Note — Jul 05, 2020

Why 2020 to 2050 Will Be ‘the Most Transformative Decades in Human History’

Very good piece (an excerpt from Eric Holthaus’ book The Future Earth) on the arduous and transformative next few decades. Even if “we” succeed at executing “proactive harm reduction on a civilizational scale,” there are still massive climate impacts in store for us, many potential disasters, challenging situations to thread, and the near certainty of large migrations that “would challenge our understanding of nationality, borders, and politics as usual.”

If lifesaving technology is not distributed fairly, or if governments lean too heavily on austerity along racial lines, or if climate disasters fragment already vulnerable populations, the result could be truly ugly. […]

[T]he heart of how the problem of climate change came into being in the first place: By imagining ourselves as individuals who somehow exist outside the context of an interconnected, living ecosystem on a planet where all of our actions deeply affect one another, we fail to see each other’s humanity and right to simply exist. […]

Until we build a world that works for everyone, we’ll continue to have people whose survival is systematically erased by those in power. That’s the dystopia for the rich and powerful: a world where the rest of us finally realize the power we had all along to fight for a justice-focused society. […]

We will need to establish policies that encourage, rather than restrict, freedom of movement. And we must establish robust social safety nets so that families are less likely to abandon their homes in search of a place where they can simply live. Also, even before we reach zero emissions globally, we will have to recognize the need to take aggressive actions to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.