It’s too late..

16 12 2022

Hat tip to Alice Friedemann for pointing me to this video. Dennis Meadows needs no introduction to this audience, he’s one of my heroes and I’m glad to see he’s still going strong. There’s a bit of waffling in the first five minutes I suggest you skip…

At the 2014 Age of Limits conference Dennis said that in 1972 we had reached about 85% of Earth’s carrying capacity and today we are about 125%, and every month we delay in getting back within limits erodes Earth’s further ability to tolerate us. “The reason we don’t have a response to climate change,” he said, “is not because we don’t have better models. It’s because people don’t care about climate change.” That may be our epitaph.

In 1972 there were two possible options provided for going forward — overshoot or sustainable development. Despite myriad conferences and commissions on sustainable development since then, the world opted for overshoot. The two-legged hairless apes did what they always have done. They dominated and subdued Earth. Faced with unequivocal evidence of an approaching existential threat, they equivocated and then attempted to muddle through.

Global civilization will only be the first of many casualties of the climate the Mother Nature now has coming our way at a rate of change exceeding any comparable shift in the past 3 million years, save perhaps the meteors or super volcanoes that scattered our ancestors into barely enough breeding pairs to be able to revive. This change will be longer lived and more profound than many of those phenomena. We have fundamentally altered the nitrogen, carbon and potassium cycles of the planet. It may never go back to an ecosystem in which bipedal mammals with bicameral brains were possible. Or, not for millions of years”.