Venus Evolution

The Venus Project acknowledges the evolving ambiguity and complexity of contingencies with which humanity is faced and forced to gamble. For this reason, The Venus Project sees reason to diversify investments, leveraging both design and evolutionary mechanisms to avoid path dependence and maximize the number of plausible sociotechnical and cultural transition strategies.

The evolution of The Venus Project will depend on its convergence with the following primary fields and ideas:

  • Circular Economy
  • Steady State Economy
  • Permaculture
  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Degrowth
  • Game B

To undertake this evolution, The Venus Project will partner with a variety of entities to bring into fruition the initial stepping stones of a long term vision. The task of Venus Evolution is to confront and overcome the challenges of practical transition. How do we get from here to there?

All designs of Venus Evolution share in common the following traits:

  • plan all-inclusive (holistic and systems-oriented) at a given scale
  • plan for the long term to withstand and adapt to change
  • balance the population with surrounding natural systems
  • restore and enhance natural biosystems
  • functional design directed by sustainability criteria
  • high-concept visionary thinking
  • radical innovation with the available resources
  • fit to purpose for a new culture
  • extensive operationalization and pragmatic programming
  • contextualized to a specific location

According to The Venus Project’s design methodology, projects belonging to these design responses can operate in parallel or be integrated into a layered design of greater complexity. The types of responses most expected within the scope of Venus Evolution are featured below.

Responses

Responses will emerge as gradations on a spectrum or continuum. However, all responses share a continued reliance on innovation to improve the quality of life (both human and ecosystems) within the prevailing constraints and with service to the long-term future. Designs fitted only to BAU or BAU2 are excluded from the scope of Venus Evolution. At present three primary responses emerge from the known contingencies.

Designs for Global Stability

Consistent with Stabilized World (SW), Jacque Fresco conceived a holistic solution called a Global Resource Based Economy reliant on a high-quality energy outcome after a global energy, materials, and cultural transition. A comprehensive technology would be required to maximize the efficiency of all energy and material throughputs and load balance all resources toward a global optimum. Requisite to constraining overshoot entailed more than only better resource management. It also entailed an urgent change in human values and culture across the planet concerning private property, money, nationalism, materialism and consumerism, laws and policy. Fresco’s design solutions were predicated on the ideal outcome of a globally integrated stabilized world coinciding with Earth’s carrying capacity. 

The long-term objective of these designs would be to maximize humanity’s potential to indefinitely achieve ever-greater emergence into new frontiers of mind and matter.

Projects serving Global Stability will resemble or take inspiration from Fresco’s holistic design for the global population. In the event that global resources triple or quadruple and if humanity achieves sudden blackswan breakthroughs in energy, materials, and computation technologies, along with sudden shifts in international agreements, or if all present data trends fundamentally underestimate global carrying capacity, then design responses aimed at Global Stability will prove appropriate and plausible.

Designs for Regional Stability

If the preconditions of Global Stability do not prevail, the stabilization may be achieved at a smaller scale. Simon Michaux’s regional Resource Balanced Economy, reliant on a mixed-quality energy outcome, represents a pragmatic response suitable for immediate transition.

Projects serving stabilized regions will assume some degree of global energy contraction and eventual simplification of supply chains. These projects will shrink supply chains to metabolically viable networks, rate and span limited by the energy extractable from the area, to render the regional network self-sufficient, independent of remaining global supply chains, and likely geographically isolated. Populations will concentrate around the main attractors of fertile soil, freshwater, energy-dense resources, high-quality mineral resources, geopolitical sovereignty, and efficient landscape whereupon they will establish habitats. The methods and manners of the population will vary by region, and the constitution of their technology and habitats will depend on available materials. 

The long-term objective of these designs would be to preserve the population’s capacity to elevate their quality of life and technological sophistication over time. Responses of this sort remain conscientious of the plight of overshoot and the potential of PNR, which motivates priorities to endure global declines while simultaneously investing in radically exotic technology that stands a chance to alter the regional, and potentially global, trajectory in the long term, within the window of opportunity. There is some potential that designs of this sort could all eventually evolve to resemble the outcome of Global Stability in the distant future. 

Designs for Limited Local Stability

As a counterintuitive final response, designs of this sort accept as fact that the world has reached a Point of No Return (PNR) or intend to take no responsibility for factors beyond the local level. On this basis, design responses plan for low energy outcomes and limited resource availability in hyper-localized Resource-Bound Economies. Designs for human habitats will assume no continuation of advanced technology and will plan to increase resilience amid late-stage consequences of overshoot. While potentially using currently available energy and technological resources to construct a perennial habitat, subsequent methods of ongoing adaptation will rely on energy sources of relatively low quality and simple materials of primarily biotic origin. The defining characteristic of these designs will be their simplicity and continuity with surrounding ecosystems. 

These designs maintain the long-term objective of seamlessly harmonizing with nature, continuously innovating with the available means, and evolving the population’s values and culture to greater sophistication despite simplicity at the material and metabolic levels. These characteristics make designs of this type especially resilient in scenarios of Global Catastrophic Risk.