The Great Disruption

The Great Depression

A fellow citizen sent me an article; one that I feel everyone should read. New York Times columnist and writer of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas L. Friedman (not to be confused with Benjamin Friedman) recently wrote about our dire times and what Paul Gilding calls “The Great Disruption” – “when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once.”

As Friedman notes in his article “The Inflection Is Near?“:

“We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese …

We can’t do this anymore.”

Can we truly continue on our path? Well, no we cannot. Can we choose a different direction? Yes, we can. Will it matter at this stage in the game? This is where we can choose which direction we want to take: optimistic or pessimistic viewpoint. There is certainly enough evidence to support the pessimistic view that this current state of affairs is the end of the world, or at least modern civilization.

Friedman goes on to say in his article that we should be optimistic,

“People are already using this economic slowdown to retool and reorient economies. Germany, Britain, China and the U.S. have all used stimulus bills to make huge new investments in clean power. South Korea’s new national paradigm for development is called: “Low carbon, green growth.” Who knew? People are realizing we need more than incremental changes — and we’re seeing the first stirrings of growth in smarter, more efficient, more responsible ways.

In the meantime, says Gilding, take notes: “When we look back, 2008 will be a momentous year in human history. Our children and grandchildren will ask us, ‘What was it like? What were you doing when it started to fall apart? What did you think? What did you do?’  Often in the middle of something momentous, we can’t see its significance. But for me there is no doubt: 2008 will be the marker — the year when ‘The Great Disruption’ began.”

I believe humanity as a whole needs this optimistic view, if not especially in hard times. There is a great deal of strength in our species, used both for good or ill as history as shown. Often this strength peaks for the efforts of good and progress at critical, and also usually hard, times (American Independence, World Wars, et cetera).

Most of us want and some of us try (or want you to think they are trying) to do good by our kids and future generations. However, the means and methods of doing this successfully are heavily influenced how informed and educated we are as individuals. Misinformation and lack of education are the two largest barriers to achieving progress. So get educated and read (as well as verify your facts)!

I hope for the future when this “Great Disruption” is seen as a great change in our ways from wasteful to grateful, from lazy to active, misinformed to educated – from Greed to Green!

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