MAINSTREAM ENVIRONMENTALISM: HAS IT LOST ITS WAY?
The figure encapsulates the essence of what constitutes the mainstream (Bright Green) environmentalism today that has taken a very narrow, misleading view (with grave consequences) of humanity’s existential ecological crisis. According to this mainstream narrative, Climate Change is the key existential crisis and frames it as primarily a carbon pollution issue caused by the use of fossil fuel that primarily powers the operation & sustenance of the Industrial Civilization (IC). Seen from this perspective the solution (like the Green New Deal) then is framed in terms of lobbying for replacing the fossil energy source with 100% so-called renewable energy (Solar & Wind). And all this assumes (without much evidential support) it is technically viable, financially feasible and can be scaled to industrial levels within a climate relevant timeframe. The 100% RE transition first and fore most requires the electrification of the entire energy sector globally (as of today electricity represents approximately 19% of the total global primary energy consumption!).
The figure is an attempt to reestablish ecological Overshoot as the primary existential risk for humanity instead of Climate Change (that is only one of the nine symptoms within the Planetary Boundary framework). The operation of the Industrial Civilization (IC) converts resources, living species & communities into dead commodities and aggravates Overshoot by breaching the safe operating space of the PB (Loss Biodiversity & ecosystems, Ocean Acidification, Phosphorous & Nitrogen pollution, Climate Change etc.). The operation of the material growth-obsessed IC is characterized by
• unsustainably high material & energy Throughput (Tp)
• unsustainably civilizational complexity (C) (Globalization & long supply chains)
• proliferation of high risk dual-use technologies to boost efficiency (Nuclear, Biotech, Nanotech, AI etc.)
IC requires industrial levels of energy (read dense fossil energy) for its sustenance & growth. Irrespective of what source of energy powers IC, humanity cannot avert overshoot (followed by societal & biospheric collapse) by simply replacing fossil energy with renewable energy (for more details see Limits to Growth-30 year update).
There is enough evidence to support the idea that the only ‘way of life’ which is sustainable, is pre-industrial (yes, animal & human labor driven). It is needless to say such a (post collapse or energy descent) future will be low-tech, sustain radically reduced population & throughput (Tp) & complexity (C). The only sustainable renewable energy source that can reliably support this future is biomass (refer to Through the Eye of a Needle- an Eco-Heterodox Perspective on the Renewable Energy Transition by Megan K. Seibert and William E. Rees https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/14/15/4508.). From this perspective ecological conservation, restoration (ideally to pre-industrial levels) then becomes a priority insurance & adaptation strategy for the mainstream environmentalism.
WARNING FROM LEADING SCIENTISTS
Leading scientists of the world have come together thrice in the last three decades to warn about the dangers of humanity’s current path, the risks of transgressing critical Planetary Boundaries and the need to urgently acknowledge climate emergency that is jeopardizing the very survival of life as we know on planet Earth. The complexity of the modern human society rests on the narrow range of climate stability since last 11000 years which is now being dangerously altered by trajectory of our complexity ridden modern industrial civilization. Global Crisis (GC) thus has the potential to severely disrupt the edifice which sustains modernity and demands humanity to adapt and learn to do things differently very soon.
Click here to find the drafts of the following documents:
“Not since cyanobacteria has a single taxonomic group been so in charge. Humans have proven we are capable of seismic influence, of depleting the ozone layer, of changing the biology of every continent.” The question now is “whether we are prepared for this kind of control.”
Jennifer Jacquet (2017)
(C)risis- (R)esponse- (T)ransition Model:
GCR’s approach to articulating & navigating humanity’s existential predicament is premised on the following:
Humanity today has enough researched & actionable evidence about existential risks from Global Crisis (GC) manifesting as societal & biospheric collapse
Effective response (Prevention, mitigation, adaptation or prefigure) requires systemic transformation both via Top-down thinking & Bottom-up actions
Due to the urgent nature of the crisis (climate relevant time-frame), only a swift top-down response will have any desirable effect of averting/managing the ultimate risk
But without bottom-up consensus (among critical section of world population) on the nature & strategies concerning Crisis-Response-Transition, no Top-down initiative is possible
Bottom-up action is extremely difficult & hurdle ridden due to
Misinformation (Net zero, 100% Renewable Energy transition, Geoengineering strategy etc.)
Disinformation (from merchants of doubt) about crisis framing & sustainability strategies (framing sustainability in terms of carbon pollution (Fossil Fuels) rather than OVERSHOOT of which Climate Change is just one symptom)
Information overload & clutter around sustainability
Ostrich-ism (refusing to acknowledge changed realities & adopt sustainable lifestyles)
Overcoming these hurdles require a simplified, constructive & actionable model of communication that helps in effective articulation & de-cluttering of sustainability issues
GCR is committed to fill this gap by proposing a Crisis (C)- Response (R)- Transition (T) model and play a catalytic role in this transition process
QUESTIONS WE CARE ABOUT
GCR’s research & analysis concerns itself with some of humanity’s most pressing questions, assumptions, predicaments, responses & transition strategies:
Chances are that if you are deeply entrenched in values that put a lot of faith in the prowess of technology & markets to take us through this crisis, then you may find the contents on this website difficult to reconcile and engage with. We have made some progress in framing & articulating complex sustainability issues (C-R-T model), that has brought some clarity in intelligently navigating existential predicaments but our models are still in the refining process. If you share an interest in these questions then you are someone we would love to engage with to validate our approach and may be you could contribute in the strengthening it further.
We have attempted to answer some of the questions (using credible evidence & published literature) and have attempted to articulate those using frameworks. We intend to validate them further with the aid of support from wider expert consultation & public participation. If you share these concerns and feel like exploring them, we invite you to collaborate/volunteer with us (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Global Crisis Response (GCR) is the flagship initiative of Orb Tranz Research & Broadcasting Foundation (a not for profit) participatory action research Think Tank with the following core aims:
Dedicated to articulating & navigating the era of the ANTHROPCENE
Propose a holistic framework of humanity’s existential crisis in the form of Global Crisis (GC)
De-clutter the genre of Sustainability
Educate about the differences between Weak (pseudo) and Strong Sustainability measures
Re-establish the centrality of ecological OVERSHOOT (instead of Climate Change) as humanity’s core existential ecological predicament
Replace stories of “Doom & Gloom” framing with that of “Realistic hope” & “meaningful alternative paradigms”
To emerge as a One-Stop platform to learn, share and network about strong (eco-centric) sustainability issues
Provide balanced perspectives from Global North & South
Envision an equitable & sustainable society
WANT TO JOIN US?
We are constantly looking to work with the best research and creative minds who share our values and concerns. For those who desire to explore a diversity of radical ideas in the pursuit of addressing humanity’s existential predicament are welcome to apply for
Internship (voluntary & short-term)
Volunteership (flexible & longer term engagement)
You may also want to read the testimonials of some of our past and current volunteers.
“My time as a research assistant with Global Crisis Response was hugely valuable and helped me develop useful skills like creating written form content, database creation and critical thinking. I was able to gain new perspectives on issues like climate change and become more aware of the work that needs to be done. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to work with this organization.”
Kaira Wallace (California, USA)
Research Assistant (Intern 2020-21)