A planetwide 15-year strategy for ordinary people to reduce consumption, increase self-reliance and achieve personal health and ecological security
The memory of Mohandas K. Gandhi
For his visionary leadership and fearless love
Fear of the Truth has led humankind to the brink of extinction
Only the Truth, lived fearlessly, can save us now
The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth. The ecological evidence now indicates that human extinction may occur sometime during the period between 2025 and 2050. Or, if extinction does not occur, some scattered remnant human populations will eke out a miserable existence on a devastated Earth. Moreover, we have a very narrow timeframe (until about 2020) to achieve dramatic changes in the way that we live if we are to avoid the tipping points that will make this catastrophe inevitable.
The ecological evidence that points to this future is not presented here in detail because it is readily available in a wide variety of books and journal articles, from concerned scientists and elsewhere. In the box titled ‘World on the Brink’ on pages 3-4, however, we have given a summary of this multifaceted global crisis. In essence, humankind has travelled 99% of the way down a dead end and it is now time for us to turn around and to make our way carefully and intelligently out of this impending catastrophe.
The Flame Tree Project is a comprehensive and integrated 15-year worldwide strategy to prevent human extinction and to nurture life on Earth. If you are one of the people who already comprehends that catastrophe is imminent, then you are invited to participate in The Flame Tree Project by considering the principles and guidelines outlined below and then working out how to apply them in your own unique situation. If, after reading this document and considering any of the evidence that you wish to consult, you decide that The Flame Tree Project is not for you, then your decision not to participate is deeply respected.
The core of The Flame Tree Project is the action taken by individuals, households and communities in the industrialised countries. Complementary action by farmers, businesspeople, scientists/technologists, governments and community groups in these countries will greatly enhance these initiatives and this project also offers suggestions for individuals involved in these sectors to consider.
The Flame Tree Project is not about lobbying the government to fix things nor is it a ‘ten easy ways to change your light globes’ approach to saving the world. It is designed to help you think, feel, plan and act for yourself. In a world that is still largely pretending that life will go on as usual, we need to respond to the danger and switch our mentality to ‘state of emergency’ mode in which, without panic, we consider all of our activities and contributions in light of the immediate priority of planetary, and therefore personal, survival. The Flame Tree Project’s suggestions for action are largely very simple, but the number of issues to consider may look daunting at first. If so, check out the ‘Getting Started’ pages at the end of this document for help. Sitting down with your family, household or some friends to work out your plan may give you the opportunity to talk things through and create a sense of shared aims. Take as many sessions as you want to work out what you want to do. Give yourself time to get used to thinking and feeling differently about things you are planning to change.
The main text of this document focuses on ‘what to do’. The explanations given in the boxes throughout the text are offered for those interested in some of the reasoning behind our principles and suggestions. If these are not your style, feel free to skip over them! And if we suggest something with which you do not agree, we ask you to consider leaving this or these things aside and participating on the basis of what does appeal.
Robert J Burrowes, PhD
has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?‘
I was born in 1969 and grew up in Canberra, Australia. My husband Robert J. Burrowes and I live in Daylesford, Victoria (and sometimes Melbourne) and we are both lifetime nonviolent activists and researchers. We study the nature of violence and nonviolence and have a particular interest in the deep psychological/emotional processes that help us to face, feel and remove the fear, powerlessness and self-hatred in our minds.
We believe in the unity of all life and have taken many nonviolent actions in accordance with this belief on issues related to peace, the environment and social justice. My acts of conscience (including a very personally challenging nonviolent action around the issue of my mother’s violence) have led to me being arrested seven times and imprisoned on four occasions. Each time I have been imprisoned, I have fasted (for four weeks on one occasion) until I received organically grown, vegetarian wholefood.