We are running out of time to avoid collapse,
and we need Mass-Ecophiny to get to the Long Future.
An objective appraisal of the state of the world today, leads one to realize that the trajectory of human development is heading on a path to imminent collapse of the global ecosystem and the global economy. It seems as though collapse of some sort is inevitable, but when it happens, how it happens, how deep is the collapse, and what is left for humans once the dust has settled, these things are as yet, unclear.
If there is any chance to avoid collapse, it is a slim, and it becomes increasingly difficult, day by Business-as-Usual day. So, in order to make the collapse as painless as possible – and to allow for as much opportunity for the human family post-collapse, some new ideas and behaviours are called for.
One of these ideas is Ecophiny – an ecological epiphany. Ecophiny is a intellectual, spiritual or emotional awakening to the objective state of today’s world, and a recognition that we need to transform if we are to survive, both individually and as a species.
Ecophiny is a personal event, some thing that happens to individuals. On the other hand, Mass-Ecophiny is when it happens to people en-masse. For Mass-Ecophiny to lead to effective change for the Long Future, it needs to be combined with the appropriate knowledge, passion and drive of the individuals.
Whether it is even possible to foster Mass-Ecophiny is unclear, and what specifically people would be required to do is yet to be codiefied. However, it is safe to say that if millions of people start to take actions that were consistent with achieving a Long Future, the forces of political ecology would rapidly start to shift in the humans’ favour.
The immediate priority is to protect the planetary boundaries becoming any further damaged, transition to low carbon economy, remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere, rehabilitate natural living systems, step away from nuclear energy and weapons and (somehow) mop up the mess made by this industry. Just stabilising the planet is a big job, letalone making it better again. Going to Mars is just a complete waste of time money and effort, and a major distraction from the real task at hand.
If it is possible to survive or avoid the coming collapse, then the humans may have a very Long Future ahead of them. Our planet has 1.75 – 2.25 billion years left in the circumstellar habitable zone (assuming about 275 ppm CO2e in the atmosphere) before the Sun ages, expands and burns up the planet. The birthright of the human species is to live to that ripe old age of a billion or more.
While there are many reasons why we might not get to a billion – meteor impact, being just one of them, not to mention the legacy of nuclear contamination – it is not without precedent for a single species to last aeons of time.
Many species have remained largely unchanged for hundreds of millions years. One example is the Nautilus, believed to be 500 million years old. If, collectively, the humans are lucky and smart, maybe we can live as long as the Nautilus. Maybe longer. That’s a Long Future, indeed.