Why things need to change

“We’ve been ****ing about with Mother Nature for so long, that soon she’s going to turn round and give us such a slap.” – Fred, King’s Cross Marina

There’s a crash coming – a slap from Mother Nature, as Fred puts it. You might hear something, or read an article mentioning the warnings coming from ecologists, but it never quite gets top billing. There’s always something more important. But it will take centre stage soon, because Mother Nature is our life-support system, and it’s very unwise to damage her. She won’t stand for it, in fact.

There are other problems facing humans – the dramatic decline in sperm count; the sharp increase in antibiotic resistance; the fact that almost twice as many countries have nuclear weapons as when the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was signed; or that we’re starting to genetically modify ourselves and build super-intelligent machines without the wisdom and oversight to ensure that it’s done in a way that won’t harm us. Our current system doesn’t deliver the leadership to solve these problems. Quite the opposite, in fact.

This isn’t pessimistic; it’s realistic. We’re not treating our audience like children by pretending that everything’s OK, and we’re providing practical ways to face the coming crash with hope.

Some people know that there’s a crash coming, and that recycling, buying organic or switching lights off when we leave a room won’t solve the problem (although we do endorse those things). They put their faith in government and regulation – but banks and corporations have enough invested in our political system to ensure that no regulation or election will ever challenge their hold on power, and that therefore nothing important will change. We hope we can persuade enough people that a new economy, not dominated by banks and corporations, is both necessary and possible.

Other people believe that a crash is coming, but that humans deserve everything they get, including extinction. We think that most humans are compassionate and honest, and would prefer to leave the world a better place than they found it. The fact that the charity sector is so large is testament to that. It’s our economic system, and the ruthless people who clamber to the top of it, that’s responsible for the coming crash, not ordinary people. Again, we hope that we can persuade many of these people that a new economy is necessary and possible.

Then there are people who suggest that we do nothing about damaging nature, because they can’t see anything that we could possibly do; or who choose to believe that human ingenuity and new technology will save us (even though it always seems to make the situation worse). This is true pessimism, true doom-mongering. The path of extraction, growth, techno-fixes, corruption and war is the path to extinction. We’re not sure we can reach the doom-mongers; but we live in hope.

Prof. Jem Bendell has compiled a list of the types of responses to the the idea of the coming crash.