Our Planetary Existential Crisis
Our planet and humankind are in danger. The warnings coming from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could not be more unambiguous. He says we are heading “towards an unlivable world. We are on a fast track to climate disaster. Major cities under water. Unprecedented heatwaves. Terrifying storms. Widespread water shortages. The extinction of a million species of plants and animals. This is not fiction or exaggeration,” he continues. “It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies. We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5-degree limit agreed in Paris. If you care about justice, and our children’s future, I am appealing directly to you. Climate promises and plans must be turned into reality and action, now. It is time to stop burning our planet, and start investing in the abundant renewable energy all around us.”
Money, you know, is the root of all evil. The pursuit of it no matter the consequences has led to us, as the New York Times describes it, “speeding toward environmental catastrophe.” Unregulated predatory capitalism and its obsession with generating profits no matter the cost to Nature is endangering civilization as we know it. Globally people, young people in particular, are demanding action. Teenagers like Greta Thunberg, Xiye Bastida, Haven Coleman, Isra Hirsi, and Alexandria Villasenor and groups like the Sunrise movement, Extinction Rebellion, and 350.org are leading the way and working for a future that is safe and secure from climate disruption. All over the world in late September and going forward there will be strikes, walkouts and other actions. We must move from a money-oriented society to one in harmony with and respect for the Earth.
Toward an Ecological Civilization
Will Rogers, a famous U.S. humorist once said, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Good advice. Wish that it were heeded when it comes to climate change. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, says, “there's tremendous disagreement” about climate change. Is there? The scientific consensus is close to 100%. The fox is in charge of the henhouse. While he was Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt worked hand and glove with the oil and gas industry. He filed 14 lawsuits against the EPA. President Trump has called climate change a “hoax” concocted by the Chinese. He is cutting EPA staff and slashing its budget. Our precious planet is in danger. We should listen to our Native American and First Nations water and land protectors and nurture and cherish the Earth and move toward an ecological civilization.
David Korten is a philosopher and visionary. For several decades he was an insider in the development establishment. He worked for the Ford Foundation and USAID and taught at Harvard’s Graduate School of Business. Having severed his ties to the past, today he is a leading voice for economic and social justice. He is a co-founder of YES! magazine and author of When Corporations Rule the World, The Great Turning, Agenda for a New Economy and Change the Story, Change the Future.
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