‘We need stories that replace that linear narrative of endless growth with circular narratives that remind us that what goes around comes around. That this is our only home. There is no escape hatch. Call it karma, call it physics, action and reaction, call it precaution- the principle that reminds us that life is too precious to be risked for any profit.’
Excellent TED talk from Naomi Klein, filmed in December 2010, connecting the themes of environmental degradation, our reckless approach to risk in relation to nature, and the need for us to move from an economic mindset of limitless growth and unfettered consumption to one of precaution and prudence- appreciating the interconnection between the unrelenting impacts, and inescapable dependency, of humanity on the natural environment.
‘Welcome to the Anthropocene’. As the Rio+20 summit draws to a close in Brazil- and with general opinions that the summit, while addressing a number of important environmental and social issues, has done little to push forward tangible commitments to tackling these problems- this video is a reminder of the major changes we have induced in our global environment over the last few decades. Rio+20 may not have not have spawned many definitive commitments to tackling these issues, and has undoubtedly been overshadowed by western leaders focus on financial issues at the G20 conference in Los Cabos, Mexico, in the days immediately prior to it.
However, I feel the important thing to remember is that the overarching focus of both of the summits, in Rio and Los Cabos, are/were not mutually exclusive- essentially with the common aims to shape how we, as a global society, can move forward in a manner that is fair, equitable, lawful, and sustainable. While we can get frustrated and disillusioned that these summits often seem to, in at least the eyes of the public and external groups, get bogged down in bureaucratic discussions and ‘non-commitments’- a process of discourse and dialogue is, unquestionably, a more favourable approach for such global ‘powers’ to settle their ‘differences of opinion’, compared to how they have done in our very recent human history…
Nonetheless, and as the video infers, our ongoing consumption of natural resources, and consequential degradation of the environment, will continue unabated (and increase) if we do not, as a global society, commit to wide-ranging programs of development and action that take them into account.
In the UK, and Europe generally, the 2 major wars of the last century have had a significant bearing on our recent history, development, and politics. In the UK we regularly refer, and pay homage, to the heroism and self-sacrifice of our country’s soldiers and citizens (and, more humanly, our parents/grandparents/great-grandparents) who fought, and were often killed, in those wars in order to preserve the freedoms and opportunities of future generations (i.e.- us). I think there’s an interesting parallel to these sentiments when considering the impending social and environmental consequences of our current actions as a global society.
Rather than fighting each other as individual, or alliances, of nations- the set of problems we face now is one that global society, collectively, has to resolve- and with the ‘opposition’ being its own cumulative behaviour and actions. Are we prepared to make decisions and choices (and maybe some sacrifices?) now to preserve and protect our environment, and everything that it provides us; or are we content to continue our profligate behaviour and activities that will reduce/deny these benefits to future generations (i.e. our children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren), and force them to bear the consequences and hardships of our procrastination and inaction?…