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What if…

Issue 317

To build a better world we must unleash our imaginations, writes Rob Hopkins Artwork by Dan Parry-Jones

Iwake, well rested, in the straw-bale-walled apartment my family and I call home. Built 15 years ago as part of a sustainable-construction initiative throughout our city, the three-storey-high apartment complex costs virtually nothing to heat, its basement hosts composting units for all the building’s toilets, and the solar panels on the roof generate all our electricity needs. I wake my children, get them dressed and fed and accompany them to school – a walk that takes us through shared gardens with a diversity of food crops, including young ruby chard, its deep red leaves radiating like stained glass caught in the brilliant sunshine. The streets are quiet, due to sparse motorised traffic, and they are lined with fruit and nut trees in early blossom. The air smells of spring. Each bus stop we pass is surrounded by a garden on three sides, part of the Edible Bus Stop network that now includes most bus stops across the United Kingdom. Anyone can graze while they wait for the bus. We approach the school through intensive food gardens planted and managed by the students and walk into a building where we are greeted by the smell of baking bread and the sound of happy chatter. After we say our goodbyes, I pick up a public bicycle and head into the city on one of our cycle networks. With more bicycles and fewer cars on the road, air quality has improved, and public health along with it.

I call into work. I’m working a half-day today. Adopted nationally 10 years ago, the three-day week, together with the introduction of Universal Basic Income, has resulted in measurably lower levels of anxiety and stress across all income groups. People spend free time working on community projects and enjoying their lives. Some of my colleagues are away today. A scheme was recently launched whereby up to 10% of staff from any company, at any given time, are embedded in the local community, offering managerial, marketing, financial planning and project management skills to organisations that are working in various ways to support residents and make our community more resilient.

Resurgence & Ecologist


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