Bleak, freezing, inhospitable: its hard to overstate how harsh Arctic climate is for a near-hairless ape from Africa. Hidden in darkness for half a year and blinded by 24 hour light for the other half - It was one of the last places humans settled. The Vikings who tried to live their failed and to this day few Europeans live there, only the native Inuit peoples have mastered this ice-scape.
In the past many scientists and economists presumed we were purely rational beings, self-promoting our own interests with perfect knowledge of the consequences of our actions. These assumptions are really influential: many world governments rely on our self-interest and perfect decision-making to change our behaviour, hoping rational arguments and penny-savings will alter our trajectory towards crisis.
Across the planet excess wind and solar power is being gathered and used to pump water uphill into lakes, so that when the wind dies and the sun goes down, the water can run back downhill through hydroelectric generators. This turns lakes into super-batteries capable of storing enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes.
Why is democracy the secret for sustainability? Two reasons: 1) it allows the majority of good sensible people to stop the unsustainable ones; 2) its makes sure that people feel they have the ability to make change, because without the ability to make change people see being sustainable as futile and give up - paradoxically ensuring what they hoped to avoid!
Sites in Turkey, including the famous Gobekli Tepe, show that before agriculture, hunter-gatherers started harvesting wild grasses. They were using the ancestors of wheat and barley to make beer - crushing them up in big tubs and leaving them to ferment. They found hundreds of these tubs and even simple musical instruments. What were they doing - having a festival of course. At this proto-Glastonbury hunter gatherer groups would come from miles around to drink, listen to someone rock out on the deer-horn flute and enjoy themselves.