Much is happening that is unfamiliar. We need to challenge the core assumptions about how we are currently living and what we should use our time for—an experimental mindset that works to consider all possibilities, while specifying pathways which are likely to violate the constraints of the present. The environment, governance, and the economy are not set up to work for all. We should notice connections and not be satisfied with conventional approaches that do more to protect the current system than help.
We need specifics on implementation—cutting fossil fuel use and stopping its extraction. Most proposals for dealing with climate and its related consequences avoid politics and lack critical reflection on how to transition. When people will be hurt by necessary changes, technical and policy interventions will stir strong resistance.
Humanity lacks a shared path from where we are to staying below 2 degrees—a path which includes everyone and benefits the entire planet. Under pressures of severe scarcity, especially of food, violence will likely increase. We need an optimistic view that is plausible. Winds of despair, fear, and panic will come. As climate turbulence presses in on us, either we respond or we continue to drift. Optimism requires a goal.
Knowing there will be major losses, we need to actively craft a complex ethos. Instead of embracing a long-view, we’ve relied on coal and oil, overlooking the health of the population as a whole. There is a growing sense that pursuing profit, consumerism, war, and technology have created a world which isolates us.
The core focus of relationships—meaning and character, what makes a good life—are lost when the stage is set for competition over cooperation, for isolation over community. In the urgency to grow, we’ve forgotten what it means to manage for the good of all. Take a core issue, like the struggle between social and individual ownership of land (1). This has no perfect solution. Still, the tension must be creatively managed.