NEW 2nd edition, updated and more relevant that ever.
Earth through communications
Gary Alexander’s updated version of eGaia is an important resource for anyone interested in creating a peaceful sustainable Earth.
As a Lecturer in Electronics, Design and Communication at the Open University for 37 years, Gary helped pioneer some of the first distance-learning courses in the world. He has a wealth of environmental insight and a unique perspective on utilising electronic communications to improve social well-being which he combines successfully in eGaia.
In this second edition of the book he describes how we are hitting the limits of the Earth; from the melting of the Arctic, to extreme weather events and the problems with our economy, concluding that a collapse is possible at any time. Yet at the same time he illustrates how many of the ingredients of a collaborative, sustainable society are here, just waiting to be put together.
Drawing on his experience, Gary concludes that these starting points are unlikely to become mainstream until a serious, and imminent, economic collapse actually occurs; but we can go much further in growing an embryonic sustainable and peaceful society which will help us to escape the worst effects of systemic collapse and come to a soft landing.
Gary’s vision is an unashamedly Utopian image, of humanity living in harmony with the planet and in harmony with itself – a genuinely peaceful, sustainable world based around co-operation and community through enhanced communication rather than conflict, competition and war. But the text is down-to-earth and provides practical alternatives to our present, failing systems.
He describes the organising principles for a co-operative economic structure that creates a stable, self-correcting economy. He show ways to use information systems to replace much of the function of money: to provide better measures of cost, of people’s social contributions and the other key ingredients needed to organise an economy. He goes on to describe the beginnings of a global communication system, a global sense of identity and a sense of symbiosis and mutual support between human cultures which, as an example, Gary shows are evolving within the Transition Network.
The final thrust of the book highlights the huge number of organisations and initiatives working to create a peaceful, sustainable world right now. Their influence may be only marginal but it is growing rapidly and their growth is stimulated by breakdowns within our existing system.
A chapter on ‘next big steps’ is about how to inspire these organisations’ growth and help them link up and deliver mutual support through a community exchange system. This could be the crucial next step that connects the thousands of disjointed organisations that share the same values and links them together to form a critical mass that is required for these ideas to become mainstream. When that happens the eGaian vision would not be a utopian dream but could evolve into a beautiful reality.
- a radical and challenging approach to what Alexander terms our ‘global cancer’: biodiversity and habitat loss, war, climate change, poverty and social disintegration. Prof. Godfrey Boyle
- concentrates on radical and practical steps to move towards sustainability. Sandrine Simon
- a manifesto for a new world order, disarmingly presented and written. Prof. John Monk
- In Part 1 From Global Cancer to Global Nervous System: The good news: Chapter 3 A taste of an eGaian future and the bad news: Chapter 4 Humanity as a global cancer (much more than just climate change), and Chapter 5 Its the economy, stupid (our dysfunctional money system).
- Is a collaborative world possible? Aren’t strife and conflict central to human nature and evolution? No! Part 2 The Five Billion Year Story shows that symbiosis is as important as competition in evolution, and that we evolved as the ultimate co-operative ape, and became the global cancer only in the last few thousand years.
- Part 3 An eGaian Guide describes principles of communication and handling conflict needed for a collaborative society, the practical side of producing food, goods, transport, and services sustainably, and ways of organising a co-operative economy: local autonomy but with co-ordination at many scales.
- Part 4 Making eGaia happen describes the huge number of starting points in present day projects, organisations and movements, and proposes some ‘next big steps’ that could bring them together to move to the next level where they can start to make a significant difference.
Table of Contents
Part 1 From Global Cancer to Global Nervous System
1 Preface 5
2 Introduction to eGaia 16
3 A taste of an eGaian future 22
4 Humanity as a global cancer 45
5 It’s the economy, stupid! 61
6 eGaian principles 71
Part 2 Context: The Five Billion Year Story
7 Symbiosis and competition: the story of life on Earth 76
8 The co-operative ape: the early human story 104
9 Towards the global cancer: the late human story 127
Part 3 An eGaian Guide: Philosophy and Principles
10 eGaian relationships 141
11 A peaceful earth 161
12 A sustainable earth 179
13 A co-operative economy 195
Part 4 Making eGaia Happen
14 Starting points 210
15 The next big step(s)? 229
16 Summary: Towards an eGaian Earth 238
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I met Gary (Best wishes to you !) at the funeral of a mutual friend (HP) some years ago. He gave a copy of the original edition of this book which was and will remain top thinking and sense, with humour and love. A friend purloined it and i haven’t seen either since, but never mind. These books are recommended +! x.