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One in Six, a Strategy for Reduction - Glenn Hall

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This is an entry in The Future We Deserve - a collaborative book project about the future. See all the entries or talk about this entry.



There are too many of us on this planet. We use too much. We create too much back end to our activities in the form of waste. We are greedy. We have too many children. We are intolerant. We consume. We eat too much. We aspire. We live. We drive. We want.

I am a member of we, I do many of these things, and I am part of the problem.

Radio plays get me thinking; this piece is inspired by H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds[1] meets Blade Runner[2] meets The Day of the Triffids[3]. It should scare the hell out of you.

Imagine you are driving along, and you round a bend and find a checkpoint. You can see about 30 cars in front of you. There is activity, but you can't understand what it is. You are deeply uncomfortable. A uniformed person appears and signs a car near the front to move to a side lane. A crusher appears; the car and its occupants are gone. The sixth car. The uniform moves up the line, to no 12. Crush. Gone. You start to count your on position in the line. Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen. The uniform approaches you. You sweat. The car behind you. Crush. Gone.



At the supermarket, you are in a line at the checkouts, a long line. The sixth person is pulled aside by uniformed people and taken away. You count. Seven.



You are at work later. An email arrives; you are called to a room. Immediate. A quarter of your room empties, there are twenty-four desks. You do not return.



You go to collect your children from school. You wait, and some you know arrive at the gate. They are wearing bright tabards. You have seen this before, they carry the school logo. Your child is late. You turn and look at the earlier children walking up the road. They have large numbers on their backs. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. You sweat.



You drive onto your own road to your house, which is number 30, halfway round the second bend. As you go past number eleven, you notice a whole house has gone. You sweat.

Too much, too much. If the Future We Deserve is to be brought into being, then we must prepare for reduction. One-in-six of everything. People, cars, lives, babies, buildings...

In our world, we have granted ourselves a great luxury: the right to decide what is and what is not, what lives and what does not. We declare that human life is sacrosanct. One-in-six lives are not.

The idea behind this is to begin, and to pursue, some really hard dialogues in the whole of this world. For over fifty years, Europe has been (mostly) peaceful, whereas earlier the (mainly male) population of young men were slaughtered in war, regularly, and with visible statistical evidence of population rate change. So, we could get our heads around the concept of reduction, yet we hid behind 'doing it for the nation' or conscription.

We need to look at being choice conscious. Can we choose the one-in-six? Who is on your list? Can you look that person in the face?

I'm sweating, I'm scared. We need to survive and build our future of less. Less does mean that one-in-six of what we have now will go. We deserve that future, therefore we must face up to making the space for the Future We Deserve to happen.

What’s your number?

  1. http://www.war-ofthe-worlds.co.uk/war_worlds_orson_welles_mercury.htm
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_of_the_Triffids#Film.2C_TV.2C_radio_or_theatrical_adaptations