Author and international security analyst Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed on The Crisis of Civilization. Dr Ahmed is author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and co-producer of The Crisis of Civilization.
Tagged with “nuclear power” (4)
Science Weekly podcast: Julian Baggini on ‘the self’; plus, how love can save the environment | Science | guardian.co.uk
We attempt to explain ‘the self’ with Julian Baggini; Tim Flannery tells us how love can save the environment; and Brian Cox answers the ‘Hannaford question’
This talk was given at Cowell Theatre in Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California on Friday October 9, 02009.
Brand built his case for rethinking environmental goals and methods on two major changes going on in the world. The one that most people still don’t take into consideration is that power is shifting to the developing world, where 5 out of 6 people live, where the bulk of humanity is getting out of poverty by moving to cities and creating their own jobs and communities (slums, for now).
The second dominant global fact is climate change. Brand emphasized that climate is a severely nonlinear system packed with tipping points and positive feedbacks such as the unpredicted rapid melting of Arctic ice.
Global warming has to be slowed by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from combustion, but cities require dependable baseload electricity, and so far the only carbon-free sources are hydroelectric dams and nuclear power. Brand contrasted nuclear with coal-burning by comparing what happens with their waste products.
Moving to genetically engineered food crops, Brand noted that they are a tremendous success story in agriculture, with Green benefits such as no-till farming, lowered pesticide use, and more land freed up to be wild. The developing world is taking the lead with the technology, designing crops to deal with the specialized problems of tropical agriculture. Meanwhile the new field of synthetic biology is bringing a generation of Green biotech hackers into existence.
In the 1960s, Stewart Brand became one of the country’s first and most famous champions of a new ecological awareness. His Whole Earth Catalog spoke to a generation of hippies and back-to-nature commune dwellers.
Now, at 70, Stewart Brand is calling on environmentalists to reframe their understanding of the problem — and solutions. It’s too late for back-to-nature, he says. Global warming is beyond that.
To survive now, Brand says, we need nuclear power, genetic engineering, giant cities. We must manage nature or lose civilization.
This hour, On Point: In the face of global warming, Stewart Brand redefines green.