[Discussion] Is a net positive human possible?

Most of us identify ourselves as ‘a good person’. We are considerate to other members of the public, we go out of our way to be kind sometimes, and take up some form of public duty.

The problem is the narrative associated with a human impacting the world is one that challenges that very fundamental notion. Can we actually be ‘a good person’ anymore?

We are constantly made to feel that we are a negative influence on the world. Climate change is having extraordinary impacts and with reports that outline a decline of 50% of all insects, birds and mammals since 1970, because of our collective actions, it is hard to see that we can actually be positive influence on our world.

What if we started talking about how humans could be a net positive? Wouldn’t it appeal to the narrative which we are all seeking to achieve in our lives?

If we agree this is something that would be beneficial, what would it look like?

It could be anyone who is having less impact than the average and is doing their bit and convince others to do the same. It would be people using their money and resources to create a better future. These people would be a net contributor to making a better world. But is it actually possible to have a net environmental and social benefit in your life?

I think we should start imagining it.

I imagine a marriage between nature and technology. Our homes could actually provide more biodiversity that if they weren’t there, through our careful management in using domestic systems to capture and clean water and generate energy. The way we got around could be through nature-rich corridors in zero-emitting vehicles.

Our jobs would be about the creation and maintenance of a global environment, where all life thrives. We would create circular economy products made from ‘waste’, we would assess social and environmental impacts in our annual accounts, and businesses would be net contributors to shaping this positive environment around us. Our personal impacts would be minimal and would be completely offset around living in an economy which was improving the natural world.

If we become guardians of all life again instead of pitching our prosperity against that of the planets’ and use technology to achieve that end, it could be fantastic.

But how do we start calculating net positive human? Perhaps by bench-marking against the average, perhaps projected intention of pledges to improve?

Has anyone else thought about this? Do you think that this type of narrative would resonate with people?

Would love to hear your thoughts…