What began as chats about the future of humanity around campfires in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia, on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa people, has evolved into an informal think-tank called the Aspen Group.
Led by Kent Goodwin and Marty Musser, of Kimberley, a group of about 20 people have created what they call the Aspen Proposal.
“The name and acronym Aspen Group has been used by Marty and myself for a couple of decades to refer to informal discussions about the future of the world that we have had with each other and various other folks that are interested in the big picture,” Goodwin said. “We got serious about creating the Aspen Proposal in early 2021 and spent most of the year working on it.”
The Aspen Group has spent some time thinking about what it would take for humans to live in balance with this planet’s ecosystems and with each other. They have formed their ideas into a document which is posted at www.aspenproposal.org and are looking for feedback on their ideas.
The website states: “The proposal below describes a sustainable human civilization 200-500 years from now. It is intentionally brief and contains only those elements required to ensure the long term survival of our species and the rest of nature. It has been developed in response to widespread pessimism and anxiety about the future of humanity in order to demonstrate that a sustainable civilization is attainable.”
The group’s vision is that the population will be dispersed on six continents, and that the population will only be about a billion people, given that fertility rates are currently below replacement levels in many countries now and it is expected this trend will continue.
The group believes humanity have turned the corner on dependence on fossil fuels. All energy and food will be from renewable sources.
With a smaller population and a greater emphasis on resiliency, the trade in commodities between continents will be greatly reduced.
The group believes that cultural diversity will be valued because what remains of humanity will be bound by the overarching principle of fitting into the ecosystem and by the understanding that “all humans are members of one branch of the larger tree of life.
“Cultural diversity is a buttress against any one culture screwing things up in a globally significant way. And it makes for a much more interesting civilization,” the document says.
The vast majority of the earth’s lands and oceans will be left alone, the group states, to manage themselves.
“The idea that humans have now or ever will have the knowledge and wisdom to manage ecosystems, is a silly conceit that needs to be abandoned,” the proposal says.
The Aspen Group invites people to read through their proposal and start discussions with colleagues and friends, share it with as many people as possible.
“We are releasing this vision into the wild and relying largely on the good will and energy of others to help it flourish.”
The group has also started a Go Fund Me account at: gofundme.com/f/describing-a-sustainable-future