|Photo: Mary Vincent|
Al Gore highlighted several examples from his new book: The Future Six Drivers of Global Change. For background, the Drivers are:
- Earth, Inc Ever increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of what Gore labels "Earth Inc." - an integrated, holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital, labor (outsourcing and robo-sourcing), consumer markets, national governments than in the past. Over the last 25 years, coal production has increased 133%, but jobs have decreased 33%. By 2016 Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer of Apple devices will replace 1 million workers with robots. Federal officials believe cybersecurity is a more important national-security issue than terrorism. In 1975, corporations spent $100 million lobbying - in 2010, they spent $3.5 BILLION. 50% of Senators and 40% of House Reps become lobbyists when they retire. "In yet another illustration of the dangerous imbalance in political decision making, a truly shocking 80% of all U.S. antibiotics are still allowed to be legally used on farms in livestock feed and injections in spite of grave threats to human health".
- Global Mind The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of "the Global Mind" which links thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.
- Shift in Balance of Power The balance of global political, economic, and military power is shifting more profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years - from a U.S-centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power, from nation-states to private actors, and from political systems to markets. In 2013, the economy of developing nations will exceed that of developed nations for the first time.
- Growth A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet's strategic resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species. The GDP metric excludes pollution flows. A survey of global executives reveals 80% are not willing to trade long term sustainability for next quarter's earnings target. Over the last 40 years, we have lost more than 1/3 of the arable land on Earth.
- Reinvention of Life and Death Genomic, biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science - and are putting control of evolution in human hands. Almost all the seeds in the world now belong to one company - Monsanto.
- Relationship between Humanity and the Earth There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth's ecosystems along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide. Global warming pollution traps the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs in the lower atmosphere every 24 hours. More than 65% of the US suffered from drought conditions in 2012.
References: Climate One Video on Climatologist Stephen Schneider's work.