Saving Civilization

A massive mobilization is needed to prevent total collapse.
Saving Civilization

Saving civilization will take a massive mobilization, and at wartime speed. The closest analogy is

the belated US mobilization during World War II. But unlike that chapter in history, in which one country totally restructured its economy, the Plan B mobilization requires decisive action on a global scale.

On the climate front, official attention has now shifted to negotiating a post-Kyoto protocol to reduce carbon emissions. But that will take years. We need to act now. There is simply not time for years of negotiations and then more years for ratification of another international agreement.

It is time for individual countries to take the initiative on their own. Former Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand led the way. In late 2007 she announced that New Zealand would boost the renewable share of its electricity from 70 percent, mostly hydro and geothermal, to 90 percent by 2025. The country plans to cut per capita carbon emissions from transport in half by 2040. Beyond this, New Zealand plans to expand its forested area by some 250,000 hectares by 2020, ultimately sequestering roughly 1 million tons of carbon per year.

We know from our analysis of global warming, from the accelerating deterioration of the economy’s ecological supports and from our projections of future resource use in China that the Western economic model – the fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy– will not last much longer. We need to build a new economy, one that will be powered by renewable sources of energy, that will have a diversified transport system and that will reuse and recycle everything.

We can describe this new economy in some detail. The question is how to get from here to there before time runs out. Can we reach the political tipping points that will enable us to cut carbon emissions before we reach the ecological tipping points where the melting of the Himalayan glaciers becomes irreversible? Will we be able to halt the deforestation of the Amazon before it dries out, becomes vulnerable to fire and turns into wasteland?

What if, for example, three years from now scientists announced that we have waited too long to cut carbon emissions and that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is irreversible? How would the realization that we are responsible for a coming 7-meter (23-foot) rise in sea level and hundreds of millions of refugees from rising seas affect us? How would it affect our sense of self, our sense of who we are? It could trigger a fracturing of society along generational lines like the more familiar fracturing of societies along racial, religious and ethnic lines. How will we respond to our children when they ask, “How could you do this to us? How could you leave us facing such chaos?”

From Lester Brown’s Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

173 comments on the article “Saving Civilization”

Displaying 101 - 110 of 173

Page 11 of 18

An Earthling

We are lucky. There is just such a guy! Tell me if this is not enough www.thevenusproject.com

An Earthling

We are lucky. There is just such a guy! Tell me if this is not enough www.thevenusproject.com

An Earthling

or were you trying to be sarcastic with your last sentence and suggest a "green+red" conspiracy (:?

An Earthling

or were you trying to be sarcastic with your last sentence and suggest a "green+red" conspiracy (:?

tin

Whoever mentioned the need to revert to a hunter-gatherer society? I am so puzzled by this association because such an appreciation is a testimony to our unsophisticated understanding of the demands of the environmental crisis.

tin

Whoever mentioned the need to revert to a hunter-gatherer society? I am so puzzled by this association because such an appreciation is a testimony to our unsophisticated understanding of the demands of the environmental crisis.

Anonymous

I think some of you get the point, but overall still don't get it. While we cannot necessarily go back to a hunter gatherer society... we are to evolved and soft to live like that anyway now; it is not realistic as we are in too deep now. We have all this stuff that we have made, and cities are what they are now. What we need is to develop strategies to use what we have (and what we cannot do without) in a manner that allows us to keep a relatively modern lifestyle that is sustainable. The key term here is relative; at some point we are going to have to let go of some things and practices... whether we like it or not. But, the most important point made was the last one... and that involves stewardship; here we have failed greatly. Coming generations will be able to look at us and question everything we say, because we will have failed them. The live today and worry about it tomorrow model will not work; by 2019 the US debt will be $23 trillion dollars... they keep passing the bill on to the unborn. This is not leadership!!! Freedom and debt are mutually exclusive concepts... until we wrestle the one down, we can never have the other. An the last 500 years was supposed to be about extending freedom to all. This is just like living with bad habits; not eating right, living on credit, etc.; eventually you must make the dreaded decisions.

Anonymous

I think some of you get the point, but overall still don't get it. While we cannot necessarily go back to a hunter gatherer society... we are to evolved and soft to live like that anyway now; it is not realistic as we are in too deep now. We have all this stuff that we have made, and cities are what they are now. What we need is to develop strategies to use what we have (and what we cannot do without) in a manner that allows us to keep a relatively modern lifestyle that is sustainable. The key term here is relative; at some point we are going to have to let go of some things and practices... whether we like it or not. But, the most important point made was the last one... and that involves stewardship; here we have failed greatly. Coming generations will be able to look at us and question everything we say, because we will have failed them. The live today and worry about it tomorrow model will not work; by 2019 the US debt will be $23 trillion dollars... they keep passing the bill on to the unborn. This is not leadership!!! Freedom and debt are mutually exclusive concepts... until we wrestle the one down, we can never have the other. An the last 500 years was supposed to be about extending freedom to all. This is just like living with bad habits; not eating right, living on credit, etc.; eventually you must make the dreaded decisions.

Anonymous

When you say 'we' you are obviously referring to Americans, right? Time to figure out that there are billions of people in this world who are not free and never have been. We have been made slaves to America and this shameful dumping of your economic crisis on us has proved that conclusively. You have lived like kings - even the stupidest, laziest and fattest of you - for generations, at the expense of the rest of the world. How can you expect your slaves to pay for the privelege of producing your goods?Freedom is nothing but a catch-phrase used by your puppet presidents to keep you numb. Now that your nation is infected with the diseases of pigs you can understand what you are.

Anonymous

When you say 'we' you are obviously referring to Americans, right? Time to figure out that there are billions of people in this world who are not free and never have been. We have been made slaves to America and this shameful dumping of your economic crisis on us has proved that conclusively. You have lived like kings - even the stupidest, laziest and fattest of you - for generations, at the expense of the rest of the world. How can you expect your slaves to pay for the privelege of producing your goods?Freedom is nothing but a catch-phrase used by your puppet presidents to keep you numb. Now that your nation is infected with the diseases of pigs you can understand what you are.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.