Beautiful and Abundant

Publisher Bryan Welch on philosophy, farming and building the world we want.

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9/13/2013

I want to die.

I am not miserable. I’m not even slightly depressed. I’m in no hurry, particularly, but I want to die. I want to die because I believe it is the superior alternative, in every way, to wanting NOT to die.

One of my goals is to make you want to die, too.

The sort of death I want will not be a defeat. I will not “succumb.” I will not “surrender.” I will die heroically, so that others may live. My individual light will fade. Millions of other lights will be ignited from the ember.

That’s the way life has always worked.

My death will be heroic, but not unique.

I’m looking forward to it - the end of my physical life. That’s the finest thing about wanting to die. Imagine all the times, over the course of a day, a year or a decade, we are possessed by the fear of death. Consider how much of a life is spent preoccupied by pointless anxiety about death. What a waste.

In contrast, every day of my life since I decided I wanted to die has been relatively free of the fear of death. Of course I flinch when I’m cut off in traffic. I still watch my moles and freckles for signs of melanoma. I’m still scared of heights. But my new commitment to my own mortality has lifted my spirits immeasurably. I used to accept death’s inevitability. Now I celebrate its promise.

Mortality has gotten a bad rap. We have focused on its negative aspect. Yes, Mortality implies the end of our individual lives. But it also connotes our perpetual lives as a physical part of something much greater — the entirety of creation. Mortality is life’s central miracle. Energy begets life; life concludes in death; death begets life; and so on.

I’m a farmer. I’m in the Mortality business. Each year I foster and nurture dozens of lambs and calves. Then I preside over their deaths and distribute their meat to my family, friends and customers. My lambs are raised on grass. My grandsons are raised on lamb. Other lives — and deaths - provide the basis for our lives.

In this respect, Mortality is a simple fact, supported by science: The physical evidence of the unity of all energy and all life is abundantly obvious.

After I decided that death might be a personal choice, I was struck by the heroic potential in making mortality a conscious decision. As we are increasingly able to lengthen our lives and perpetuate our health, the notion of death is transformed. Death is our ultimate opportunity to consciously give back. It’s our most profound responsibility. If we do it mindfully, it’s our crowning achievement.

As we saturate our habitat, death’s utility becomes obvious.

If we cure cancer, we’ll need to build the equivalent of another New York City metropolitan area next year, in addition to our present expansion rate, in order to accommodate the 8 million people who aren’t killed by the disease.[i][ii] If a miracle drug suddenly lengthened overall human life expectancy by 10 years, the rate of human population expansion would accelerate by 150,000 people per day — 54 million a year – necessitating the construction of about seven additional New York Cities every year.[iii]

As I see human expansion destroy 140,000 unique biological species every year,[iv] as I watch natural habitats paved over for parking lots and devoured by slums — in effect, as I watch the impact of thriving human life on the health of the global habitat — I grow more and more acutely conscious of the importance of human death. Human mortality is critical to the health of our planet and future generations of human beings.

Death, our age-old enemy, has switched sides. Now death is our ally. 

Muslims, Christians and and Jews all believe in a Garden of Eden. In our creation myth, we were expelled from that perfect garden when we developed our unique human self-consciousness. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and it gave them egos. That was the end of paradise.

Ancient scriptures suggest that we will return to the garden.[v] I love that vision. Of course, it depends on two important achievements: First, we must preserve a beautiful, abundant natural habitat – our garden, as it were. And second, we must triumph over the human ego, which got us thrown out of paradise to begin with and has typically tried to perpetuate itself at all cost.

Our growing potential for extremely long lives – or even something like immortality – creates a parallel potential for an even greater achievement. If we acknowledge that the conservation of the essential miracle of life depends on our mortality, then we illuminate an opportunity: We may voluntarily embrace mortality. We may, finally, triumph over the human ego. And that may be the greatest challenge, and the greatest achievement, in the history of humankind.

Resources

[i] World Health Organization.  Media Centre.
[ii] New York City Department of City Planning. Current Population Estimates. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
[iii] United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: The  2010 Revision. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
[iv] S.L. Pimm, G.J. Russell, J.L. Gittleman and T.M. Brooks, The Future of BiodiversityScience Magazine Issue # 269, Pages 347–350 (1995)
[v] Rabbi Ken Spiro. “End of Days.” Retrieved September 13, 2013. 

Photo by Bryan Welch


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on Google+.


9/11/2013

Every idea you find within the pages of MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been inspired by the same goal: the creation of a beautiful, abundant, healthy planet for future generations. We favor practical ideas that can be implemented by regular people in the real world. Those ideas always begin with a positive vision and a belief in the power to change.

A few years ago I started crafting — and re-crafting — my own idea of the healthy world I wanted to leave for future generations. Among other legacies, I want my great-grandchildren to live in a place that is beautiful.

Anyone who has traveled in the developing world during the past 30 years has seen the vast slums that engulf many cities. Slums occupy decaying sections of old cities, and newly built shantytowns often surround more affluent urban areas. Worldwide, about a billion people live in slums today, and the United Nations expects this number may double by 2030.India Slum

Slums are densely populated eruptions of minimal human shelter — shacks, shanties, sometimes cardboard boxes. Generally speaking, slum dwellers are barely protected from the weather. Their sewage is untreated. Their children are not educated. Increasingly, the world’s slums host a variety of toxic occupations, such as recycling used computer parts and scavenging landfills.

Slums are not beautiful. I’m sure we could find some beauty in them — some people do manage to create beauty wherever they are — but ugliness remains one of the slum’s defining characteristics.

An absence of beauty often indicates an absence of health, and slums metastasizing around the world are indicators of a profound economic disease. As we’ve enhanced the lives of the world’s richest human beings, economic inequality has grown like a cancer.

It’s not that the living conditions of the poor are the worst ever. Throughout recorded history, a certain number of unfortunate people lived without shelter, clean water or adequate food. Their condition hasn’t changed appreciably in the entire span of human history. The richest residents of the 21st century, on the other hand, live lives of luxury that past kings and emperors couldn’t have imagined. The rich need never smell an unpleasant odor nor see an unpleasant sight. From birth to death, they have access to temperate air, clean water and exquisite entertainment. In a few hours, they can reach any terrestrial destination that pleases them. They have drugs that can soothe almost any pain.

And they live, quite often, within walking distance of a slum.

Healing Economic Inequality

In my vision of our human future, to foster beauty, the poor must be elevated. I don’t imagine a world in which economic disparity has been eliminated — the opportunity to improve our individual standard of living is a tremendous source of energy that fuels enterprise and innovation. Filling the gap between what we have and what we want can be a powerful motivator.

I do envision a human society that no longer tolerates inhuman conditions. I see a world in which people don’t go hungry, because we no longer put up with starvation. Today, we have enough food to eradicate hunger, but we haven’t collectively decided that doing so is necessary.

The poor will, by some definition, always exist. But we have the power to change the definition. The poor should have food in their pantries, doctors in their neighborhoods and beauty in their lives. In my vision, no nation will tolerate anything less.

The poor, and everyone else in the world, should also have access to magnificent, unaltered nature.

In nearly every literary tradition across the world, untrammeled nature remains an essential standard for beauty. A Libyan novelist writes movingly of the virgin sand dunes of the deep Sahara. A Canadian poet describes a frozen lake in the Great North Woods. And a Pygmy storyteller sings of the subtle, changing beauty of the African jungle.

Nature’s beauty is often the standard against which we measure man-made art. Art elaborates on nature. Without nature to refer to, could we even define beauty?

I have been privileged to visit most of the planet’s ecosystems, from subtropical deserts to the ocean floor, grasslands to tropical rain forests, alpine tundra to northern boreal forest. Every natural environment is beautiful in ways we cannot imagine. We must preserve natural beauty for precisely that reason — because we could not conceive of natural beauty on our own without nature’s inspiration.

People who design modern zoos use a criterion they call “flight distance.” Most animals have a prescribed distance they would run, if frightened, before they turned to look back. If a zoo enclosure is built at least a little larger than the animal’s flight distance, the creature is calmer and healthier. If designers don’t allow for flight distance, the animals are neurotic, combative and less healthy.

Besides beauty, wilderness also provides us with our own flight distance. As long as there are empty places on the planet, our minds can flee to those places of wild beauty when they have the need.

So in my vision, some quantity of every unique ecosystem across the globe will be preserved in its natural state. Perhaps we can reserve at least 20 percent of each continent’s landmass for wilderness, allocated to each biome, each ecosystem. In the United States, 20 percent of our grasslands, 20 percent of our forests, 20 percent of our swamps and at least 20 percent of our deserts will be permanently preserved as God created them, open to visitors but not vehicles. Whatever natural resources they contain will remain unexploited, by popular consent, forever — as a testament to our commitment to beauty, and to abundance.

I want my great-grandchildren to live in a world that is not only beautiful, but abundant.

Photo By Ranveig Thattai: Slums throughout the world host a level of misery most of us can barely imagine — and frequently exist in intimate proximity to some of the greatest wealth on the planet.

For more of Bryan Welch's ideas on a beautiful and abundant future, check out A Vision for a Better World, Part 2.


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .



12/17/2012

I’m feeling missionary tendencies these days. I have found love and I want to share it with the world. As I travel around I keep my eyes open for people who share my beliefs, scanning their cars for signs that they are part of my flock. When I see them, I say a silent “Good On Ya!” I pray for the hordes of unenlightened people, still laboring in darkness, driving conventional internal-combustion automobiles.

bryan welch with chevy voltI think everyone should have a Chevy Volt.

I was gratified when, two weeks ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Chevy Volt was the best-loved car in the world among people who drive one – for the second year in a row. I felt gratified, but not surprised. I got my own Volt in August. I have never loved a car like I love this one.

And I have loved some cars.

There was my rusty, shag-carpeted 1969 Toyota Land Cruiser, vessel of my teen-age dreams. Then I had a 1967 Dodge Power Wagon crewcab pickup. Best truck ever.

A decade ago I developed an obsession with Audis. I blush. They weren’t the most reliable cars; they weren’t the most fuel-efficient; they weren’t the most affordable. They just felt so, so good. They’re pretty, too. If you love driving, don’t get in one. Stronger men than me have fallen.

 Then I met the Volt and it won my heart.

And my head.

I’ve had mine for four months. Symmetrically, over the course of 7,760 miles I’ve averaged 77.6 miles per gallon of gasoline.

Personally, I sacrificed nothing to achieve this efficiency. The car and I took long interstate trips. I habitually drive eight miles per hour over the speed limit. Mea Culpa. In town, I set the Volt for “Sport” mode and myself for “Mild Adrenaline.”

In my normal routine of errands and commuting, I use no gasoline at all. When I go a little too far, like my 110-mile round-trip to the airport, I need the gasoline motor’s assistance to recharge the batteries.

Yet in spite of my lack of personal effort, my fuel savings made my lease cheaper than a sub-compact. Look at the math:

The average passenger car sold in the U.S. in 2011 got about 34 miles per gallon on the highway. So if I had driven 7,800 miles in an average car, over the last four months, I would have burned 229 gallons of gasoline. At $3 per gallon, that’s a cost of about $688. Instead, I burned about 100 gallons of gasoline and $10 worth of electricity. So I’m saving $90 a month in fuel costs compared with an average car, or 25 percent of my lease payment. With the tax incentive and the fuel savings, the Volt’s lease now actually costs me about the same as a typical lease on a $20,000 new car, or maybe less.

power wagon pickupAnd the Volt is no $20,000 car.

I think the car’s interior and driving qualities compare favorably with a BMW 3 Series or an Audi A4. It’s beautiful and comfortable. The cabin is snug but well designed. I’m happy in the front seats. I’m 6’2”; 210 pounds. And that’s not a lean, compact 210 pounds, either. I feel great in the Volt, even on an 800-mile drive to see my in-laws.

If you’re not familiar with the Chevy’s hybrid technology, it differs from other hybrid automobiles in that its propulsion system is strictly electric. There are two electric motors that drive the wheels. The gasoline engine under the hood is simply a generator. When the batteries are depleted to about 25 percent of their capacity the gasoline-powered generator replenishes them.

As a result, the Volt gives very little indication that the gas engine has started. It doesn’t change the car’s driving characteristics at all. And that conserves oil life. With about 8,000 miles on my car I’ve only used about 20 percent of the oil life, because most of the time the gas engine isn’t in use. I may go 40,000 miles or more before my first oil change.

Naturally, I was excited to see that other Volt owners feel the same way I do. We’re the happiest new-car owners in the world. And that, apparently, makes some people angry.

I read about the satisfaction survey on the Wall Street Journal’s website. In addition to being one of the world’s best sources for economic and business news, the Journal maintains an editorial preserve for the antediluvian opinions of several species of dinosaur – not extinct, just obsolete.

The skeptics appear to have two fundamental objections to any claims of success regarding the Volt:

  1. Government subsidies played a role in its development.
  2. Volt owners are smug.

Someone called Charleen Larson wrote,

Satisfaction survey? More like a self-satisfaction survey. 

There aren’t enough Volt owners in the entire United States to fill the seats of a small stadium, yet their smug satisfaction at driving an electric car (it isn’t) and having gotten a huge government subsidy is obvious.” 

69 land cruiserAnd a person self-identified as “Skeptic” wrote,

Do you really think someone who bought one of these feel-good machines would admit they made a mistake?” 

“Ellen” took a more proactive approach:

“…the buyers of the Volt think they are ‘saving the planet,’ i.e., they are left-wing nutcases. So what do you expect, they sure as heck aren’t going to say they were wrong, liberals never do. 

Personally I am going to buy a BMW 640 next year, because I can, and I don’t care about the gas mileage or ‘saving the planet’ for a bunch of liberals to live on.” 

Obviously, Ellen is angry about something other than the existence of a nice electric car.

There was one comment from an engineer whom I instinctively wanted to have over to share a bottle of bourbon and a couple of grass-fed burgers. He called himself “EAP,” and here’s what he had to say,

I’m … a right-wing nut, smoke Marlboro’s, despise Priuses with unmitigated passion, but engineering is engineering. The biggest stain on the Volt (which began engineering in 2006) was Obama’s seal of approval in 2008, which has stigmatized it ever since. It’s a passenger vehicle, not a suppository with wheels, so it doesn’t have much panache with the greens. Conservatives are afraid they’ll be labeled greens, so there the Volt sits in limbo — unless you actually do research and learn before running one’s mouth. Or as some here have, pony up for one and discover their uniqueness and pleasure.” 

Well, Amen.  Unlike “Ellen,” I do want the save the planet for a bunch of liberals – and conservatives and reactionary brutes – to live on. But even if I didn’t, I would love that darn car.
 



8/15/2012

If we commit ourselves to abundance, we can halt the irreversible tide of species destruction. We could celebrate the diversity of life and set a standard of preserving it, by the mutual consent of people around the world. All our food could be naturally wholesome and nutritious, except when we’d rather it be otherwise. We could live on farms or we could live in cities, as we wish. We could live at the edge of the mountain wilderness, or the edge of the ocean. Some of us would no doubt choose to work very little. Others would work hard to achieve something – new discoveries or greater personal wealth. 

Sunrise photo by Bryan WelchIn a stable human population, corporate success will be determined by some criterion other than the greatest number of products at the lowest price. The value of scale will be reduced; the value of quality will be enhanced. Products and companies that support our shared values of beauty, abundance and the preservation of nature will earn more. Quality will be defined, in part, by how well a product or a company supports those values. Innovative, conscientious companies will succeed. Less innovative companies will try harder. Our possessions will be more beautiful and more durable. 

As our population declines, territorial conflicts will become absurd. With more land, more energy and more food available each year, military conflict will seem more wasteful and more stupid than ever. We can decommission most of our armies. Rather than competing with faster jets and more powerful bombs, we will race to see who can preserve more natural beauty and attract more tourists. Who can print the most beautiful books? Who can build the most reliable and elegant machines? Who has the best skiing? Who has the best beach? 

Back at the beginning of this blog post series I challenged you to form a personal vision that idealizes our future. I challenged you to be unrealistic. Now I find I’ve failed to meet my own standard. Why is it unrealistic to believe we can agree that clean air and water are important and limited resources? What’s so crazy about wanting a couple of kids, and no more? How insane is it to think we could imagine a world of beauty and abundance? 

That’s what I’m going to aim for.


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .

For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook. 



8/7/2012

 

I have been privileged to visit most of the planet’s ecosystems: from subtropical deserts to the floor of the ocean; from the grasslands to the tropical rain forest, the temperate rain forest, the temperate deciduous forest, the alpine tundra and the northern boreal forest called the taiga. Each and every one of them was beautiful. I haven’t yet seen the arctic tundra or a polar ice cap in person, but I’m certain they are beautiful and I hope I get the chance. 

Every natural environment is beautiful in ways we cannot imagine. We must preserve natural beauty for precisely that reason, because we could not conceive of natural beauty on our own without nature’s inspiration. 

People who design modern zoos use a criterion they call “flight distance.” Most animals have a prescribed distance they would run, if frightened, before they turned to look back. If a zoo enclosure is built at least a little larger than the animal’s flight distance, zoo creatures are calmer and healthier. If designers don’t allow for flight distance, the animals are neurotic, combative and less healthy. 

Besides beauty, wilderness also provides us with the psychological flight distance. As long as there are empty places on the planet, our minds can flee to those empty places when they have the need. 

Rainbow photo by Bryan WelchSo in my vision, every unique ecosystem across the globe would be preserved in its natural state. Perhaps we could reserve at least 20 percent of each nation’s landmass for wilderness, allocated to each biome, each ecosystem. In the United States 20 percent of our grasslands, 20 percent of our forests, 20 percent of our swamps and at least 20 percent of our deserts would be permanently preserved as God created them, open to visitors but not vehicles. Whatever natural resources they contain would remain unexploited, by popular consent, forever, as a testament of our commitment to beauty, and to abundance. 

Because I want my great-grandchildren to live in a world that is beautiful and… 

Abundant.  

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly in this blog post series, there are two variables affecting abundance in our world. The first is supply. We depend on the planet’s natural resources. Those resources are, by definition, limited. The second variable is demand. Demand we can control. 

Demand for resources is also influenced by two primary variables. The efficiency of our usage determines how much of the world’s natural bounty each of us requires. We can improve efficiency, to some extent. The second variable affecting demand is population. No matter how much we improve efficiency, there will still be an ultimate limit to how many people we can support. 

Once I acknowledge that limitation, I find myself thinking, well, why are we talking about a maximum human population? Why not aim for an ideal population, instead. 

Since I’ve already set aside 20 percent of every earthly biome for wilderness, in my mind, I might set my own ideal human population at 20 percent less than our current population of about 6.9 billion people. That would put us at about 5.5 billion people. That was the world population in the early 1990s. 

What the heck. While I’m idealizing why don’t I allocate a little more room for solving the world hunger problem and take us back 30 percent, to a total human population of 4.8 billion. Just about like 1984, when I celebrated by 25th birthday. That’s a shocker, isn’t it? Our population was 30 percent smaller when Ronald Reagan was elected to his second term as President of the United States. 

When I suggest something like this in public some idiot always asks me whom I’m going to kill. I get letters from people who ask me which of their children should they give up. Let’s kill no one. Let’s keep all our children. But if each of us reproduced ourselves once, if each human couple had two children, from now on, then the total human population would soon begin to decrease. Of course we will not prescribe death or childlessness for anyone. We don’t need to. We can simply agree, as a species, that two parents and two children make a great family. 

We could have wild elephants and mountain gorillas in a world of 5 billion people. We could have oceans teeming with fish and vast grasslands where bison and wildebeest roam wild, forever. We could provide clean water for every human baby, food for every new mother and a warm, comfortable bed for every old man, always. 

Well, why not?


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .

For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook. 



8/1/2012

 I want my great-grandchildren to live in a place that is… 

Beautiful.  

Anyone who has traveled in the developing world during the past 30 years has seen the vast slums that engulf the cities. Slums occupy decaying sections of old cities and newly built shantytowns that often surround more affluent urban areas. About a billion people, worldwide, live in slums today and the United Nations expects that number to double by 2030. 

Slums are densely populated aggregations of minimal human shelter. Generally speaking slum dwellers are barely protected from the weather. Their sewage is not treated. Their children are not educated. Increasingly, the world’s slums host a variety of toxic occupations such as recycling used computer parts and scavenging landfills. 

Slums are not beautiful. I’m sure their residents find some beauty in them, but ugliness remains one of their defining factors. The slum’s residents want to make it smell better, look better and provide better shelter. 

An absence of beauty often indicates an absence of health, and the slums metastasizing around the world are indicators of a profound economic disease. As we’ve enhanced the lives of the world’s riches human beings, economic disparity has advanced like a cancer. It’s not that the poor live a lot worse than ever. As far back as recorded history can take us, there were unfortunate people who lived without shelter, clean water or adequate food. Their condition hasn’t changed appreciably in the entire span of human history. The richest residents of the 21st century, on the other hand, live lives of luxury that kings and emperors couldn’t have imagined until very recently. The rich need not ever smell an unpleasant smell or see an unpleasant sight. From birth to death they have access to temperate air, clean water and beautiful things. They can reach any terrestrial destination that pleases them in a few hours. They have drugs that soothe almost any pain. Almost any form of entertainment is available to them at the touch of a button. 

And they live, quite often, within walking distance of a slum. 

The ugliness of the slums is striking for its proximity to wealth and beauty. 

To spread beauty in my vision of our human future, the poor must be elevated. 

I don’t imagine a world in which economic disparity has been eliminated. I think that would be a bad idea. Economic disparity and the opportunity of improving our individual standard of living is a tremendous source of energy fueling enterprise and innovation. It’s a motivator. 

But I envision a human world that no longer tolerates “inhuman” conditions. I see a world in which people don’t go hungry, because we no longer put up with starvation. Today we have enough food to eradicate hunger, but we lack the collective will to do so. We could feed every hungry person tomorrow but we haven’t collectively decided to do so. 

In my beautiful vision, we would tolerate nothing less. 

The poor will, by some definition, always exist. But we have the power to change the definition. The poor should have food in their pantries, doctors in their neighborhoods and beauty in their lives. In my vision, no nation in the world will tolerate anything less, even for its poorest residents. 

But perhaps I’m not setting a high enough standard. Perhaps I’m being too realistic. Raising the lifestyles of the poor is a relatively simple matter of reallocating resources we already possess. I’m not meeting my own standard for an idealized, unrealistic vision. 

Photo of flowers by Bryan Welch So I think the poor, and everyone else, should also have access to beautiful, unaltered nature. 

In nearly every literary tradition across the world, untrammeled nature remains a standard for beauty. A Libyan novelist writes movingly about the virgin sand dunes of the deep Sahara. A Canadian poet describes a frozen lake in the north woods and a pygmy storyteller sings of the subtle, changeable beauty of the African jungle. 

Nature’s beauty is, often, the standard against which we measure manmade art. Art elaborates on nature’s image. Without reference to nature, could we even define beauty?

Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .

For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook.


7/24/2012

  As I wrote these case studies the same thought kept occurring to me: These are some of the best puzzles ever! Applying human objectivity to the biggest, most intriguing and most definitively human problem, ever, is quite an endeavor. And we’re in that endeavor. We’re part of that enterprise. 

Bryan Welch and his grandson AdamI notice a lot of people my age – in their 40s and 50s – saying they don’t know if they would want to be young today. They feel overwhelmed by our challenges. For some the challenge of global cultural conflict seems insurmountable. For others it’s the prospect of economic stagnation that overwhelms them. Then, of course, there are planetary environmental problems. 

If I just sit around and think about problems like these, I sometimes feel a little intimidated myself. But if I get off the couch and do something – write something, grow something, fix something that needs fixing – I feel a whole lot better. In fact, when I’m busy I often feel energized by the importance of the projects our species is tackling today. Old-fashioned biological expansion was automatic. Our previous technological triumphs were exciting, but they were, ultimately, the products of our primitive desires for more power, more speed, more food and richer entertainment. 

Now we’re inventing something new – a path toward prosperity of a particularly human kind. To expand and grow stronger is the animal impulse. To calculate our natures and build a world to suit those natures – a world designed for the long term – is an achievement to which only a human being can aspire. 

We’re working on the best human project of all time. 

What a great privilege.


Bryan Welch is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, the parent company of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Connect with him on .

For further optimistic discussion about our future, read Beautiful and Abundant by Bryan Welch and connect with Beautiful and Abundant on Facebook.









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