Jeremy Rifkin Blog

The Importance of Making a Change Sooner Rather Than Later

For the first time in 175,000 years in 2007, humans become Homo Urbanus. What this means in laymen’s terms in that more people were residing in urban areas than rural areas, and it is one of the greatest turning points of history.

Although there are many benefits to the urbanisation of modern-day living, I believe that when scratching the surface, the pros of urban living can be somewhat insincere. Even though those living in urban areas are more likely to be involved with the community, there are many downsides to urban living that not everyone will have considered.

More than 50% of the US population resides in three dozen metro arras which also shows a high consumption of power. It has bee shown that urban area consumes around 75% of global primary energy and can emit up to as much as 60% of the world’s total greenhouse gasses.

The Financial Times ran a small article around ten years ago that was missed by the masses. There may be nothing unusual about this on the surface until you realise that the information that was overlooked was some of the most important delivered in many years.

The article highlighted that open waters in the Arctic in the summer were more likely, a vision that hasn’t been seen for millions of years. Although there are people that can see this reality for what it is, others may brush the reality to one side, assuming that a resolution will be put in place at some point in the future.

Those that can identify the reality of such occurrences will be keen to ensure that a solution is put in place sooner rather than later, but it does mean that that masses must share a vision.

Another vital piece of information that may have gone unnoticed is that 1 billion people are going to bed hungry. Given the current uncertainty and turmoil being experienced in the world, this may not come as a surprise to some, but it’s worth noting that this equates to one in seven people, and this has never been recorded in history before.

As our natural environment deteriorate, the likelihood of floods, droughts and wildfires are more likely. If this continues yields go down, which could see a collapse of the agricultural infrastructure by 2030, which in turn will have a negative effect on urban living.

We also must examine the reliance on fossil fuels when it comes to reshaping the future for the best. Although many will be aware that the fuel for cars comes from fossil fuel, but there are many industries that rely on fossil fuel that could potentially come to a standstill if changes aren’t made.

Most of what we take for granted, such as medicine, clothes and lighting is derived from fossil fuels. Again, the problem can derive from those simply choosing to examine the aftershock of reliance on fossil fuel, with many denying that there is a detrimental effect on the economy or social infrastructure.

In the past, short-term measures have been taken as opposed to embracing new technology for the better. A good example of this was witnessed in the 1980s where credit cards became popular and allowed for the economy to move forward.

However, a result of this led to a depletion of savings and people struggling to make repayments following a decrease in wages following the auto age peak. A similar business model was introduced with mortgages, which again focused on the depletion of savings and placing people in debt.

This is because those instilling the ideas weren’t focused on the bigger picture, which meant many efforts to extend the economy failed. This is made evident by the coining of the term “negative income” which essentially means people are spending more than they earn.

When making a change, we need to ensure that we’re looking at the ripple effect certain actions have. Although there are steps that can be taken to change one aspect of modern life, often, it will negatively impact another.

While it’s true a new infrastructure could take time to instil, the sooner it is carried out, the sooner society can adapt and yield the benefits of a greener future. Simply making short-term fixes to long-term issues means that many sectors, including the economy and agriculture, have the potential to come to a grinding halt.