To create a sustainable socio-economic order and avoid catastrophe (if not extinction) we have to initiate the greatest revolution, in human history. It will be up to our children and grandchildren to bring it to completion before the middle of the present century.
We are already well behind schedule and need to get a move on. Time is running very short.
The revolution I have in mind does not involve the overthrow of existing society, but the creation of a distinct "alternative" sustainable society within it, which will gradually and peacefully replace it. As the new socio-economic order grows it will be possible (each when they are ready and at their own pace) to transfer ever more of our activities and dependencies to it - particularly in respect to how we earn, spend and invest our money.
Western democracies, despite their faults and responsibility for creating the mess we are in, are our best hope for the future, because they provide us with both the means and the freedom to do what is necessary, while past experiences should have taught us how NOT to conduct a revolution.
Past revolutionaries, though often motivated by noble intentions, made a tragic mess of things by attempting to force their ideas on others. Reformers had a more enlightened approach to changing society for the better, but in our present situation reform would be far too slow. It has to be revolution, i.e. rapid and radical change over the course of the next few decades.
"No ONE" can change the world (on their own), because what each of us does (or doesn't do) for the sake of sustainability is just a proverbial drop in the ocean. Giving up one's car or cutting back on its use, for example, will have no discernable effect while all around the world millions (if not billions) of others are doing, or striving for, the exact opposite. But we have to make a start. The positive drops will add up, slowly and indiscernibly at first, but eventually making a noticeable and finally a decisive difference in determining the course of history and the destiny of mankind.
We are free to change at our own pace, but time is running short. The more an alternative, sustainable society (consisting of individuals, families, communities, companies, cooperatives, etc.) establishes itself, the easier it will become to transfer our activities and dependencies to it.
The existing socio-economic order is largely based on man's primitive "more animal than human" nature. We have to create an alternative, based on our more enlightened and spiritual, far less materialistic nature.
It will be a far more just society, without the (sometimes absurdly) disproportionate differences in wealth and income characteristic of conventional society. It will be a transparent, "nonymous" society", in which exploiters, social predators and parasites, deceivers and criminals will find it very difficult (hopefully impossible) to operate and hide. There is no place for such people in my world: either they change or they will be excluded. If that sounds absurdly idealistic, it is because existing society is so steeped in the darkness of people's misplaced obsession with secrecy and privacy (particularly in respect to money matters).
There is little point in tinkering with the superstructure of society when the foundations on which it is based are so deeply flawed. That is why it is necessary to create an "alternative" rather than wasting too much time and effort trying to reform existing society. The beginnings of an alternative sustainable society already exist (organic farming, fair trade, moral investment funds, recycling, renewable energy, etc.), but they lack a cohesive framework, an economic and social philosophy that would bind them together for mutual support and orientation in their efforts to create a distinct alternative socio-economic order. A draft model for such an economic and social philosophy - however inadequately - is what I am working on here.
Using the analogy of microbial growth, from the field of microbiology, Sustainable Society, I imagine to be currently in the "lag phase" of development (a lot has happened in the past 30 years, mainly in respect to people's awareness, but there is little evidence of it); soon (I hope) it will enter the "exponential phase" of growth, which will constitute the REVOLUTION I have been speaking of. It will not be a "palace revolution" but a "grass roots revolution" and will take, I estimate, about 20 years to complete, after which the "exponential phase" with give way to a more gradual rate of change.
If the revolution does not occur and we continue on our non-sustainable course, I hope that at least the SEEDS of Sustainable Society will develop and survive the inevitable crash and disintegration of our materialistic civilisation, to germinate and develop from the ruins.
Central to the creation of Sustainable Society will be a radical change in our understanding and use of MONEY. We must learn to take responsibility for how we (and those we do business with) earn, spend, save and invest it. Not MONEY, but its irresponsible - though usually perfectly legal - MISUSE, is the cause of most of our problems. The solution to these problems (and our survival) depend on us learning to use it responsibly, including the setting of limits on how much any one person may receive or possess. This is REVOLUTION indeed. But only for those wise and enlightened enough to want it.