Solution statement – Implementation

The primary practical strategy for making and maintaining lifestyle changes advocated in the One in a Billion strategy is called intelligent micro-environment design. This strategy emerged from the understanding that the macro-environment we live in today with its junk-foods, sedentary jobs, out of control advertising, externalized environmental costs, big governments and cheap credit makes unsustainable and unhealthy consumption habits as natural as breathing. If we are to have any chance of building for ourselves a sustainable life, we have to find a way to shield ourselves from this toxic environment.

This is where intelligent micro-environment design comes in. The idea of a micro-environment is that it should make healthy and sustainable living just as natural as unhealthy and unsustainable living is in our toxic macro-environment. From my experience, setting up such an environment literally is the only way in which one can realistically hope to maintain a sustainable life in our consumption crazed world of today.

This theory is applied to numerous areas of life in the One in a Billion project (here) and ultimately results in a happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable life that happens totally by itself. If you have successfully designed and implemented your intelligent micro-environments, you will not have to work on living sustainably any longer; you simply have to live.

Just imagine a world where happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable living happens automatically.

How cool would that be?

12 thoughts on “Solution statement – Implementation”

  1. Great series of articles. I think there are more people taking action than we know — they don’t make the headlines, but looking into two current movements, minimalist lifestyle in the US and transition towns in the UK, for example, is grounds for great optimism.

    I would like to see an end to global economy and a re-focus on localised economies — the problem of unemployment diminishes, corporate influence is reduced as local economies are revitalised. A local economy controlled by owner-operated / self-employment naturally focusses on supply meeting real demand to reflect real value. Workers own their labour and time (something corporations don’t want us to think about). When we spend the time and effort, and resources are collected locally, we’re forced to re-think what a product means to us. We’re thinking about need, demand, environmental impact as an integrated part of that good/service’s value.

    I think we would see quality and pride of workmanship return as well, another health benefit 🙂 Working conditions improve, number of hours, safety, sense of community and so on. We’re in a better position to control and value imports/exports, based on a whole different set of criteria, adding re-discovered meaning to essential versus luxury, efficiency and ‘just-in-time’ concepts, surplus and profit.

    Waiting for big corporations (including governments) to create jobs or discover the magic environmental bullet would be silly if it wasn’t so dangerous, as we are painfully discovering.

    1. Thanks for those valuable thoughts, Wen. You reminded me of the importance of local communities to a sustainable future and I have rewritten the page “Solution statement – Society” accordingly. It would be nice to get your thoughts on this rewrite.

      It is good to see that more and more individuals are waking up to the facts and taking the required action, but we will have to work hard to accelerate this process and facilitate the required transitions before it is too late. Let’s keep spreading the word 🙂

  2. Schalk,

    I share your feelings and observations. Our industrial civilization and modern economy has created a model of living with a high level of toxicity to our minds and bodies. I do however beg to differ on how easy it is to adopt your model of micro-environment. Renewable energy and electric vehicles are primarily bought by the eco-elite as Van Jones’ calls them. Unfortunately this type of clean tech is not accessible to the masses and it does not look like it will be any time soon. I do agree that we need to do what we can to get off fossil fuels but we cannot rely solely on expensive high tech to achieve that goal. We need a wide portfolio of sustainability solutions with a solution for every pocket, every culture and every locale. There is for instance a lot of potential for sustainable development in third world using low tech solutions to obtain basic services such as sanitation, clean potable water and energy. Examples are the Water Cone and the Life Straw products. I would like to see proposals of sustainable living and development that address those who are the least responsible for the environmental crisis but are destined to suffer the most: the poorest 3 billion, rather than the well-off eco-elite who have the means to survive the crisis.

    1. Thank you for the comments, Ruben. The “eco-elite” is a nice term which I was not aware of before and I share your concerns about the cost and availability of sustainable living products to the masses.

      However, as outlined in the earlier parts of this summary, this strategy is especially aimed at the elite and the upper class, those top billion citizens who are responsible for roughly 70% of global resource consumption and control around 85% of global wealth. If these people can cut their carbon and ecological footprints by a factor of 2 or even 5 and use their substantial financial resources for green investments instead of mindless consumerism, the world will almost instantly become a much, much better place.

      Private renewable energy solutions are certainly well within the reach of this top billion citizens. The only problem is that these things are currently far from the top of their list of priorities. They would much rather blow $2000 on a big 3D TV instead of a solar water heater that can drastically reduce their electricity consumption and pay for itself in as little as two years. They would rather buy a fancy German saloon car than an electric vehicle that is much cheaper to run and will get them all sorts of additional benefits such as free parking, no toll-fees, tax breaks etc. It is this lopsided prioritization that I hope to help change through this project.

      My current strategy addresses a very wide range of areas – health and fitness, personal finances, personal development, various aspects of sustainable living and charity. In order to make this wide body of information more focused, I am directing it especially at the top billion simply because it is this top billion that are consuming our planet into oblivion. My theory is that, if this top billion begins living sustainably, we will have enough planetary resources to grant us sufficient time to uplift the remaining 6 billion and build a truly sustainable global civilization.

      I was aware of the life straw, but the water cone is new to my knowledge. It looks like a very cool idea actually. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. These products are very important to mitigate the massive pain and hardship that is likely to hit totally innocent developing world citizens. This social injustice (where the richest billion kill the planet and the poorest few billion feel the effects) really is truly terrible and I would support any initiative to help rectify this massive injustice.

      My contribution, however, will be focused on sustainable living strategies for the top billion in the hope that we can stop short of completely killing this wonderful planet that sustains us.

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A DIY guide to saving our world while building a happy, healthy and wealthy life

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