The End of Our World? (Part II)
Link to Part I: The End of Our World? (Part I)
We are now living under similar circumstances to people during the Mayan, Angkorian or Aztec times. Our world is facing the highest levels of mass consumption, luxurious living standards and has the highest population ever. In this “civilization”, more and more resources are extracted to meet our needs and further expansion.
Many people doubt whether the next generations will enjoy a similar world of affluence as many of us have recently. We are consuming a lot of scarce resources, putting a lot of pressure on the Earth. Jared Diamond, the famous American social scientist and author, says:
“Our society is facing a crossroad. The track of our civilization is stretching off into the future, but there are forks in the track, there are decisions to make. There are big differences whether we go this way or that way.”
“The train is already moving, we have to be making our decision now. The Roman, the Maya, the Anasazi, they too faced choices and were coming to crossroads. We’ve already been making good decisions and some are, good decisions. If we make more good decisions in the future, then the track of our own society will stretch out towards the horizons”
Mayan ruins in today’s Central America (Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain)
If we make the decision to protect our world for our children or grandchildren, then we have to decide now. As a member of this great “civilization” we are living in, I want my descendants to live in a world that gives them similar benefits. Based on Diamond’s book, I believe he suggests two major types of solutions that world leaders as well as people have to pursue.
First, countries have to promote the Research, Development and Innovation to find alternative sources of energy, to diminish energy usage, or to improve existing technologies – such as reducing risks and waste associated with nuclear power plants.
Will overconsumption cause the end of our world? (Source: Flickr, Christopher Dombres, Public Domain)
Second, big culture changes are needed to restructure the lifestyle of many, from the current mass consumption of resources to more careful consumption. For example, the challenge is not only to restructure cities to limit individual transportation for more public transportation. The biggest obstacle comes from changing the habits of individuals.
In order to reverse this train, world leaders have to find solutions – as they tried to do when they met at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. As for us, citizens, we need to also consider how we can contribute, before it is too late.
*Source: Diamond, J. (2005). The Maya Collapse. In Collapse (p. 175). New York, NY: Penguin Group
This piece reflects the views of its author only, and not necessarily that of the Politikoffee Media team and editors.