We All Know Where We’re Heading

MORE NEWS FROM THE FRONT LINES: “When I started presenting the ideas in my book, the thing that struck me most was how little pushback I got,” wrote Paul Gilding in his book, The Great Disruption. “Most audiences, whether activist, corporate, or government, agreed that the path we were on was completely unsustainable, that we wouldn’t change until the crisis hit, and that it would be a big, bloody mess.

“So question time became a discussion about whether or not this would lead to the collapse of the economy, whether the population would crash to one billion or fewer, and how ugly the descent could be. Then everyone would have a cup of tea and go back to their lives.

“We all know where we’re heading. We know it from the science, we know it from the politics, and we know it in our hearts. That’s why I get so little pushback. We know.

“We have reached or passed the limits of our current economic model of consumer-driven material economic growth. We are heading for a social and economic hurricane that will cause great damage, sweep away much of our current economy, and cause a great crisis that will impact the whole world and to which there will be a dramatic response. We know this to be true.

“The science says we have physically entered a period of great change, a synchronized, related crash of the economy and the ecosystem, with food shortages, climate catastrophes, massive economic change, and global geopolitical instability. It has been forecast for decades, and the time has arrived.

“I use the analogy of a hurricane because we need to understand this is not a forecast of a hurricane season, but a forecast of a category six hurricane that is clearly heading for our coastline—and every time the forecast is revised, the category goes up one level. It is already higher than the rating system allows.

“We need to get ready. We can manage our way through the hurricane, but only if we acknowledge it’s coming and are clear first on how we will survive it and then on what our recovery plan is.

“Despite the evidence and the straightforward logic of the crisis being here now, or at least soon, denial is still the dominant response. I say this not in despair, but as a fact. This doesn’t mean we should see the cause as hopeless. It just means we should accept that we won’t change at scale until the crisis is full-blown and undeniable. But we will then change. And we need to get ready for that as well.

“It is true that the crisis coming will almost certainly see great conflict among nations over resources and refugees, mass suffering, and some difficult situations emerge as fear and nationalism rear their ugly heads. We need to plan for all of this. However, we will also see the best humanity can offer, great compassion, extraordinary innovation, and millions of people digging deep and finding their capacity for brilliance and innovation. This is because scientists, researchers, business leaders, community organizers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, and youth are all out there now, building the future we need. They just need our permission and support to take their work to mass scale.

“We will do all this not just because we can, but because we have to. The alternative is no longer an option. The ecological-system changes now under way present a significant risk of global economic and social collapse. So the choice we need to make is not a philosophical one.

“The global nature of the problem means only a global solution can fix it, and that means we are going to come together as a people like never before. Again, not just because we might choose to, but because it is the only way we can address the challenges we face.

“We are going to have to change our expectations about our material lifestyles, about the nature and focus of our work and career, about our expectations of government, and about how we all behave in our communities and our companies.

“This crisis presents what may be a ‘once in a civilization’ opportunity for a step change in human evolution, but one driven consciously rather than biologically.

“There is no one else. We are the people we’ve been waiting for. This is the time. This is our time,” concluded Gilding…

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