We are at a tipping point
Our geological community says we are in the Anthropocene era, an era dominated by the impact of human activity on our world. Observations from our scientific community are that we are at a tipping point in the geological evolution of our world. And since we are part of our world, and dependent on our world for our life, our well-being, and our future, a tipping point in the evolution of our world is a turning point in our human journey.
Looking at the most commonly-used indicators of sustainability, we see the majority are heading in an ominous direction: greenhouse gas emission, population growth, energy use, ecological footprint, polar ice-melt, biodiversity and ecosystem function loss, extreme weather and climate events. The list goes on. Recently, over 40 Nobel Laureates and leaders assembled in Stockholm, Sweden, to declare that “human pressures are starting to overwhelm the Earth’s buffering capacity”. Many of our very best scientific minds believe that, if we fail to turn these trends around, – or to “bend the curves”, – between 2015 and 2020, we will not be able to avert catastrophe.
Exploring Our Past to Find Our Way in the Future
There is apprehension and concern about our future. Our political, economic, and social systems do not appear to be serving us well. Technology is a mixed blessing. Awareness of significant threats to our existence is growing. And we are beginning to question the value systems underlying our dominant culture.
At the same time, we are aware we have the ability, the resources, and the opportunity to use what we know and know how to do to create new ways of seeing and doing things that could contribute more successfully to creating possibilities for a better future.
Time is short. We have to keep a long view to improve our ability to see and create with the opportunities and choices we have now.