Human civilisation and the economy have now grown so large that we have passed the limits of the planet to support any further growth in the current model. The science is clear. We have entered a period of great crisis and change, a synchronised, related crash of the economy and the ecosystem, with food shortages, climate catastrophes, massive economic change and global geopolitical instability. And as Gilding argues, we need to get ready for it now because we can manage our way through it, but only if we acknowledge it's coming and are clear on the way forward.
We can choose to let a dog-eat-dog response drive us into ever smaller conflicting groups of regions, nations and communities--of defensive and scared people fighting over what's left, fighting for physical survival. In that scenario, we would lose hundreds of thousands years of human development and have to effectively start again, just hoping the cycle wouldn't repeat itself. Or, we can choose to consciously overcome that tendency, as we have in the past. We can draw on what is great about being human and dig deep to express our highest potential--the potential that can take us through the coming crisis and out the other side to a stronger, safer and more advanced civilisation.
Paul Gilding is an advocate for sustainability and climate change who has dedicated his life to campaigning for a balanced use of Earth's limited resources. His thirty-five years of experience include a stint as the global head of Greenpeace, consultancies with both global corporations and community-based NGO, and more. He lives in Australia.
"One of those who has been warning me of [a coming crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment--when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once--'The Great Disruption'."
- Thomas Friedman in the New York Times