Originally aired April 2005
Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. The subtitle claims “societies choose to fail or succeed.”
ROBERT THURMAN, the author of more than 20 books and the first American ordained as a Tibetan monk by his friend of more than 40 years, the Dalai Lama, is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, President of Tibet House US, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and promoting Tibetan civilization.
LESTER BROWN has been described by the Washington Post as "one of the world's most influential thinkers." After working with the Department of Agriculture in international agricultural development, Brown helped establish the Overseas Development Council, then founded the Worldwatch Institute, which plays an important role in the public's understanding of trends in our global environment with its annual State of the World report and Vital Signs. In 2001, he left Worldwatch, founded Earth Policy Institute, and continues his vital work. During a career that began with tomato farming, Brown has been honored with numerous prizes, including the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, the United Nations Environment Prize, and Japan's Blue Planet Prize, along with some 20 honorary degrees.
In his new book, WORLD ON THE EDGE: HOW TO PREVENT ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, BROWN lays out the symptoms, the diagnosis, and the cure, what he calls "Plan B". He estimates that we could solve all the world's greatest problems for $200B a year - less than a third the US defense budget - but it will take an all-out response at wartime speed proportionate to the magnitude of the threats facing civilization.
JEREMY RIFKIN is the bestselling author of The End of Work, The Biotech Century, The Hydrogen Economy and The European Dream. A fellow at the Wharton School's Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania, he is the president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, D.C. His newest book is THE EMPATHIC CIVILIZATION.
STEWART BRAND's Whole Earth Catalog introduced millions to new ways of thinking and doing and probably contributed to the birth of environmentalism in the US. Confronting today's challenges to global civilization in his new book, Brand questions environmental positions against GMO foods, Geo-engineering, and nuclear power.
In 1968 a totally original cultural item appeared. It owed something to old time catalogs perhaps akin to the Farmers almanac. Its style was funkily low-fi while its content had one foot in a simpler past and the other in a high tech sci-fi future. It was called the Whole Earth Catalog and subtitled "Access to Tools."
STEWART BRAND was its founder, editor and publisher, and Brand has been at the founding of several other cultural entities, events, and movements. Today, in his '70s, STEWART BRAND is no less curious, no less purposeful, and no less forward looking. His new book, WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE: An EcoPragmatist Manifesto, confronts the challenges we face as a global civilization - population, urbanization, resource depletion, peak oil, and most profoundly climate change, by issuing challenges of his own to what has passed for years as environmental orthodoxy. Brand characterizes many in a movement he helped to create and inspire as being anti-science, and anti-intellectual in their opposition to GMO foods, Geo-engineering, and nuclear power.
Forty years ago, Brand could say in the Whole Earth Catalog, "We are as gods, we might as well get good at it". Today in WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE, he says, "We are as gods and have to get good at it."