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It is not generally understood that the extent to which industrialised societies have exceeded sustainable levels of production, consumption, resource use and ecological impact means that solutions must involve huge and radical transition to far simpler lifestyles and systems. This makes the required transition unlike any previous revolution.  It is unique with respect to both goals and means. It must involve major Degrowth from affluent, industrialised, globalised, competitive, individualistic, acquisitive and market-driven society to localised communities maximising self-sufficiency, self government and cooperative and non-material values. 

Thus the goal has to be a transition to some kind of Simpler Way. This is not an option among others; these are necessary conditions if a sustainable and just society that all could share is to be achieved.

The implications for the transition process are equally radical. Consumer-capitalism with its obsession with affluence and growth is so deeply entrenched that it is at this stage a mistake to focus on political action within existing decision making institutions in an effort to get the required changes made. Polititions will not and cannot make the necessary changes; this society would not tolerate them. Nor is it sensible to try to take state power or resort to violent disruptive means or to get rid of the ruling class. The new ways  cannot be implemented unless and until they come to be widely seen to be desirable. Thus there has to be a huge cultural revolution before structures can be changed. At best this will take a long time and there can be no guarantee that it can be achieved.  But there is no other way but to work for the change in consciousness without which the required change will not come about.

Think about the situation in historical terms. The "revolution" we have to work for is huge, more significant than any change since the Enlightenment. It involves scrapping previously taken for granted conceptions of "progress", "development", "living standards" and "the good life". We have to set ourselves for what might be a very long game, being content to contribute what we can to the establishment of a very different worldview.  Many and increasing numbers of people are doing this now in a wide variety of social movements.

This means we have to adopt a different approach to transition strategy compared with that assumed by conventional theorists, “green” activists, “populists” or those within the Marxist/socialist camp.

Most important: the existing decision making structures and procedures in present society are totally incapable of making the required changes. The changes will not be made by deliberate, rational analysis, planning and orderly managed processes, and they will not be made by national governments or official bodies. The changes needed are too big and too radical, and there isn't time. Governments cannot go against the mentality of growth and affluence held by just about everyone. In any case they would have no clue whatsoever as to what to do. Present politicians, media social commentators etc. would regard degrowth to a simpler way as absurd and repulsive. They are convinced that more economic growth is needed to solve our problems. Above all the mainstrean has no idea why such changes are needed.

What will happen? We will very likely descend in the next few decades into a major and possibly terminal global breakdown. Hopefully it will be gradual and not so savage as to eliminate any chance of building the new ways, but sufficient to jolt people out of the obsession with growth and affluence. and to see that they must try to build local cooperative systems. Unfortunately the global financial house of cards is likely to come down very suddenly.  There is now a large literature predicting catastrophic collapse of the global order.

Simpler Way transition strategy therefore focuses not on trying to fix this society, but on creating elements of the new local, cooperative, self-sufficient and frugal systems, mainly as educational devices to help more people to become aware of the required alternative way and to see that it is viable and attractive. The most important contribution concerned people can make to this revolution is simply to spread awareness of this perspective whenever possible, most obviously in everyday conversation.  We can get nowhere unless and until sufficient numbers have come to see things this way, and to be thinking in terms of what they can do to restructure their local neighbourhood or town. The coming descent into the time of troubles will force people to think this way. The area were most progress is likely to be made is in struggling country towns.

The best way to deal with feelings of despair about the global situation is to plunge into this kind of activity.