Business in the Age of Mass Extinction: “through a combination of human-caused climate change and the near complete occupation of the planet by humans, we’re destroying habitats and species at an unreal rate (similar to previous extinction events from, you know, asteroids). Besides some increase in agricultural and forestry production, most natural systems that support us — like rich soil carbon and pollinator health (i.e., bees) — are degraded. And current goals for conservation are not enough to stop this train wreck.”

Jeff Bezos Is a Post-Earth Capitalist: “Bezos pitched a version of the future that’s departed from the reality of capitalism, climate change, and the intractable connections between those two things. Bezos admits that limitless growth—the growth that made him the richest man in the world—is incompatible with a habitable earth. But instead of announcing investments in renewable energy or public infrastructure, Bezos pitches an escape from earth.”

Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050: “At the rate we’re going now, resources that are essential for complex societies are being managed unsustainably. Fisheries around the world, most fisheries are being managed unsustainably, and they’re getting depleted. Farms around the world, most farms are being managed unsustainably. Soil, topsoil around the world. Fresh water around the world is being managed unsustainably. With all these things, at the rate we’re going now, we can carry on with our present unsustainable use for a few decades, and by around 2050 we won’t be able to continue it any longer. Which means that by 2050 either we’ve figured out a sustainable course, or it’ll be too late.”

Why Recycling Doesn’t Work: “Recycling persists not because it’s efficient (it isn’t) or effective (it’s much less so than we think) but because we feel obligated to do it. (…)
In some circumstances, recycling could actually end up as an environmental liability. “In rural areas you have trucks going half a kilometre between houses picking up recyclables,” Hoornweg says. “It makes no sense.””

China’s One Belt, One Road plan carries environmental risks: “we should learn from what happened, and as we are many, many more people and much more dense, it is true that now we maybe should make different choices, but that doesn’t mean we should tell the poorest people on the planet they don’t get to progress, but rather it could mean we could give support so that the things that let them progress are done in an environmentally smarter way.”

China charts a path into European science: “Europe has a special place in the venture because it was the final destination of the original Silk Road. But although some strands of the BRI end in Europe, China has kept the main powers in the EU — Germany and France — at arms’ length, and is instead focusing its attention on the continent’s poorer nations, mostly in central and eastern Europe.”

Time’s Up for Capitalism. But What Comes Next? “Our relentless presentism, encouraged by the 24/7 news cycle and social media, enjoins us to immerse ourselves in an eternal now, a state of amnesiac contemporaneity. It severs us from the past and the future—which serves the powerful just fine: the past contains many ideas they would rather see buried than revived, and reconfiguring our way of life to account for the future would entail a massive disruption of business as usual. (…)
What comes next is an open question. Capitalism is in doubt. The patriarchy is trembling. White supremacy is sputtering. Borders are going up where they once came down. Technology may tip the balance of power toward an elite that owns the robots and controls the algorithms. The natural environment is on the brink of chaos. To combat the apocalyptic apparitions, we need to conjure alternative worlds, leaping forward and looking back.”