Green Living — March 3, 2012
Paul Gilding: The Earth is full
Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of devastating consequences, in a talk that’s equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful.
Gilding has spent 35 years trying to change the world. He’s served in the Australian military, chased nuclear armed aircraft carriers in small inflatable boats, plugged up industrial waste discharge pipes, been global CEO of Greenpeace, taught at Cambridge University, started two successful businesses and advised the CEOs of some the world’s largest companies.
Despite his clear lack of progress, the unstoppable and flexible optimist is now a writer and advocate, travelling the world with his book The Great Disruption alerting people to the global economic and ecological crisis unfolding around us, as the world economy reaches and passes the limits to growth.
He is confident we can get through what’s coming and says rather than the end of civilization, this could be the beginning! He argues we will rise to the occasion and see change at a scale and speed incomprehensible today, but need to urgently prepare for The Great Disruption and “the end of shopping”, as we reinvent the global economy and our model of social progress.
Gilding lives on a farm in southern Tasmania with his wife, where they grow blueberries and raise chickens, sheep and their children.
Global crisis is no longer avoidable; we have come to the end of a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we live beyond the means of our planet's resources. The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability.