jeudi 13 novembre 2008

The State of Global Emergency


The State of Global Emergency 


Draft of the Club of Budapest Declaration 

October 30, 2008 


Prepared by Ervin Laszlo and David Woolfson  




WHEREAS the global financial and economic crisis; worldwide climate change; on-going 

wars, terrorism and nuclear brinksmanship; peaking or exhaustion of non-renewable 

natural resources;  approaching water crisis; annual net increase in world population by 

approximately 80 million; increase in world poverty, homelessness and famine in 

absolute numbers; growing gap between wealthy and poor both within and between 

nations; and other interrelated macro-trends, provides growing and indisputable 

evidence that the world today is fundamentally unsustainable and that humanity is 

rapidly moving to the breakdown of currently operative societal and ecological systems;  


AND WHEREAS notwithstanding these global-scale crises facing the human 

community, the thinking and actions of the majority of political and business leaders 

remain fixed - on the short-term rather than the long-term; on national rather than global 

priorities; on self-interest rather than community interest; on confrontation and 

militarization rather than cooperation and dialogue; on the values and consciousness of 

the 19th century rather than the 21st century; on maintaining the status quo of 'business 

as usual' rather than shifting to urgently needed new economic, energy and social 

systems - locally, nationally and internationally; 


THEREFORE in awareness of these growing global crises and the on-going lack of 

needed national and world leadership in the mainstream of politics and business, we 

hereby issue this urgent call for action, as a “State of Global Emergency Declaration", on 

behalf of and for the benefit of all the People of the World.   


Time-estimates of when the “point of no return” will be reached for the global system of 

humanity have shrunk from the end of the century to mid-century, then to the next twenty 

years, and recently to the next five to twenty years. For example, it was predicted that 

the Earth’s average temperarure will increase by about 3° Celsius by the year 2100, then 

it was said that this level of increase will come about by the middle of the century, and 

lately that it could possibly occur within a decade. The figure for overall warming has 

been increased from 3° C to 6° C or higher. Global warming of 3° C would cause serious 

disruptions to human activity, while a 6° C rise would be a ‘global breakdown’ making 

most of the planet unsuitable for human life. 


These predictions, however, take only one trend into consideration: global warming; 

water availability; food production; poverty; population pressure; air pollution, etc. This 

approach fails to consider the impacts of the interconnection of the macro-trends as well 

as the feedback loops within them. When one trend reaches a critical point its impact on 

other trends can be very significant. For example, if global warming creates prolonged 

drought in some areas and coastal flooding in others, starving and homeless masses will 

flood less hard-hit regions and create social and economic upheavals there with critical 

food and water shortages.  


The acceleration of critical trends and cross-impacts among them indicates that the 

‘window of opportunity’ for pulling out of the present global crisis and breaking through to 

a more peaceful and sustainable world is likely to be no more than four to five years from 

the end of 2008. This is close in time to the Mayan 2012 prophecy for the end of the 

current world.  


The period around the end of 2012 is likely to be a turbulent one for this and other 

reasons. Predictions coming from the physical sciences foresee disturbances in the 

geomagnetic, electromagnetic and related fields that embed the planet causing 

significant damage to telecommunications and impacting many aspects of human 

activity and health. For the esoteric traditions the end of 2012 will be the end of the 

known world, although the more optimistic intepretations speak of a new world taking the 

place of the old.  


While the majority of the world’s people have yet to recognize the possibility of a total 

global-scale breakdown, millions of forward-thinking groups and individuals have been 

addressing the threats and challenges for many years.  This “waking up” is a positive 

sign of the vitality of the human spirit and its ability to respond to the dangers that face 

humanity with flexibility and creativity.  It  must be furthered and facilitated in all 

appropriate ways as the scale and urgency of the required transformation is far greater 

than the scope of current efforts. It will be a case of ‘too little, too late’ unless the human 

community as a whole moves quickly to address the threatening macro-trends before 

they become irreversible.  


This must now be our top planetary priority. Failure to implement a worldwide shift in the 

window of time available to us will almost certainly lead to the breakdown of our 

civilization and possibly to the demise of our species.  We acknowledge the real 

possibility that a child born today could witness the final chapter of modern man’s 

200,000 year existence on this planet.  


The Way Forward 



If humanity is not to perish, as other species have that failed to respond to their changed 

conditions, we must face and creatively cope with the unintended consequences of the 

narrow and short-term thinking that has led to today’s unsustainable global situation. No 

‘quick fix’ or ‘miracle technology’ will save us from the consequences of the misguided 

values and actions of the past. Only by engaging the human spirit in all its creativity and 

potential wisdom can we give birth to the necessary new thinking and actions.  

The currently dominant mode of thinking cannot be maintained any longer. We must 

overcome the societal inertia generated by the powerful, self-destructive remnants of 

bygone eras in order to prepare in each region, nation and community for systemic 

disruptions and possible collapses. We must radically reconsider our view of the world 

and re-structure its principal operative systems: energy, economics, governance, 

transportation, food, resource use and distribution, among others. We must act to extend 

the window of time available to us before it becomes too late to avoid breakdown on a 

global scale. 


Every crisis harbors within it the opportunity for change and transformation. The ideas 

and designs for the needed new systems, structures and technologies already exist. 

Today we are rediscovering essential elements of the wisdom inherent in the world’s 

great cultural traditions and making important scientific discoveries regarding the nature 

of reality, our connections to each other and to nature. At the same time we are 

developing alternative energy sources, sustainable technologies, global communications 

and information flows, biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and other 

technologies capable of paving the way toward global sustainability for human 

communities and the environment.  


Our new thinking and new tools can accelerate the emergence of a new world in 

sufficient time to avoid the ‘worst case’ scenarios - if we act now. Time is short and the 

task unprecedented. 


Effective and feasible solutions to the present global emergency must be brought to the 

attention of as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, to motivate urgent and 

effective action by all aware and responsible global citizens. Widespread communication 

and collaboration amongst people, nations, cultures, religions, societal sectors, 

professions, associations, networks, organizations, and other groups, is essential to 

ensure humanity’s survival on this planet. 


The new Club of Budapest report Worldshift 2012 – The Handbook of Timely Change 

advances a feasible whole-systems concept for the urgently needed epochal shift. It is a 

Worldshift - a worldwide shift from a path of unsustainability, conflict and confrontation 

to a path toward global sustainability, wellbeing and peace.’ The Report’s proposals for 

achieving this Worldshift, together with the proposals of the Declaration’s signatories, 

form an integral part of this document.  



Peoples of the World to declare their awareness of the state of global emergency and 

their firm commitment to join together to carry out real and meaningful change in all 

sectors of society (education, governance, economy, media, culture, technology) and at 

all levels (local, national, and global) for the common good of all people and all societies, 

and all life on Earth.  


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