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This is not our story. This is your story. Shevek and I, Ava Nieman, we have lost our world. You still have yours.

Time is the essence. Make every day your masterpiece. The next ten years mean everything. 3652 days. Climate protection in 2040 no longer has anything to do with climate protection. Then it will be too late. Species protection in 2040 is just archival work.

The world is ready. The plants are photosynthesizing. The animals are waiting. Matter can do everything: convert light into electrical energy, store and conduct information. Knowledge is abundant.

Understand this one thing: a system that ignores all the qualities of the world except that of financial gain will also produce only financial gain. It is blind to everything else. The mega-machine will not stop until the last ore is melted into steel with the last coal. This world sets heaven and earth in permanent frenzied motion, generates perpetual frenzied standstill. Every breakfast table of the rich holds treasures that have traveled around the earth three times. And then they end up in the trash.

Thirty percent of tropical corals died in 2016. They are the nursery of a quarter of fish and the basis of the food supply for 750 millions of people. If the Amazon rainforest becomes too small, it will dry out and burn. That would not remain without consequences for the people.

You have a thousand ideas to live a much better future. Find ways to try them out.

Probably the ideas that work are the simple ones. But here’s a complex one: Develop a currency for ecology. Land use, water use, carbon dioxide emissions. Everything gets a price that can be compared. Then everyone gets the same annual budget in this ecological currency. Those who have not spent it at the end of the year can exchange it for real money.

Here’s another complex idea: Every product in the world gets an electronic counterpart. It stores the repair instructions, the spare parts, care and maintenance tips, people interested in further use, the composition of the individual parts and their ecological footprint.

Third complex idea: Create a new map of the world. Where is water scarce? Where is energy ecological? Where is biodiversity high? Adapt the flow of goods to it!

Fourth suggestion, this time simple: Build with wood! Cement alone is responsible for eight percent of global greenhouse gases. This century, three billion more people will move into cities. Close the material cycles and turn houses and furniture into carbon reservoirs.

Impossible? Inevitable.

Shevek and I will now be stranded in your world. We had no money and yet we experienced much love. From a non-place between streets and parking lots, we came to a place of presence. An aimless escape became a journey to the center of the future.

If the others are looking for us: There they will find us.

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When we talk about the world, what are we talking about? Of this single planet that so generously and indulgently shelters us complex-thinking beings? Of this incredible beauty of landscapes and biodiversity whose interplay and complexity should leave us awestruck and humbled and grateful?

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