Applied Hope


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the rotted remains of primeval swamp goo and dinosaur droppings; where energy policy is no longer a gloomy multiple-choice test-do you prefer to die from (a) climate change, (b) oil wars, or (c) nuclear holocaust? We choose (d) none of the above.

Imagine, therefore, a world where carbon emissions have long been steadily declining-at a handsome profit, because saving fuel costs less than buying fuel; where global climate has stabilized and repair has begun; and where this planetary near-death experience has finally made antisocial and unacceptable the arrogance that let cleverness imperil the whole human prospect by outrunning wisdom.

Imagine a world where the successful industries, rather than wasting 99.98% of their materials, follow Ray C. Anderson’s lead: they take nothing, waste nothing, and do no harm; where the cost of waste is driving unnatural capitalism extinct; where service providers and their customers prosper by doing more and better with less for longer, so products become ever more efficient to make and to use; where integrative engineering and biomimicry create abundance by design; and where elegant frugality turns scarcities and conflicts about energy, water, land, and minerals into enough, for all, for ever.

Imagine a world where the war against the Earth is over; where we’ve stopped treating soil like dirt, forests are expanding, farms emulate natural ecosystems, rivers run clean, oceans are starting to recover, fish and wildlife are returning, and a stabilizing, radically resource-efficient human population needs ever less of the world’s land and metabolism, leaving more for all the relatives who give us life.

Imagine a world where we don’t just know more-we also know better; where overspecialization and reductionism have gone from thrillingly fashionable to unaffordably foolish; where Darwin finally beat Descartes; where vision across boundaries triumphs, simply because it works better and costs less.

Imagine a world secure, free from fear of privation or attack: where conflict prevention is as normal as fire prevention; where conflicts not avoided are … Next Page »

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Amory B. Lovins is cofounder, chairman, and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Follow @

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