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[This material supersedes our earlier Plan B information]

A PLANET IN TROUBLE?

Some still deny the problem.

Most do not want to think about it.

We who do care struggle with the choices: –

People first or planet first?

Address technology, consumption or population?

Attempt changes within the growth economy, or beyond it?

Aim to prevent collapse or also prepare for it?

What should be our responses to the future?

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PEOPLE FIRST OR PLANET FIRST?

Over four billion years the planet has evolved from a lump of rock to host complex and diverse life – a biosphere.

This complex diversity of interacting and complementary life is amazing, precious, wonderful – or is that just a human projection on to it?

Understanding our own fulfilment in doing our thing (not the same as joy or pain in the moment) we can probably say that this holds for the great whale, the oak tree, the coral and everything else dynamically alive.

This is no fairy story with a happy ending. Species also cease. Yet it can have a happy middle: their fulfilment, like yours, is the action and experiencing under the curve of life. There have been great extinctions in which the diversity of life on Earth has contracted; making a gradual recovery to a new blossoming.

Some few thousand years ago one species – us – achieved such dominance that we became a threat to the whole biosphere: aiming to control it, reduce it to a resource and a dustbin.

The irony has been that we (humans) also started to achieve a self-conscious overview of what we were doing – as well as the ability to block out the implications (denial).

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CAUSE OF THE SIXTH EXTINCTION?

Once our dire situation is recognised, the hunt for the cause – somewhere to pin the blame – is on.

Is runaway or destructive technology the problem? Fossil fuel heating and transport? Plastics and the chemical industry? The nuclear and arms industries? Chemical farming and industrial fishing?

Is it our massive consumption: more and more ‘stuff’ to want, use and throw away? The endless indulgencies and gadgets that the present system needs us to need?

Is it our sheer numbers? Seven billion and climbing when one billion scared the pants off Malthus? How much more of the wild space do we need to grab for an extra eighty million people each year?

Is it the values that underpin this ‘civilisation’? Our visions of dominance over nature, endless growth and ‘free’ individuals? Can we learn from the modest values of indigenous peoples?

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HOW TO CHANGE DIRECTION?

Is ‘Green Growth’ within the existing endless growth economies a possible and viable option?

Or do growth economies need to give way to steady state (no growth) economies – with massive implications for wage packets and lifestyle expectations?

Can locally sourced and produced services and goods, supplied by alternative exchange mechanisms, bridge the expectation gap?

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AVOID COLLAPSE AT ALL COSTS OR PREPARE FOR IT?

Should we strain every nerve to prevent crossing the tipping points of global temperature rise, topsoil loss, and other irreversible threats to our existing society and economy? Can we achieve Deep Transition?

Or do we need to face the possibility that these transitions will occur despite our best efforts, creating a chaotic world way beyond the structures of existing societies?

Should we commit some of our psychic energy to preparing for this different reality that some of us will live to see – and will need to adapt to? Is Deep Adaptation possible?

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SO RESPONSES TO THE FUTURE?

These will be our personal attempts to answer the questions posed in the above series.

It is also the title of a Seminar which Planet Centred Forum intends to moderate in the Autumn.

Go to the Seminar page.