Andrew Winston recently offered a wonderful post on LinkedIn asking ChatGPT for alternatives to “the core narrative or story that we’re living today.” Here’s a snippet of what he wrote:

Here are the 1-sentence versions, but the longer ones in my post are fascinating and worth a read.

Story 1: In a relentless pursuit of success and wealth, society’s purpose became a singular focus on maximizing prosperity, with governments measuring success through GDP, companies prioritizing short-term profit, and the economy fixated on perpetual growth, leaving the natural world and the powerless relegated to the sidelines.

Story 2: Rooted in compassion, society redefined its purpose to prioritize people over profit, with governments emphasizing citizens’ well-being, companies adopting ethical practices, the economy aiming for inclusive growth, and individuals realizing that success transcended financial metrics, fostering a world where the interconnectedness of all life was valued and uplifted.

I know which one I want to live in…

Me too. But I felt that something was missing. So I offered “ChatGPT Prompt #3“: “Now write an alternative story that puts the well-being of the living world at the center and purpose of our lives and our institutions.” Here’s what I got (the bolding is mine):

A New Narrative: Centering the Well-Being of the Living World

In a world where the well-being of the living world takes center stage, society undergoes a profound transformation. Our story begins in a community where every decision, every policy, and every institution is guided by a simple yet powerful question: “Does this enhance the well-being of all living beings?”

The economy, once a juggernaut of endless growth, shifts its focus to sustainable prosperity. Companies measure success not by their quarterly profits but by their contributions to environmental health, social equity, and human happiness. The concept of “shareholder value” expands to include the planet and its inhabitants as stakeholders.

Agriculture transforms into a symphony of sustainable practices. Farms mimic the complexity of natural ecosystems, interweaving a diverse array of crops and livestock that support each other and the surrounding wildlife. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are relics of the past, replaced by organic methods that enrich the soil and protect pollinators.

Urban planning takes inspiration from the wisdom of the wild. Cities are designed as living organisms, with green roofs, vertical gardens, and permeable surfaces that allow rainwater to nourish the earth. Wildlife corridors crisscross the urban landscape, enabling animals to move freely, and citizens to live in close communion with nature.

Education systems instill a deep reverence for the living world. Students learn not only about the intricacies of ecosystems but also about their personal and collective responsibility to protect and restore them. Environmental ethics become a cornerstone of the curriculum, guiding young minds to envision a future where humans and nature thrive together.

Healthcare acknowledges the inseparable link between human well-being and the health of the planet. Medical professionals recognize that clean air, pure water, and a rich biodiversity of life are fundamental to preventing disease and promoting longevity. Hospitals and clinics become advocates for environmental conservation, understanding that a healthy planet is the foundation of human health.

In this world, finance is reimagined to support sustainable and regenerative practices. Financial institutions prioritize investments that contribute to ecological health and social well-being. Green bonds and impact investing become mainstream, channeling capital towards projects that restore ecosystems, promote renewable energy, and build resilient communities.

Regulation plays a crucial role in safeguarding the living world. Governments enforce strict environmental standards, ensuring that industries operate within the Earth’s ecological limits. Laws require businesses to disclose their environmental footprint and to mitigate any negative impacts. Policies incentivize circular economy practices, reducing waste and promoting the reuse and recycling of materials.

In this alternative story, the well-being of the living world is the guiding light for all human endeavor. It is a world where every action is taken with consideration for its impact on the Earth and its inhabitants. It is a world where humans live not as conquerors of nature, but as humble participants in the great web of life, dedicated to nurturing the planet that sustains us all.

You see, my “theory of change” has long been based on inviting people into #theworldwewant, not on building dissatisfaction with the one we’ve got. Inviting us to imagine it. To tell ourselves stories about. To notice the sprouts emerging everywhere, against all odds. And to bring it into being.

Because, as Kenneth Boulding would remind us: “If it exists, it’s possible.”

And that existence begins in our imaginations. Sometimes with a little help from our friends.

Your turn!

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