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What is the Gathering?

Dramatic increases in the world’s population, and equally dramatic increases in our consumption of the planet’s resources, have resulted in the world now being on an unsustainable course

This calls for a fundamental re-imagining of humankind's relationship to the earth
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Information of the Gathering


The Sustainability Challenge

The notions of “growth” and “more is better” have been primary drivers of human development for the past three hundred years, since Thomas Newcomen developed the steam engine in 1712, ushering in the industrial revolution, and Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in 1776. And indeed, Eeconomic advances by individuals and nations have led to spectacular increases in the world’s population, wealth generation, and consumption. These increases, however, are outstripping the capacity of the earth to supply our wants. And, Iit is also outstripping the capacity of the earth’s atmosphere to absorb the carbon emissions all that production and consumption generates.
The world faces a similar challenge with regard to industrial and consumer waste: which it is polluting our rivers, lakes, oceans and soil. While advances in technologies will extend our capacities to extract more resources, and more efficiently manufacture the goods most of the all 6.6 billion people aspire to acquire, there is no escaping the fact that we have to fundamentally re-envision our relationship with the natural world if our children, and their children, are to live the lives we have been privileged to enjoy. More and more may or may not be better, but it is is no longernot sustainable. The evidence is overwhelmingWell informed and respected individuals have made it clear that over the next ten years we may reach several irreversible “tipping points” unless we fundamentally change our ways:

  • If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 parts per million to at most 350 ppm.. NASA’s foremost climatologist, Jim Hansen
  • If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment. Indian scientist and economist, Rajendra Pachauri, who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Nobel prize – winning economists, Joseph E. Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, urge the adoption of new assessment tools that incorporate a broader concern for human welfare than just economic growth. By their reckoning, much of the contemporary economic disaster owes to the misbegotten assumption that policy makers simply had to focus on nurturing growth, trusting that this would maximize prosperity for all. New York Times, September 22, 2009
  • One hundred eighty million dead Africans by century's end if we don't change our wasteful ways. Twenty percent of the global economy sheared off. The rich in bunkers, the poor at the gates --- it's not a pretty picture. Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist and author:
  • The industrial Age isn’t ending because of the decline in opportunities for further industrial expansion. It is ending because individuals, companies and governments are coming to the realization that its side effects are unsustainable. Peter Senge of MIT.