McKibben on managing our descent


in Books and literature, Economics, Politics, The environment

The trouble with obsessing over collapse, though, is that it keeps you from considering other possibilities.

The rest of this book will be devoted to another possibility – that we might choose instead to try to manage our descent. That we might aim for a relatively graceful decline. That instead of trying to fly the plane higher when the engines start to fail, or just letting it crash into the nearest block of apartments, we might start looking for a smooth stretch of river to put it down in. Forget John Glenn; Sully Sullenberger, ditching his US Airways flight in the Hudson in January 2009, is the kind of hero we need (and so much the better that he turned out to be quiet and self-effacing). Yes, we’ve foreclosed lots of options; as the founder of the Club of Rome put it, “The future is no longer what it was thought to be, or what it might have been if humans had known how to use their brains and their opportunities more effectively.” But we’re not entirely out of possibilities. Like someone lost in the woods, we need to stop running, sit down, see what’s in our pockets that might be of use, and start figuring out what steps to take.

McKibben, Bill. Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. 2010. p. 99 (softcover, italics in original)

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