Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?(10 page pdf, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Jan. 8, 2013)
Today we review a paper written by ecologist Paul Ehrlich on his election to the Royal Society in 2012. He assesses the prospects for survival of human civilization as we know it, faced with overpopulation, increasing consumption of natural resources and a growing set of interacting and serious challenges that slowly but persistently threaten to overwhelm society’s ability to cope. One apt observation about this state of affairs is the difficulty in dealing with slow, almost imperceptible, changes, given that the magnitude of the responses needed become greater with time- something that many short term political thinkers have difficulty with.
This leads to the suggestion for “foresight intelligence”- an approach that looks at the various scenarios possible or likely and where these lead so that the re4sults of various policies can be evaluated in advance. It strikes this reviewer that thinking about change is needed from the bottom-up rather than leaving it all to action and policy at the global level because it is in urban centres where most people live and where the impacts of inaction are so often first felt and where a change in energy use and consumption can probably best be achieved.
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