History of the Future

Notes for the exhibition.

We need a positive message, not the usual guilt-trip.

A few ideas about how the changes, that led to a sustainable world society took place.

Scenario: People from the future return to the present day: “Fantastic!! You lot managed to solve the problem, here’s how”.

Campaign for real Civilisation:
A morality based, grass-roots world movement (similar to Abolition of Slavery, Emancipation of Women, Black Civil Rights Movement, Abolition of Child Labour etc.).
Figurehead : Gandhi.
Leads to a new grass-roots moral paradigm in global society that provides the position to which the UN Treaties (below) are forced to respond. (Historically these types of changes come from the bottom up).
Conspicuous sustainability, fair trade, fair use, investment in the future health of the environment become the new status symbols of the rich world.
Consumer power is taken to it’s extreme.
The mass adoption of vegetarianism, makes available a huge over-capacity for food production, allowing a massive growth in local organic bio-ethanol production.
Historians still dispute the beginnings of this movement, but it is commonly traced back to an exhibition at La Villette in 2006.

Pre-Loved IKEA:
It is 2008, IKEA’s new catalogue begins to hint at a new direction, with the introduction of high modularity and durability. In 2009 the first repair workshop opens in an IKEA store and takes its first items for re-sale, by 2011, half of IKEA’s trade is in 2nd-hand IKEA parts traded back through the store. The 2014 Nobel Prize for Sustainability goes to IKEA’s design team for promoting modularity, re-usability, durability, adaptability, repairability and recylability. By 2016, IKEA stop manufacturing new goods and focus their entire operation on the worldwide “pre-loved” goods trade.

Cars eat Shit:
2010 the government of California passes legislation that says that by 2015, all private transport must run on human excrement. Petrol stations are replaced by sewage plants across the state.

The Carbonator (has to be said with an Austrian accent):
Tracks and displays your personal Carbon usage.
It is a wearable computer, in the form of nano-transforming jewelry that shows your high status as a low carbon user. Combining GPS, wireless, bio-monitoring, multi-spectrum scene detection, voice recognition etc., it interacts with the objects in the world around you to carefully track the carbon you expend in the products and services you use and share. They log your shared usage onto your Carbonator using wireless networking etc., and can suggest cheaper alternatives.
In 2016, the UN and World Bank contract a consortium of hi-tech startups from Palestine, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan to develop a growable (bio-computer) version that can be given away to anyone, by 2018 it is estimated that 95% of people use them and 97% of products and services are tagged.

Carbon Capitalism:
By 2018, the Euro Zone (which has grown to include a third of the world’s population) votes to change the basis of the Euro from the speculative money markets to Carbon.
The value of goods and services is based on the Carbon expended in their manufacture, use and disposal. You can borrow and lend Carbon. You gain wealth by saving the use of Carbon by yourself and others, ie. in trade, you get the Carbon you save others from using. The Carbon Economy encourages local production and investment in Carbon sinks. Instead of welfare, the poor (nations and individuals) get carbon credits. The tax you pay is in the form of carbon credits to be used by the government to provide public services and invest in new infrastructure to help the population reduce their carbon consumption. The economy benefits those who produce services with low carbon overhead (the Arts are therefore encouraged). Instead of spending ‘wealth’ to save carbon, you save ‘wealth’ by saving carbon. At work, you are given a carbon budget to get a unit of work done, you keep any unused carbon credits.

Fossil Fuels (Inter)Nationalised:
UN Treaty in 2020. UN internationalises all reserves and supplies of fossil fuels, removing them from the world economy. Petrol and Diesel production are almost ceased, remaining stocks of coal and oil are only used for making recyclable plastics etc.
The treaty forms the basis of the World Carbon Bank which brings Carbon Capitalism to the rest of the world’s economies.
In 2026 the UN institutes a form of Carbon Communism, by calculating the potential of the worlds Carbon Sinks, and distributes this as Carbon Credits, the same amount going to each member of the world’s population.

OK, Thierry, so this is mostly mad crap ;) And probably thought and written about (and rejected) by others etc. etc. Anyway I hope some of it gives us some ideas.