The Tipping Point

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Issue 320
May/June 2020
Stubborn Optimism


The Tipping Point

issue cover 320

Cover: Lake Mungo National Park, Australia by Russell Curr

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Now is the time to reassess our way of life.

Lake Mungo National Park, Australia by Russell Curr

Lake Mungo National Park, Australia by Russell Curr

Life-changing moments can take many forms, from having a near-death experience to losing your job or becoming a parent. As I write this, a different kind of life-changer is dominating the news: the emergence of a global pandemic. It is triggering a systems failure of the global economy, with the poorest bearing the brunt of the crisis. If ever there was a time to reassess our way of life, it is now.

Stirred into the simmering mixture of panic and complacency there is something else: hope. “Today’s emerging pandemic could help catalyze an urgently needed tipping event in humanity’s collective moral values, priorities and sense of self and community,” Thomas Homer-Dixon of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, Canada writes in The Globe and Mail. “It could remind us of our common fate on a small, crowded planet with dwindling resources and fraying natural systems.”

None too soon. The countdown is on until the most important meeting of the United Nations Conference of the Parties, which will decide the trajectory of global CO2 emissions and ultimately the fate of the planet. As with the spread of Covid-19, we all have a responsibility to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Things need to change – fast – and we can all be part of the solution.

In this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist we take a close look at what these solutions could be. Catherine Early speaks to Christiana Figueres about how to be a stubborn optimist in the face of the climate crisis, and in Keynotes we feature an extract from Figueres’ new book, The Future We Choose, co-authored with Tom Rivett-Carnac. Harriet Lamb highlights some climate solutions from across the world, and we visit a young activist taking a stand in India.

In the Ecologist section, Brendan Montague discusses what is really behind the spread of Coronavirus – capitalism – and he and George Monbiot talk about connection. Sara Melendro shares a recipe for immune-boosting lemon and ginger tea, and over another cup of tea in Arts, poet laureate Simon Armitage tells Huw Wahl about his new environmental poetry prize.

Times are changing so fast it’s difficult to keep up, but one thing remains clear: reaching out to people and the rest of the living planet helps keep you grounded. We hope this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist brings you hope and energy. We are all connected, and every action matters.

Marianne Brown is Editor of Resurgence & Ecologist.

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