The Great Transition: Humanity at the Tipping Point – Part Two
by Gary Stamper
Evolutionary Responses to Global Challenges or more of the same?
Part one of this series began with a quote from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he recently described the unprecedented changes facing the world today:
“Throughout the ages, people have said that the world is in the midst of big change. But the level and degree of global change that we face today is far more profound than at any other period in my adult lifetime. I call this period the Great Transition.”
My sense tells me we’re already in trouble. Here’s why.
First, an observation: The Secretary General makes it sound as if he coined the phrase “The Great Transition,” and while he may not have meant it that way, and it is a small distinction unimportant in the Grand Scheme of Things at this time of Great Transition, it feels typical of previous meetings of world leaders in the Kyoto Protocols and at Copenhagen. In those meetings, world leaders decried the threats of climate change, wrung their hands in agony over recognition of the perils we face, and went home and changed nothing.
The term Great Transition was first introduced by the Global Scenario Group (GSG), a faculty international body of scientists convened in 1995 by the Tellus Institute and Stockholm Environment Institute to examine the requirements for a transition to a sustainable global society. The GSG set out to describe and analyze scenarios for the future of the earth as it entered a Planetary phase of civilization.
Since its introduction, the term “Great Transition” has often been used by organizations or individuals in the environmental/sustainability domain to describe a paradigmatic shift of civilization towards the behaviors and values that would be necessary for a sustainable global civilization to flourish.
It appears that’s the context the UN is using to facilitate this conversation, but is that realistically where we’re headed, or is this just an egalitarian new-age pipe dream driven by wishful thinking that no longer applies because of rapidly shifting life conditions and climate change “positive feedback loops?”
We may be able to answer that question by looking at what exactly is the state of climate change on the planet. What are we looking at? What does the latest science tell us is going on, where are we at, and what needs to be done to mitigate the effects of what we’ve created, the mess we now find ourselves in?
One of the things the UN is doing is bringing evolutionary change agents like Don Beck, Duane Elgin, Mark Gerzon, Jean Houston, Bruce Lipton, Lynnaea Lumbard, Elza Maalouf, Ocean Robbins, Jeff Vander Clute, Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit to talk about it to interested UN parties.
As much as I love the wisdom of these remarkable people, I’m somewhat stunned and question what conversations we should be having at this time. More about that later in this essay. First, let’s look at where the science is.
Guy McPherson quotes American actress Lily Tomlin who is credited with the expression, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” If you’re not familiar with Professor McPherson, you should be. He has a website called Nature Bats Last where he regularly posts a Climate Change and Update page. From that pge, here’s the bottom line:
On a planet 4 C hotter than baseline, all we can prepare for is human extinction (from Oliver Tickell’s 2008 synthesis in the Guardian). According to an informed assessment of BP’s Energy Outlook 2030, published in January 2013, global average temperature of Earth will hit the 4 C mark in 2030. These assessments consider neither collapse nor self-reinforcing [positive] feedback loops. In the face of near-term human extinction, Americans view the threat as distant and irrelevant, as illustrated by a 22 April 2013 article in the Washington Post based on poll results that echo the long-held sentiment that elected officials should be focused on the industrial economy, not far-away minor nuisances such as climate change.
In other words, we have a window of approximately 17 years – give or take a decade – until the planet will no longer longer sustain human life due to this minor nuisance. Even the most optimistic of legitimate climate change scientists say at the very least we’re going to have massive depopulation. “Massive Depopulation”…How typical of how we refuse to talk about death and dying. It’s not as if we’re afraid of the words…We are afraid of the words, and so are those in charge as they have absolutely no idea how to respond.
And this is part of what you need to know:
The Obama Administration is well aware of the worst-case scenario of climatic catastrophe, and the Near-Term Extinction – NTE – that comes with it. Regular readers of Nature Bats Last and others who have been paying attention will recall Copenhagen COP15 as the climate-change meetings thrown under the bus by the Obama administration. From Nature Bats Last:
A footnote on that long-forgotten briefing contains this statement: “THE LONG-TERM SEA LEVEL THAT CORRESPONDS TO CURRENT CO2 CONCENTRATION IS ABOUT 23 METERS ABOVE TODAY’S LEVELS, AND THE TEMPERATURES WILL BE 6 DEGREES C OR MORE HIGHER. THESE ESTIMATES ARE BASED ON REAL LONG TERM CLIMATE RECORDS, NOT ON MODELS.”
In other words, President Obama and others in his administration knew near-term extinction of humans was already guaranteed. Even before the dire feedbacks were reported by the scientific community, the Obama administration abandoned climate change as a significant issue because it knew we were done as early as 2009. Rather than shoulder the unenviable task of truth-teller, Obama did as his imperial higher-ups demanded: He lied about collapse, and he lied about climate change. And he still does.
What the Obama adminstration knows, the UN knows. Bottom line here consists of two factors:
The only remotely possible way to change things in time to avoid NTE, is the immediate shut down of the global Industrial model which will also cause massive depopulation;
For whatever reason, and there are many possibilities, the Obama Administration – or any other governmant – will not acknowledge the science and come out of the closet around NTE, and therefore, number one is not going to happen.
So why is the UN bringing in the Evolutionary Change Agents if they already know it’s too late? There are several possibilities.
First is the possibility that the Adminstration and the UN don’t buy the facts and that they are in complete denial or firmly esconced in hopium. As resources go, denial is apparently one of the few we have that is actually not running out. There’s an abundance of it out there and it’s part of the human psyche. Then there’s the possibility that they do know, but believe that the illusion of normalcy – that everything is going to be alright – must be maintained until it can no longer be maintained. Another is that those in power who know are so pathologically addicted – like an alcoholic who drinks himself to death – that they cannot possibly change. Last on this short list is the idea that they have no idea what to do, and are desparately trying anything and everything. Of course, these are just some of the possibilities, but you get the idea.
And this hopefully brings us to a place where we can begin to have a discussion around just what is an appropriate response to NTE? In light of the high probability of mass panic, denial, anger and civil disorder, should people be told? And at the same time, If human extinction is even a remote possibility, don’t people have the right to know? Who are we to withhold this kind of information from others? I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now and have to come to some answers that I think are appropriate for me, and I’ll write about those in the third installment of this series.
What I will say here is that the approach I’ll advocate includes the concept of triage and Hospice as patient and provider and what I think is a universe-centric big-picture perspective that combines emotional and spiritual wellness and surrender into grace, and the awareness that compassionate resistance is the only ethical response to NTE.
See Part One of this series here
See Part Three of this series here