The REAL Green New Deal Project (REALgnd) is an independent think tank based in the United States. Founded in 2020, we push the envelope by speaking bold, wholistic truths about our unsustainability crisis that few others are willing to.
We hone in on both the physical and metaphysical root causes and remedies of unsustainability, in the process bursting the fantasy bubble of the Green New Deal (GND) while bringing into the picture the crucial component of spirituality that is all but ignored in sustainability discourse.
In the physical domain, we highlight that:
Climate change is not the central problem humanity faces. It's just one symptom of toxic overshoot – too many people consuming and polluting too much, exceeding the bio-generative and assimilative capacities of Earth whilst generating a toxic stew of unprecedented proportions.
The techno-solutions advanced by the mainstream GND narrative are neither renewable nor sustainable and will in fact exacerbate toxic overshoot.
To address the root disease and all of its symptoms, a dramatic contraction and fundamental transformation of the human enterprise is needed.
In the metaphysical domain, we highlight that:
The root cause of our problems on the physical plane is a disconnection from spirituality – the sacred, the divine, the heart, the soul…the broader multi-dimensional aspects of reality that extend beyond materiality and basic sensory perception, where the true richness and meaning of life lie.
The Earth herself is moving into a new evolutionary phase, and only that which is vibrating at her higher frequency of love, understanding, and unity will persist in harmonic resonance.
Our mission is to expose the dangerous illusion of the GND – simply business-as-usual by alternative means –
while offering a genuinely hopeful alternative grounded in
ecological realism and spiritual reconnection.
HOW WE'RE DIFFERENT
We face head-on a wide range of subject matter, typically considered taboo or outside the scope of sustainability, that paints a truly wholistic picture of what we're up against. This includes things like taking a radical, universal stance on humane population reduction, calling for an end to war and U.S. empire, acknowledging the unsustainability of modern industrialism and "renewables," and talking openly about the metaphysical inflection point we find ourselves in.
To best make sense of all this, we like to think about our global predicament in terms of a patient with a disease. No disease can be cured if it’s not accurately diagnosed and treated. But humanity now faces a dual problem: not just the disease itself, but that the commonly accepted diagnosis and treatment are wildly off base, making the disease even worse.
Changing the Diagnosis
Climate change isn't the underlying problem – toxic overshoot is.
Climate change, biodiversity loss, mass extinction, resource scarcity, ecosystem degradation, and all other environmental crises, are symptoms of one underlying problem: toxic overshoot. Too many people, consuming and polluting too much, has resulted in a vast overreach of the planet’s carrying capacity. But that’s not all – to the normal pollution resulting from overshoot, we’ve added a life-destroying web of toxicity in our techno-industrial wake.
The laser focus on climate neglects this systemic nature of the bigger problem. It would have us believe we can isolate and treat individual symptoms with technological fixes while ignoring the cancer causing them in the first place. The only way to address the climate crisis is to widen our perspective and treat the mind-body-spirit of the whole patient.
Tweaking the system won't work – techno-industrial civilization is inherently unsustainable.
Life as we know it today is made possible only by a one-off inheritance of fossil energy. Whether we choose to wean ourselves off it as quickly as possible or it eventually becomes too financially and energetically costly to keep using, there are no qualitative or quantitative replacements for fossil fuels. Remove them from the equation and the entire house of cards we’ve foolishly constructed will crumble. Even if there were a replacement for fossil energy, continuing with business-as-usual (toxic overshoot) would seal our fate.
Overshoot and techno-industrial civilization did not arise because humans are inherently greedy, selfish, or incapable of allowing rational foresight to curb the evolutionary impulse to exploit resources – they are the physical manifestations of a diseased collective consciousness, of a disconnection from the meta-physical.
We’re a people with amnesia, having forgotten our true history that reveals a fuller set of potentialities and that cycles of time can either repeat or be risen above. We’ve allowed an overly dominant egoic mind, focused on physical objectification and separation, to lead us astray and hold us captive. We’ve become disconnected from the heart, the soul, the sacred; from the vast metaphysical dimensions of reality that give rise to the physical; and from the truth the we're all one in love and compassion.
Changing the Cure
Faux renewables are faux – we have to get real about what actually constitutes renewable energy.
Solar panels, high-tech wind turbines, hydrogen cells, large-scale hydropower, nuclear, and every other you-name-it technology that will supposedly the day, all rely on fossil fuels at every step of their life cycle. Their construction relies on a dwindling supply of non-renewable metals and minerals (that cannot magically be made renewable through endless recycling), on ecological destruction and pollution, and on terrible working conditions that are often offshored to the Global South. At the end of their short lives, faux renewables have to be decommissioned and transported to waste sites (using fossil fuels), only for the entire process to start all over again. Nothing about this is renewable or sustainable.
Sophisticated harnessing of energy is possible but not within today’s primitive techno-industrial context or collective consciousness. This means that the nearest template within reach is an agrarian one, overlaid with brushstrokes of advanced multidimensional knowledge that has been surfacing within recent decades.
Forget net zero, decoupling, and the circular economy.
Net zero says that in sectors where we “can’t” reduce emissions, we can remove CO2 from the atmosphere through engineered or natural means. Engineered means include direct air capture and carbon capture and storage. Natural means include afforestation, reforestation, and soil sequestration. The problem with engineered means is that they’re ecologically destructive, rely on yet-to-be scaled, fossil energy-based processes, and ignore the need to stop using fossil fuels altogether. Natural means are good but belie the need to restore ecosystems for planetary health, not just carbon sequestration.
The idea behind decoupling is that we can have economic and material growth that doesn’t negatively impact the planet as long as that growth relies on “green” energy. The non-greenness of "green" energy notwithstanding, this tragically forgets that humans are inextricably embedded within the natural world. Decoupling ourselves from Nature is no more possible than decoupling the Earth from the solar system or a tree from the soil.
The ‘circular economy’ says that we can live within planetary boundaries by recycling more and redesigning products and processes to produce less waste. But we can't recycle or redesign our way out of overshoot, and no amount of tweaks to a broken system can save it. A truly circular economy would require a fundamentally different relationship with the Earth – abandoning capitalist techno-industrialism in exchange for a more harmonious way of living.
We need to massively reduce our material presence.
If toxic overshoot is the result of too many people consuming and polluting too much, all enabled by fossil fuels, then the remedy is many fewer people consuming far less energy and material resources in a far more harmonious relationship with the Earth, with fossil energy removed from the picture.
We're being called to reconnect with spiritual reality.
The planetary ascension is compelling us to call back what we’ve forsaken – to reunite with the metaphysical planes and cultivate a healthy balance between the mind and heart.
This means moving beyond separation, self-service, conflict and war, short-termism, and an obsession with the physical, to a greater sense of oneness and love, peace and compassion, long-term well-being for all, and perception beyond the suppressed veil of what has become modern ordinary consciousness.
WHAT WE THINK THE FUTURE HOLDs
The questions inevitably arise: do we have enough time? Is there any hope? What can be done?
REALgnd sees two paths before us.
The first is that some governments of the world, with a leader of sufficient intelligence of mind and heart who manages to penetrate The System, might actually embark upon an intelligent physical contraction, while stewarding a metaphysical expansion, of society.
The second is that corruption and dominion will continue to reign, resulting in a painful collapse of global society punctuated by pockets of conscious, biophysically aware communities that will survive and act as seeders of a new world that slowly rises from the ashes.
While it seems unlikely that any government of the world, with a mandate from its people, would shift from a GND to a REALgnd response to our unsustainability crisis, we’ve nonetheless developed our own version of an energy transition plan to guide such an intrepid endeavor. Absent government action, we hope our plan can still be a source of guidance and inspiration for those attempting to build life anew.
While some people think we're fatally doomed and others see only positivity as the great planetary transition unfolds, it’s our contention that each perspective misses the other half of the whole. In their focus on darkness and despair, the ‘doomer’ crowd fails to see that not only have massive planetary changes happened throughout the great cycles of time marking untold human history, but a doomed outlook is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And in their focus on the upsides of an expanding planetary consciousness, the ‘spiritual’ crowd often fails to see that an inevitable period of ugly biophysical collapse is on track to play out as the new is being ushered in.
We bring together both yin and yang to present a realistic – pleasant and unpleasant, light and dark – forecast of what we think is on the horizon. Our work seeks to integrate both aspects of this forecast, offering prescriptions for what might be done to navigate an intelligent biophysical contraction of society while engaging with diverse aspects of a heart-based, expanded way of ushering in a New Earth.