This website contains information about the recent publication of author Warren Johnson - The End of an Era, Not The End of the World: Creating good work as the economy slows.
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"If there seems to be no alternative to growth, that is only because of the failure of imagination."
There are many books that deal with the economic problems facing this country, but few that take on the harder task—of resolving them, and none that respond to the need to create ways of life that can go on as the fossil fuels are depleted. Even more importantly, it is never said that the simpler more cooperative ways of life that can be supported with renewable energy will be more rewarding than living with the excesses made possible with the fossil fuels, including unsustainable levels of population, consumption, debts, and now climate changes.
We have long biased market forces toward growth to create jobs, but they could be biased toward sustainability instead in order to create new opportunities in a sustainable economy based on renewable energy. The first step in this direction would be to offer assistance to those who would like to be the pioneers in creating sustainable ways of life, and at far less cost than the stimulus spending and tax cuts used when trying to create them in the growth economy. A new opportunity would be created, one that left the growth economy less troubled by unemployment and deficits. Along with other ways of biasing the economy toward sustainability, a long and hopefully smooth transition from growth to sustainability would be underway. We would begin moving away from leaving our descendants with the impossible task of rebuilding in sustainable ways with only depleted oil fields and debts. What would they think of us if that was the legacy we left them?
We cannot know the specifics of the sustainable transition ahead, but we do know the process that would take it forward most effectively, that of cultural evolution. It will be the everyday efforts of people experimenting with sustainable ways that will replace the competitiveness of the growth economy with the cooperation that made simpler ways of life satisfying all through human evolution. It was in that process that close human relationships became the main source of happiness, while the other species were left with the struggle for survival of natural evolution. That leaves us with the unparalleled advantages of knowledge, technology, and culture to help us through the transition toward ways of life that can go on indefinitely. This would be the way of reconciling us with each other and the environment that supports all life. This is the challenge taken on by The End of An Era, Not the End of the World.
Could we ask for a finer challenge, or one with greater importance for our descendants and this beautiful planet we have been given to live on?