As more people become disillusioned with the relentless march of modernity—no longer buying into its deluded destiny and suspecting a mindless march toward a cliff edge—they may simply stop participating in the expected ways.
If we’re not going to voluntarily enter an era of planned, controlled degrowth, what are we going to do instead?
Society has become so complex that all the complexity begets more complexity. And if that’s not complex enough for you, jobs have become so specialized that hardly anyone knows how anything is made or works.
The TEQs system involves rationing fossil fuel energy use for a nation on the basis of either a contracting carbon emission budget or scarce fuel availability, or both simultaneously, distributing budgets equitably amongst energy-users.
As civilization faces an existential crisis, our leaders demonstrate their inability to respond. Theory of change shows that now is the time for radically new ideas to transform society before it’s too late.
There is a fundamental truth that these prophets of cutting-edge technology are not considering: fossil fuels are running out. It was inevitable that they would. Nothing that could only be created under unique conditions over millions of years can be expected to renew itself during the brief span of the Industrial Revolution.
The most hopeful and inspiring project of our time is rethinking civilization, reforesting the earth, and rewilding the planet. It is a single project and the most important one we can undertake.
I have become more certain that the way through despair involves experiencing oneself as part of a greater whole and surrendering to the mystery of creation. But now the climate crisis invites us to engage with the mystery of life with fresh eyes and open hearts.
While Earth has not been this warm in human history, we can learn about coping with climate change by looking to the Classic Maya civilization that thrived between A.D. 250-950 in Eastern Mesoamerica, the region that is now Guatemala, Belize, Eastern Mexico, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras.
Why do civilizations collapse? It is a question that has been haunting the nebulous entity we call “The West” from the time when Edward Gibbon published his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” in 1776.
What made Europeans so successful in the task of conquering the world? My interpretation is that it was the result of periodic “Seneca Collapses” of the European population which made it possible to accumulate resources that would then be available to propel the European expansion. It is an effect that may be called the”Seneca Rebound” that makes growth faster after a collapse.
The more I study the story of the Roman Empire, the more I see the similarities with our world. Of course, history doesn’t always repeat itself, but it is impressive to note how with the start of the collapse of the Western Empire, the Roman elites abandoned the people to build themselves strongholds in safe places.