Posted by bessie on Monday, July 13, 2009.

Sneak peek: the single biggest report on the future of the planet, ever

An important 6,700-page report (don’t worry, I’m about to summarize it for you) is coming down the pipeline. Written by world leaders and drawing on contributions from 2,700 experts from around the globe, this report will be the single biggest report considering the future of planet when it is officially published next month.

The 2009 State of the Future report, obtained by The Independent on Sunday, is backed by a diverse range of leading organizations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the U.S. Army and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The bad, but probably not surprising news, is first: the findings about climate change are grim.

  • Half the world could face violence and unrest due to severe unemployment combined with scarce water, food and energy supplies and the cumulative effects of climate change.
  • “The scope and scale of the future effects of climate change – ranging from changes in weather patterns to loss of livelihoods and disappearing states – has unprecedented implications for political and social stability.” In conclusion, climate change “will cause civilization to collapse.”

But, there are still some hopeful perspectives. The authors suggest the threats may end up being catalysts for positive change. “The good news is that the global financial crisis and climate change planning may be helping humanity to move from its often selfish, self-centered adolescence to a more globally responsible adulthood… Many perceive the current economic disaster as an opportunity to invest in the next generation of greener technologies, to rethink economic and development assumptions, and to put the world on course for a better future.”

And it is timely for us at Brighter Planet that the report also praises the web, as we consider ourselves a web-based climate change company. The web is singled-out as, “the most powerful force for globalization, democratization, economic growth, and education in history.”

Alongside from the positive force of the web, Jerome Glenn, director of the Millennium Project and one of the report’s authors, offered some concrete suggestions for a better future. “Three great transitions would help both the world economy and its natural environment– to shift as much as possible from freshwater agriculture to saltwater agriculture; produce healthier meat without the need to grow animals; and replace gasoline cars with electric cars.”

And, of course, to get to the place we need to be, there will have to be strong global agreements. “This is not only important for the environment; it is also a strategy to increase the likelihood of international peace. Without some agreement, it will be difficult to get the kind of global coherence needed to address climate change seriously.”

Here’s to positive forces, global agreements, and the future.


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