The Internet shorthand "TL;DR" tickles me. It means "too long, didn't read".
I confess I too quickly skim or skip long, complicated content. But today, on the 46th Earth Day, perhaps we can linger over longer pieces? After all, we are talking about massive and hugely complex changes in society, the biosphere, the economy... These issues probably deserve a longer attention span!
Today's Washington Post spared some prime dead-tree real estate to let Peter Engelke and J.R. McNeill talk about the anthropocene and what they call "The Great Acceleration" (I admit, I haven't read the book). They write:
environmentalism did not slow the Great Acceleration much. It remains underway, in particular as the fruits of the American-led postwar economic system have spread around the world. (China and India are the two most consequential beneficiaries.) The Great Acceleration’s ecological results are all around us: biodiversity loss, soil erosion, ocean acidification, overfishing, aquifer depletion, rapid carbon loading of the atmosphere and oceans, deforestation, altered global geochemistry (the carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous cycles, among others), and a thousand other markers of change.
Overlapping the great acceleration is what Steven Radelet calls "The Great Surge". He points out that, on a global basis, almost every key quality of life indicator has gotten better. Radelet says:
Since the early 1990s more than 700 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, six million fewer children die every year from disease, tens of millions more girls are in school, millions more people have access to clean water, and democracy—often fragile and imperfect—has become the norm in developing countries around the world.
Somewhere between the anthropocene and the fight against global poverty lays the requirements and demand for regeneration.
So, below, a few servings of TL;DR plus some dessert. You've earned it.
If the Atlantic article isn't good enough, try this TED talk. In this spirited talk, Gore asks three powerful questions about the man-made forces threatening to destroy our planet — and the solutions we're designing to combat them. (video: 26')
Fight to stop the extraction of fossil fuels while offering soil based solutions to decarbonize the atmosphere and mitigate climate change, exploring traditional, local, organic and sustainable practices of food production.
“He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean. And off he went"
And, in closing
We are very early in the process of defining what it means to build a regenerative economy. While the terminology will continue to evolve, we're convinced the ideas are directionally correct. Now we are studying, testing, plotting, and building interest, support, and resources.
Thus this newsletter, which will come out about weekly with brief observations and links to related materials exploring innovation and the regenerative economy. With effort, and a bit of luck, we hope support for these concepts becomes a wave sweeping the world! Check out the archive to see if this newsletter is right for you (or a friend).
If you find this email valuable, please share with a friend. If you don't, please unsubscribe (link at the bottom.) We also much appreciate comments, advice, and suggestions for links to highlight.