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Global Problems need Global Narratives

Building an Artificial Nervous System for the Earth

· Politics Economics Institutions,Environment and Ecology

Our lives are stories, the past exists as an experience. A memory. We share those memories through words, reflections, pictures, and videos. All of which provide a snapshot of a moment in time. Never our whole story but enough to convey meaning. Enough meaning that hopefully we can have a small aspect of our life, of our past, become a part of another. These stories give others, and ourselves, context of the journey we have taken. The falls we've risen from, the mountains we've climbed, the relationships we've developed, and those that have been lost to time.


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What we do now, in this moment, as you are reading this, is also a part of your story, it too can be shared in the future. The future is unwritten, but we hold aspirations, a vision of our future. No one hopes their future will get worse, although it inevitably will have the moments of suffering. We look to a brighter future, a personal Utopia.

Our utopia, our vision for the future. Is a story we tell ourselves, and each human on this planet, all 8 billion of us have a vision for our future, a story of our past, and are present in this moment.

This is true for all those alive today and is equally true for all those who have come before us. For most of history, humanity developed in siloed communities. Having a shared story with our families, our neighbours and a few thousand others. Those who spoke a shared tongue, drank from the same watering hole, shared the same customs and upbringing. This community had a common story, and oftentimes the story became violent when protecting the possessions, people, or values of their communities.

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The world has gone through a rapid evolution, where abundance has created the opportunity for larger and larger communities to congregate. Global trade has created global communities. Global communities have begun the unification of a global story. 

As with our personal past, nations have fallen, and nations have risen. We have climbed mountains, we have overcome disaster, we have waged wars, and we have negotiated peace. Our future can be towards a connected whole, that works within the boundaries of first and foremost, satisfying humanity’s needs. Or we can continue our old narrative, a fragmented selfish journey of control and desire. Each person and community for themselves, an eye for an eye, no concern for those who are different from ourselves, or the earth.

I would like our story to show the collective progress of humanity towards an ideal state, as with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, perhaps with less commodity fetishism. They say a picture paints a thousand words. Perhaps the story for our future will be that of our unified pursuit… To be the first generation to leave the world in better condition than we inherited it. 

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The picture, our story, should be a map of the world, as a map shows us where we are and where would like to be. A map, given the abundance of data and display capability, can show us the true reality of the current environment. 

We have the ability to see our brothers and sisters from other nations, to see their local challenges. 

We have the capability to engage in dialogue to both understand and solve the problems. 

We have the technology that allows us to directly fund the local communities that are in need.

The world is intimately connected, we can share words, experiences, pictures and videos with those on the other side of the world. Why then can't we help solve the world's problems together? 


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To Think Global, and Act Local.

Our story, humanities collective progress towards an ecological civilisation, beginning with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, can be visualised on a map of the world. Where local communities are coloured red if they need help, and green if they are doing well. 

Thus, the global goal is to reduce the red, in turn increasing the green.

The Earth may not have a Central Nervous System as humans do. Perhaps this is the telos or purpose of humanities technological progress. For humanity to build an Artificial Nervous System for the Earth, and we as sentient individuals and communities, to act as the white blood cells that ensure the stability of the global ecosystem.

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