The global community has spent decades disagreeing about global warming/climate change—we can’t even agree what to call it. Despite dire warnings and mounds of scientific evidence there is a large population who refuse to believe the data and flat out deny all evidence. On the other side, there is a large group of people who accept the science and wish to do something about the problem.
Unfortunately, the second group too often acts like they need permission from the first group to take action but nothing could be further from the truth or more corrosive to the climate effort. It is certainly true that we need to build consensus to effect global action and that’s happening. But on another level, perhaps building that consensus is premature. Maybe instead of trying to convince the unconvinced of the science we should persuade with a different kind of evidence — opportunity.
One possible reason that there are so many climate deniers is that until fairly recently, there have been few if any solutions to the problem. Even the Paris Climate Accord only deals with what needs to happen and not how but it is the how that will motivate change.
Calling for conservation and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a fine objective but it leaves many people wondering how they’ll live their modern lives and still achieve them. Objectives are not goals, goals include how we will achieve objectives and we need goals today.
Given the current fossil fuel energy paradigm, it’s impossible to generate real solutions and the impracticality of using less and polluting less generates frustration and a sense of hopelessness that turns people off. At any rate, we are at a point where slowing the accumulation of emissions—which is what using less does — is not enough. There’s already too much carbon in the air and oceans and we need to actively remove some.
Perhaps more people would engage in the attempt to curb the worst effects of the climate crisis if they had a better understanding of how. That’s the focus of The Age of Sustainability and of this website — getting to the “how” of a solution. Actually — several solutions.
The Age of Sustainability will be the sixth economic era including the Industrial Revolution to sweep through capitalism. An economic age or era generates new industries and jobs, creates wealth, and is usually centered on a small handful of technologies that begin as disruptive innovations. We live in The Age of Information and Telecommunications that started about 50 years ago with modern, affordable computers and has driven the world economy ever since.
But ages eventually run out of gas due to commoditization which opens the way for another disruptive innovation. Ages are not bounded, helped, or hurt by government actions or the permission of political parties. They are free market phenomena that millions of people participate in and they are unstoppable. Millions and perhaps billions of decisions are now taking place that are already limiting the impact of pollution and climate change. People are deciding to put solar panels on their roofs, they are buying electric and hybrid cars, and they are seeking ways to exist in greater harmony with the planet.
Importantly, corporations are making hardheaded business decisions to foster sustainability because their leaders judge that it will make money. They’re right, too. Wind and solar farms are already proving themselves. Wind turbine technical is already one of the fastest growing job categories tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and it doesn’t require a college degree. Corporations are even evaluating active measures for removing carbon from the atmosphere.
At every turn, we see that we are at the very beginning of one of Civilization’s great adventures. It’s already spawning industries and jobs and it will also inspire the greatest profit-making era in human history. This website and this book make an attempt to document the rise of this new age and in the process, convince the unconvinced that a better life lies ahead.
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