Posted by: lecubiste | April 24, 2021

Change the World to Save it

In 1800 there were about 1 Billon people on Earth. Today that number is about 8 Billion. In 200 years the human population has increased by about 8 times.

During that same about 200 years, the Industrial Revolution has blossomed: internal combustion engines, power plants, electricity grids, planes, ships, and trains; mining, industrial scale fishing, beef lots, and on and on. Computers and automation, spaceships, and chemistry.

When I was a child during the 60s, we saw images of India and China, Egypt and Africa, exotic and far away places, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids, the Great Wall, and on. Today none of those places resemble their ancient images. Cairo is a city of around 20 Million, Delhi and Beijing have terrible air pollution, plastics are found throughout the oceans, coal ash is piled up in ponds, nothing is what our imagination was led to believe it was.

8 Billion people can clean out all the fish from the ocean. 8 Billion people can cut down all the trees. 8 Billion people can reroute the rivers and dam them up, pump out the groundwater, and overheat the earth, melting all the glaciers and ice sheets, raising the ocean levels.

The politics and economics of 200 years ago can no longer sustain human civilization. The philosophies and religions of the past can no longer guide the world. If human civilization is to continue in anything like the form that we have now. More than fossil fuel consumption has to change.

War must be banned as a form of diplomacy. Nationalism will not prevail in this global culture. Values must evolve along with human society.

Like it or not, we are the masters of the Earth. If we ignore this truth, ignore the effects of human population and human resource consumption, we stand a very good chance of destroying human civilization.

We must reject the perpetuation of past conflicts: between nations, empires, cultures, religions, and civilizations. In the tangled egos and identities of powerful leaders of today’s world, and their relations with their peoples, we simply must adapt and change. We must look for and find our commonalities more than our differences. We simply cannot afford to turn our backs on the ways in which 8 Billion people can change our world.

If we choose to ignore the feedback loops of resource consumption, we will destroy our environment – not as an abstract concept, but as a geologic, biologic, hydrologic, and meteorologic reality. Climate change alone can flood coast lines, spawn hurricanes and tornadoes, kill coral reeves, and bring droughts, fires, and floods.

Human societies must shift the value of personal responsibility to collective responsibility for the decisions and policies that we adopt en masse. The only way we can enjoy the utopian dream of a paradise on earth is by understanding in a 360 degree view, our effects on the world. This will require significant political and economic changes.

Individual and collective activities will have to be thoroughly regulated, and the profits that come from increased productivity will have to be internalized into local, regional, national, and global economies. In order to overcome alienation within countries, populations must be integrated together in habitats, in businesses, and in pollical bodies. Populations must see themselves as a part of the whole of humanity and not maintain an attitude of “Us against the world.”

The spreading of this understanding is the first step in solving the problem. Leaders need to adopt this framework of conceptual thinking if we are to succeed in keeping the planet habitable. These ideas must be communicated to the rest of society as a beginning of taking collective action.


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