What’s missing today is a compelling vision for the future, a guiding light, a new idea, a desirable destination, a conception that is grand and noble, something that we can all get behind, something that we can all be a part of: The Verdant Age.
The Verdant Age is an alternative – indeed the exact opposite – of the present destiny of human extinction that grows upon us day by day.
The Verdant Age is the flag on the hill, the rallying cry, the kettle-drum that draws our attention to the correct direction of our motion.
The Verdant Age is the ultimate destination. It is what we were ultimately born for: the raison de’tre of human existence.
The Verdant Age is the potential future time when human civilization and the biosphere thrive in synergy, deep into the Long Future.
But what does that actually mean?
But let’s take a step back and answer some fundamental questions.
What is verdant? What does thrive in synergy mean? What is the Long Future?
Our planet will be habitable for life for another two billion years or so, beyond which time our star, the Sun, will produce too much heat for life to survive on Earth.
Long Future is the name that Vita uses to describe the two billion years of future habitability of this planet.
If human civilization can survive the Anthropocene Crisis - the modern era of climate and ecological collapse - it is conceivable that there could be humans on this planet millions of years into the future.
With the right practices - underpinned by the right spiritual beliefs and knowledge - the presence of humans on Earth could actually ‘improve’ conditions for the biosphere.
The world could be better off with us. Imagine that!
This proposed future state Vita calls the Verdant Age: an age when humans and nature work together to make things better.
It’s called the Verdant Age because the word ‘verdant’ refers to trees and the colour green: analogues for life.
While the Verdant Age is a core concept of Vita, scientists and others have couched the ideas that underpin it for decades.
For example, the Verdant Age might also be referred to as the:
- Ecozoic Era,
- Ecological Civilization
- Gaia 2.0.
There is also the concept of the ‘stewardship of the whole Earth system’ referred to in the 2018 Transitions science paper.
And astrophysicist Adam Frank, says that there are many civilizations in the universe, but most don’t survive their own versions of the Anthropocene Crisis. The civilizations that do survive are those that have ‘agency dominated biosphere’ where civilization partners and synergyses with nature.
This is exactly what we humans must do: become partners with our biosphere. But first we must survive the Anthropocene Crisis. To get out of a crisis, we need to know where we are heading.
And as a guiding light, the Verdant Age is a thousand times more profound than the deranged idea of continually growing the global economy, or putting humans on Mars. We don’t need to become a multi-planet species if we look after this one.
But how to we break out of the Anthropocene Crisis?
First thing we need to do is euthanize the fossil fuel industry; conduct a disciplined, international mercy killing, before it mercilessly kills us all.
We don’t need oil, coal or gas. We did. But we don’t now. The fossil fuel industry has passed its usefulness. We don’t need its pollution, landscape destruction or corruption. And most importantly, we don’t even need its energy.
Engineers and scientists have developed a dizzying array of machines that can harness the energy that naturally moves around us.
Imagine a world where all the electricity and fuel we need is harvested from the sun, the ebb and flood of the tides, the breeze and the ocean waves.
Next, we need to restore the climate back to 300 parts per million CO2 by 2050 by drawing down trillions of tons of carbon dioxide from the overheating atmosphere. This can be done by regrowing nature and developing techniques advised by natural processes.
This ambitious plan for Climate Restoration will be advanced by fostering the growth of biomass in places where nature struggles, such as the low-nutrient, high-sunlit areas of the ocean that cover about half of our planet.
By drawing nutrient from the dark waters below into the light, Marine Permaculture can help restore our ocean and drawdown billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, into the calcium carbonate skeletons of phytoplankton, the first link in the marine food chain.
And we need to re-establish life in places where it has been lost: rewilding the planet to recreate wilderness: that place where nature designs the landscapes.
While there will still be houses and cars, jobs and holidays in the Verdant Age, the world will be very different from today. The air will be clean. The ocean drained of plastic and filled with fish.
Cities will look like forests, and forests will look like forests, and not the charred moonscapes or monotonous monocultures of today.
Whilst the pressures of living in society will likely persist, there will not be the existential spectre of human extinction looming over our heads, driving us crazy and making us say and do silly things.
We will learn how to finally do the job that we were born for: thrive in synergy with nature.
But between today and the Verdant Age, many species, ecosystems and landscapes will not survive the Anthropocene Crisis.
So, we need to act fast to overturn the deranged and destructive systems of power that have seized the destiny of our planet, and change course to an alternative destiny, when human civilization thrives in synergy with nature, deep into the Long Future.
Please join Vita on the journey to the Verdant Age.
Visit the website thinkvita.org
Join the newsletter and take a look at it when it arrives.
And Think Vita.
I am Guy Lane from Vita, and if you’ll indulge me, I’d like you to help me change the world.
Unfortunately, statistically, there is a good chance if you are watching this, you are one of the people who won’t take action on this message. That’s okay. Keep watching.
You see, I am seeking to reach ‘spiritual innovators’ the people who will adopt Vita first.
Of those people who will eventually become Vitans only about 2.5% will be the innovators – the ones who come aboard first.
The rest, the 97.5% will be the early adopters, and the early and late majority. Innovators first, the rest follow. It’s a natural law.
So, if you come away from this video feeling disinclined to take action, that’s okay. That’s how these things are.
I am talking about the diffusion of innovation in nature-based spirituality. A rather esoteric subject, I do acknowledge.
Vita believes that one quarter of the Cultural Creatives will identify as Vitan once the idea is put before them in a compelling manner.
The Cultural Creatives are a subset of society who want to make things better, and they make up around 35% of the adult population in the Western World.
Vita believes that a quarter of the Cultural Creatives will identify as Vitan if the idea is presented to them in a compelling manner.
This means that there are about , 53 million ‘Latent Vitans’ out there.
Studies into the diffusion of innovation - the way that people take up new ideas - suggest that the first wave of people to take up a new idea – the innovators - make up about 2.5% of that population.
So, 2.5% of the Latent Vitans equals about 1.3 million people around the Western World.
That’s about half a million in America, 95 thousand in the UK and about 36 thousand in Australia, for example.
If this is you – if you are a spiritual innovator and want to come aboard Vita early, this is what I suggest you do: visit the Vita website: thinkvita.org, read every page, watch every video, get your head around it. It’s a big idea, and there’s a lot to absorb.
Sign-up to the newsletter, and read it when it arrives, , and act in accordance with your head, heart and gut.
For everyone else, this is what we suggest: visit the Vita website: thinkvita.org, read every page, watch every video, sign-up to the newsletter, and read them when they arrive, and act in accordance with your head, heart and gut.
And remember, neither hail nor rain, nor dark of night, shall stay these Vitans from the deft completion of their self-appointed rounds to advance the Verdant Age.
Ours is a world that needs changing.
And Think Vita.
Here are some really cool words to play with: mythology, world-view, cosmovision, and meta-narrative. They have different nuance, but they all broadly refer to big overarching story that describes how the world is perceived by a group of people.
Let’s stick to the word cosmovision, if only because it sounds cool.
Let’s talk about Vita’s Cosmovision.
A cosmovision is the big story that a civilization or a culture uses to describe where they came from, where they are, and where they are going. It helps to frame belief, knowledge and appropriate behavior.
So what is Vita’s Cosmovision?
At the heart of Vita is a belief, and accompanying this belief is knowledge and practice. The primary element of Vita belief is Vitae-planeta – a living organism that is made up of all living organisms on Earth, plus the ocean, atmosphere, aquifers, wetlands, cryosphere and soil.
While Vitae-planeta is a supernatural belief, it can be understood through science. Biology and cosmology help us understand where Vitae-planeta came from: she formed spontaneously from minerals when the conditions were right. When was this?
Cosmologists tell us that the Universe formed about 13.8 billion years ago, the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, and life formed about 3.8 billion years ago, so life on Earth is a quarter the age of the Universe. It took hundreds of millions of years from the first life before Earth established a self-regulating system. Once established, the conditions were right for the Cambrian Explosion 600 million years ago, when the diversity of life increased rapidly, leading, eventually, to us.
The science of cosmology helps to explain where we are going. There is life on Earth because our planet is neither too close, nor too distant from the sun, and the amount of solar energy falling on our planet is just right for life. Earth is said to orbit in the Habitable Zone.
Specifically, the planet is the right temperature to allow water to exist as a solid (ice), liquid, and a gas (water vapour). That said, its not just the distance from the sun that makes conditions suited to life, but also the intensity of the sun’s energy and the amount of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere (greenhouse gases).
While the proximity to the Sun, and its intensity are fixed by physics, biology regulates atmospheric greenhouse gases. Specifically, Vitae-planeta is a self-regulating organism that maintains the chemistry of the atmosphere to keep the global average temperature just right.
Absent the interference of humans the Earth will be habitable for another 2 billion years or so. Beyond this time, the Sun will age, begin to swell and eventually produce far too much energy for Earth’s living systems to cope. Eventually, all life on Earth will be baked-off, leading to total annihilation. Grim, yes, but that’s not for several billion years.
According to Vita’s cosmovision, this is not to say that Vitae-planeta will necessarily perish. How so? Well, it is not inconceivable that sometime in the future, humans will take Earth species to another planet where conditions are suitable for life to flourish. In this way, the humans become the reproductive system of Vitae-planeta.
I know that this may seem outlandish and science-fictiony, but there is a science paper by Roberto Gatti that discusses this possibility.
Now, to be clear, populating remote planets with Earth species is way beyond the technical development of our civilization at this point, so it’s not going to happen any time soon. But more importantly, it is well beyond the emotional development of our civilization.
We humans can’t sustain the verdant cornucopia we were born into, and what, we are suddenly going to be wise stewards of a distant planet as yet unalive?
While there are dangerous people today alive trying to enliven the dead planet Mars, it is way, way too soon. We need to learn how to prevent a living planet dying before we try to figure out how to bring life to a dead one. That’s just Vitan Logic, that’s common sense.
We humans don’t know how to care for our own race, let alone the millions of species needed to foster a self-sustaining global ecosystem.
In addition to all this, we have a bigger task at hand than reproducing Vitae-planeta. First thing is that we need to keep her alive. Our planet is dying, and our first mission is to bring her back to health. Once she is bought back to health and we can enter the Verdant Age, this is when we can properly start thinking about sharing Vitae-planeta with other planets to help overcome the projected demise of life on Earth.
We can have it all. But all in good time, and in the right order.
With this as a frame, we can tease out what are right actions for today. Our role as humans is to create the conditions suited to entering into the Verdant Age. Specifically, we need to turn off the fossil fuel industry and draw-down three trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by mid-century.
During this time, we need to regrow nature and establish a fair and efficient economy that honors human life, all across our planet so that all humans can be part of the success of our civilization.
For many people, the word ‘religion’ brings up a lot of emotions; and if you look around at the behavior of some religious people you’d understand why.
In a recent census in Australia, where Vita was founded, over 60% of the public ascribed to some form of religion.
However, if you look down the list, you’ll see that not one of them is nature-based. Not one has saving the planet or looking-out for the well being of humans at their heart.
Almost without exception, these religions are devoted to worshipping god, not nature or humanity.
If you want to prevent biosphere collapse, you might think that religion is not up to the task. Maybe religion simply isn’t the right tool for the job.
Rather than ditching the concept of religion, why not create one that is fit for purpose? A religion that is suited to the times: a religion designed to remedy the needs of humans and nature in the Anthropocene Crisis.
But what is religion?
There are many answers to that question. I am not going to list them all, but instead, cut to the functional definition that Vita uses: that of the Australian Government.
In Australia, religious institutions, like Vita, are registered through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission: the ACNC.
For the ACNC, religion involves:
belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle
the acceptance of canons of conduct that give effect to that belief.
In this sense, supernatural is something beyond evidence or scientific proof – it exists only in belief or faith.
You can see how a run-of-the-mill church fits the ACNC's definition of religion. They believe in God – a concept unprovable, and reliant on faith – and they have canons of conduct to give effect to that belief: thou shalt not kill, go to church to worship, and so on. But by the same definition, supporting a sports team might also be regarded a religion.
Consider the Rabbitohs.
The Rabbitohs is an Australian rugby team, and the followers are known for being fanatical devotees.
For supporters, the Rabbitohs are a supernatural force – they are sacred, above and beyond all the other teams, but not in any way that can be assessed through analysis of data. It’s a belief.
Sure you could say its because they won this game or that, or it’s the colour of the jersey, or that they are an institution having been around for over a hundred years… or maybe its because they have Maximus (Russel Crowe) as one of the owners. You could tally all that up and it still would not explain the enthusiasm the followers have for the team.
They simply see the Rabbitohs as sacred, a supernatural force.
And the Rabbitohs followers accept canons of conduct that give affect to that belief. They wear the sweater and the scarf. They go to the games. They cheer when one of the team scores, and bang those rubber hand things together. And if someone blags off the Rabbitohs in the club house… well you can imaging what sort of practices that would initiate!
The point about the Rabbitohs is this: using the ACNC’s definition, you could put forward an argument that the Rabbitohs are a religion. Hypothetically, if they submitted the paperwork, and the argument was accepted, then the Rabbitohs - like Christianity and Vita - could actually become a registered religious organisation. But that would also require them to be a non-profit organisation…
So, maybe the shareholders would rather remain secular and for-profit.
I tell you that story to try and open up your thinking about what religion is. It’s many other things, besides, for sure. But I want you to understand the way Vita uses the word religion: it's a belief in something you can’t prove – in this case Vitae-planeta - and the things that you might do if you believe that.
And another important point is that you don’t need to have a god to have a religion – that’s referred to as non-theistic religion.
But you do need a supernatural.
For people who care about the planet, there is nothing more supernatural than nature: it’s been around for over three billion years – a quarter of the age of the universe- it grows everywhere, and is so diverse.
Sure, Earth System Science, the Planetary Boundaries and all that – that’s scientific.
But when you start reading Gaia Theory about homeostasis and the idea that the living things on Earth behave in the manner of a living organism, then you start to test the ability of science to deliver proofs.
And you take a step beyond Gaia, and into Vitae-planeta, and you are well within the realm of belief in a supernatural entity.
What Vita has done is to bring together some existing ideas about humanism and the Living Planet, throw in a few new ones, create a narrative that brings it all together, put a structure around it, and to define some canons of conduct – some practices.
And in this way, Vita has become a new religion devoted to the Living Planet and a Sustainable Human Civilization.
And about time, too.
Check out this great video
By definition, a religion is based on a belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle.
Vita believes in a supernatural being called Vitae-planeta. Note the capitalisation and italics.
Vitae-planeta is very similar to Gaia - as in James Lovelock’s Gaia Theory. But there is one difference.
Let’s back up a minute. Who is James Lovelock, and what is Gaia?
Lovelock is a freelance British scientist who in 1974 co-authored a paper with microbiologist Lyn Margulis with the title Homeostasis by and for the Biosphere: the Gaia Hypothesis.
The paper basically said that the living things on Earth were instrumental in maintaining the temperature and chemistry of the ocean and atmosphere in a manner suited to the needs of life on Earth.
Basically, life on Earth was tweaking conditions in favor of life on Earth. The key term was ‘homeostasis’ – this means maintain conditions within a certain range, and this is a key characteristic of living organisms – they maintain their internal temperature and chemistry within a certain range.
Over the subsequent decades the scientific research has advance the idea that it is now referred to as Gaia Theory.
And this is pretty much what Vita believes. The principal difference is this: Gaia Theory says that life on earth behaves in the manner of a living organism, whereas Vita says that life on Earth ‘is’ a living organism.
It may seem like a subtle distinction, but Vita’s position has profound spiritual and philosophical implications.
Consider this. If all the living things on Earth are actually component parts of a single living organisms that means that you and I are cells in the body of a super-organism. That means that you and I have an innate vested interest in the well-being of the host.
A coral reef is referred to as a holobiont, an organism made up of many other organisms. The biosphere then is the Omni-holobiont – a holobiont made up of all organisms. And you and I are bionts in the grand Omni-holobiont that is the Living Planet. It sounds quite noble, doesn’t it?
And it is, to the extent that it is a belief, albeit, a belief close to science.
More that this, Vita believes that all living things have a duty to nurture Vitae-planeta, but for the most part, we humans haven’t been doing this.
As a result of there being so many humans with all our crazy technology and waste and behaving like unsustainable super-predators, we humans are driving the global ecosystem to collapse. Throw in abrupt climate and we have a rerun of the Permian Extinction – the Great Dying. That’s the destiny of life on Earth in the Anthropocene.
But we stand between destinies. There is an alternative: the Verdant Age.
Vita believes that it is possible for humans and the living planet to thrive in synergy. This is to say that humans can live on earth in a way that doesn’t blindly kill it, like we are doing now. Instead, we can help Earth thrive.
Large stretches of this planet are without life. The sandy deserts, the open ocean. Vast stretches of land and water could be bought to life with a little human agency. If we humans learn to live in synergy with nature, then our race could potentially live on this planet for hundreds of millions of years.
Consider the Nautilus. This organism has remained largely unchanged for over six hundred of millions of years. They are still here! Now, the nautilus isn’t smart enough to build a satellite that could monitor the temperature of the ocean, but they are not dumb enough to build nuclear weapons, either.
Maybe if humans learned from nature, learned some plankton humility, then we too could live 600 million years.
Vita believes that this is possible, but in order to do that, we have to get through the Anthropocene crisis.
To do that, we need to align our belief, knowledge and practice and start to honour Vitae-planeta, the Living Planet that birthed us.
Check out this great video
If you have seen the movie Jurassic Park, you may be wondering what on Earth a Jurassic is.
Well, the Jurassic is a period of time that spanned 201 to 145 million years ago.
This was the time when big, gnarly dinosaurs called Velociraptors ruled the world.
While Jurassic Park is the title of a movie, it wasn’t a Hollywood marketing team that invented the name.
The Jurassic is a period of time that is understood through geology: the study of rocks.
In the field of geology is a subfield called stratigraphy that considers how rock layers relate to the age of the rocks.
If you dig down into ground far enough to find a fossilized Velociraptor, you’ll know that the rocks were laid down in the Jurassic Period.
In that time, conditions on Earth were very different from today as there was more CO2 in the atmosphere, and average global temperatures were about 3 degrees hotter than today.
Flash forward from the Velociraptor to the Nuclear Age.
If you were to dig into the ground a little way, you’d find a thin layer of plutonium and uranium contamination.
Where did this come from?
Well, it drifted down out of the stratosphere, having been put there by the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests that were conducted between the mid-forties and mid-sixties.
This is the chemical marker that geologists use to define the beginning of the geological time-frame in which we live today.
This is not called the Jurassic, it’s called the Anthropocene: The Anthropocene Epoch.
Broadly speaking, the Anthropocene commenced in the mid-fifties and continues through this day and into the foreseeable future.
The Anthropocene is so named because it is dominated by the Anthros – that’s us, the humans… The Anthropocene is the Age of the Humans.
The Anthropocene is recognizable in the ground because our species dominate all the major Earth-system process on Earth.
Humans shift more soil with Earth-moving machinery than is moved in all the world’s dust storms and sediment-laden rivers.
Humans produce more nitrogen than all the nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
By burning fossil fuels, humans put more heat-trapping carbon gas into the atmosphere than all the biological processes and volcanoes, combined.
And that carbon gas just goes up and up and up.
In just two hundred years, we have boosted global average temperatures by over 1 degree C.
That doesn’t sound like much on a cold night, but that is a massive energy imbalance that is turning our world upside-down.
Climate change, ecosystem destruction, and ocean acidification: these are all creatures of the Anthropocene: a time of great crisis for life on Earth and the human race.
Most people don’t know about the Anthropocene.
And this why the Quenn was developed.
The Quenn is the symbol of the Anthropocene.