Symptom: Environmental Degradation
Every year, we extract an estimated 55 billion tons of fossil energy, minerals, metals and biomass from the Earth. The world has already lost 80% of its forests and we’re continually losing them at a rate of 375 km2 per day! At the current rate of deforestation, 5-10% of tropical forest species will become extinct every decade. Every hour, 1,692 acres of productive dry land become desert. 27% of our coral reefs have been destroyed. If the rate continues, the remaining 60% will be gone in 30 years. We have a garbage island floating in our ocean, mostly comprised of plastics – the size of India, Europe and Mexico combined! We are using up 50% more natural resources than the Earth can provide. At our current population, we need 1.5 Earths, which we do not have.
It is time to face some Inconvenient Truths about our own efforts.
♥ While successful at providing information to people already receptive to our message, we are challenged to motivate or educate people who don’t already share our concerns.
♥ It is clear that immediate actions are necessary, and must be taken by the majority of the human population, not the minority we are reaching with our message.
♥ We do not have the luxury to hope that future generations will expand the proportion of society that shares our concerns. In fact, our community is shrinking, focused mainly in western countries with declining populations while lesser-concerned populations expand in non-western countries.
♥ Reducing our ecological footprint doesn’t mean people need to live in tents. If North Americans lived like Europeans they would halve their footprint; if they consumed like South Americans they would reduce their footprint by over 400%
♥ The crux of our challenge is not a lack of information in the general population of the planet, our challenge is overcoming the basic tendencies of a brain designed to handle an environment our species no longer lives in.
♥ Our primitive origins selected for a brain chemistry that is hyper responsive to threat. It responds to fear by shutting down the brain’s highest functions and flooding the system with chemicals that prepare us to fight or flee, not to reason our way out of our problems. This results in the constant tendency to think as individuals solving individual problems – huge proportions of our resources are consumed looking at my threat, not our collective threat.
♥ Our species’ only real hope for survival and thrival is a dramatic upgrade in our understanding and adaptation of our brain to our present environment.
We need to Leap Forward!