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Resilience is the New Black

It pains me to admit it, but Nelson Lebo III hit the nail on the head with this essay published at The Automatic Earth:

Climate, Energy, Economy: Pick Two

I share this on the Wall of Fame today as an example of enlightened writing about growth-related issues. Lebo forces us to come to terms with something people like me are working every day to prevent: collapse. Or at least a very ugly, barely inhabitable world.

“Remember the warnings 30 years ago that we needed 30 years to make the transition to a low carbon economy or else there would be dire consequences? Well, in case you weren’t paying attention, it didn’t happen.”

That’s right. We didn’t make the transition. But did we dodge a bullet? Did we skip the dire consequences? No, they are happening, but on a timescale we have not evolved to truly appreciate.

“While these warnings were being issued by scientists much of the world doubled down – Trump-like – on Ford Rangers, Toyota Tacomas, and other sport utility vehicles. The same appears to be happening now, with the added element that we are experiencing the dire consequences as scientists issue even more warnings and drivers buy even more ‘light trucks’. Forget Paris, the writing was on the wall at Copenhagen.”

Lebo has given up on preventing the dire consequences, and that makes this piece interesting.

“Responses to temperature records range from sorrow, despair, anger, and even fury. Anyone with children or grandchildren (and even the childless) who believes in peer review and an overwhelming scientific consensus has every right to feel these emotions. So why do I feel only resignation?”

Lebo is moving on to how we might weather the storm. You’ll find his analysis of our situation very enlightening.

“…most OECD economies and the quality of life they bring rely on both moderate climate and cheap fossil fuels, but these are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, regardless of emissions decisions made by the international community, we are already on track for decades of temperature records and extreme weather events that will cost billions if not trillions of dollars.”

The bottom line: go for resilience. This is a good place to recommend the Post Carbon Institute’s Resilience program and website. Very solid and informative.

“The double bind we find ourselves in by failing to address the issue three decades ago is a challenge to put it mildly. Smart communities recognize challenges and respond accordingly. The best response is to develop resilience in the following areas: ecological, equity, energy and economic.”

Read the piece and get the full story on how your community should be preparing. It’s not competing for new employers to move to town. It’s not building new suburbs. I’m not giving up. I’m not going to stop splashing cold water in the face of our climate change denial and the growth mania it enables. But Lebo is right; it doesn’t look like the human race is smart enough, so we’d best also prepare for the worst.

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Dave Gardner

Producer of the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Dave writes and speaks regularly on the subject of growth addiction, including the pro-growth media bias that perpetuates prosperity-from-growth mythology.

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