Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Optimism About Our Sustainable Future from a Former Greenpeace Leader

Going "Cold Turkey" will help us to adapt to climate change.  That's Paul Gilding claim in his forthcoming book titled "The Great Disruption".  Do you remember John Lennon's version of cold turkey? I can't tell yet if I prefer Lennon's or Gilding's version.

From Publishers Weekly

Gilding, former director of Greenpeace International and now on the faculty at Cambridge University™s Program for Sustainable Leadership, proposes that global warming is just one piece of an impending planetary collapse caused by our overuse of resources. According to the Global Footprint Network, we surpassed Earth™s capacity in 1988, and by 2009, we needed the resources of 1.4 planets to sustain our economy—and any increases in efficiencies that some claim will solve the problem are likely only to encourage us to use more. Gilding argues that, like addicts who need to hit bottom, we energy users will deny our problem until we face head-on the risk of collapse, but when we do, we will address the emergency with the commitment of our response to WWII and begin a real transformation to a sustainable economy built on equality, quality of life, and harmony with the ecosystem. Gilding™s confidence in our ability to transform disaster into a happiness economy may astonish readers, but the book provides a refreshing, provocative alternative to the recent spate of gloom-and-doom climate-change studies. (Mar.)
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So Gilding believes in the "silver lining" of disasters.   He wants our society to go "Mad Max" (i.e. devour every last gallon of gasoline so that we can't continue with fossil fuels)  because when we "collapse"  he is confident enough in our politics and our nimbleness that he believes that we will rally.  To reach this "re-birth", we have to be "shocked and awed" and at that point we will reform our ways.  In a crazy way, his claims are consistent with the logic of my Climatopolis  but he has capitalism as the villain while I view it as the star of the show.

It will interest me how he explains how the "real transformation" will take place.  He must claim that our behavioral change will occur on the demand side as we go back to living the "simple life" of people 1 thousand years ago.

In my "balanced" economic approach we make changes to our life on both the demand and the supply side.