We are fast approaching a world-systems crisis that threatens the existence of civilizations and ecosystems around the world.
Our human community is already, and will continue to be, simultaneously confronting the following crises: increasing climate disruption, rising numbers of climate refugees, spreading regions of water scarcity, declining agricultural productivity, growing inequality of wealth and distribution of resources, plastic pollution accumulating in our oceans, rapidly expanding extinction of plant and animal species, outmoded, ineffective and corrupt political structures, and of course, the danger of a nuclear conflagration.
As if this is not enough, we also need give our attention to inter-retroactions between these different problems, crises, and threats. As such, we can accurately name the situation in its totality as "a polycrisis".
In Homeland Earth Edgar Morin has described another vital dimension: the fact of runaway positive feedback: an acceleration that is currently,
"overtaking all sectors of life... The rate of change is itself accelerating. The question now becomes whether we have crossed a critical threshold in the process of acceleration/amplification that could lead to an explosion or implosion involving any number of deadly global threats."
Duane Elgin has posed a question in India, Europe, Japan, Brazil, and the United States, as well as on his website, where he received 200,000 answers. The question is: "If humanity as a whole were regarded as a single individual, how old would this person be?" He reports that three-quarters of the people responding answered that humanity is in its teenage years.
Teenagers are rebellious, and want to prove their independence. It can be said that we humans have been attempting to rebel against and essentially conquer nature, trying to prove we are separate and superior.
Teenagers don't tend to think about the long-term future or the consequences of their actions; nor do we as nations. It is well-known that many adolescents take all kinds of risks because they harbor feelings of immortality and invulnerability. They may act as if there are no limits, while unconsciously seeking them. The human family has been acting recklessly in consuming natural resources as if they would last forever, polluting the air, water, and land of the planet, and bringing extinction to a significant part of animal and plant life on Earth.
Teenagers are drawn toward instant gratification. As a species, we are seeking short-term pleasures and are largely ignoring the needs of other species and future generations.
Teenagers are often focused on how they look; the "American Way" of consumerism and materialism has spread across the globe, accompanied by a preoccupation with superficial appearances and a desire to fit in.
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