1st Edition

Defying Dystopia Going on with the Human Journey After Technology Fails Us

By Ed Ayres Copyright 2016
    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    To most, the collapse of modern civilization is the stuff of fiction. Yet, science confirms that misuse of technology and environmental abuse places our world in grave danger of ruin. The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity places our civilization on a collision course. Defying Dystopia analyses how we have come to this, and what options remain for far-seeing people to take control of their own destiny and survive the future.

    Ed Ayres, who has worked with some iconic environmental scientists of the past half-century, argues that technology was originally used to augment the natural strengths of humans, but has been increasingly used in ways that weaken us—shifting from useful work to the industries of distraction, entertainment, convenience, pain-relief, and sedation. Ayres advises on how at least some of us can avoid that collision. The most critical task, for those of us who want humanity to survive and thrive, is to disengage from our tech thraldom, and shift to a conscious management of our evolution in which we use technology to enhance our skills and strengths rather than erode or supplant them.

    Ayres provides insightful, actionable suggestions we can use to increase our odds of survival. He asks far-seeing individuals to take on a mission that the dominant governments and institutions demonstrably cannot: the epic task of shepherding a low-profile, resilient transition to a new kind of human future.


    Prologue: Waking Up

    1 Losing Balance
    Technologies Tilting the Wrong Way

    2 Big-Picture Thinking
    How Some of Us Came to See What We Now See

    3 The Numbing
    When Our Devices and Distractions Become Our Pacifiers

    4 The Weakening
    Unnoticed Effects of Effort-Saving Technology

    5 The New Trojan Horse
    Why the Takeover Has Not Been Seen For What It Is

    6 The Stumbling
    A Slow-Footed Species in a Sprint Economy

    7 The Footprint of the Future
    We Are Not Cows!

    8 Seeing Past Dystopia
    Facing up to Malthus, Orwell, Super-Storm Sandy . . . and What?

    9 Reigniting Imagination
    In Search of Our Lost Abilities to Anticipate, Envision, and Plan

    10 Hands, Feet, Bare Skin, and Privacy
    The Last Bastions of Natural Strength

    11 Overriding Evolution
    A Course of High Adventure and Uncertain Salvation

    12 Breaking Away
    Blazing Paths to a New Human Future

    13 A New Beginning
    Essential Steps Toward Long-Run Survival

    Appendix: Further Reading and Resources



    ED AYRES is the former editor of World Watch
    magazine, one of the first periodicals to focus
    on the emerging challenges of environmental
    degradation and destabilized climate.