Sustainable Economy in Scotland
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What If ?
The Birth of a Sustainable Economy
in Scotland, in the Moray Firth Region, 1995 – 2015
by Guy Dauncey
Presented to the Findhorn Foundation EcoVillages Conference, Findhorn, Scotland, October 1995 In 1995, there was a growing awareness in Scotland that the way economic growth was happening on the Earth, there might not be much of a new millennium to celebrate in 5 years time unless some pretty serious changes were put in motion to start doing things differently. The cumulative effects of the fundamental clash between the economy and the ecology of the Earth were beginning to manifest themselves in a host of worrisome ways. In October of 1995, there was a major international conference on EcoVillages at the Findhorn Foundation, and as a result of conversations during the conference, a small group of local people got together who shared a deep desire to build a sustainable Earth-Economy in the Moray Firth Region of Scotland. When they first met, they stuck a poster of a quote by Margaret Mead on the wall, saying "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has". Then they said "It's got to happen - so let's do it !". They decided to devote 1996 to gathering information about state-of-the-art thinking on sustainable economies from around the world. They set up a Sustainable Economies Dialogue on the Internet, and invited people all around the world to tell them about positive, hopeful initiatives. They also ran a weekly Sustainable Future discussion group, which rapidly grew as people discovered that the founders had a deep commitment, which inspired others to want to get on board. The group included a local councillor, an investment adviser, a farmer, several academics, a bank manager, two businessmen from the local Chamber of Commerce, a local landowner, and an officer from the local military base. Over the course of the year they ran into a huge range of people over the Internet, including some of the world's leading new economists and progressive business people, and they explored a virtual ton of positive sounding initiatives. At the end of the year, they hosted a community seminar to share their results, and persuaded to the local paper to cover the meeting. "What have we learnt ?", they asked, at the seminar. "Overall, we have learnt three things : "One, things are far worse than we thought they were. Our economy, while it has delivered many truly good things to us, is fundamentally hostile to Nature in the way it operates. Almost without exception, each act of economic growth is accompanied by an equivalent act of ecological loss. >From Nature's perspective, the economy is behaving rather like an alien organism that is preying on the Earth in a parasitic feeding frenzy. It takes what it needs, without any understanding of the ecology or the context, spews its wastes into the air, soil and water, and dumps the final debris." "At a profound level, the solution lies with a substitution of intelligence for matter, a decoupling of economic growth from associated growth in the input of material resources. The Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado and the Wuppertal Institute in Germany are saying that we should build a 'Factor Four economy', ie one that is four times more efficient in its use of energy and raw materials, and then go on to build a Factor Ten economy; and that in so doing, we will both strengthen our economies, and make them more sustainable, ecologically." "These Sustainability Curves indicate the shift we must make. Curve A shows the typical exponential growth of Earth's economy, as it heads towards the limits of Earth's ecological existence, and its rendezvous with disaster. Curve B shows how this growth really consists of two curves, one representing our ever-growing consumption of material resources, the other showing the growth of embodied intelligence, through science, engineering, and the development of social and cultural wealth. Curve C shows how our consumption of material resources must be rapidly turned around and stabilized, while the curve of intelligence, which is also the curve of spiritual and invisible wealth, can continue to grow, since it is not bounded by any physical limits." THE VISUALS (Since the images can't be transmitted electronically !) Curve A : Picture a background of Planet Earth, with an exponential curve reaching up across it, starting to go vertical. Curve B : Now picture the same curve with a second curve running parallel, immediately underneath. The lower curve represents the growth of consumption of material resources (quantity); the upper curve represents the growth of intelligence and other invisibles (quality). Curve C : The lower curve goes through a U-turn and then stabilizes, while the upper curve continues its exponential growth. "The second thing we have learnt is that all over the world, people are working to change the way the economy works, seeking to remodel it so that it performs in harmony with nature, instead of hostility. There are initiatives being developed in governments, businesses and banks, communities and households, farms, forests and international agencies. We have learnt that the economy cannot be treated as a 'thing' which can be fixed by economists, or any other kind of specialist. The economy is an expression of a interconnected, cultural wholeness, which links to our food, energy, houses, communities, values and our own children, as well as to our businesses and our trading relations. And throughout this wholeness a massive turnaround is in process, which offers us a wide array of opportunities." "The third thing we have learnt involves a constantly recurring spiritual dimension. A disproportional number of people who are involved in the new initiatives are motivated by a deep feeling that Earth, and Nature, are both sacred, and that they have a profound duty to stop the assault and heal the damage. Unlike most other movements for economic reform, which have usually been motivated by a desire to increase the wealth of some or all of the world's population, ignoring the process by which that wealth is obtained, this movement seems to have roots in a sense of the sacred. As a group," they said, "we share that sense of the sacred; when we look at Earth, and Nature, we are filled with a sense of wonder and awe. Whatever the practical initiatives we get up to over the coming years, we want it to be known that it comes down to this : we deeply love the Earth on which we live, and we want to see if we can reshape the Moray Firth economy in a way which will reflect this love". In January 1997, half of the group devoted itself to launching an organization called Moray Firth Businesses for Social Responsibility. They spent six months attracting members from the local business community with a variety of interesting speakers, and then decided to launch a program called Green-Up, offering practical environmental advice to local businesses to help them convert to more eco-friendly ways of operating. The BBC was interested, and produced a series of programs called 'Green-Up', based on the experience of businesses which were working their way through the program. The rest of the group decided to devote the year to mapping out a complete picture of what the Moray Firth economy might look like in the year 2015, if it was to grow in a completely new direction, towards Earth-Sustainability. They needed such a picture, they decided, in order to be able to back-track, and plot which initiatives and changes would be needed now, if that goal were to be achieved. During 1997, they held some very fruitful meetings with activists involved in 'Local Agenda 21' planning for the Grampian and Highland regions, who were committed to seeing that the goals of the 1992 Rio Conference were implemented, particularly relating to biodiversity and global warming. They also took a trip to Holland, where they met with planners involved in the Dutch Green Plan. They were especially impressed with the fact that the Plan took a 50 year perspective, and worked closely with business in key sectors of the economy. They were excited by the Plan's use of goals, indicators, and four-yearly progress reports in areas such as pesticide use, carbon dioxide emissions, wildlife habitat protection and recycling. The Local Agenda 21 people came with them to Holland, and on their return they held a series of meetings with sympathetic people in local government. Together, they decided that they would devote the whole of 1998 to community meetings in the region, to share the idea of having a Green Plan with the wider community, and win public support. In the summer of 1998 Nature came to their support in a perverse kind of way by delivering a blistering 5-month-long drought throughout northern Scotland, which had everyone on stand-pipes by the end of July. The world scientific community came out in a strong voice, saying that yes, the weather problems were directly related to global warming, thanks to our use of fossil fuels, and the 4 billion tons of carbon dioxide we released each year. The same year, the UN Convention on Climate Change declared that stabilizing C02 emissions at 1990 levels was nowhere near enough : if we were to have any chance of stabilizing the atmosphere, we had to aim for a massive 80% reduction of 1990 levels by the year 2015. Greenpeace then launched a fall campaign called 'Drive a Car, Starve a Whale', which successfully shocked people with the knowledge that increasing carbon dioxide emissions was causing ocean temperature disturbances, which were causing a drastic decline in zooplankton populations, and starving the larger whale species of their habitual diet. Many young people were moved by the campaign to sign a pledge that they would never purchase a fossil-fuel-powered car, and started a profound shift in awareness that led people to look on cars as they did cigarettes, as a source of suffering, pain and death, and inherently anti-social. Some sceptics wrote to the press saying how people had fallen for the fear-mongering of the environmental long-hairs, but in January 1999 the Grampian and Highland Regional Councils, in conjunction with a dozen other organizations, put their name to an ambitious Green Plan for the area. The Plan adopted the 80% C02 reduction goal, among a mass of other commitments. "If the next 5 years tell us we are being unnecessarily cautious", they said, "we can easily change". The first five-year plan included a 25% cut in pesticide use, a 25% reduction in the waste stream and a 25% increase in overall energy efficiency. To encourage recycling and the re-use of recycled materials, the Plan established several Recycling Market Development Zones, based on the success of the program in California, encouraging companies working with recycled materials to locate in the zone. It also established an electronic Moray Firth Resources Exchange Circle, designed to turn the region's industrial and commercial wastes into a saleable market resource. The Plan called for the planting of 250,000 trees, the fencing of 1500 square kilometres of ancient Caledonian forest to restore the forest by protecting it from the ravages of the deer, the restoration of salmon habitat, a 25% reduction in the flow of treated sewage, and an end to all ocean dumping into the Moray Firth itself. Having set the ambitious goal of 80% C02 reduction, the Regions invited Moray Firth Businesses for Social Responsibility to set up a C02 Reduction Task Force to advice them on the changes needed to achieve the goal. "If we ask the business community to recommend the reforms", they told themselves, "it will be easier to reach final consensus, than if we try to tell them what to do". In the spring of 2000, the Task Force came back with its recommendations, covering energy, transportation, and urban design. On energy, they recommended legislation that, starting in a year's time, would oblige anyone selling a house to retrofit it to an agreed standard of efficiency and insulation. To make the retrofits easy, they recommended setting up a Retrofit Partnership between the energy utilities, the retrofit companies and local banks to create a single package, through which you could phone to get your house retrofitted, financed by an automatic bank loan which would be repaid out of the savings on future fuel bills. They also recommended the creation of Energy Bonds to finance the retrofitting of larger industrial and commercial premises, and investments into solar, ground source solar, wind, and other renewable forms of energy. When it came to transportation, they reminded people that the average motorist doing 10,000 miles a year pumped 4-5 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. "There is absolutely no avoiding it", they said : "the buck stops with us". Encouraged by widespread discussion in the media about the whole issue of global warming, they proposed a package of measures designed to wean people out of their cars. These included : * mandatory trip reduction programs for larger employers; * true cost parking, to reflect the real cost of land and discourage free and subsidized parking; * building a network of cross-country trails for cycling, hiking and horse-riding; * giving everyone an annual pass for the local bus services, pre-paid out of local taxes; * restoring old railway lines, where they could offer good commuter routes; * digging up some urban side-streets, replacing them with parks, gardens and footpaths; * a feebate system whereby fuel-inefficient cars pay extra road-tax, and efficient cars pay less; * electronic road-pricing, making drivers pay for every mile they travelled on the roads; * additional taxes on the price of petrol; * a carbon-tax on aircraft fuel * using the income to support public transit, and for alternative fuel research. The Task Force's proposals were reported nationally, and championed by environmental groups and non-conservative councils all over Britain. Motoring lobby organizations were livid. In public, they accused the Task Force of being manipulated by conspiracies of doom-mongers who had a hidden agenda to destroy free democracies. In private, they organized the posh-sounding 'Global Climate Environmental Research Team' which they paid to commission phony scientific studies designed to show that global warming was not proven, and hired a big PR company to push the studies onto editorial desks across the country. The strategy delighted frustrated motorists, until a leak to Greenpeace exposed a top-secret document which outlined their entire strategy, along with details of secret payments being made to politicians in off-shore bank accounts, creating a scandal which caused several MPs to resign. The proposals might not have been implemented, but the environmental movement organized like never before, emphasizing the benefits of traffic calming and cycling. In the winter of 2000 massive storms flooded huge areas of Holland and eastern Britain, driving home the realities of climate chaos, and providing the political support necessary for most of the proposals to be adopted by councils all over Britain. The third part of the Task Force's report dealt with urban design. They focussed their attention on a new piece of software called the C02 Profile, which calculated the CO2 impact of different urban designs by inputting data on street layout, housing density and local employment opportunities. They then recommended that only settlements with a low CO2 profile be approved, and proposed a shift to ecovillage type settlements, and a move away from single family dwellings. As the proposals were implemented over the next five years, the price of used cars plummeted and the motor industry went into crisis, with thousands of layoffs. Car sharing co-operatives flourished, and telecommuting became a regular way of life. While all this was going on, the Moray Firth region continued to experience a stubborn level of unemployment, along with the rest of the country. The technological revolution was fast and thorough, and was replacing people with machines all over the economy. New jobs were appearing and new businesses starting, but the businesses came pre-automated, and showed no sign of being able to employ the tens of thousands who had no work. Some households had had no breadwinner for ten years or longer. A quarter of all school-leavers were unable to find work, and young men, in particular, were bitter, angry and alienated. Unemployment had been around for so long, however, that few people in government or in the media paid any attention to it any more. There was an attitude of resignation, after all the government schemes had come and gone. "The unemployed will always be with us", seemed to be the attitude. The unemployed tended to share the hopelessness. In the year 2000, all this suddenly changed. A new movement grew up among unemployed people, focussed around the demand for worksharing. "Why should you all work 5 or 6 days a week, when we cannot work at all ?", they said. "Why can't we all work 4 days a week, enjoy a 3-day weekend, and let unemployed people get back into the workforce ?", They had studies from economists that showed that with a 4 day-week, or an 8-day fortnight, productivity would rise, employers' contributions for national insurance could be eliminated, and average pay need be only 5% less. "A 20% cut in working hours for a 5% cut in pay", they said. "Isn't that a pretty smart move ?". To back their proposal, they produced opinion polls that showed that 70% of the population supported such a move, if it could be arranged. The idea had been around for years, but in the year 2000, for the first time, groups of unemployed people took it up as a cause and started organizing rallies, marches, and mass pickets of offices and factories, saying to the workers "Share the Work !". The unions resisted, determined not to surrender a single privilege of working life, but over the year, as the logic of the move sank in, they began to acknowledge that they had a social obligation to unemployed workers too, and began to accept the need for change. The environmental movement had never paid much attention to unemployment as an issue. The debate had always been focused on ways to increase growth, irrelevant of the environmental consequences, so there had been little shared interest between the movements. When the unemployed took up the demand for worksharing, however, the connection with simpler living and with having more time instead of more things began to sink in. When the unemployed took their protest to the offices of Greenpeace in London, dangling outside worker's windows on ropes to protest the long, 6-day weeks their staff habitually worked, Greenpeace capitulated. In 2002, the government legislated a national move to a 4-day week, backed up by a major investment in training to get unemployed people back to work in all the vacancies that opened up. Over the next three years, 80% of the unemployed were able to find regular jobs, and people all over the country got used to regular 3 and often 4-day weekends. Worksharing alone was not enough to heal the wounds that decades of unemployment had left. It remedied the central ailment, but left numerous communities still mired in poverty and alienation. It took widespread adoption of Community Trusts to begin to tackle that. The Trusts took their spirit from the movement for community economic development that began in the 1970s, and the community businesses that flourished in Scotland the '80s and '90s. The Trusts came of age when they were given proper governmental support for their work of local economic development, along with control over the budgets for local welfare, unemployment benefits, training and business assistance. With these powers, and by using community banks, local currencies and sustainable technologies to build local trade, and by instituting a year of community service for all young people under 25, they were able to integrate the various pieces to the puzzle, and rebuild shattered communities. It is a work that will need many years yet, before completion. And here's Part 2 ! By 2005, the Green Plan was half-way into its 20-year program. Progress was steady, but patchy. In the first 5-year period, local farmers had succeeded in achieving a 25% cut in the amount of pesticides they used, but the amount of pesticides being used by householders was as high as ever. Around 2000, a number of parents groups started a campaign called 'Mothers Against Cancer in Children', and sought court injunctions to have major Garden Centres closed down on the grounds that they were contaminated sites, because of the sheer volume of hazardous chemicals they contained. They started promoting local pesticide by-laws, and within a year, 15% of Scottish councils had approved the bylaw, which banned all use of chemical pesticides in people's gardens. A consortium of agribusiness companies fought back with a legal challenge, but it was thrown out by the courts, and the following year, as if to rub it in, the government imposed a 30% ecotax on all chemical pesticide and fertilizer products, with the income going to a conversion fund for organic farmers. The corporations' response was to move into biological pesticides in a big way. By way of background, it helps to know that various types of bt (bacillus thuringiensis) are biological pesticides, widely used by organic growers. Back in 1995, Monsanto, one of the world's largest agribusiness corporations, decided to move into the bt field. They took a variety of bt that was known to kill the Colorado potato beetle, and genetically bred a potato with the bt built right into it. Colorado beetles attacking the spuds would die from the bt, and Monsanto would get a lucrative harvest from their monopoly on the potato. The trouble was that if only two beetles in ten thousand happened to have a resistant gene, these two would go on to breed while all the others would be wiped out, and within a few years most Colorado beetles would be resistant to bt, and the organic farming movement would have lost one of its most valuable biological pesticides. The movement fought Monsanto bitterly, and the potato project was put on hold, but meanwhile, another multinational, GrowEx Inc., started marketing genetically-bred bt vegetables, threatening to destroy the entire value of bt as a natural pesticide in exchange for 5 or ten years of increased profits. For the people at the heart of Moray Firth Businesses for Social Responsibility, GrowEx's actions presented a profound dilemma. They had been promoting the creed that since it was the world's businesses which were most intimately involved in the economy, and by default, in the destruction of ecological stability, it was up to business to adopt new standards of social and ecological responsibility, and change their production processes accordingly. "So how do we respond", they asked themselves, "to a corporation like GrowEx, that shows no trace of responsibility, and which acts like an ecological psychopath, solely in the interest of its shareholders ?". They asked the same question over the Internet, and found themselves engaged in a major international debate with people asking the same question all over the world. Throughout the planet, many multinational corporations were behaving with the impunity of pirates, blackmailing governments, buying politicians, relocating their offices, minimizing taxes, and spending millions to get laws reversed, all in the name of increased profits and share-values. The information they gathered put some of the group's most committed members into a major depression. All the work they were doing in their small corner of north-east Scotland seemed like a gnat's pee, compared with the deluge of unsustainability being practiced by corporations around the world. What was the value of their own work, when faced with such a deliberate ecological holocaust ? The Internet dialogue was also full of solutions, however. In the USA, a movement was building which challenged the charters granted by state jurisdictions which gave the corporations their legal existence. Several corporations had modified their behaviour when threatened with the unpleasantness and publicity of a full legal hearing into their right to exist. Responding to the growing international furor, the US state of Vermont passed the Social, Environmental and Employee Responsibility Act. The Act offered tax-incentives to corporations which adopted a package of reform measures including worksharing, telecommuting, employee-shareholding, public environmental and social auditing, community directors, and a ceiling on executive salaries. It was a good move for Vermont, since smart, young, ecologically aware companies chose to locate in the state because of the Act. Jumping ahead of our chronology to complete this aspect of the story, by 2012 anger and impatience had grown to breaking throughout the world at the way in which big corporations acted as if they owned the place, irrespective of ethics, taxes or environmental considerations. That year, a major UN Conference was organized, and a Global Treaty signed which called on all multinational corporations to abide by a Global Code of Social and Environmental Conduct. Within a year, the Treaty had obtained the necessary number of signatures, and became binding. Some corporations tried to ignore the Treaty, and were taken to trial at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Like slavery, the systematic injustices and ecological destructions that had been done at the hand of the corporations had finally been brought to an end. Back in Scotland, a new dimension was being added to the sustainability movement with an increasing number of people who were getting interested in the practice of voluntary simplicity. This was more than a vague spiritual desire to get back to a simpler, less consumer-heavy lifestyle. People were engaging in detailed financial planning, with help from organized workbooks, to minimize their expenditures and maximize their savings, with a view to 'signing off' from the working world, or reducing their paid work to one or two days a week, and living a simpler life on a relatively low income, while devoting their time to their families, and to things they enjoyed doing. Quite a number of people were leaving lucrative professional careers which had been high on income, but low on meaning, and were devoting their lives to making a difference on the Earth. Their influence cannot be underestimated when assessing the changes that happened over the first 15 years of the new millennium. One of the physical indicators of their influence was the spread of cohousing initiatives, ecovillages and intentional communities, which enabled people to live in close proximity with a higher degree of sharing, co-operation, and resource conservation than is normally possible in single family dwellings. As well as the neighbourhoods, houses, and energy, water and solar aquatic sewage systems being designed for sustainability, the residents found that ecovillage-type arrangements made it easier to share equipment such as tools, cars and dishwashers, and in an overall way, to substitute quality for quantity in their lives. In the summer of 2005, as the movement to ban pesticides was picking up steam throughout Scotland, news broke in California of a plant virus which was not responding to any known pesticide, and impending crop failures. "THE BUGS ARE WINNING !", the headlines screamed. A month later, news came in about drought in China, and food prices started to climb. By October, the true picture of the calamity was unfolding. The world food surplus, which had held steady at over 100 days supply in the 1970s and 80's, had fallen to only 5 days. Fish stocks all around the world had virtually vanished as a result of overfishing, ultraviolet penetration of surface waters and the disappearance of zooplankton. China had ceased to export grain in 1994, as growing numbers of Chinese had used their newfound wealth to shift from grains to meat. From 1995, China had been a steady importer of wheat. In the space of one month, world food prices tripled. In Scotland, families who got by on low incomes or depended on welfare cheques saw their money disappear in front of their eyes, and their children cry with hunger. Parents dug up every patch of spare land they could find, and planted vegetables the following spring. Parks, playing fields and waste lands were converted for food-growing, collective kitchens and collective canning co-ops were set up, and there was a major movement towards vegetarian diet as the realization spread that if all the land in the world that was used to raise food for livestock was used to raise grain for people instead, there would be food enough for everyone. As the year 2006 dawned, a new government in Edinburgh announced that they were replacing the traditional taxes on income and employment with a series of ecological taxes on energy, water, solid wastes, pollution, and natural resources such as timber. Businesses had been prepared for the change, and began hiring resource efficiency consultants to advise them on ways to save energy, eliminate wastes, and redesign products for longer life-cycles and maximum recyclability. At the same time, the government announced that it was replacing GNP with a new accounting system known as GNQ, or Gross National Quality. The new measurement did a lot to widen the popular understanding of what constituted "wealth", by including include such things as ecological assets and ills, productive capacity, available leisure time, education, clean air, and an absence of stress. By 2010, a cultural shift of major proportions was underway. The third phase of the Moray Firth Green Plan, which had just been announced, placed a major emphasis on the role of technology in assisting companies to meet sustainability goals. Ground source solar heat pumps, which extracted heat from the earth and converted it into useable energy, and solarvoltaic tiles, which could be used to turn a house into a net contributor to the grid, were hot sales items. In general, the culture was shifting from technologies of matter to technologies of light, and technologies of nature. A Moray Firth Future Fund was launched, enabling people to invest in companies producing sustainable technologies through Sustainability Bonds, or Billy Bonds, for short. Communities were just beginning to adjust to the new realities, and to the regular run of weather abnormalities, when they were hit by a new shock. It started in a Glasgow hospital, which reported that an outbreak of streptococcus bacteria had gotten out of control. The hospital was sealed off, but within a week, similar outbreaks were being reported from five other hospitals in the region, and patients started escaping at night. It was three months and 3,000 deaths later before the outbreak exhausted itself, but the nation's approach to health care would never be the same again. In the panic, people rushed for every kind of alternative medicine they could find. Herbs, homeopathy, natural healing, diet and group prayer were all tried, and the healers with the greatest success had to hire security guards to keep order among the queues that formed outside their houses, day and night. The shares of big drug companies collapsed, a small centre that taught pranic healing found itself giving daily healing tuition over national television, and a company that sold bio-feedback technology which enabled people to monitor the state of their own immune systems had its shares oversubscribed 25 times. Overnight, also, a small group of scientists who had been quietly working away on the relationship between the human immune system and the power of mental imagery and healing energy found themselves propelled into the spotlight. Slightly before they were ready, they were pushed to publish their theory on the relationship between matter and consciousness, or spirit, and their postulation that the whole dynamic of evolution was not propelled by random mutation, as had previously been thought, but by an inherent directionality within the formative essence of matter, which pushed every physical or biological form towards a greater relationship with its environment, greater internal coherence, and greater self-expression. "The nature of evolution as we know it", they declared, "is significantly enhanced by this new understanding of directionality. Far be it from us, as biologists, to comment on the relevance of this understanding to the modern world condition, but we do share the belief, based on our scientific work, that it is spirit itself, biologically speaking, which is the driving force behind evolution. If this is true, then our world, crazy as it may seem in this time of environmental uncertainty, is actually evolving towards incredible possibilities of wholeness, and a level of fulfillment far beyond our current capacity for hope". The significance of the breakthrough for the way we understand the economy took a while to register, but gradually, as people played with the new ideas over the Internet, a new realization began to filter through, until it reached critical acceptance. "Our economy", the new realization said, "is itself an expression of our evolution towards spiritual and planetary wholeness. In the industrial age, it gave expression to our hunger for material prosperity. Within the sustainability movement, it expressed itself through the new economics, which provided the basis for sound ecological housekeeping, and an economy of permanence. In the new evolutionary context, the economy becomes the vehicle which can help propel us towards fulfillment. Sustainability is not enough. It is a necessary foundation, but is not the destination. Even while we are working to secure an economy of permanence throughout the world, we must also work to establish an economy of spirit, to propel us into the next stage of our evolutionary journey". Meanwhile, in the forests, glens and valleys of the Cairngorms and the Grampian mountains, the new economics was of only passing interest to people who had established ecovillage-style hamlets deep in the forest. The story of how they were established, through partnerships between the landowners, the Moray Firth Land Trust and local government planners, will have to wait for another day. The hamlet residents worked as ecoforesters, protecting and harvesting the forest on a tree-by-tree basis, using horses to pull the trees from the woods, and small custom mills to cut the wood to order for builders and furniture makers who specialized in ecologically certified products, for a growing market. They educated their children at home through the new global cyberschools, and offered a range of workshops and retreats to supplement their income. In their spare time, they worked with their neighbours and other stakeholders to develop the new Strath Spey Watershed Stewardship Council. The Council represented the first time that all the players in the forests had come together to discuss their shared interests, and to develop land-use policies which would ensure the long-term sustainability of the forest, and protect their mutual interests. Foresters, fishermen, wilderness guides, naturalists, wildlife management experts, water company representatives and local government staff attended the meetings, and four times a year they shared a camping trip through the watershed to increase their understanding of the forest. To them, this was Nature's Economy at its most beautiful, most primal and most efficient, and it was up to them to ensure that it stayed that way, and that all human activity within the watershed served to enhance, restore and deepen the ecological wealth of the land. The crisis of ozone depletion, combined with the chaotic seasonal patterns of drought and flood, were causing the forest considerable stress, and it was their work to do their best to help the forest survive this difficult period, until the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere should return to normal, and the chlorine in the ozone layer should finally disappear. In places where the ancient pine trees still grew, they fenced the land to keep out the deer, and watched as the seeds grew slowly into trees, restoring the ancient Caledonian Forest, and the integrity of its whole ecosystem. Several landlords agreed to sign Wildlife Covenants, agreeing to stop hunting and shooting on their land, except for an annual deer cull. In return, the Stewardship Council provided them with an ecological inventory of their land, using student help, and helped build wildlife trails and bothies for naturalists and hikers. At this point, these reflections on the past 20 years must draw to an end. This tale of economic restoration and transformation is a complex one, and there are many issues to which this brief report cannot do justice. There is space for only brief mention of the new international tax on currency dealing, which is being used both to tame the markets and to finance sustainable developments around the world; and of how the gargantuan problems of Third World Debt have finally been brought under control through a binding UN treaty that requires the lending banks to write off the worst debts altogether, and to swap the others into sustainable equity funds for local use in their countries of origin. Globally, there is still a massive way to go. The effects of ozone depletion and global warming will be with us for another 50 years at least, in spite of the slow turnaround in emissions. Rainforests and fish stocks will take time to recover, and several species of whale may have been lost forever. As a regional economy in the Moray Firth area, however, we have rounded the corner; most of our sustainability indicators now point towards the stabilization of the economy around embedded ecological principles. New jobs in the growing sustainability and human resources sectors are helping to provide extra jobs, and the ecovillage that is being built on the edge of the air-base outside Forres is providing a welcome infusion of jobs to make up for the loss of the airbase. In conclusion, what should be said ? Just two things. The first is that looking back, the task of re-aligning the world's economy to harmonize it with nature has been a massive task, which will take another 50 years to complete; but in perspective, it has been no greater a task than the tasks of the industrial revolution, or the scientific revolution before it. They both sought the transformation of the world; the Great EcoRevolution, as historians are now calling it, has had as its goal no less a task. Neither of the earlier revolutions was achieved without enormous struggle, sustained creativity, and great resistance from the status quo. In retrospect, this revolution has been no different. In the process, we have reshaped our culture, restored peace and hope in the breasts of millions, and created a truly global democracy, which is able to contain the manic tendency towards the accumulation of power and money which shows up at every junction in history. The second observation is more profound, and concerns our future direction on this planet, and in this universe. When I look at the sustainability curves (p2), I cannot help but notice how the curve of material progress, which rushes upwards and then pauses, turns and finds harmony with the Earth, is like a booster rocket, assisting the curve of intelligence and spiritual progress to get beyond the gravitational inertia of the realities of scarcity. That curve's destination is far beyond us, and who knows where ? We have now developed the technologies we need for ecological balance - but we could never have developed essential technologies such as solarvoltaics, solar aquatic sewage treatment or telecommunications, while living in the middle ages. It is as if we needed the dirty, Earth-polluting technologies of the Industrial Age to get us to the place where we could create the delicate technologies of light and nature. Yes, in the process of transition, we came close to blowing it altogether, but the overall wisdom now prevailing no longer questions the imperative of ecological harmony. People recognize the errors of our ways : we are past the danger point. In completing, I will end with some words from Teilhard de Chardin, written in the 1930s, long before most of us were alive to dream that possibilities like this would some day come to pass : "Today, something is happening to the whole structure of human consciousness. A fresh kind of life is starting. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking each other, so that the world may come into being." Teilhard de Chardin THE END Guy Dauncey, 2069 Kings Rd, Victoria, British Columbia, V8R 2P6, Canada Tel/Fax (604) 592-4473 [email protected] Written for the Findhorn EcoVillages Conference, Scotland, October 1995 A book based on the Findhorn EcoVillages Conference will soon be available. For details, contact the Findhorn Press - [email protected] I welcome your thoughts, comments and feedback on this report : I am aware that I live some distance away from the Moray Firth. The report is based on equivalent work I am doing for Vancouver Island, here in Canada. When readers think it's beginning to be on track in a Scottish context, I may then seek to publish it. If you live elsewhere, and would like me to make a clone for your region, please get in touch. References : Anderson, Victor. Alternative Economic Indicators. 1991. c/o New Economics Foundation (see below) Brown, Lester, et al. State of the World (annual). WW Norton, New York, 1995. [email protected] Chappell, Tom. The Soul of a Business : Managing for Profit and the Common Good. Bantam, NY 1993. Daly, Herman E., and John B.Cobb. For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. Beacon Press, Boston, 1989. Dauncey, Guy. After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy. Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1996 Durning, Alan. How Much Is Enough ? The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth. WW Norton, New York, 1992. Ekins, Paul, Mayer Hillman and Robert Hutchinson.Wealth Beyond Measure : An Atlas of New Economics. Gaia Books 1992. Henderson, Hazel. Paradigms in Progress : Life Beyond Economics. Berrett-Koehler, San Fran 1995. Henderson, Hazel. Building a Win-Win World. Berrett-Koehler, San Fransisco. 1996. Hawken, Paul. The Ecology of Commerce : A Declaration of Sustainability. Harper Business, NY, 1993. In Context , PO Box 11470, Bainbridge Island WA 98110. Best overall journal on sustainability. $24pa. Johnson, Huey D. Green Plans : Greenprint for Sustainability. Univ.Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588 '95. Korten, David. When Corporations Rule the World. Berrett-Koehler, San Fransisco. 1995 Local Economic Development Information Service (LEDIS) Monthly mailing from The Planning Exchange, Tontine House, 8 Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3PL, UK. (0141) 248-8541. New Economics Foundation, Vine Court, 1st flr, 112-116 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1JE. (0171) 377-5720 [email protected] New Road Map Foundation, PO Box 15981 Seattle, WA 98115. (206) 527-0437.(Voluntary simplicity) New Ways to Work, 309 Upper St, London N1 2TY, UK. 0171-226-4026. (Worksharing) O'Hara, Bruce. Working Harder Isn't Working. New Star Books, 2504 York St, Vancouver, B.C. V6K 1E3, Canada, 1993, CAN$19.00pp. Rifkin, Jeremy. The End of Work : The Decline of the Global Labor-Force in the Post-Market Era. Putnam, New York, 1995. Robertson, James. Future Wealth : a New Economics for the 21st Century. Cassell, London, 1990. + Old Bakehouse, Cholsey, Oxon, UK. Turning Point 2000. Twice-yearly digest of people, events, publications. James Robertson, The Old Bakehouse, Cholsey, Oxon OX10 9NU, UK. (01491) 652346 £5pa