. Damn, only 8 people have all the money needed for the great Green Overhaul, so will they help or play Koch Brothers?

So what if destructive dinosaur companies die? They should adapt anyway. And if they can’t, they’ll just be like a Kodak, IBM, PAN AM, XEROX with an ever diminishing spending power and no relevance anymore. Before Trump in the USA turned against all progress (‘clean coal’, hahaha #sad) solar energy was the biggest job grower in the energy market. That’s how a free idea can make a real difference. I’m almost sad these new industries can’t buy politicians like the old boys network. But you should understand that even a strong protective convincing force, targeting you daily through the media, may not be the one you should invest in. It may be a zombie, refusing to accept it’s dead.

Good reason to start committing to something that makes a positive difference for others. :)

And, I know, it’s harder to believe in something that isn’t there yet, than in settled billionaires with nice suits and smoothed out marketing talks. It’s harder to gamble on a grand sounding plan, than on your current job. But if you hate your job, worry about the planet, then doing more of the same won’t work. The longer you wait, the more it’ll hurt.

The Best Plan in the World

Plan for a bridge across the Seine, cleaning the air, possibly also producing organic food and spaces to live.

I’d say a GREEN OVERHAUL is the most logical, natural, smart thing to do. If (and when) your government loves a longer future, they’d put this first. Want to fight terrorism*? Green Africa, make living there great again! Want to stop refugees? Get your armies to grow back forests (all that manpower makes such a bigger difference when helping to restore all that we all need). Wouldn’t you rather have your army husband return safely from replanting rainforest, than coming back with a trauma from being in a messy war, that didn’t help make the world safer? Want to stop your arms industry? Really turn weapons into plows. I mean small arms into small intensive farming tools, like handheld plows for rooftop fields and hydraulic systems for vertical farming.

*) Terrorism got over 4500% worse since the war on terrorism. And that’s not even counting all innocent victims fallen through drone strikes.

What if your work was a farm close to home in your city? Or you could send the kids safely to pluck berries at the local ‘pluckery’?

And for all countries, to be the first and best at the Green Overhaul is something all should aspire to be. That country would feel like the Nelson Mandela of nations, a shining light and example of high civilization among all one dimensional profit thinking cultures.

Ambition in green has more advantages. The first neighborhood in the Netherlands that got energy neutral (goodbye oil energy) got visitors from all over Europe. The first transition town Totnes England thrives on being such and got world fame for it. And a Green Overhaul would make your city beautiful, which also attracts tourists! The green city pictures I used are from a plan by Vincent Callebaut for Paris 2050. Finally buildings that can outshine the magic of the Eiffel Tower. And when you’d combine these buildings with Desiging Renegerative Cultures by Daniel Christian Wahl, we can go from protecting the last bits of nature to thriving nature within one generation.

Of course it isn’t really a competition. Your country my not have the best or most famous library on the planet, but you’re happy it has them. Same with parks, wildlife and beauty. If it isn’t available it hurts the soul. So why not have forests on all flat roofs? Why not have vertical farming, so in case of economic collapse your city is self sustaining? We have the technology. We have the manpower. We have the money (or make it). Only thing missing is the will and the vision. The vision is here now too. Now tweet those men who own everything to green the planet.

“We don’t know what can or can’t be done. We only know what needs to be done.” ~Andrew Boyd.

How To Make it Happen?

First acknowledge the deeper shit we’re all in, the degrading eco-systems, in a media landscape that daily lies, denies, distracts and distorts. Google ‘dead zones in the ocean’ or ‘disappearing primal forests’, and learn. Secondly study alternatives (see below) and discover what you’re contribution to the solution could be. Go listen, learn, self develop your body and mind on finding meaning and purpose in your life. Find ways to make it your work or part of it. I know an advertiser who only works for ethical brands. Connect people that should know each other. Ask, demand, vote for Green Politicians, let alone those with strong ethic principles who walk their talk.

Secondly demand daily updates in the news media about what your government is doing, what corporations make major shifts and or examples of beautiful initiatives that are already happening, so thinking and acting towards this future becomes the new normal, because it should be so!

Accept that the solution needs huge diversity in work, approaches, ideas and things that need to be done. Do your own thing, don’t attack others doing theirs. You’re both helping. I’m an educational change maker. I love great teachers in the ‘old system’ who inspire their students. I love students who question and challenge me with their own thinking. I love policemen taking risks to de-escalate conflicts and all caretakers who help those in need. I love civil servants facilitating change makers, helping them organize and I love social rebels who try alternative lifestyles living off the grid. They all help. That is a simple political idea. What pragmatically can be proven to work trumps any ideology, especially the ones that corporate lobbies try to sell.

Now, how to help here and in Africa and across the globe? Everywhere there are people who have neither time nor space to do something, nor the power or insight to make a difference. Consider how you’d help them. Maybe you get an idea, maybe you don’t. Surely some will have ideas and live them. So follow your own flow of being part of the solution in your way and stick to that.

There’s an idea Otto Scharmer teaches with Theory U: design from the future. Then live either planning or navigating (for those who hate planning) your way there. Change can happen fast. Consider that after Pearl Harbour the USA only needed 3 months to have changed into a war industry. Also consider that after WWII everyone committed to rebuilding worn torn Europe. The current USA looks quite similar, it’s decayed infrastructure has become the ideal back ground for all those dystopian SciFi or zombie movies. After Trump (when he doesn’t) and when the flooding of Florida becomes reality the USA might be willing to lead as an example. There’s enough Americans who’d love that, even though they haven’t found each other yet, or still believe too much you’d have to agree on method and plan. When we all could let go a bit of that. When we all commit to our own contribution in a open hearted way, we may find we are not alone. Because millions long for this.

And yes, there are flaws in this plan and text. Yet, rather than write the whole thing of, because of these flaws, seek to improve, find and or offer answers or raise more questions. Do that, not only to me, also to the people around you. Create a movement of changemakers around you, or join a fun group who seem to know what they’re doing. It’s going to be an messy adventure, but we’ll need to accept some chaos, before a shift truly happens.

The good thing is there are many examples and people showing how it’s already has been done. This is an awesome place to start..

“If I can’t dance (in it), I don’t wanna be part of your revolution.”~Emma Goldman

What if your office felt more like this than a hall of cubicles? Or your job was gardening here, always in perfect weather?

How can you know if you’re helping?

It’s simple. The Green Overhaul is already happening, yet mostly unnoticed, not even appreciated, let alone supported by politics. I call it the Gentle Revolution. Millions of people who daily wonder, what is wrong, and how within my context, can I make things better? They all apply their own answers. And as a swarm of bees or a nest of ants, all needs are slowly but surely taken care of. Greenpeace protests, World Nature Fund protects, many intensive small farmers rethink the destructive agri-industry, hippies starting alternative communities, green politicians rethink economy, educational innovators help create educations that train young professionals who want to be helpers. etc.

Social entrepreneurship is even becoming a new normal among millennials. Many get burnouts in normal jobs and seek meaning. They start small and sometimes bigger businesses that help make the difference.

For my spiritual friends. :) Most spiritual people work hard on changing their mindset towards themselves and their situation. Yet spirituality has the danger of becoming the art of avoiding confrontation. When the situation can be changed, must be changed, you should wake up your inner Jesus and throw the bankers out of the temple, wake up your inner Gandhi and use non violence to stand up, your inner MLK to dream and your inner self to add your own color and ideas. :)

In short: all your actions are either helping towards a better world or not. They are either more connected to love for life or less so. Staying healthy is part of that helping. Yet turning a profit ‘at the cost of others’ (read nature, slavery, pollution, etc) is not. This is beyond all old school politics. Both Socialism (being too focussed on everyone being equal doesn’t allow for all diversity needed in action and thought to make this happen) and Capitalism (being too rewarding towards greed and profits gained by either making, let alone, keeping people sick) fall short of this new integral approach to a Global Cultural Renaissance. We need a huge diversity in play designed approaches to dream, design, create, build, test, sell, scale new solutions to all new problems arising from this. Many new professions will come into being, many old ones will disappear. So have fun with it. Don’t fight others doing different things, not even those that kill or sicken the planet and don’t seem interested in healing nature, and societies. Make them obsolete or get them to help you.

And while we are busy we might discover that the one thing we really needed to do to safe the planet was change our life styles, and not just address the consequences of it. Pollution isn’t solved by cleaning the air as best as we can. It’s solved by not polluting it in the first place. And for that we need to live in a fully not polluting, not harming, not damaging way. Once we’re there, we’ll discover nature can restore much faster and easier than expected.

What if We Succeeded?

Ah, what if we succeed? Well, when everything is green, smaller scaled and less focussed on buying stuff, we’ll have less jobs. Most of which might be taken by robots, anyway. So then, it’s time for global basic incomes. This will also reduce governments, as control is less needed, when everyone has enough. It also also means we’d have way more time for festivalism, read experiential lifestyles, rather than product consuming life styles. We’d have more time to be with friends and family. Or for art, because what Vicent Callebaut started will be further developed by by garderner/artists, by developers of Tarzan slinging systems and developers of safe wildlife provisions for huge cities. The possibilities are endless. Godspeed.

Floris Koot

Nelson Mandela. If I ask anyone who they see as the greatest leaders they’ve known, his name is always in the top 3, often number 1. His integrity, inclusivity and compassion a rare, yet so loved. Try being a politician with values like him. Or demand your politicians to compare to his standard.

Jane Goodall, a loved and respected thought leader on natural consciousness. Also a woman showing that the perceived crazy ideas of her youth turned out to be highly intuitive, inspiring and offered scientific breakthroughs.

Daniel Christian Wahl. Expert in Desigining Regenerative Cultures, the step beyond sustainability. Let’s go from preventing more harm to regrowing and re-vitalizing nature everywhere, while designing socio-economic models that support that.

Vandana Shiva Her very clear and natural straight talking on ecology is shows very grounded spiritualism. It sounds so much more true to me than many self help guru’s. Consider her the best independent lobby for eco-design in agri-culture. If you can’t get her, try one of these women or Joanna Macy

Satish Kumar whose life long work for a healthy and sustainable planet has helped shape global agenda’s and thinking in such places as Shumacher College. A male version of Vandana Shiva.

Vincent Callebaut. One of the top 50 Green Architects. His bold visions of Green Cities can help prevent us ending up in more dystopian futures.

Michel Bauwens. Rethink business dealing and economic trade. His P2P (peer2eer) foundation is a global leader in ways to doing trade and business. He considers Bitcoin a pyramid scheme, but he’ll let you know when a blockchain solution has made the breakthrough it purports to be.

Some more further reading starters. The Gentle Revolution Blog. Consider learning to solve these issues together. How to get active. Rethink current political convictions. Or How to play yourself free under pressure.

Now look back at the picture of Shanghai and wonder where’d you rather be. See you in Paris in 2050.

With thanks to Dmitry Sokolov (this post started as reply to his assumption no plan could great for economy, ecology and society at the same time), Christopher Chase who is an excellent blogger, Anneloes Smitsman who combines eco-awareness with legal activism in several countries, Shelly Ostroff who has great ideas on global governance, and many, many, others who helped shape my thinking.

The Gentle Revolution

Towards a revolution we all want to dance in, for a flourishing planet.

Floris Koot

Written by

Play Engineer. Social Inventor. Gentle Revolutionary. I always seek new possibilities and increase of love, wisdom and play in the world.

The Gentle Revolution

Towards a revolution we all want to dance in, for a flourishing planet.

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