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 111 - 120 of 173

Page 12 of 18

An Earthling

Hey maan! I come from eastern europe myself and feel exactly the same about the average US news-anchor. But it is not their fault entirely. Conditioning is very powerful in the US and education is very poor if you're not rich. They are victims of their own corrupt ruling classes just like your average person anywhere in the world. So please let us refrain from generalisations. There is albeit a very small percent of USAnians who are not downright swines but cosmopolitan geniuses. Check out this guy for instance http://www.bfi.org or this one http://www.thevenusproject.com There are of course cultural identities but nations are false chimeras perpetuated by mass media. And while it is very easy to hate the stupid fat ball game enthusiast there are plenty of such impoverished live ballast in almost every country were there is TV. Let us transform our hatred to some constructive end. Let's try to educate a kid for better. Peace Eh?

An Earthling

Hey maan! I come from eastern europe myself and feel exactly the same about the average US news-anchor. But it is not their fault entirely. Conditioning is very powerful in the US and education is very poor if you're not rich. They are victims of their own corrupt ruling classes just like your average person anywhere in the world. So please let us refrain from generalisations. There is albeit a very small percent of USAnians who are not downright swines but cosmopolitan geniuses. Check out this guy for instance http://www.bfi.org or this one http://www.thevenusproject.com There are of course cultural identities but nations are false chimeras perpetuated by mass media. And while it is very easy to hate the stupid fat ball game enthusiast there are plenty of such impoverished live ballast in almost every country were there is TV. Let us transform our hatred to some constructive end. Let's try to educate a kid for better. Peace Eh?

samcleod

Although I agree, and yes New Zealand boosting its renewable electricity within a short period of time is great, these efforts are insignificant. Many say that we are in over our heads already. We've bitten off way more than our greedy self-centered civilization can chew. Global Warming is looked at by every person in either one of two ways. 1: We're doomed, its going to destroy the Earth and there's nothing we can do about it. 2: Its an event which we must focus our priorities on in order to prevent a catastrophic future. But I think that we're looking in the wrong direction. Carbon emissions are the leading cause of global warming? Ok yes it makes sense to eliminate them or at least decrease our emissions as we need them to do our day to day tasks. But why not research, I don't know, how to break apart carbon once it is in the atmosphere? How to re-introduce healthier oxygen into the atmosphere? I'm no scientist. These suggestions are probably not even possible. But the point is that people are not going to stop these day to day tasks that kill our planet. We need people who will think outside the box. People who will put effort and money into something that sounds ridiculous at present, but may be accepted in the future. For example, travel back to the 1700s and explain to someone that their earth will physically melt in a phenomenon labeled "global warming", I doubt they'll jump on the gun.

samcleod

Although I agree, and yes New Zealand boosting its renewable electricity within a short period of time is great, these efforts are insignificant. Many say that we are in over our heads already. We've bitten off way more than our greedy self-centered civilization can chew. Global Warming is looked at by every person in either one of two ways. 1: We're doomed, its going to destroy the Earth and there's nothing we can do about it. 2: Its an event which we must focus our priorities on in order to prevent a catastrophic future. But I think that we're looking in the wrong direction. Carbon emissions are the leading cause of global warming? Ok yes it makes sense to eliminate them or at least decrease our emissions as we need them to do our day to day tasks. But why not research, I don't know, how to break apart carbon once it is in the atmosphere? How to re-introduce healthier oxygen into the atmosphere? I'm no scientist. These suggestions are probably not even possible. But the point is that people are not going to stop these day to day tasks that kill our planet. We need people who will think outside the box. People who will put effort and money into something that sounds ridiculous at present, but may be accepted in the future. For example, travel back to the 1700s and explain to someone that their earth will physically melt in a phenomenon labeled "global warming", I doubt they'll jump on the gun.

Anonymous

I see, you think cutting back carbon emmisions is insignificant because you believe someone like you just needs to point out that we could magically fix everything - without becoming less greedy and self-centered. Come now Sam, you must be retarded if you think there isn't a huge pool of resources going into researching ways to reverse the effects of climate change. The fact is there is no simple answer and people like you who cling to outmoded ideas of 'science-ing' away this problem are going to face immediate physical danger if you don't figure that out pronto. Kapeech?

Anonymous

I see, you think cutting back carbon emmisions is insignificant because you believe someone like you just needs to point out that we could magically fix everything - without becoming less greedy and self-centered. Come now Sam, you must be retarded if you think there isn't a huge pool of resources going into researching ways to reverse the effects of climate change. The fact is there is no simple answer and people like you who cling to outmoded ideas of 'science-ing' away this problem are going to face immediate physical danger if you don't figure that out pronto. Kapeech?

samcleod

Whoa whoa, buddy... sorry to stir the pot. I think you misunderstood my view/opinion. Lets see: "...you must be retarded if you think there isn’t a huge pool of resources going into researching ways to reverse the effects of climate change." I agree. Completely. Those who believe this are, simply, unknowledgeable. This said "carbon tax" isn't just a scam now is it. We do need money focused on this traditional carbon emission research, as it is obviously the main threat. This is obvious. Thank you for pointing it out. "...people like you who cling to outmoded ideas of ‘science-ing’ away this problem..." I disagree with your word choice. If we are going to play a game of incoherent words then I would at least appreciate using a term such as "out-of-the-box-ing", "unique-ing", "new-ideas-ing" or possibly... I don't know... "revolutionizing" away this problem. Be it a revolution in the schedule we live on, the cars we drive, the food we eat or to stay on topic, a revolution in how we look at these problems. I am actually proud to say that I am one of these people. These are the people who make up this site that has brought us this level of thinking. Carbon emissions, carbon emissions, carbon emissions. I could honestly write a list of situations where new, unbelievable and seemingly ridiculous solutions have solved a problem. "...magically fix everything - without becoming less greedy and self-centered." Haha, I wish. However much I wish a magic solution could exist I must say that there will be no such thing. The solutions may be hard, may take years, generations. In fact it probably will take longer. But to cut to the chase: I agree that there is no magical solution while I do believe that we don't have to become "less greedy" and "less self-centered". Not only do we not have to but no one would want to. We both know that. We've gone past the days of self-realization in a society, have we not? Most people wouldn't even recognize that at present. However, let me remind you of a quote. I say remind because I am sure you know it... but I guess it strayed away from your mind like a wandering puppy during your last post. As Mr. Einstein said: "Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them." And yes. Kapeech. :)

samcleod

Whoa whoa, buddy... sorry to stir the pot. I think you misunderstood my view/opinion. Lets see: "...you must be retarded if you think there isn’t a huge pool of resources going into researching ways to reverse the effects of climate change." I agree. Completely. Those who believe this are, simply, unknowledgeable. This said "carbon tax" isn't just a scam now is it. We do need money focused on this traditional carbon emission research, as it is obviously the main threat. This is obvious. Thank you for pointing it out. "...people like you who cling to outmoded ideas of ‘science-ing’ away this problem..." I disagree with your word choice. If we are going to play a game of incoherent words then I would at least appreciate using a term such as "out-of-the-box-ing", "unique-ing", "new-ideas-ing" or possibly... I don't know... "revolutionizing" away this problem. Be it a revolution in the schedule we live on, the cars we drive, the food we eat or to stay on topic, a revolution in how we look at these problems. I am actually proud to say that I am one of these people. These are the people who make up this site that has brought us this level of thinking. Carbon emissions, carbon emissions, carbon emissions. I could honestly write a list of situations where new, unbelievable and seemingly ridiculous solutions have solved a problem. "...magically fix everything - without becoming less greedy and self-centered." Haha, I wish. However much I wish a magic solution could exist I must say that there will be no such thing. The solutions may be hard, may take years, generations. In fact it probably will take longer. But to cut to the chase: I agree that there is no magical solution while I do believe that we don't have to become "less greedy" and "less self-centered". Not only do we not have to but no one would want to. We both know that. We've gone past the days of self-realization in a society, have we not? Most people wouldn't even recognize that at present. However, let me remind you of a quote. I say remind because I am sure you know it... but I guess it strayed away from your mind like a wandering puppy during your last post. As Mr. Einstein said: "Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them." And yes. Kapeech. :)

A Human Being

You are right samcleod - more science. There are ways to make useful things out of carbon. http://www.nextenergynews.com/ They are right - science alone can not save us. Too many complacent and poor and tired people to care about anything else but their own image of themselves. One is right to say we need much less people and better educated ones. Reduction of population invites contraception - invites counterbalancing the influence of fundamental christians and muslims. (the auto spelling has just prompted me to write those with a capital C & M, holly shit!) Just shows you what a giant stigma we are up against, phjuwee (how do I spell that right?) And we are still at a stage of feudal skirmishes between our own supposedly sane/spiritual/ecologically-minded/progressive selves. Are we not doomed? I am hopeful, though, against all the odds (strawman?.

A Human Being

You are right samcleod - more science. There are ways to make useful things out of carbon. http://www.nextenergynews.com/ They are right - science alone can not save us. Too many complacent and poor and tired people to care about anything else but their own image of themselves. One is right to say we need much less people and better educated ones. Reduction of population invites contraception - invites counterbalancing the influence of fundamental christians and muslims. (the auto spelling has just prompted me to write those with a capital C & M, holly shit!) Just shows you what a giant stigma we are up against, phjuwee (how do I spell that right?) And we are still at a stage of feudal skirmishes between our own supposedly sane/spiritual/ecologically-minded/progressive selves. Are we not doomed? I am hopeful, though, against all the odds (strawman?.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.