The Urgent Need for a Paradigm Shift

So long as we measure success in terms of growth, big houses, fancy cars, prestigious jobs, enviable reputations, and conspicuous consumption, our world is doomed.  Yet this is still the paradigm that drives our choices.

The fiction of capitalism that the unfettered pursuit of individual interests results in the greatest good for all is now destroying the ability of the planet to continue to support life.  Whether the climate catastrophe we are creating will result in the extinction of the human race or the end of our global civilization is somewhat moot, because what distinguishes humanity from other life forms is our global civilization.  When that ends, the uniqueness of being human is greatly diminished.

We should be focused on maintaining civilization, which will require that the current energy demands of civilization be dramatically reduced.  This will require stopping our heedless use of energy and virtually eliminating combustion to produce that energy.  With a global population of eight billion people, however, abstemiousness and the inventive use of clean energy technology will not suffice.  It will inevitably require a substantial reduction in the human population.  Under the current paradigm, this will not happen voluntarily, but Mother Nature will press the point.

The end of the relatively benign Holocene climate will produce adversity that will rapidly and dramatically reduce the human population, and not without a lot of suffering.  It is already beginning to happen, but not in a way that has succeeded in separating the majority of us from the fictional world we have created.  That will certainly happen in the next ten to twenty years.