As society frets over relatively trivial problems—such as the debt crisis and unemployment—the breakdown of natural systems presents a scenario that could literally bring an end to civilization, says Paul Ehrlich in an article published by the Stanford News Service. But, instead of reacting to the dangers, nations around the world are essentially carrying on as usual. Ehrlich points to the need for a coupling of the human (socio-political-economic) system to the natural world—a relationship that has garnered a great deal of attention in the environmental science community in recent years.
As Ehrlich describes the situation:
"In the absence of dramatic changes in human behavior relative to Earth's natural systems, gradual population shrinkage, an end to overconsumption by the rich and a redistribution of wealth and opportunity, it is likely the natural system will react in ways that will reduce the scale of the human system in a very unpleasant manner. Debt and employment problems can be solved entirely by negotiation; one cannot negotiate with nature."Among the groups mentioned in his talk that are attempting to move along a more sustainable path: Occupy Wall Street, Global Movement to Solve the Climate Crisis, GrowthBusters and MAHB: Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere.