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”

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originalpie

It is not agreed in the scientific community that global warming is caused by humans, despite what our media tell us (including YOU adbusters!). Emotional pleas based on incomplete information leaves me shaking my head at this article (and as usual, us as a species).

originalpie

It is not agreed in the scientific community that global warming is caused by humans, despite what our media tell us (including YOU adbusters!). Emotional pleas based on incomplete information leaves me shaking my head at this article (and as usual, us as a species).

Anonymous

I agree...I was a firm believer in Global Warming until I did a little research. A good intro is this video. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=288952680655100870&ei=DCH2SczPEprAqgL3xrHPAQ&q=global+warming+swindle&hl=en You'll probably have to cut and paste it into your browser. I do, however, greatly believe that it is imperative to cut fossil fuel consumption in order to stop pollution. Also, our reliance on plastics has caused our landfills and oceans to become waste dumps. The destruction of our oceans due to plastics is especially deplorable. Please read about this. http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/health/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we_2.php You might also have to cut and paste this into your browser.

Anonymous

I agree...I was a firm believer in Global Warming until I did a little research. A good intro is this video. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=288952680655100870&ei=DCH2SczPEprAqgL3xrHPAQ&q=global+warming+swindle&hl=en You'll probably have to cut and paste it into your browser. I do, however, greatly believe that it is imperative to cut fossil fuel consumption in order to stop pollution. Also, our reliance on plastics has caused our landfills and oceans to become waste dumps. The destruction of our oceans due to plastics is especially deplorable. Please read about this. http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/health/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we_2.php You might also have to cut and paste this into your browser.

An Earthling

I sincerely hope that you didn't know that this film was a deliberate misinterpretation of the more cautious scientists who nonetheless firmly believe in human induced global warming. They just differ in heir assessment of the degree of the looming catastrophe and it's timing due to so many variables involved. Here is a link to their official response to Channel4 documentary. The director is a TV hacker with a known reputation for abuse of his interviewees. http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/channel4response But if you knew all that?! Why? I believe you should cut and paste yourself in this case.

An Earthling

I sincerely hope that you didn't know that this film was a deliberate misinterpretation of the more cautious scientists who nonetheless firmly believe in human induced global warming. They just differ in heir assessment of the degree of the looming catastrophe and it's timing due to so many variables involved. Here is a link to their official response to Channel4 documentary. The director is a TV hacker with a known reputation for abuse of his interviewees. http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/channel4response But if you knew all that?! Why? I believe you should cut and paste yourself in this case.

Anonymous

And do you have a good reason why I should disbelieve the professors of atmospheric and environmental science who teach that there is agreement in the scientific community? The media, sure, has the motivation to sell, but these academics have only their own integrity at stake. There is no conspiracy theory at work here.

Anonymous

And do you have a good reason why I should disbelieve the professors of atmospheric and environmental science who teach that there is agreement in the scientific community? The media, sure, has the motivation to sell, but these academics have only their own integrity at stake. There is no conspiracy theory at work here.

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