Energy as a global public good and human dignity is fundamental to progressing the eight dignities. It is the resource through which all of our creations take shape, a facet of our lives in the immediate present for which demand only grows. Presently, the privatization of resource extraction and energy conversion plays an outsized role in furthering the crisis of extinction. Energy is a human dignity because both our individual and collective progress is tied to our access to it. Without it we are extremely limited in our ability to access what the world offers. Energy is part of everything we do and an integral part of what our future contains. This inseparability from the human time experience is why we include energy in our spiritual journey toward systemic actualization.
Energy as a global public good centers around harnessing renewable energy sources to exceed humanity’s total energy needs within a given moment. Despite the propaganda encouraging us to believe otherwise, the sun provides more energy than we could possibly use here on Earth. What we lack is the political will to utilize this resource for the collective benefit. Limitations of solar energy capture through solar panels caused by cloud cover and the rotation of the Earth can be addressed by harvesting sunlight through space-based solar energy capture, which will consistently collect and transmit power back to Earth. Additional technologies such as wind- and water-powered energy generation also provide pathways for energy surpluses beyond need. Many might also argue for the adoption of nuclear power, which has come a long way in terms of safety and longevity but still produces waste and will always contain a level of risk not found in renewable technologies. When reimagining our approach to energy infrastructure and access, the question is more about direction than available opportunities. Nuclear plants present significant challenges in their construction times and centralization, whereas renewable energy capture technologies are modular in their design and can be installed in more locations.
We must also consider the length of construction time. If a nuclear plant takes ten years to construct, we must take into consideration the exponential progress renewable energy capture will make during that time period. It’s not as if a nuclear plant design can be switched midway through to better accommodate the most advanced technologies. Some might consider that the best method to transcend our energy needs and the crisis of extinction is a “do everything” approach, where we invest in both nuclear and renewable solutions. This approach is a trap, as it divides our collective focus and energy instead of concentrating it on higher degrees of incremental progress. Given the trajectory of their progress and the natural reactor that Earth orbits, an intense focus on renewables is the ideal solution.
For decades, global humanity has been intentionally misled about the crisis of extinction brought on by our use and extraction of fossil fuels. The privatization of energy has repeatedly proven to be an immoral and illogical structure in the face of the crisis. Embracing the global public ownership of energy is a part of the spiritual journey of the self-actualizer because it is in alignment with our core values of relation, equity, and restraint. Energy as a human dignity recognizes our immediate present for what it is, understanding that without access to energy and the agency to use it, the modern human is powerless to create change. It is also a commitment to generations of observers not yet born: they will know the capacity of love and kinship our present arrangements do not allow. If the public support and ownership of energy verticals concern you, consider that fossil fuel companies presently receive billions in government subsidies.50 We are supporting the very institutions that intentionally accelerate the crisis to profit more. The collective public funding of a global energy network would be little more than a redirection of what we already spend. The crisis of extinction cannot be solved without a complete and total redirection of our collective energy strategies. As it is often said, the first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging.
An energy DAO might begin by pooling resources to purchase land and building large solar farms. The sale of this energy could cover costs and generate surpluses used to expand. Every individual who contributes to the DAO or purchases energy from the DAO is a stakeholder, deserving of a vote in the organization's direction. We can imagine the most common decision points will revolve around expanding energy collection and distribution infrastructure, lowering fees for individuals and groups, and expanding the DAO’s efforts and community members worldwide. The initial purpose of the energy DAO will be to bring energy collection and distribution under the exclusive control and governance of the global public. Groups and organizations will initially be a source of revenue and surplus, fueling member benefits and the perpetual research, development, and expansion of the DAO’s technologies and reach. We can also imagine the energy DAO being a vital source of innovation and access where private individuals and groups may leverage public technologies to experiment and innovate, following similar flexible patent laws and supported smart contracts. Long-term, it should serve as our vehicle toward advancing energy technologies and delivering free energy to all. Energy as a public work will eventually cross a threshold where the costs for maintenance and infrastructure improvements are dwarfed by the collective wealth of society. In this moment, humanity is free from one of the greatest burdens we have struggled to overcome.
Given the crisis at our doorstep, the energy DAO should be one of the highest priorities of our journey toward systemic actualization. It supports the other seven dignities and will continue to support the next generation of dignities developed by the self-actualizing individuals yet to come. To be born into the universe at this moment ensures the individual’s dependence on energy. Our embrace of energy as a human dignity is an effort to maximize each person’s ability to express their divinity within the moment. Energy is a dignity in alignment with the single truth and the relational universe, one that has consistently contributed to a more expansive humanity.