Friday, January 11, 2008

Inertia / Resistance / Tipping Points

Ecosystems are not linear systems. Neither are human societies. They are both complex systems, and I will posit here that they function in a similar manner.

Ecosystems tend to accept pollutants and continue functioning until a certain threshold is reached, the tipping point. Once this point is reached the system quickly deteriorates, often with positive feedback, meaning degradation begets degradation.

An example we all remember from An Inconvenient Truth is that as polar ice melts, there is less ice to reflect away the sun, meaning that the remaining ice melts faster.

It certainly seems reasonable to assume that our climate system works in the same way.

Yet, given all that we know, our society has not reached a point where it will commit to solving this problem. Our society still has a great inertia traveling in the direction of fossil fuels, inefficiency, and pollution. Our collective minds, thus, have a resistance to accepting this change of consciousness due to this societal inertia.

Hope resides in the capacity for this film to spur movement on the issue. When sufficient momentum is achieved we will break through this societal inertia, the societal tipping point. When we have passed this tipping point, people will not be satisfied with half-measures and placating solutions. This is the most important movement of a generation, critical mass is not a question of if but when.

The biggest question our culture has ever faced:

Will the societal tipping point precede the climate's tipping point?

1 comment:

Cycloptichorn said...

woohhooo, now you have a comment!