The many fundamental infrastructures of a society include: environment, economy, water supply, food production, shelter and safety, education, transportation etc. The world is teeming with problems: climate change, environmental degradation and pollution, poverty, wealth inequality, political instability and so on. To me the preliminary changes are to be exerted in the energy, education, technology and science sector before we can ever come up with a grand humanity society economy plan. We should shift from being hedonistic to being more minimalist in terms of materialistic wealth, and pursue scientific, artistic and intellectual abundance.
In capitalism, an economic equivalent of thermodynamic equilibrium may seem predestined and that would mean no fun, no change and no excitement when it was reached. But fret not, as long as technology and science continue to advance, so does economy, and it in turn fosters more technological improvements. Perhaps this is how capitalism serves as an intermediate in the transformation of past simpler pattern into a more complete and complex form of demographic and economic structure that definitely exists but we have yet to come across in fine details.
Renewables are one big if not the biggest factor to the integrity of a sustainable society. Imagine you do not have to pay for your home electricity usage. Tesla, famous for its leading role in electric vehicle, has also introduced its solar roof, roof that combines durability, aesthetic and electricity generating capability and would even cost less than a regular roof tile in the long term. Renewable energy has become developed enough to be able to power the nations. Efforts, whether minor or significant, have been made, with countries all looking to cut down fossil fuel dependency and generate a considerable percentage of total energy from renewable source. The target fluctuates from less than 10% to a whopping 60+%. While a nuclear fusion solution is still elusive and may be viable at least decades later, in the mean time we already have solar thermal power (and photovoltaic cell) and wind turbines mature enough to power the world from the sun, a colossal and virtually inexhaustible fusion plant. Solar thermal power uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight to heat water and power the steam turbines, which is a very promising way to generate energy. The high temperature heat it generates ignites birds caught in mid-air. Just so you know, wind is a result of sunlight heating the earth, and it has proved to be easily harnessed in certain geographical areas as seen in its rapid development and contribution (data not shown here) in China, Germany, US, Denmark and UK, just to name a few, very few! There is a wide variety of designs in each of the renewables depending on regional and economical availability; more is to be added when more intellectual resources and funds are put into their development. It is about overcoming the momentum of fossil fuel by introducing practical and powerful alternatives. It is like toppling a giant. Change is embraced.
Fast growing (and worryingly self-growing and -replicating in the future! ) artificial intelligence and automation are going to displace a significant amount of workers from their jobs while probably adding more technical and professional but much fewer than enough new jobs to counteract the job loss. This will happen not only to manufacturing and transportation but also others like healthcare, finance and customer service as well. To many, it is good as it liberates humans from heavily menial, tedious and unnecessary tasks. This robotic transition has a lot of implications, not mentioning the safety issues that artificial intelligence may pose (like misaligned intelligence going extreme and developing destructive methods to achieve its goal set by humans). For instance, highly automated food production and agriculture, coupled with automated transportation, make it possible to deliver raw produce and even processed food to the doorstep. It will be convenient and it may also free up a lot of space by shutting down eateries and restaurants (just an example…), though I wonder if anyone is going to agree with such envision that requires a lot of changes, especially behavioral and cultural ones. Robots and AI is a very exciting and burgeoning sector, like everyone is going to like to see robots cleaning up the landscape and oceans. Speaking of this, material engineering is another key to sustainability. In fact all disciplines must come together to achieve a certain level of sustainability. Medical research, agriculture, civil engineering, logistics, economics, law enactment, politics, diplomacy and even entertainment, you name it. One thing is much needed in common, that is innovation. What will result remains to be witnessed but a definite statement is that there’s a lot to tap into the computing might. More intellectuals should consider joining and working to accelerate AI research and development (which also offers premium wage) and integrate it into different industries. It is interesting to see how artificial intelligence will impact the world; it could mean another major revolution, or economic disaster and total upheavals because of unemployment. Whatever, change is certain.
Education is of utmost importance in promoting a sustainable society. Education is a realm full of human error and uncertainty yet few appear to be aware. Textbooks and syllabus are often not constantly updated to accommodate students to the now fast changing world. Funds should be poured in to encourage the painstaking effort to create inclusive teaching. There isn’t enough transparency and science literacy, look at all the anti-vaccination and climate change denials etc., look at Trump. Fortunately, most information is within reach for many of us thanks to internet and better distribution of resources than in the past. The school should more often turn to online content to keep the teaching updated and flexible at best. Besides filtering information, students should be taught or at least told to be aware of information overload and how to cope with it. It is a big whole bunch of knowledge when it comes to teaching, the only thing I am certain is that when I learn I learn my way and I try to be just as intuitive as I try to be open minded. Teachers and students are the ones who execute education and it is all up to us to choose what and how to teach and learn. We shall not blindly follow the rules without attempting to get a bigger look. Rules and systems are authorized by other minds, and we should be aware that we all have our own consciousness and when the rules are implemented onto us we have the rights to freely decide how we are going to twist the mainstream methodology to better fit our needs. As long as one is getting himself educated and creating himself value, it does not matter if they skip classes or break rules (not laws, though)or anything. After all, life is about gaining happiness, being loved and contributing to the world, isn’t it? However, intelligence and free will can sometimes be dangerous when it somehow goes against benefits and even safety of the community, yeah, somehow. That is why education is full of uncertainty. In fact, everything is just as filled with uncertainty as uncertainty is deeply rooted and incorporated in the working of reality. Here comes quantum mechanics. They’re all interconnected. Perhaps orderly chaos or chaotic order is what makes the world fascinating, vibrant and beautiful, any adjectives that relate to beauty, colorfulness and enchantment you may say. Witnessing the outcome of every effort combined and every ideology intertwined is a dream of life.
I wanted to delineate an encompassing big picture that would hopefully impress most unsophisticated readers. That said, I mean at this moment this age I bear little knowledge about the world and what I wrote might seem ridiculous, naïve and ingenuous to most highly educated and experienced individuals, frankly speaking! A Utopian society may exist only as a novel presence and remain pretty much inaccessible to us living in the physical realm. But bit by bit we pave the way for a more ideal world, at least a more interesting one, by investing in sustainability. The world is full of possibilities; they are all there for us to contemplate even though, at least for now, there is certainly a very clear limit to what we can do either individually or collectively. For peace and justice, we should invest in renewables to have access to clean, cheap energy, invest in AI and automation to slash boring jobs and invest in education to boost talents. With all those revolutionary approaches, guess what? BOOM! We will literally explode into a new era of, I don’t know, hopefully something very interesting!