Planetary Tipping Points
Author and critic Susan Sontag once wrote, “A permanent modern scenario: apocalypse looms, and it doesn’t occur . Apocalypse has become an event that is happening, and not happening. It may be that some of the most feared events, like those involving the irreparable ruin of the environment, have already happened. But we don’t know it yet, because the standards have changed. Or because we do not have the right indexes for measuring the catastrophe. Or simply because this is a catastrophe in slow motion.” Sontag added, “That even an apocalypse can be made to seem part of the ordinary horizon of expectation constitutes an unparalleled violence that is being done to our sense of reality, to our humanity.” It seems now we are watching the catastrophe in slow motion. We’ve got front row seats to our planet in gradual decline.
Lester Brown is the president of the Earth Policy Institute. The Washington Post calls him “one of the world’s most influential thinkers.” In 1974 he founded the Worldwatch Institute, the first research institute devoted to the analysis of global environmental issues. He is the recipient of many awards including the UN Environment Prize. He is the author of numerous books including Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, World on the Edge, Full Planet, Empty Plates and Breaking New Ground.