From "S.O.S.-tainability" To Self-Management

(Self-Managing Sustainability)

by Pepe A.

This discussion paper looks at the concept of sustainability which is necessarily linked to the concept of self-management. These conclusions are based on the analysis of living ecosystems and the forms in which life is organised, and how these are supported by network structures and the relations of co- operation and recycling, in order to be able to continue existing both in time and space. Quite the opposite of neoliberal ideology, which is based on centralised control, on unconscious consumption and on the exploitation of natural and human resources, destroying environments both near and far. As a response to this, the strategy of constructing social ecosystems that are sustainable and self-managed, and organised in a network to exchange information throughout the planet, in order to change the way the world we live in works, and move it in the direction of global sustainability.

Neoliberalism crushes everything in its path, but sustainability continues in a timid way in living social structures based on intelligence and information, creeping in even as a buzz word for political parties whose ideologies are absolutely unsustainable.

Sustainability, a key word in our age, which emerges as a reaction to the deterioration of the planet and looks to the future and to what is renewable, which alerts us to the way we are misusing resources and to our excessive production of waste materials, proposes new forms of relationship with the planet and with our environment - and therefore, new relationshipswith ourselves.

Sustainability comes from a close observation of everything that lives, from an analysis of the capacity for survival of woods and jungles, from the study of marine ecosystems and reefs, from an understanding of the planet as a single unit. The objectives here are to "stay alive" - they adapt, transform themselves - and everything that serves a purpose, that survives and perpetuates itself, in a process of constant creativity, renewal, variation and mutation with the aim of evolution, this is all life.

Sustainability is maintained by cycles of transformation, cycles of consumption, recycling and further consumption, while the source of energy is the sun that presents life with the photons it needs.

Ecosystems, living networks of beings and their environment, are the base for this way of using energy. The planetary ecosystem, with its tides and winds, its temperature differences and its constant rotation, transports nutrients all round the world and thus allows different ecosystems to continue in a self- managing way.

Without this external help these ecosystems could not continue, but they maintain themselves through self-management. For this reason when we want to make a city, a house or a person sustainable we must be able to maintain ourselves by using all our own basic local resources, re-using the subproducts and consuming only in accordance with the rate at which we can renew raw materials and resources, by applying awareness, knowledge and love to the space we want to maintain, even if this means only our own interior space, as a way of beginning.

Sustainable self-management challenges neoliberalism: its centralism and the way it runs down resources, with its blind, short-term view that can chop down a forest simply because there are more of them and they are all up for sale. Five years after Rio, this spectre has still complete freedom to manoeuvre, with its pockets full and still spinning its web of unconscious consumption, increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and turning more and more of the planet into desert. Faced with this, it is imperative that we put sustainable self-management into practice wherever we are, generating lasting, living ecosystems, freeing ourselves from that monopolising power and supplying our own needs as far as possible.

Independent in energy, independent in food, independent in clothing, independent in the consumption of information and in the creation of networks and living structures, exporting sustainability until we have woven a whole spread of sustainable and self-managed ecosystems, and, to express it in their language, mercilessly tearing away - through the building of awareness - the market shares which it needs to maintain its grip, because the weak point of neoliberalism is its dependence on consumers... if it has no consumers it will die...or kill.

In the beginning, when life began, it created a network around the whole planet that transformed its atmosphere. Success in the struggle to subsist was passed from bacteria to bacteria in the form of DNA messages, which circulated and were absorbed by bacteria that incorporated these messages and thus learned how to survive, to use the energy of the sun and to produce oxygen... such minute beings were able to change the living conditions of the planet and allow the kind of respiration we know today.

Some bacteria co-operated with other bacteria, incorporated themselves and created more complex cells; and so there appeared the first multicellular beings. This merry dance has continued right down to the present day, when we, the multicellular beings of the present, become aware of the situation and start to learn from life because we are life, and to realise that we want to continue and to perpetuate ourselves in a harmonious way, and not to destroy forests, create deserts, impoverish the earth, bleed it, destroy it and destroy ourselves at the same time.

Before, genetic information was distributed through that planetary network of bacteria - now, using all the networks of information in existence we have to distribute living consciousness, a consciousness of universality and of forming part of this planet which is capable of maintaining itself both in space and in time, making use of the environmental capacity of life to constantly renew itself, based on the energy provided by the sun.

We must become capable of creating these new sustainable, self-managing and social ecosystems from within those unsustainable ecosystems directed from the nuclei of power and capital, until we attain that strength possessed by life and by Nature and tear down those old dead walls and repopulate the planet with infinite, sustainable, self-managed and universal life.