A better life

Bruce Mau believes there is no way to reverse the global demand for a better life.

If we think of our current crisis as a runaway train then we need to replace the old diesel engine with an ecology of clean energy drawing on many renewable sources.

Energy first and foremost not a technology problem but a design problem. Only by reconceptualizing our relationship with energy - both its production and its consumption - can we resolve the challenge that it poses.

We need to replace the material from which the old train is made so that it is lighter quieter stronger smarter cleaner consumer products define to a large extent our impact on the environment. The selection (and invention) of materials is another fundamental design problem at the global level, but also for every individual product.

We need to redesign the experience of being on the train so that we are not waiting or suffering but living the best of human possibility and enjoying our time together - learning, collaborating, growing.

The compulsive consumption that threatens our future is driven by innocent and eradicable motives. The universal pursuit of comfort ease, and wellbeing.

To resolve the problem we have to design new ways to deliver those same experiences and exceed the yield of happiness that our current model provides.

We need to reinvent the way in which the train connects with everything else, and understand it as a network ecology of movement. Objects and events are easy to see; systems are invisible. But only by understanding the invisible systems that connect our reality - and sharing that understanding in simple and vivid ways - can we achieve the scale of transformation that we require.

To redesign the runaway train of mass consumerism will require a mass movement of small and large changes. The result of this collective effort will be more not less, abundance not sacrifice, beauty not deprivation, life not death.

An economy of movement toward a new way of life, and no longer a runaway train.

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