Sunday, March 11, 2012

Paul Gilding at TED: Choosing life over fear - The coming war for a sustainable civilisation



This talk by sustainability campaigner Paul Gilding is both pessimistic and optimistic about the future of human civilisation facing numerous planetary crises including human overpopulation, overuse of resources, anthropogenic climate change, and biodiversity loss. The earth is now full. Human civilisation is facing a great disruption this century, within our lifetimes.

Economic growth as we know it is dead, the planet can no longer sustain infinite growth, without degradation of our working capital, the earth and it's resources. We are now spending the future of our children.

Paul stresses that where we have a great crisis, humans have the capability to act with great resourcefulness. We have an opportunity for change. We can make the preparations in transitioning our lives, our communities through the great disruption.

In December 2011 I featured two talks which highlighted the problems facing us as a civilisation. In the first article Dr Tim Garrett applies basic thermodynamic physics principles to the economics of wealth, carbon emission rates and civilization and comes up with some very disturbing results. He asks 'Is it possible to decouple economic wealth from carbon dioxide emission rates?'. The second article was a 55 minute webinar (voice presentation with slideshow) by Professor Kevin Anderson, on Climate Change: Going Beyond Dangerous. He outlines the dire extent of climate change we are facing on present projections.

Paul Gilding provides some optimistic antidote to these analyses. He argued in 2009 that the Copenhagen Climate talks would fail and it doesn't really matter; "we're not ready to fix climate change, not yet. We have not accepted the scale of the problem. Nor have we established the political conditions necessary to fix the problem when we do. However Copenhagen does signify the shift between two eras and if you watch carefully you can see the new world emerging."

He wrote a perceptive paper with Jorgen Randers (Professor of Climate Strategy Norwegian School of Management) : the One Degree War in which he argues we will soon wake up to what is needed and get to work.

In 2011 Bloomsbury published his book on The Great disruption; how the climate crisis will transform the global economy which includes details on the One Degree War that will be necessary for transitioning civilisation for staying within our means.

Watch a longer exposition of his talk with questions which was made at the Triodos Bank, 22 September 2011. (47 mins)