Can Citizen Consciousness Avert Armageddon? – Edition 34


The mega-trend of favouring experiences over material acquisition is driving innovative and disruptive new lifestyle choices.

The digital nomad population is growing fast. Its citizens are people who live a location-independent lifestyle that allows them to travel and work anywhere in the world. In 2016, founder of the Nomad List Pieter Levels predicted that by 2035 there would be 1 billion digital nomads living and working throughout the world. This week at SkiftForum Europe, held in London, the Selina group’s co-founder Rafael Museri shortened the time window to 2030.

Selina launched in 2015 and was dubbed the ‘digital nomad brand of the future’ by Forbes last year. Based in Panama, it takes disused spaces and re-energises them by creating environments purpose-designed for digital nomads that include dorms, private rooms, co-working space, library and communal space referred to as The Playground. In April 2018 Selina raised $95m with plans to expand to 40 locations in Europe, the US and Latin America by the end of 2019.

Selina’s vision is for ‘subscription living’; pay $1000 per month and as the concept rolls out, you will have freedom to travel to 100 or more cities around the world, knowing there is always a bed waiting for you. No property purchasing, bills or additional overheads, but a lifestyle of travel, experience and connection.

“The sharing, flexible, #liveonless economy is sprouting in many different.”

The sharing, flexible, #liveonless economy is sprouting in many different directions. Library of Things (LoT) is a growing community across the UK and around the world, which organises storage for items that are used only occasionally. Subscribers can pay a small fee to borrow an item and return it within the agreed time window – averting the need to purchase in their own right.

“Beyond capitalism” is a phrase becoming more frequently used to embrace alternative economic models; both of these offerings are examples of what it could mean in practice. Granted, a Selina lifestyle may not be the most economical way to live but it sits squarely in the space of experience and connection. The LoT is an option that supports a revolt against mindless consumerism. Whatever the terms used, there is a more pronounced human need to simplify and to buck the trappings of convention and traditional living.

Anni Hood, Chief Executive, Well Intelligence


“Your house is on fire, you need to panic” has become something of a mantra for Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish climate activist. But is it moving the needle of consciousness? We think it is, but there is a long way to go.

It’s become blisteringly evident this year that the reality of climate change is starting to hit home. Extinction Rebellion has played a part, along with Blue Planet, Greta and other influencers.

Are governments revolutionising policy or creating radical legislative shift? No, or at least, not yet. However, there are numbers of the population taking greater personal responsibility – sometimes through being influenced by a passionate younger generation but we’re still left wanting.

On plastics, too, much of society is still not getting it, and hotels are among the worst offenders. Bottled water consumption worldwide continues unabated. In the UK, where drinkable tap water is freely available, sales of bottled water rose 8.5% by volume to a record £558.4 million in the year to November 2018, according to market analyst Kantar.

“The shift that is occurring is a growing awareness of the impact small individual actions can make.”

Yet from an anecdotal perspective, the shift that is occurring is a growing awareness of the impact small individual actions can make – evidenced by the move from material acquisition towards the experiential, the search for purpose and meaning in all forms of consumption.

The rise in citizen consciousness is a critical consideration point for all industries, public and private sector. It is nothing like enough on its own, but the Armageddon that the world is facing (if drastic measures are not taken) may be achieving what nothing else can: to narrow the equality gap. The knowledge that wealth and riches could be irrelevant in a few short years leads to an understanding that we are all the same when it comes to the basics of survival.

Steve Dunne, Chairman, Well Intelligence


A landmark report released this week by the UN’s Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IAGG) demands “immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.” It recommends strict global regulation to prevent the overuse of such drugs on farm animals and on people.

The red flag has been raised several times in recent years on the over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics. Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, frames the associated danger as the second greatest threat facing humanity; she urges that we adopt a similar approach to that enshrined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the influential body that scientists set up in 1988 to tackle global warming.

“England’s chief medical officer frames the associated danger as the second greatest threat facing humanity.”

The issue is that excessive use of antibiotics is leading to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of numerous diseases. Today 700,000 people die as a result of such resistance – this figure is expected to rise to 10 million by 2050. The majority of antibiotic use globally is on farm animals, rather than people, and this continues to be allowed even in the EU and the US, in spite of scientific advice to the contrary.

The IAGG calls for pharmaceutical companies to “prioritise public good over profit” – similar language to that used by climate change campaigners – and for human needs to be put at the centre of decision making.

The biggest take-away on these profound macro issues is the enormity of the shift required to make a difference. Nothing short of a revolution is required, and the question is whether behaviours will change fast enough at public sector, private sector and individual levels, to avoid the issue becoming a crisis for humanity.

Anni Hood, Chief Executive, Well Intelligence

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