Climate change, the threat of collapse and the opportunity for transformation

Mash, Bob (2012-03)

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Around the world there are many examples of previous human societies that have collapsed and disappeared. Societies that once flourished and seemed invincible, but which are now no more, include Great Zimbabwe in Africa, Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean, Mycenaean Greece and Minoan Crete in Europe and the Maya cities of Central America. Professor Swilling, in the opening article of this issue of CME, presents us with a picture of global society that is breaching the absolute limits of environmental sustainability in several interconnected ways, of which climate change is only one. We face a global ‘polycrisis’ that is already impacting on public health and which challenges us to revise our global economic system, approach to sustainable development and collective lifestyle. It is a planetary crisis that requires a transformative response on a global level, but which will impact individuals in communities on every continent.

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