Has the future a future? Are we bringing history to an end? Observing any one of several individual but critical trends suggests that, without rapid and positive action, history may have only a very short way to run. Whether it is the growth of world population, of greenhouse gas concentrations and the accelerating rate of climate change, the running down of oil and natural gas reserves, growing shortages of fresh water for agriculture, industry and domestic use, or the increasing difficulty in controlling epidemic diseases � we are facing a mounting global crisis that will peak in less than a generation, around the year 2030. Taken together, these trends point to a potentially apocalyptic period, if not for the planet itself then certainly for human societies and for humankind. In this compelling book, and update to The 2030 Spike, Colin Mason explains in clear and irrefutable terms what is going on � largely below the surface of our daily or weekly news bulletins. The picture he paints is stark, and yet it is not bleak. Being forewarned, we are forearmed, and he draws on his own extensive political experience to describe how much we can do as individuals, and above all collectively, not merely to avert crisis but to engineer thoroughgoing change that can usher in genuinely sustainable and valuable alternatives to the way we live now.
Table of Contents
PART I: IS THERE A CRISIS? * The Drivers * Running Out of Fuel: The Coming Energy Crunch * Population and Poverty * Climate: How Long to Tipping Point? * Is There Enough Food and Water? * One World? * The Fourth Horseman * PART II: DIRECTIONS * Which Way Science? * In the Genes: New Plants - and People? * The Values of the Sea * Multinationals: Good Business or Bad? * The Trouble with Money * PART III: UPGRADING THE INDIVIDUAL * The Pursuit of Happiness * Love, Family and Freedom * Habitat: The Dilemma of the Cities * Making Education Work * Health and Wealth * Religion: The Cement of Society? * PART IV: THE NEW SOCIETY? * The Mechanics of Change * Automation and Employment * Travelling Less? * Working Online * The Information Overload * The Toxic Culture * Running the Show * Getting the World We Want *
Colin Mason was a senator in the Australian Federal Parliament for nine years and served on the Senate Standing Committee for Science and Environment. A well-known former foreign correspondent and broadcaster, he was also a SEATO adviser to the Thai government. Mason is the author of 12 books, including A Short History of Asia and the international best-seller Hostage.
'This is a bold, thought-provoking and ultimately rewarding book, well-researched, full of ideas - and thus a good, all-round primer on the state of the planet' BBC Wildlife 'An impressive tour of our current world: from sexual slavery to sailing ships, from malaria to microcredits, from nanotechnology to neopaganism, all the horrors and promises of our troubled Zeitgeist seem to be reflected here' Resurgence 'Is this a book you can afford to ignore? ... only the foolhardy would surely dare leave it unread on the shelf' International Affairs 'Mason, a former Australian senator, writes a narrative that is that is carefully researched and sober, and he actually offers some suggestions as to what to do about it' Steve Poole, Guardian 'Here you have a well-informed and realistic analysis and a blueprint for action.' Network Review, The Scientific and Medical Network