It is evident that the world is currently faced with problems that might affect its sustainability. The shifting political, corporate and the military resources pose new challenges that may push the world beyond sustainable limits. The world is faced with the challenge of deepening insecurity and Islamic fundamentalism. About 30% of the world population live in shanties, slums, and ghettos and the numbers are rising steadily (Laszlo & Dennis 54). Such people live with no fresh water and more people are dying due to consumption of polluted water. People are becoming more frustrated due to poverty, illness, unemployment, and runaway pollution of the environment. The plants and animals are also not safe as most of them are becoming extinct or are in the verge of extinction. Of particular interest is the challenge posed by the climate change (Muja 249). If left unchecked, these challenges may drive the world beyond the limits of sustainability. In short, the world is not moving in the right direction and something needs to be done in a timely manner. This essay uses the concepts presented in the book Quantum Shift in the Global Brain to provide an understanding of the reality we face today and the processes that we must do to adapt to have a sustainable society.
The current changes in the world related to the way we related with nature, the cosmos, and with each other (Laszlo 35). Initially, people expected that we may live the world of business as usual. However, the small changes that began to be seen in the year 2007/8 demonstrated that business is not definitely as usual. Just one year after Laszlo published his book, the world fell prey to the global financial crisis. The 2008 global financial crisis may not be the tipping point, but it acts as a pointer of the worst things to come if we continue with the business as usual (Hawley 11). We can see signs of crashing stock markets, credit frozen banks, rising rates of unemployment that hurts the economy. Such is always met by huge stimulus packages from the government that may further destroy the economic systems within a country. Laszlo argues that such breakdowns may lead to further breakdowns (48). On the same note, such breakdowns may also lead to breakthroughs from different perspectives that may restore the world to sustainable limits.
According to Rauch, the changes in the earth are evident and they are scary (156). The environment is changing very fast rate under our feet. The author gives an example of Russians who for the first time in history celebrated the New Year eve without a trace of ice and snow. Currently, the people in New York can walk in the month of January in shirt sleeves (Bulkeley, 87). The author also gives examples of mountains such as Kilimanjaro that were previously covered with ice, but is no longer covered with ice. Therefore, the author strongly believes that the world is changing at an alarming rate and those who cannot see that are basically stupid.
Life is not changing from the climate zone alone. However, the most visible and measurable is the climate change (Syensson & Beverly 543). In connection with the climate change are a host of other factors such as ecological, economic, social, political, and cultural changes. Such changes are no longer theoretical, but in reality, they are imperative to the human survival. In this regard, the common assumption that people proceed with business as usual will be suicidal (Laszlo 49). On the same note, it is good to appreciate that fact that life is also changing faster due to advancements in science and technology. However, do such developments in science and technology makes the world sustainable? The new reality is that the business as usual is making the world unsustainable. People need to exploit the use of natural resources wisely (Westley 764). The advancement in science and technology needs to be redesigned to help the world advance towards sustainability.
The research on quantum physics provides a fresh connection between the humans and the nature. The intuition of connections of the humans and the planet is enough to inspire the solidarity of connections that is urgently needed by humans to survive in the planet (Schellenhuber et al 25). In addition, such knowledge will provide the basis of humans to live in harmony with nature to support sustainability initiatives. Without a clear balance between the humans and the nature, the life supporting risks being damaged.
I agree with the concepts advanced by Lazlo that the world is being stretched beyond sustainability. The rate at which we are utilizing the little resources available may mean that the future generations may have nothing left to survive on. In the start of 20th century, there were approximately 1.6 billion people. However, the figure grew four times 100 years later to reach 6 billion people (Peake & Smith 81). This unprecedented increase in the world population did not occur evenly in all places, but the impact may be felt in all places. Of particular interest is the continued growth in the world population. Will the increasing numbers have enough food, water, housing, and a conducive environment to live on?
The graph above illustrates that the world population may not reduce any sooner despite the depleting natural resources. The paradox of population growth is that it is not the same between the developed and the developing countries. In developing countries where the people are already struggling with poverty, diseases, and a host of other challenges, the population growth is extremely high. With Such a massive increase in population, the government will have a great challenge in offering the basic services such as healthcare, education, and other necessary services (Rauch 155). Such a huge increase in population is also likely to cause a strain on natural resources.
The pressure on the scarce resources may be brought about by the sharp increase in population (Laszlo & Dennis 37). The current systems of innovation and electronic ways of making life better cannot be relied on for future socio-environmental sustainability. By the year 2025, the world population will be close to 30 billion people. Such a huge number may never be sustainable not unless several techno-miracles happen in a timely manner to counter these challenges.
Charles Darwin in his book The Origin of Species coined the concept that living species can only survive under certain limits, above which they perish (Janet 27). Currently, many living organisms have become extinct and more are endangered. Initially, it was thought that the plants and the animals are the only endangered species. However, the new challenges that results from diseases, famine, war, and hunger also points that human beings are also endangered.
Since we have realized that we face a myriad of challenges, where do we go from here? Due to the mess that is currently taking place that makes the world unsustainable, Laszlo hypothesizes two scenarios. The first scenario is that things may remain the same and the humans continue with their business as usual. If such is to happen, then people will be directly exposed to the negative effects of the climate change and a host of other socio-economic problems (Lazlo 45). The overall impact would create a change in the weather patterns, droughts and devastating storms, widespread harvest failures, flooding in coastal regions, famine, and massive wave of migration as people want to escape the negative consequences of climate change. Already we can see massive movement of refugees in various parts of Europe. These are people running away from their home countries because they cannot stand the challenge any longer. If this is to continue, then global security threat is inevitable. The security threat is most likely to arise from terrorist groups, nuclear proliferations, epidemics and infectious diseases, migration and the scramble for scarce economic resources. If the business continues as usually, there is the likelihood of military fallout in desperate attempts to solve the political and economic interests.
Currently, the United States and her allies are struggling to contain the rising military and nuclear threat from North Korea. In addition, the strong arm regimes will be more determined to use armed force to communicate their interests. Currently, Russian is operating one of the largest military operations in the world. The Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 provided enough evidence of how the military can be used to settle political and economic conflicts. In this regard, the major military, political, and economic blocks may decide to use their high-tech weaponry to achieve their selfish objectives. The other potential impact of doing business as usual is that the economic and political processes that have been stable for some time will begin to scramble (Muja 249). The terrorists and the fight for terrorism are likely to bring conflicts between their sympathizers and the countries that fight terrorists. Currently, several countries in Europe are under threat of ISIS. On the other hand, the North Atlantic Alliance that has brought political and economic stability between Europe, the United States, and Russia is likely to collapse. Also, countries such as Germany, Russia, and China are likely to join hands with other countries such as Brazil, India, and Korea in their bid to tame the growing US hegemony. Related to this, the global military spending is likely to increase tremendously as countries try to showcase their military might. From economic front, the trade wars may become more frequent and this may begin to destabilize institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). With the disruption of the trade flows, the economic and the financial system is likely to scramble. In relation to this, those oppressed with poverty are likely to rise and join rebellions against the rich and the government officials. The image below shows some of the Russia’s top military arsenal.
If the status quo remains, the ecological zones are also likely to be affected. Hunger wars are likely to erupt from the water and food shortages in the Sub-Saharan Africa, China, and parts of Asia (Laszlo & Dennis 87). In addition, the overexploitation of soils and overfishing in seas, rivers, and lakes would eventually affect the food reserves. Such starvation and the unsanitary conditions are likely to increase the spread of epidemic diseases in poor countries.
In case the world refuses to abide by the status quo, they may decide to adapt the timely transformation scenario. People can experience the threats of terrorism and the climate change to stir positive thinking and make people think in the same direction. The worldwide rise of people who are determined to bring peace and stability may lead to increased democratic space and improved economic cooperation.
The timely transformation scenario would also allow money to be reassigned from the military such money be used in the implementation of other socio and ecologically sustainable projects (Laszlo 79). In addition, the policymakers should create and pave way for the continued use of renewable energy sources that would ensure that the global economy is sustainable. Also, agriculture needs to be transformed and restored in helping produce the staple foods and energy crops that would ensure that food security in attained at all times.
Timely transformation can also lead to the rise of sustainable civilization (Peake & Smith 57). The rise of sustainable civilization can be supported by the reformation of the governance structures towards participatory democracy and increasing the involvement of increasingly active populations. In this manner, the globally coordinated eco-social marketing systems begin to function, leading to positive growth of the economy. In addition, the high levels of mistrusts are likely to be achieved from the sustainable economy and growth of the local environment.
According to Laszlo, the people still have the power to change the world through a timely and transformation (91). Timely transformation would create a peaceful and sustainable world. Lazlo argues that the world can be changed by applying the principle of Einstein that demands that solving a problem calls for a different kind of thinking. Despite the efforts to deal with the present day challenges, they have not yielded much fruits since we tend to handle them with the same kind of thinking that produced them. Instead, we need to measure the will and the vision in order to bring a timely transformation to such problem (Laszlo & Dennis 77). Therefore, armies, police forces, and technological fixes may not provide a timely transformation that can bring sustainable change in the world we live in.
Is it too late to make a change? The discovery by James Loverlock that the “Gaa hypothesis” has been destroyed was a shock to many. He argues that the consequences that are to follow will bring about the worst side of the climate and destroy the proper living conditions of the world. According to Leszlo, we can still do something since we cannot properly establish the level of damage that has been done to the world eco-systems (69). It is widely evident that the vital balances are degrading both in the land, sea, and the air and something needs to be done to restore the world to be a better place.
Despite the damage done, the Lazlo argues that we should not be hopeless (74). We can still study the universe keenly and come up with new solution of tackling the daily challenges. For example, we can utilize the free energy from the sun to bring a timely transformational change to the earth systems. The free energy from the sun can be transformed by the plants into biomass that is then consumed by the herbivores, then then the carnivores and others to support a continuous cycle of open thermodynamic system. Despite being an integral process, the evolution process is strongly non-linear (Laszlo & Dennis 87). The course of evolution can be marked by the periodic bifurcations in the history of the biological and ecological systems that occur throughout the universe. The evolution of the earth can be traced from the physical systems that proceed to chemical evolution of the starts and the related processes within the ecosystem. The evolution then moves progressively from the substratum of quarks and elementary particles to the minor crystals formed by the atoms.
In the above illustration, the thermal energy gradient between the energy that comes from the sun and reaches to the earth together with the surrounding temperature constitutes the energy mill. In the above illustration, the energy from the sun provides the earth with the opportunity to transform itself instead of wasting itself. The evolution through the bifurcations in nature is illustrated by the diagram shown below.
The submarine hot springs have been supported by the solar radiation from the sun to stir the rich hot soup that resulted to progressively more complex structures and multicellular organisms. The evolution process of the earth created the entire linage of spaces that supports each other through complex systems to support sustainability in the earth surfaces. This led to the evolution paths of different species that support all over the earth system. The diagram below shows the evolution path of homo is illustrated by the diagram below.
The evolution of sapiens sapiens, later shifted from the biological to socio-cultural-technological domain. In this regard, it is the dominant civilization that mutates and not the genetic structure of the organisms. Life is more of how people are organized and the ideas and values that entertain them within their organization (Laszlo & Dennis 93). According to Laszlo, the innovations the existing systems have been widely been destabilized by the evolution of the human beings. The Greeks are the pioneers of the current day human evolution in 4000 years ago. Instead of the traditionally held mythical concepts, the Greeks pioneered societal based mutations that replaced those traditional philosophies.
In the wake of accelerating series of more powerful technological innovation and sociological advancements, the sapiens became the dominant species within the planet. However, the reign of human beings as the dominant species on the plane is not guaranteed since industrial civilization is not sustainable in its existing form. The current macroshift differs from the traditional macroshifts in that the former was regional while the latter is global.
Currently, are aware that the world is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Therefore, we should not be debating on whether to shift or not to shift. Rather, we should be asking whether we are able to shift in a timely manner. According to Laszlo, the Malthusian catastrophe is a reality and there is no need to delay lest we perish (34). Just like the Christian viewpoint of Armageddon, the people need to do something urgently to save the world from its current challenges. To save the earth, a worldshift needs to be identified, analyzed, debated, and intelligently guided to help restore the socio-economic and ecological fabrics of the ecosystems.
How should we shift? Recognizing the need to shift is one thing and implementing the shift is another thing. We can recognize the need to shift, but eventually fails to shift. In response to this, Laszlo recommends that we come up with new strategies that are different from the traditional ways of doing things. Shifting calls for the examination of all matters related to big buck spenders on the military, free markets, rugged individualists, and religious fundamentalists. Rapid change should also come from individuals by taking Gandhi’s advice: be the change that you wish to see. When people reach the tipping point, they only have two options: to exit or to evolve (Laszlo & Dennis 37). Evolution is possible and has even been seen in the recent past. At one time, The Soviet Communist Party was one of the most powerful political parties in the world with massive influence. However, it was eventually outlawed by the transformation that comes from restructuring of the governing system to pave way for a more democratic society. The Stone Age society also faced several challenges that made life difficult for them when it comes to acquiring food and to survive in the wilderness. However, they eventually transformed and countered the challenges. In a similar way, the human beings needs not to panic as transformation is possible, but it should be timely.
In conclusion, the main message advanced within this book is that the world is becoming unsustainable if we continue with business as usual. However, the humanity is a system with the capability of rapid transportation. The reality that emerges from Laszlo is that the world is increasingly becoming unstable and unsustainable. However, the author also points out that the unsustainability reality also harbors a unique opportunity that can be utilized to make the world viable again. The world needs to be transformed to allow the current 6.5 billion people to live in harmony and dignity with others and the surrounding environment. Since the global tipping point is either near or we have reached it, we have no time to waste but to transform. The more time we waste, the more the trends and the processes that leads to the tipping point may become irreversible. After the tipping point, it may be too late to have a sustainable world and maintain peace and order. Generally, Lazlo provides provoking information that can guide the people living in the current century to transition to the future with understanding and hope.
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