Do you see all the signs that climate change is coming at us like a freight train while society dawdles and denies?
If you fear for the future, and sometimes feel almost paralyzed by the magnitude of the menace, then The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding is the book for you.
Gilding has served as head of Greenpeace, has build companies and been consultant to big corporations and is now based in Cambridge University’s Programme for Sustainability Leadership, and his experience has given him hope for the future.
The subtitle of his book is Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World. That sounds positively upbeat, doesn’t it?
Gilding believes we are rapidly coming to the tipping point where growth will not be possible any longer. The resources are running out. He also believes it will not be too much longer before the majority of people in the world grasp that we need to mobilize our efforts to get carbon emissions down to a less damaging level in the environment.
He feels the beginnings of that new infrastructure are already starting to emerge. It’s bigger than we think because the media is largely ignoring it. A new non-growth way of doing things is beginning to form, and when the time comes, will go rapidly to scale. There are many movements already gaining momentum. And as more and more people join, the balance will tip. (Hopefully in time)
We already have investment funds with environmental and social criteria. Learn more at The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment http://www.ussif.org/. Investment in renewable energy is on the rise.
and will help us survive the economic, political and environemental crises we face.
Gilding argues that we will change because we must change. “With a world population increasing to 9 billion people this century, on what part of our already shrinking arable land supply will we grow more crops, more lumber, more CO2-removing trees? ”
Part of the answer of how humanity (and the remaining other species) survive is that those of us with too much are going to have to let a lot of it go. Let wealth be redistributed more fairly and learn to be happy with less. Gilding argues it will be easier that we think, and he believes that when we have managed to create a non-growth, sustainable culture, we will be happier. The growth model is no longer working, and really hasn’t been for most of our lives.
He quotes Robert Kennedy who said in 1965,
“Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product … counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and it counts nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight riots in our cities.
Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measure everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile”.
If you ever wonder why you keep trying to live sustainably — The Great Disruption will give you the gumption to keep on trying. I say, if you only read one book this year – make it The Great Disruption.
What book do you want everyone to read?