Curating Content To Support Learning About Humanity's Transition

This content was posted on  3 Dec 19  by   Joe Brewer  on  Medium
Societal Collapse and Earth Regeneration

I would like to share a reflection on this very thoughtful article by my friend Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed summarizing the science of collapse as it relates to the current globalized civilization.

For starters, let me say that I find resonance with nearly all that he says and that I encourage others to read it carefully and reflect upon how deeply you might radically change your lifestyle in service to Earth regeneration.

Where I find issue with his assessment is the thing I’d like to share — as I hope it will shed new light on this discourse and contribute in a small way to bringing it into greater coherence.

The fault I see is a very subtle form of the false separation of humans from the rest of nature. By treating civilization collapse as the primary dynamic, the narrative is framed in a way that is unconsciously blind to the larger-scale and more inclusive planetary collapse that has already been occurring in the Earth’s biosphere for more than a century.

If Nafeez (and others engaging in this inquiry) reads William Catton Jr’s foundational book “Overshoot” and ponders the system complexity of Earth’s biosphere as a whole (meaning that human civilization is not separated out for special assessment as its own dynamic), it becomes clear that land degradation and species loss have been defining ecological features of the explosive human population growth throughout the last two centuries.

It will also become clear from this perspective that the “new frontier” of energy making this explosive growth possible has been the discovery and use of fossil fuels — which took 200+ million years to create and has been nearly completely burned through in less than 200 years, an intensification of energy use one million times compacted in time!

When we see this planetary collapse dynamic as it truly is, we see that it began well before anyone alive today was born. And it will continue well after all of us pass away.

Seen through this lens, the regeneration of the Earth becomes a cultural process that must last for several human generations. The work we do today as we live out our lives must be in service to timescales of hundreds and even thousands of years.

This is why my family is dedicating itself to soil regeneration, restoration of river systems, preservation of biodiversity, and the establishment of “climax” ecosystems like food forests — all of which will last for longer than a human generation.

Ponder why bioregional economies based on living systems principles are the ONLY way to regenerate the Earth as we link the scales from local to global. And then ponder how to change the fundamentals of your life today.

There is no time to waste and it is very late in the game.

Onward, fellow humans.

Joe Brewer is the executive director of the Center for Applied Cultural Evolution. Get involved by signing up for our newsletter and consider making a donation to support our work.

Societal Collapse and Earth Regeneration was originally published in Age of Awareness on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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