The Great Transformation - Vision of a Sustainable World

People from countries around the world realize the necessity for change. High population density, urbanisation, pollution, toxic chemicals, stress, war, violence, refugees, fight for resources, inequality, climate change, loss of biodiversity, etc. lead us into an unpleasant future. This unpleasant future seemed far away but it becomes increasingly more likely that desasterous events will hit us within our own lifetime. Sea level rise, heavy drafts, storms and all the other consequences of climate change will impact everyone, rich or poor. Even the richest family will not be able to enjoy beautiful beaches, once storms and sea level rise have washed them away. Surrounded by desperation, life will be unpleasant for everyone. It is time to envision a sustainable world which we want to build for our children. It is time to act.

Aspects for a brighter future are summarized in the UN sustainable development goals. But how do we get there? My advice:

Implement a one child family target for all countries until human population falls below 2 billion. Financial incentives for birth control should be developed to approach this target.

Respect borders and political regimes as they are today.

Respect human rights, diversity, differences in culture, religion, skin colour, gender etc.

Respect the UN Charta, no military actions wihout UN resolution. Remove veto for US, Russia, China, U.K., France. Reduce military spendings by 90 % over the next decade.

Implement the Paris agreement to keep global temperature rise well below 2 °C, better below 1.5 °C. Calculate allowed greenhouse gas emissions until 2030, release certificates for each ton of CO2 equivalent, declining per year. Companies may receive free certificates for one year of production, afterwards they have to buy certificates on the market. Remaining certificates are equally distributed to all people of all nations. Certificates can be traded at a minimum price of 50$/ton of CO2. New borns get no certificates.

Ban coal burning and nuclear energy as soon as legally possible.

Adjust free trade contracts to allow local support (subsidies) for manufacturing of: food, health/medical products and renewable energies.

Establish minimum environmental and work standards for all products sold in a country, independent of the manufacturing place

Replace income tax by greenhouse gas emission tax.

Protect endangered animals, treat animals respectfully and with sufficient freedom, ban mass production of cheap meat.

Adjust inheritance tax to 0% up to 100.000 € and 100% above. Exceptions: Infrastructure and shares in companies are transferred to the next generation until they are capitalised. Money can be transfered into a philantropic fund at any time and without tax.

Remove all subsidies for non-sustainable companies and businesses, especially in the field of fossil fuel energy.

Develop pathways to 100% renewables, renewable transport, zero emission homes, material recycling and ecological agreculture.

Transfer science funding from fusion, nuclear, fossil fuels, high energy physics, space exploration to renewables, energy storage and distribution. Similar transfers should happen in other disciplines to support the sustainability targets.

Support households with low financial income.

Support education in all forms.

Respect free internet, free press, freedom of opinion and speach.

Support programs for reforestration, cleaning of the oceans, biodiversity

Ban not compostable plastics wherever sustainable alternatives exist such as for bags and bottles

My vision describes a world in which we live in peace with our families and friends, in which we learn from others and enjoy diversity.

2041 - I own a zero emission house with a lush green garden, hosting fruit trees and a little natural lake. The house is build from renewable raw materials and it has an excellent insulation. Solar energy provides most of the power for my heating, warm water and electric comsumers. A battery stores electricity for 2 days, a hydrogen tank for the season. I have not seen a blackout for the last ten years. I buy electricity from the grid in times of high wind energy, when it is cheap. In winter, I sometimes fill the hydrogen tank with gas produced in the Sahara desert. This hydrogen is quite expensive and it is the only renewable fuel for modern air traffic. Flying has become a luxory which we can only afford every 5-7 years. But then we take more than a month to enjoy a different region of the world and visit our distant friends and colleagues. Most of the time we use video conferences to chat with friends and business partners around the world and this has become very convenient. Our smart phones allow projecting 3-dimensional images of our friends and it sometimes feels like we are sitting in the same room. High speed trains connect all major cities of Europe and we enjoy most summer holidays at the Meditarranien using a 4-5 hour connection to Venice, Genova or Nice. We take our electric bikes with us and enjoy fast rides through the pine wood forrest, connecting to a little beach. Thanks to the bikes, parking is never a problem. Cleaning programs for the oceans have improved the quality of beaches and the protection of sea life has brought back lots of fish. My grant-kids love snorkeling in the warm waters and enjoy pizza while we are drink cappucino in a small coffee bar. Local farmers are growing forgotten old plants with astonishing flavour. Fusion food has become the new hipe and the variety of tastes is unbelievable. But after a fancy vegetarian dinner, the Scottish Whiskey still tastes like a hundred years ago. We pay in Lira as Italy has returned to its old currency. South European countries left the EURO after the collapse of the financial system. Today, these counties are developing well and young people find jobs, especially in the solar industry. The South of Europe has replaced Russia as the main producer of gas from renewables. The EURO has disapeared but the UK has joined the European Union again, this time together with Russia. Russia is an important economic partner trading minerals, wood, regrowing raw materials and biofuels, base products for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Today we share a small army with our European neighbors, including Russia. The US has removed its military bases and focuses on trade with Canada, Mexico and the Carribean islands. Our economies are more localized but still information flows around the globe faster than ever. Communities have gained significant influence. Water supply, the internet and the electricity grid are all owned by the city. Everyone is allowed to connect to this infrastructure. We are still 7 billion people on earth and with 70 years, I still have to work. But we feel healthy, powerful and happy in the new century of sustainability. Our children will have a bright future.