We have even in the United States serious and growing water scarcity challenges. We have contamination problems with chemicals that we have not adequately regulated here in the United States. We have conflicts between states in the United States about who gets to use what water to do what. We have evidence that climate change is already influencing water demand, affecting water availability, changing extreme events. There are a whole suite of water-related problems, here, unrelated to these basic human need challenges that’re pressing in other parts of the world.
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We’re in an era of overlapping crises, and I think that’s what makes it sort of unique. We’re aware of the financial aspect, which is sort of exponential increase in debt. We’re also aware that energy, the cost is going up because we’re reaching to deeper and more expensive reserves of energy, at least fossil fuels. So that’s another if not crisis then um… Well, actually it is a crisis, because the world we’ve constructed is based on cheap fossil fuels.
I think our work is much more interested in questioning the notion that architecture is a static entity. Part of our thinking in terms of architecture is how we make a building breathe. How do we give a building a kind of like, almost a nervous system.
What I’ve seen as a founder of MoveOn is that we’ve become increasingly polarized. And in fact we have gotten to the point where we have separate…realities? when it comes to a whole raft of facts. And so how can we possibly make good decisions together when we don’t even share basic facts? You first have to have a relationship, and you have to have shared values.
I don’t understand the fear. And that’s the biggest threat. And the reason it’s a threat is it makes your judgment bad. You never make good decisions when you’re afraid. And it destroys your ability to clearly look at the facts and do something. You choke, in other words.
I personally think that we need to move beyond this sort of grow or die motivation that exists within the current economy. And I think that the cooperative model is suited to addressing those concerns, especially because the co-op model is geared toward serving member needs and not driven by profit at the end of the day. That is something that bodes well for the model in terms of sustainability.
Benevolence isn’t inefficient and I’m a big fan of benevolence. It’s just that it’s not enough. It’s okay for a group of twenty-five or fifty people where everyone knows everyone. But when you have 300 million in the US or 7 billion in the world, if we were self-sufficient and we had to produce everything for ourselves we’d all die, or 99% of us would die. So we have to cooperate with each other. But the only way to cooperate with each other in such large numbers is through markets.