Tipping Points: Environmental & Political
Tipping points are in the air. And with good reason. A planetary emergency looms in the not-too-distant future. This isn’t alarmist talk but the best judgment of our leading scientists. The prestigious International Union for Conservation of Nature has just issued its starkest warning to date: “Humanity has reached a tipping point. Our window of opportunity to respond is narrowing quickly.” Imagine if we had paid attention to Lyndon Johnson’s science advisory committee in 1965 when it noted in their report entitled Restoring the Quality of Our Environment, that “Pollutants have altered on a global scale the carbon dioxide content of the air and the lead concentrations in ocean waters and human populations.” That was 56 years ago. Today, Noam Chomsky warns, “The world is hurtling toward disaster.” And we have a segment of the political class that is in denial.
Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. His contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. In addition to his pioneering work in that field, he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” The New Statesman calls him “the conscience of the American people.” He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 93, he is still active; writing and giving interviews to the media all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, his latest are Consequences of Capitalism, Chronicles of Dissent and Notes on Resistance.