17 Dec Healing the Planet as a Global Infrastructure Upgrade Project
Dear Climate Healers,
The transformation from a climate heating civilization to a climate healing civilization can be viewed as a global infrastructure upgrade project. At Climate Healers, we believe that it requires upgrading the educational infrastructure, the healthcare infrastructure, the governance infrastructure, the economic infrastructure, the ecological infrastructure and the spiritual infrastructure of our civilization, in addition to the energy infrastructure. We believe that this whole-systems infrastructure upgrade project is a social necessity in order to free humans and animals from untold suffering and likely near-term extinction.
We are not alone in this belief. In its citation designating me as a “Climate Hero,” the Guardian Newspaper recognized me as a “foremost voice on the green transition and the true scale of societal change required to save the planet.” Therefore, at least some people at the Guardian Newspaper believe this as well.
Let’s consider these infrastructure upgrades one by one.
Sustainability would be built into the educational curriculum in every discipline in a climate healing civilization instead of being relegated into separate Centers for Sustainability at a few elite institutions, while the rest of the departments teach archaic, unsustainable practices.
The governance of commons based on the Codes for a Healthy Earth would be the upgrade from the governance of private property rights and the nation states model, a legacy of the colonial era.
On the economic front, vegan donut economics would be the upgrade from capitalism with its unsustainable, infinite growth economics and the resultant ever-worsening planetary boundary transgressions.
Humans would be engaged in ecosystems restoration in a climate healing civilization instead of treating nature as a basket of resources, ripe for exploitation.
Vegan spirituality that considers humans as an integral part of nature would be the upgrade from human exceptionalism and separation from nature as prevalent today, rounding out the whole systems, consciousness upgrade.
Finally, the fossil fuel infrastructure would be gradually phased out in a climate healing civilization, upgraded with energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
As with any infrastructure upgrade project, we can expect inconveniences in each of these realms as the project is executed. There is reason to believe the public will put up with such inconveniences for the promise of a brighter future, provided they see the project being executed with competence and integrity.
Unfortunately, that’s a far cry from what has been going on at the United Nations (UN).
The current approach to the necessary infrastructure upgrade of our civilization has been rife with political interference and systemic corruption as entrenched interests attempt to sell us the fairy tale that the only upgrade we need is in the energy infrastructure. Even the science has been tampered with line-by-line editing of the UN scientific reports by political operatives affiliated with member nations at the UN.
As a systems engineer, I do not expect an Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to report accurately on the science. It is just systems engineering common sense that political operatives affiliated with entrenched interests should not be allowed to edit scientific reports if we plan to execute successful engineering projects with the contents of the reports.
Is it any wonder that we have witnessed 30 years of frustrating incompetence on our ecological crisis at the UN? As talk of a climate apocalypse heats up while the UN COPs continue to kick the can down the road and multiple wars rage simultaneously around the world even as ecological planetary boundary transgressions worsen alarmingly year after year, it is instructive to consider the tale of two metro infrastructure projects in India as an object lesson for our time.
The Kolkata metro was commissioned in 1972 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and it took 12 years to get it up and running. Fifty years later, it had two operational lines, one north-south and another east-west, which don’t yet intersect with each other. From the start, the Kolkata Metro project was rife with political interference, systemic corruption, cost overruns and delays.
In contrast, the Delhi metro was commissioned in 1996 by Prime Minister Deve Gowda and it took just 6 years to get it up and running. The project was executed under budget and ahead of schedule. Twenty five years later, it rivaled the London Underground in extent and carried 50% more passengers than its London counterpart, 6 million per day. Today, an estimated 99.97 percent of the trains on the Delhi metro arrive within one minute of scheduled time and at peak hours, the trains run every 2.5 minutes.
How did Delhi metro do it?
The Delhi metro project absorbed the lessons learned from the Kolkata metro project and then broke the mold. When Elattuvalapil Sreedharan was approached by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to head the Delhi metro project, he knew that political interference would be detrimental to the success of the project. He stipulated that if he was to lead Delhi metro, he should be given complete freedom to run the organization. There shouldn’t be any interference from politicians or bureaucrats and that he should be able to choose his own people. The Lieutenant Governor agreed without any hesitation.
Sreedharan hired motivated staff, solely on merit. Deadlines and budgets were realistic and achievable. Once a decision was made, it was final. If anything went wrong, people looked for solutions, not scapegoats.
There was zero tolerance for corruption. Anyone caught was out immediately. Emphasis was placed on speed, efficiency and getting it right the first time. Safety was paramount on project sites.
Sreedharan viewed the Delhi metro project as a social necessity to free people from time losses, inconvenience, pollution and congestion. From the early stages itself, he used the media to project a positive image of the Delhi metro to the public. As the project repeatedly met deadlines and adhered to stringent safety measures, people’s hearts were won over.
In short, the Delhi metro was an infrastructure upgrade project executed with competence, engineering integrity and public support.
Surely, we have the wherewithal and the personnel to implement the necessary global infrastructure upgrade from a climate heating civilization to a climate healing civilization with the same level of competence, engineering integrity and public support as the Delhi metro?
What will it take for global political leaders to emulate former Prime Minister Deve Gowda of India and empower such an independent infrastructure upgrade project for our civilization? What are they waiting for?
With much love,
Sailesh on behalf of the Climate Healers Core team.
(Akhil, Alison, Anne, Bill, BJ, Carl, Chip, Dakota, Deborah, Debra, Gabriele, Giva, Jamen, Kelly, Ken, Kimaya, Krish, Lisa, Liz, Maggie, Marco, Paige, Pareen, Paul, Ray, Sailesh, Sarah, Shankar, Stacey, Suzanne, Tami and Vega, the Cow and Climate Healer)