The Big Ideas That Shape Acorn Land Labs 🌳
All of us humans have 5 basic physiological needs: Water, Food, Energy, Shelter, and Sanitation. Do you like having clean water? Do you like to eat healthy, tasty food? Do you enjoy using electricity and being able to travel? Do you like being out of the rain? Do you enjoy having these things and not being in perpetual bondage with debt? These five things are key for human thriving.
These key 5 human needs have never changed, and will never change for humans. We are not robots, and we need these 5 elements. Since World War 2 in America, many of us have taken these 5 key needs for granted.
However, conditions are changing quickly in a fast evolving world. The world is starting to deglobalize, and many people will have a harder time obtaining these 5 elements as the relative stability of the past 80 years is rocked by various forces. These forces include growing war and national strife on the world stage, disrupted supply chains, climate impacts, population decline in developed countries, water scarcity in some locations, advancing automation (especially white collar automation with new AI tools like ChatGPT), and increasing combinations of these effects. Everything is so tightly interlinked in our global system. Hyper-efficient, just-in-time, global supply chains are incredibly “efficient”, but are dangerously fragile and abstract. We have seen that clearly demonstrated with Covid. Nobody fully understands this global system. Especially international financial markets. The combination of fragile global supply chains, and debt-driven financial markets sets the stage for increasing instability, and a lower quality of life for many humans who are not prepared with the right economic or practical skills.
Humanity’s future will likely not be critically improved by having ever more lawyers, sports stars, hedge fund managers, stock traders, professional bureaucrats, professional videogamers, hard-living rock stars, reality TV stars, travel instagrammers, or celebrity social media personalities. Many jobs and positions only exist because of the sheer abundance of food and material goods we have enjoyed recently in our petrochemical age of globalism. There is nothing inherently wrong with these jobs & positions, but they won’t lead the charge to solve the world's most critical problems.
Humanity is going to have to start paying more attention to our basic needs as challenges mount. We need clean water, healthy local food, strong communities, young people we can educate well, and freedom to innovate locally. Vaclav Smil writes that the four pillars of modern humanity’s prosperity are: Plastic, Steel, Ammonia and Concrete. Deglobalization will likely increase the costs of these items, to basic food commodities, and many others. People don’t think enough about our material world, and we’re going to see the knock-on effects of decades of pushing young people away from trades here in the USA. We might live in a “digital” decade, but we will never “dematerialize” the fundamental elements of life: Shelter, water, food, etc. Digital hype often blinds advanced societies to the humble realities of physical life.
Our new heroes of tomorrow should become regenerative farmers, clean energy engineers, composters, inventors of sustainable solutions, soil scientists, gardeners, micro-mobility designers, sustainable housing builders, innovative investors, community leaders, and the people who grow things, build things, fix things, and care for others. Those are the real heroes of the future, and we need to be educating them for these roles.
Our team at Acorn Land Labs combines, aggregates, and synthesizes big ideas about these topics from an ever growing list of brilliant thinkers. We read books containing fresh ideas from farmers, economists, politicians, technologists, climate scientists, engineers, journalists, conservationists, educators, and many others. We think these books from these thinkers contain an education that exceeds the value and scope of most 4 year college degrees. With this in mind, we'd like to give credit to these thinkers and share their names and their books with you below.
As a disclaimer: of course we don't agree with every last opinion or statement these brilliant people have. But we do have them listed here because the vast majority of their work makes a world of sense, and seems to point in the direction of truth and common sense.
The constellation of these authors ideas fuse together to form the basis of our work with educational Land Labs, Circular Systems, and local: Food, Water, Energy, Shelter and Sanitation. We are working to carry forward their brilliant observations.