The Circular Humansphere (2020 Update)

The Circular Humansphere (2020 update) by Alexandre Lemille

What if a populated world could be good news?

Obviously, this question is meant to elicit certain reactions, most probably more negative than positive. But what if we take the liberty of asking this question given that we are in a densely populated world today according to experts, and for many decades to come?

Figure 1: Redesigning a new model begins with understanding where abundance lies.

“we can all live on a finite planet with prosperous societies if we so wish.”

So what about looking back at humans and seeing the answers to the questions asked?

“Because they are infinitely available as they are the only ones constantly renewed together with those of the biological cycles!”

From this standpoint many discoveries could take place.

Who are we really? What are we here for?

In a post-financial crisis world, in a post-environmental crisis world, in a post-pandemic crisis world, in a post-societal crisis world, recent events have just sounded the alarm bells of what scientists and experts have been saying for decades: we are at a turning point. This turning point is not necessarily all doom and gloom, but it does mean that we will be in a phase of transition for years to come (often chaotic) before the system stabilizes on new ground. But these new foundations will have to be more than simple economic bases.

“Mainly because we won’t get a second chance.”

And whatever model is adopted, it must be a model where everyone can have a chance to flourish in life without pressure or power struggles of any kind. Most likely, such a model will not be unique, it will be locally designed according to local customs and beliefs.

“A pause before moving on to a next model is therefore deemed necessary… don’t you think?”

Figure 2: Change our behavior by imagining our future functions within the biosphere and our future roles with the technosphere in an empathetic model that takes care of all.

Put simply, our companies will be one element of a chain of elements working towards preserving LIFE.

That is who we should be, at least for our own children and their own descendants, don’t you think?

How do we move to a Safe & Just Space?

How do we get there? We will have to understand our path to reach such a space: how far are we to that space according to the distance-to method to “out there”: a just and safe world.

Maybe our next Universal Human Goals (UHGs)?

On the “safe” side — or how to live within the limits of the environment — it is a question of retroceding (i.e. we start from the end result, working backwards to find out what is needed today so we maximize our chances of success tomorrow) on how far we are from what we see as a regenerative or circular life system.

It would signify understanding what it really means to advance humanity under hostile conditions — when we failed under friendly conditions.

Figure 3: Our macro-level goals should be based on the evolution of messages received from our biosphere as well as the means by which humanity would thrive under hostile conditions.

How to avoid a Consumption Rebound?

There is one final ‘distance-to’ measure to be calculated to ensure that we reach the safe and just space for humanity: the distance-to full system consciousness, and this is the most complex of all measurements.

All these negative externalities can only be designed out if we all move towards that very goal, applying the same thinking as we do to design out waste and pollution!

Why is it so important? What does it have to do with a potential consumption rebound?

Just nobody and nothing could stop you.

You will — of course — please yourself as much as you can!

The good news is that a rebound in consumption can be avoided, but the tricky part is that it is about changing our mentalities…

Figure 4: Inventing a decision-making process based on renewed spatial relationships and time scale is our best barrier against a greed-centered model.

A fairly significant change in mindset…

Long-distance thinking, thus leading into a ‘WEcosphere framework’ (see Figure 9) will help us in two ways: to orient current public and private organizations towards the preservation of life on Earth as integral part of their core values, like as well as move us away from greed, thus avoiding any rebound in consumption. In fact, greed disappears when the future benefits of a decision have their effects beyond the life of the person or group of people who made them. It is only by designing greed out of our models of life that we will succeed in preserving the lives of future generations.

How to design for Abundance?

Designing for abundance entails looking at our planet through symbiotic lenses: where are the cycles that are constantly renewing themselves and how might we align with their rate of regeneration in order to adapt to its rules safely and in a fair way to all, non-humans and humans?

Figure 5: A fully distributed model that designs power concentrations out, leads to abundance

What kind of change in job creation does this represent?

This reflection will also lead to more and more low-tech type discoveries where distributed renewable energies (solar, wind, kinetics, etc.) will be integrated into the design of the object so that humans operate it, a bicycle for example. Low-tech is not opposed to high-tech, and the two will complement each other. Low-tech simply means designing with the features you really need and with the least amount of energy. And it gets the job done! Just look at this low-tech energy storage tower by Energy Vault! The lower the technology, the more it will allow communities to increase their capabilities and choices, generally improving their livelihoods. Increasing capabilities and choices of communities via a model designed for all is explained here (Making the Circular Economy work for Human Development, Elsevier Academic Journal, Desmond, Lemille, Schröder, 2020).

An anchored spiraling vision bestowing abundance on others.

Mimicking the regenerative nature of our ecosystems — including all its humans — allows us to design out all cycles that lead to shortages of all kinds: from obvious cycles of pollution and waste to those of poverty or social inequality. Designing for abundance leads to preferring the biological world to the technical world, that is the world that regenerates itself, accounting for all the values of its beings. When you design for abundance you avoid all the paths in which the concentration of power of all kinds lies (referring to the principle of the ‘least intensive ratio’ — see Figure 10). This approach allows us to value everyone and everything from a full symbiotic perspective of our planetary system. Here you have the choice of viewing people as users or consumers of services only as part of a financial value silo-ed approach, or of recognizing more someone beyond being a user or consumer by perceiving her or him under a constellation of diverse values.

Here human ventures become our link with the preservation of life.

They become ‘WEaders’ — leaders within a ‘WEcosphere’ perspective — leading us to a more decent world for all beings. WEcosphere being here the space on Earth where all species benefits from one another as part of a fully symbiotically-designed framework, humans included.

How to adapt deeply to the Biosphere?

Becoming one with Mother Earth creating this ‘1-Earth:1-Living Beings’ relationship is our common goal here. In a populated world, humans should be part of the design that preserves life on Earth (the ‘We are Nature’ in Figure 1) and as alternatives to wrongly allocated energies (the ‘We are Energy’ in Figure 1). This could lead to a fully relocated model of life where countless communities of humans are regenerating the commons (also called bioregions) on which they depend for survival.

To succeed, we must encourage abundance and avoid scarcity

To succeed, we must encourage abundance (reassess what regenerates such as ecological cycles, human energies or knowledge) and avoid scarcity (tax endangered resources to better preserve them). Here, using an ‘ecosystem life model’ as the next framework would mean, for example, rethinking our belief system so that trees, rivers and seas have the highest values while a tree chopped in cubes would lose most of its ecological value since no longer playing its role of living systems regulator. The values of living ecosystems must not be expressed in monetary terms but in sacred terms. That is to say that the forests and the rivers are untouchable, given they are outside of the rules of the market, yet within the rules of a bioregion measured thanks to a constellation of diverse values. New Zealand started by granting Maori’s sacred river same legal rights as a human being. Thus, doable…

Figure 6: in the Anthropocene era, humans have become abundant biological nutrients and endless sources of decentralized energies to the benefits of our biosphere.

What more beautiful symbol of humility?

How to reset our Belief System?

Obviously, changing our beliefs is the most difficult of all. Switching to new business models to conserve resources is much easier than creating a world where all living things will live in harmony in a space that is safe and just for all of us. Yet, it is possible!

Some human communities have been successful, why not all of us together?

We must have the courage of questioning our beliefs. It is about “opening the closed door of beliefs” as Monica Gagliano, Professor at the University of Western Australia, said during her opening speech by explaining that plants could have a form of conscience at the 2018 National Bioneers Conference.

Figure 7: Decentering will help us reposition ourselves in the Earth system and become human again.

Taking human complexity into account will prevent us from making future mistakes.

Yet, changing our belief system is the most critical of all dimensions.

We should work at it as one-human-community within Planet A, doubling our efforts as we did not do so when ecosystem conditions were stable. And we have no choice but to succeed in this mission at a time when all conditions are unfavorable.

And no utopia here.

It is in difficult times that humans ‘re-wake up’.

Adapting to biospheric conditions is not just a matter of decarbonizing the atmosphere so that we can continue to consume and recycle. Adapting to Earth system is about believing in life by no longer fearing death. It is a deep collaborative reflection as a single community so that we change our soul for the benefit of all beings alike.

If we make what is sacred and what is not interact, we could define the rules to align with the regeneration of this life-preserving biosphere.

Why do we need an Ecosphere Life Model?

As seen previously, accounting for everyone and everything in a new approach to life on Earth should not only be recognized but open to debate and co-creation at global level but above all locally. The design of our next foundations should encompass all elements of the planet — even the most complex ones — which should not be forgotten or which should participate in the advancement of humanity as one species among others in an orderly complex structure, the web of life.

Humans are living beings with values, beliefs and a conscious like all other beings on this planet.

Our only goal during our time on Earth should ideally be to aim to preserve conditions conducive to life in a decolonial and deeply empathetic manner. We are the vital elements to tackling challenges one by one and providing an appropriate response, in a collaborative way, as not a single government, not a single company, not a single community is able to solve these challenges given their sizes and intensity.

Decision-makers that succeed in keeping us away from all kinds of rebounds will be designated as our leaders then, and only then.

Figure 8: Setting our new guidelines at the right level, that is at the ecosystem one, is our best option for understanding the system we depend on.

A regenerative world populated by humans is up to us to make good news. And it is not just a matter of perspective but willingness.

When and How do we know we will get there?

To get there, we need a new breed of humble leaders who think through the eradication all negative externalities because they understand the multilayered challenges we face, and who make decisions that are deeply empathetic for others. Who I call ‘WEaders’, those leaders who evolve in a ‘WEcosphere’ perspective, that is, us among many others. We need a lot of them, starting with those who have the expertise in preserving life against all odds, that is, ancestral indigenous communities to start with. These WEaders need to guide us away from the current paradigm.

Altogether they would be playing the role of a human compass for any communities or any organizations willing to preserve future generations.

Figure 9: WEadership is about understanding the path that will take us all there by making wise but painful decisions today to preserve the day after.

It is now up to you to define what these indicators are in order to get us there.

Becoming Regenerative Beings, our Common Goal?

All the elements circulate within our planet.

They are mostly in the wrong place and not rated at their right level, based on a belief system that needs a reset.

We can successfully rebuild the foundations of an ‘ecosystem life model’ that works for all of us, including humans. It is a matter of joint willingness.

Learning the best ways to make long-distance decisions will help us create the necessary buffer as we see greed disappearing in the decades to come.

Figure 10: The Circular Humansphere (2020), a comprehensive perspective of our symbiotic planet where all the elements interact with each other and a thought proposal for better tomorrows

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Alexandre Lemille

Alexandre Lemille

The Circular Humansphere or how humans will preserve conditions conducive to life #CircHumansphere