During my first few months of blogging back in 2011, I got an email from one of my readers saying that my daily blogs felt to her like a never-ending drumbeat.
Now that I think about it, she was probably right. I began my consecutive daily streak of 737 blogs six years ago, writing about what I had concluded to be the most important topic in the history of humanity: our food choices in the 21st century. Because I thought that our future as a species was riding on those choices.
Since then, with zero net progress in changing the world's harmful eating habits, my thinking has changed a bit.
I used to think that if we could quickly eliminate most of our animal-based foods (for health and ecological reasons) that we could buy ourselves enough time to address a few other huge problems--like overpopulation and climate change.
I no longer believe that we can afford to wait any longer.
My conclusion now is that we desperately need something to JOLT us all into action. In his 2013 book, TEN BILLION, Dr. Stephen Emmott said we'd need a global emergency to make that happen. He used the hypothetical example of a giant asteroid on a path to hit Earth on 2-25-2072--wiping out 70% of life on the planet.
If that were true, notice what he said in this slide:
He said that "every scientist, engineer, university and business would be enlisted." Our problem today is three-fold; as he states in his book:
- "There is no asteroid."
- "There is no specific date."
- "The problem is us."
Believing that he is absolutely right about the problem being us, we must begin an urgent process of radically changing many things about the way we live in order to ensure that our civilization and our species survives beyond the end of this century.
One is the right number. Trying to solve 3 or 4 massive problems at once would just confuse the issue and lower our effectiveness at fighting our most serious problem, which I believe to be climate change.
While there are many things that must change, I feel strongly that we should try to create the perceived global emergency around one huge problem.
Why climate change? Not only does it exacerbate most other environmental problems, climate change may have already passed its tipping point, making it incredibly difficult to reverse it or even slow it down.
As you can see from this chart, with all the talk about climate change, things have only gotten worse in recent years--when it comes to the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere. It now stands at over 410 ppm, far above the 350 ppm limit shown by the green dotted line below:
Now for the hard part. Since we don't have a simple emergency like an asteroid that everyone can believe and understand, we must figure out a way to create a perceived emergency that is almost as powerful.
I recently posted a
blog on how
we might be able to do get that alarm clock shown below to sound loudly and continually until the world wakes up.
The Bottom Line. Another good thing about urgently tackling
just climate change is that we'll simultaneously be addressing many other ecological issues that are driven by the same human activities that drive climate change.
Have Message, Will Travel.
Please contact me (by return email) if you'd like to discuss scheduling a presentation at a venue near you. I have given variations of my "big picture" sustainability talk at mainstream universities, and, while it's alarming to some extent, the message seems to resonate with conscientious people of all ages.