Fomenting the Necessary Revolution: Living Beyond the Bubble

Posted by: Joe Laur on Friday, March 21, 2014.

In our last segment, Fomenting the Necessary Revolution: Life Inside the “Bubble Economy”, we addressed the issue of living in a "bubble economy" based on ungrouinded, incomplete,  and outdated models, assumptions, and data. Like a fall from a tall building, you may think you  are flying for awhile, but the landing can be a rude awakening.


Life in a bubble can be fun for a while, but how to we let ourselves come back to reality? How do we move to an economy that is not separate, but is deeply rooted in community and environmental health? How do we create a soft landing for the bubble, rather than a hard pop? Well, for starters we can wake up and see that the social and ecological world is truly the root of all of our prosperity. For centuries our energy came exclusively form the sun- in the form of wood for fuel, wind for sails, sunshine to grow crops fertilized with dung. 90 percent of our energy in the Bubble comes from limited fossil fuels. All of our food was once grown locally- now the average meal in America travels 2000 miles to reach our tables. We generate huge amounts of waste in the Bubble, but in the real world there is no “away” to throw things to. All waste is food for another process. We grow the same kind of apple for every market, build the same kind of building in Alaska or Aruba, but in the real world everything adapts to local conditions- creating an enormous diversity of solutions and options. And the economic Bubble preaches only profit, where as society and nature thrive on relationship.  It’s like we’ve been living off of our savings for the past 200 years, instead of living off our annual income. And the balance sheet is looking a little pale!


Some key assumptions of the Bubble:


  1. Energy is infinite and cheap.
  2. There will always be someplace to dispose of our waste.
  3. Humans can’t really impact the global environment.
  4. We are the primary species, all the rest are here to serve our needs.
  5. Water, soils, forests, fisheries, etc.  are unlimited or will always replenish
  6. Technology will always come up with some solution to a shortage or problem.
  7. Purely economic growth is the way to lift everyone’s boat.



But life beyond the bubble operates on a different set of principles:

  1. Surf free energy- live within our “energy income” of  solar, wind, tidal and biomass fuels
  2. All waste is resources- Everything, from cars and iPods to buildings and machinery is 100 percent recycled, remanufactured, or composted.
  3. We borrow the earth from our children- we have to leave the place better than we  found it so the next generation has enough.
  4. We are one of nature’s wonders, not the whole show. We are part of a web of  interdependent relationships that we can barely begin to imagine., One touches one, touches  all.
  5. The earth’s services come free to those who cherish them. Healthy ecosystems are precious and irreplaceable. No amount of technology alone can create enough oxygen, water, and food to meet our needs.
  6. Embrace variety, build community. Balance and diversity are signs of healthy ecosystems and communities
  7. We are a global village in a single boat, and a hole sinks us all.


We can start to ask ourselves, What does a planet, an economy, a community, a company, a neighborhood, or a household look like that is based on natural principles? How do we create that one step at a time, right where we live, work and play? Send your solutions to or comment below.

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