Hope for a World in Crisis

An Introduction to A New Reality by Jonas and Jonathan Salk

 The shape of the world population growth curve provides a perspective for understanding our current social, political, and economic turmoil.  It indicates the necessity of moving forward to a future of sustainability, interdependence, and balance with the environment.

World Population Growth

If we look at the growth curve for world population using UN median projections to the year 2100, it is clear that, after a long period of acceleration, world population growth is slowing and is projected to plateau.

We are currently at or just past the point of inflection of that S-shaped or sigmoid curve. 

Two Eras

If the S-curve is separated at the inflection point, we see two curves representing two distinct eras in human history.

The first is a period of acceleration, growth without constraints, and apparently unlimited resources.  The second is a period of deceleration, clear limits to growth, and limited resources.  In the first era, short-term thinking, competition, independence, and unrestrained exploitation of the environment are rewarded with success.  In the second, longer-term thinking, cooperation, interdependence, and balance with nature confer advantage to individuals, communities, and the entire human species.

Conflict and Transition

As we pass through the transition point between these two eras, there is, necessarily and expectedly, conflict.  Looked at in the short-term, we see only uncertainty and turmoil.  However, viewed from the long-term perspective of the sigmoid growth curve, this difficult period is seen as a predictable developmental and evolutionary phase of transition.  Importantly, it is clear that the way forward is the adoption of the new value system.

This understanding is crucial, as we see some segments of society reacting to the current uncertainty by returning to values of the past – growth, reliance on fossil fuels, denial of climate change, and isolationism – while others are looking forward, advocating equilibrium, development of renewable resources, strategies to reduce greenhouse gases, interdependence and a cooperative approach to international relations.  Over time, this more forward-looking value system will likely be adopted not because it is idealistic or morally correct but because it is necessary for our survival and for the maintenance of life as we know it on this planet.

A Positive Outcome

It is increasingly clear that coordinated movement toward social, political, and economic changes that support sustainable development, a balanced relationship with the environment, and the welfare of all human beings are the keys to successful adaptation to the future.  Together, we have the opportunity – in fact, the obligation – to facilitate this change and enter a new reality.

This article was authored by Dr. Jonathan Salk.

by Editor

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 at 10:04
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