Out of the wreckage: A new politics for an age of crisis

Monbiot: Out of the wreckage book cover
George Monbiot

To heal our broken world, the thought that we just haven't got any ideas, or need to wait for technological innovation, is profoundly destructive. We aren't awaiting anything, we have the tools and thinking we need to progress as a species to a better place of equality and ecological compatibility. We have a surfeit of solutions and ideas, but which ones are we going to implement is our current challenge.

I am toying with evoking Lennon the intro to the book I am writing:

This book will save the world, if you want it

What I mean to say is that no book matters if we don't want it to matter. A book like Out of the Wreckage lays out large parts of the foundation for a better world (Spoiler alert: it is by caring about each other, other species and our environment) but that doesn't mean much if we don't read it or take it seriously.

Monbiot discusses a wide range of ideas that could lay the basis for human and environmental flourishing into the future. Alternate forms of organising ourselves, ways of thinking about our society that place power in the hands of people, and structurally encouraging the shared community we need to overcome our challenges and lead happier lives.

One part that made my soul sing a little was this from the first chapter:

Statement of Principles

1. We want to live in a place guided by empathy, respect, justice, generosity, courage, fun and love.

2. We want to live in a place governed by judgments that are honestly made, supported by the evidence, accountable and transparent.

3. We want to live in a place in which everyone’s needs are met, without harming the living world or the prosperity of future generations.

4. We want to live in a place in which the fruits of the work we do and the resources we use are fairly and widely distributed, in which shared prosperity is a general project, and the purpose of economic life is to enable universal well-being.

5. We want to live in a place in which all people have equal rights, in practice as well as in theory.

6. We want to live in a place in which all people can feel secure, confident, safe and cared for.

7. We want to live in a place in which, regardless of where they were born, everyone has a neighbourhood of which they feel proud, where they can freely participate in the life of the community.

8. We want to live in a place in which, proudly and consistently, supports people in need of help, including those fleeing from danger and persecution abroad.

9. We want to live in a place which a thriving natural world provides a refuge both for rich and abundant wildlife and for people seeking relief from the clamour of daily life.

10. We want to live in a place whose political system is fair and fully representative, in which everyone has a voice and every vote counts, and whose outcomes can neither be bought nor otherwise engineered.

11. We want to live in a place in which decisions are taken at the most appropriate level, to enhance democratic participation and connection.

12. We want to live in a place in which everyone has access to the information needed to make meaningful democratic choices, and in which political debate is honest, accessible and inclusive.

13. We want to live in a place in which education is a joyful process, encouraging children of all abilities to engage with enthusiasm, and adults to continue learning throughout their lives.

14. We want to live in a place in which good housing, fast and effective healthcare and a healthy, sufficient diet are available to everyone.

15. We want to live in a place that helps to build a safe, prosperous and resilient community of nations.

16. We want to live in a place that is open to new ideas and information, and that values creativity, research and discovery.

I'd probably put a few more things about the evolutionary system and other animals, but this is such a great start, I felt freer once I had read it. Just reading a book by an intelligent person wrestling with the right questions is liberating.

A book as wide-ranging as this is not going to appeal on every page to every person, I had some quibbles about a few things, you might have quibbles about others, but consider quibbling with something about important things time well spent. More quibbling I say because I'm not waiting for a messiah, I'm looking for people to think and work with in healing this world. George Monbiot is undoubtedly one of those people. His book will teach you things, inspire you and lift up your thoughts. Perhaps most importantly amid all the distractions of modern life it will put you in the headspace of thinking in the right area, how do we work together to heal this world.

Maybe not all the answers are in any book, but there is no doubt some answers are in this. So you should read it, or you could wait for my book, which will be in stores the day after the apocalypse.

Find this book

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