Monday, October 17, 2011

A new New Normal?

I have just started to read David Wann's book The New Normal: an agenda for resonsible living. It is an optimistic book, maybe overly, as the introduction sets that tone.
The big picture is that production and consumption will no longer be the defining characteristics of the next civilization -- cultural richness, efficiency, cooperation, expression, ecological design, and biological restoration will be.
That was enough to make me think about this term, the "new normal". That phrase is in such common parlance that there are over 4 million hits on google and even a web site, though hardly worth looking at.

One view of the new normal is climate. We are on a track to bring catastrophic change to the world through our non-action on climate mitigation, trying to prevent run-away warming. Those who would act are confronted immediately by the wide spread notion that any governmental action is the first step to socialism. I rather doubt that, since any effective action requires an end to growth economics, but both capitalism as practiced in the US and socialism as practiced so far in any country, are both enamored with the idea of growth.

Another view is economic, a new normal that is shaped by decreasing supplies of resources, especially those used to produce energy, and a corresponding increase in the costs of what we have, especially energy. Both optimistic and pessimistic versions of this exist. Some look to the economic arena as a major tipping point towards a Jared Diamond like Collapse. Some would see mankind as willing and able to adapt to the new normal by building new structures.

Wann, whose book started my thinking here, expresses that latter view quite well.
The future is waiting It is time for man to stop seeing the world as it is, and begin to see it as it should be.
I can not think of a better approach for a Green candidate. Tell the people how the world should be and enlist their help to make it so.

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