Human population (“the economy”) will surpass our planet’s carrying capacity, and human-caused climate change stress-points are already starting to show.
This is the kind of thing that ends civilizations… the stress-point emerging first and most urgently is global warming, which is already partially upon us and promises to get worse.
Although humans adapt skillfully where economics are concerned (migration, methods used in agriculture, health, smart cities, Lean industry, and technologies), we are helpless witnesses when large natural systems flip to a new equilibrium (atmospheric and oceanic heating, permanent drought, ocean acidification, ice-cap melting and sea level rise, and the emerging mass-extinction event).
The latter includes the possibility of unforecastable, chaotic, sudden and catastrophic tipping points, an emergency which must be avoided at all costs.
By way of perspective: There have been only two truly significant events in human history, today’s events being the second:
First truly significant event: During the last Ice Age, human population dropped to only 10,000 people (and at best only 2,000 breeding pairs). We nearly went extinct.
Second truly significant event: Today and tomorrow our civilization is growing so rapidly while polluting so much, we are causing the planet to lurch into a new, hotter, drier state – a new world far less favorable to our survival. This could easily prove unsustainable for us, as economic overshoot collides with a collapsing resource base, a common event seen regionally throughout human history. Some adaptation is possible, but much adaptation is completely out of reach when large natural systems flip.
We will replace our learned helplessness with the wise use of our personal and societal power, firmly grounded in the emerging factual landscape.
We will work only on the vital few issues, not the trivial many.
We will re-invent civilization to be sustainable within the carrying-capacity of the Earth, so we and the diversity of species will survive the new hotter centuries.
We recognize that, though at best we will only partially stop global warming, we will urgently prevent it from complete emergency levels.
We recognize that economics is a subset of ecology, not the other way around… Earth bats last, and is unsentimental.
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How does one get started saving the planet? Start by deeply knowing your own sources of personal power: 1) To save the planet, Change Yourself First; 2) To save the planet, Invest Your Working Life; 3) To save the planet, Use Your Voice and take advocacy seriously! Never miss a chance to vote, and never stop influencing your government and businesses locally, at the state level, and at the national level.
And in all cases and at all times, cast aside the learned-helplessness that infects so much of modern life…
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