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 121 - 130 of 173

Page 13 of 18

tin

Samcleod, Changing the ways of the world, or interrogating everyday practices (perhaps, even our diet) is not looking at the wrong direction. This is precisely the challenge that climate change poses - to look beyond our own convenience to examine and rethink how our perspectives and the accompanying lifestyles that they have engendered have planted the seeds of environmental destruction. While we should by all means develop technology to mitigate the effects of global warming, it is irresponsible to rely on these techno-fixes (such as the distasteful idea of carbon sequestration) to dispel the global warming catastrophe altogether, or even a significant portion of it. It is an escapist route because it implies that people, especially in the global north (and those in the global south who live according to the gospels of the global north), can continue their plunder of the earth that their excessive and wasteful lifestyles require. Our scientific genius cannot always save us, and even if it can, we should not always look to it as our salvation because it severely cripples our humanity, our moral responsibility, as in our judgment to make sacrifices to solve a plague that we ourselves engendered. What we need right now is a healthy balance of science and technology and a commitment to radically changing our lifestyles, to giving up the easy, fast food, to-go, disposable lifestyle.

tin

Samcleod, Changing the ways of the world, or interrogating everyday practices (perhaps, even our diet) is not looking at the wrong direction. This is precisely the challenge that climate change poses - to look beyond our own convenience to examine and rethink how our perspectives and the accompanying lifestyles that they have engendered have planted the seeds of environmental destruction. While we should by all means develop technology to mitigate the effects of global warming, it is irresponsible to rely on these techno-fixes (such as the distasteful idea of carbon sequestration) to dispel the global warming catastrophe altogether, or even a significant portion of it. It is an escapist route because it implies that people, especially in the global north (and those in the global south who live according to the gospels of the global north), can continue their plunder of the earth that their excessive and wasteful lifestyles require. Our scientific genius cannot always save us, and even if it can, we should not always look to it as our salvation because it severely cripples our humanity, our moral responsibility, as in our judgment to make sacrifices to solve a plague that we ourselves engendered. What we need right now is a healthy balance of science and technology and a commitment to radically changing our lifestyles, to giving up the easy, fast food, to-go, disposable lifestyle.

samcleod

I agree. I never once denied this. However I will rephrase one of my sentences to be more relevant to the point I was trying to get across. I said "I think we're looking at the the wrong way," but I think that was a bit of a jump. Let's say: "I think that we're being to focused on one general solution".

samcleod

I agree. I never once denied this. However I will rephrase one of my sentences to be more relevant to the point I was trying to get across. I said "I think we're looking at the the wrong way," but I think that was a bit of a jump. Let's say: "I think that we're being to focused on one general solution".

mediaplazza

Civilization is often used as a synonym for the broader term "culture" in both popular and academic circles. Every human being participates in a culture, defined as "the arts, customs, habits... beliefs, values, behavior and material habits that constitute a people's way of life". However, in its most widely used definition, civilization is a descriptive term for a relatively complex agricultural and urban culture. Civilizations can be distinguished from other cultures by their high level of social complexity and organization, and by their diverse economic and cultural activities. 

mediaplazza

Civilization is often used as a synonym for the broader term "culture" in both popular and academic circles. Every human being participates in a culture, defined as "the arts, customs, habits... beliefs, values, behavior and material habits that constitute a people's way of life". However, in its most widely used definition, civilization is a descriptive term for a relatively complex agricultural and urban culture. Civilizations can be distinguished from other cultures by their high level of social complexity and organization, and by their diverse economic and cultural activities. 

Etch

The values (or lack of) of the 'throw away' society are so ingrained in the world today that it's going to take a lot of work to shift our unsustainable and selfish habits of consumption. We learn from our mistakes, now that we have learnt we must act.

Etch

The values (or lack of) of the 'throw away' society are so ingrained in the world today that it's going to take a lot of work to shift our unsustainable and selfish habits of consumption. We learn from our mistakes, now that we have learnt we must act.

V. Dube'

Hi Etch, We HAVEN'T learned from our mistakes. Not REALLY. When masses of people have to relocate to inland areas and the cancer rate and storms increase, maybe we will stop buying processed packaged foods (poisoning our homes and bodies)? On a different level, when commercials/producers stop PORTRAYING that our society/cancer causing-packaged products are just fine and dandy and start sending out the very real facts of our dire state, maybe we will BEGIN to be aware of our mistakes? On yet another level, if the producers stop making such packaged processed foods/items will we be awakened? And pushing further to another level, maybe the government will order such companies to close altogether and then shall we be wide-eyed and aware? Why do we need most of the items/foods in grocery stores anyway? Yes, the purchase of these damaging items/foods (to our environment and bodies) IS ingrained. Why doesn't the FEAR AND REALITY of what's happening break that conditioning? Are we really that stupid and lazy and selfish? BREAK THE CONDITIONING. On a greater level, positive altering decisions/messages/executions from producers and the government in regards to damaging products (which determine general zombie wasteful mindsets) would help us but this won't happen because MONEY is more important to them than SURVIVAL OF THIS EARTH AND SOCIETY. I thought the government and big business represented strong intellect? Why is the WORK it will take to start bringing our own to-go containers/bags, eating differently, growing our own gardens or buying from farmer's markets, recycling, car-pooling or biking so threatening and avoided when all the "work" in the world becomes irrelevant when even the chance for us to change things with "work" isn't even a thought anymore because extinct human minds think NOT?

V. Dube'

Hi Etch, We HAVEN'T learned from our mistakes. Not REALLY. When masses of people have to relocate to inland areas and the cancer rate and storms increase, maybe we will stop buying processed packaged foods (poisoning our homes and bodies)? On a different level, when commercials/producers stop PORTRAYING that our society/cancer causing-packaged products are just fine and dandy and start sending out the very real facts of our dire state, maybe we will BEGIN to be aware of our mistakes? On yet another level, if the producers stop making such packaged processed foods/items will we be awakened? And pushing further to another level, maybe the government will order such companies to close altogether and then shall we be wide-eyed and aware? Why do we need most of the items/foods in grocery stores anyway? Yes, the purchase of these damaging items/foods (to our environment and bodies) IS ingrained. Why doesn't the FEAR AND REALITY of what's happening break that conditioning? Are we really that stupid and lazy and selfish? BREAK THE CONDITIONING. On a greater level, positive altering decisions/messages/executions from producers and the government in regards to damaging products (which determine general zombie wasteful mindsets) would help us but this won't happen because MONEY is more important to them than SURVIVAL OF THIS EARTH AND SOCIETY. I thought the government and big business represented strong intellect? Why is the WORK it will take to start bringing our own to-go containers/bags, eating differently, growing our own gardens or buying from farmer's markets, recycling, car-pooling or biking so threatening and avoided when all the "work" in the world becomes irrelevant when even the chance for us to change things with "work" isn't even a thought anymore because extinct human minds think NOT?

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