Sustainability is the possibility that humans
and other life will flourish on Earth forever.
Reducing unsustainability, although critical,
will not create sustainability.
This is the headline of Tom Friedman's column today. The first few paragraphs carry the same message as my post of yesterday. The only difference is that several orders of magnitude more readers see his stuff than read mine.
You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?
“The only answer can be denial,” argues Paul Gilding, the veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur, who described this moment in a new book called “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.” “When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required.”
Another case of synchronicity. Gilding is a self proclaimed "eco-optimist." Friedman writes,
As the impact of the imminent Great Disruption hits us, he [Gilding] says, “our response will be proportionally dramatic, mobilizing as we do in war. We will change at a scale and speed we can barely imagine today, completely transforming our economy, including our energy and transport industries, in just a few short decades.”
This response is pretty iffy. Why not start now? Take a lead from the Transition Town movement and begin to make the changes deliberately. The pain, which is inevitable, would be much less.