Bill McKibben, one of our keynote speakers, has a piece up on the UN’s Our World site, reflecting on the fragility of modern life in the light of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
What the events reveal is the thinness of the margin on which modernity lives. There’s not a country in the world more modern and civilised than Japan; its building codes and engineering prowess kept its great buildings from collapsing when the much milder quake in Haiti last year flattened everything. But clearly it’s not enough. That thin edge on which we live, and which at most moments we barely notice, provided nowhere near enough buffer against the power of the natural world.
The effects of climate change will only make this edge thinner. Can we rely on geoengineering? The evidence of the last week has shown the limits of technology – see also yesterday’s related post so more resilience seems the only answer.
Well worth reading all Bill has to say on this.