Citizen Action Monitor

The fate of civilization is in our hands, says Hagens, “We must bend and not break.”

To avoid the ghastliest consequences for ourselves and the environment, we must sequentially navigate the descent from a growth-driven economic system. —

No 2715 Posted by fw, March 2, 2021—

BACKGROUND

1/ In my February 19, 2021 piece, I reposted a report co-authored by 17 scientists that documents, in considerable detail, the evidence of humanity’s existential plight. My repost is titled: Just how bad will future environmental conditions get? In a word, “ghastly!” The title of the report that I reposted is “Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future”, by Frontiers in Conservation Science, January 13, 2021.

2/ Included at the bottom of my February 19 repost is a link to a 90-minute video titled OMEGA – Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future. This 90-minute video brings together six experts, including two commentators, Bill Rees and Nate Hagens, for a ZOOM discussion of the January 13 report co-authored by the 17 scientists.

3/ Although the hosts of the 90-minute video refer to the event as a “discussion,” I found the format of the proceedings was more along the lines of a Q & A directed at the participants and the two commentators, Bill Rees and Nate Hagens, with very little discussion among the respondents themselves.

4/ During the 90-minute discussion, Nate Hagens was asked for his input 4 times. On February 22, I reposted the first of his 4 responses titled “In my analysis, I think we’re headed for a financial recalibration.” — Nate Hagens in answer to the question: What are your thoughts on the January 13 report co-authored by 17 scientists.  On February 28 I reposted the second of his 4 responses titled “Solving “ghastly” environmental crises will require convincing highest level politicians” in response to the question: “What would you add to the discussion so far? On March 1, reposted the third of his 4 responses, which I titled What to tell our children? Tell them that you have to love something in order to save it.

5/ Reposted below is my transcript of Nate’s fourth and final response to a request to share his final thought on the report co-authored by 17 scientists that documents, in considerable detail, the evidence of humanity’s existential plight.

6/ At the bottom of this post is the 90-minute embedded video of the full ZOOM discussion where you can watch Nate’s brief response to the fourth request, his closing thought, from the 1:18:44 to the 1:22:08 marks of the video.

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TRANSCRIPT OF HAGENS’ REMARKS (1:18:44 to 1:22:08)

Hagens’ closing thought

My closing thought — I’m going to share on my screen again, real briefly – here’s a quote:

We live in a zoologically impoverished world, from which all the hugest, and fiercest, and strangest forms have recently disappeared; and it is, no doubt, a much better world for us now that they have gone. Yet it is a marvelous fact, and one that has not been sufficiently dwelt upon, this sudden dying out of so many large Mammalia, not in one place, but in half the land surface of the globe.”

This [quote] was not [from] one of the authors of the “ghastly” paper, but, in fact, was Alfred Russell Wallace in the year 1876. So we are at risk here, it’s “ghastly, ghastlier, and ghastliest”.

And everything I do with my work, with my life is to navigate the natural world and some of the ten million species that we share this planet with, through the bottlenecks of the 21st century.

In response to the question [that] I chose in the chat, there seems to be a deterministic level of doom that civilization is going to collapse — it’s inevitable, it’s a good thing, and without humans the planet’s going to be better off. That may or may not be true, but I think there’s a false equivalence there.

I personally have come to believe – I started all of this work because I deeply care about other species in nature, but I determined — and I’ve already grieved for some of the ghastliness we already are surrounded by – I’ve determined that we must bend and not break, because a break in the human system, with everything we have – with nuclear war and toxic chemical plants, and everything – could be one of the worst scenarios for the environment.

So we have to navigate this descent stepwise in order to have a better possible impact on the environment.

I don’t know how to do that, but I think, as I mentioned earlier, we have to handle it sequentially.

Could any of the G20 nations – if we were sitting in a G20 meeting with Paul and Gerardo and Bill and I and others at the table – they [the G20] could not take this story on board. If you presented this story to the G20, there would be a phase shift in high-level hominid response towards scarcity, and there would be wars and a grab for resources and all kinds of other chaos.

So the challenge is how to navigate. The economic system is going to run out of runway, and how we respond to that is going to dictate the next choices.

And a couple of other questions on the chat with regard to population. Population and climate change are downstream of this superorganism dynamic. And not to mention that — I mean not only that – but we have eighty-million, eight-pound creatures added to the human population every year, and we have a hundred-million, three-thousand pound creatures added to our population every year in the form of automobiles.

So which is the greater ill? Is it the number of people or is it the amount that we consume or some combination?

So, I’m in the camp, currently, that we have to figure out how to bend and not break.

And I’ll stop there.

*****

RELATED VIDEO –

Nate’s brief response begins at 1:06:42 and ends at 1:10:25

OMEGA – Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future, posted by Stanley Wu on You Tube, January 31, 2021 — The formal session will last an hour with an additional half hour for those who can stay. We hope you will join us for this thought-provoking discussion.

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