The Tipping Point that will destroy the world

George Monbiot is known for his environmental and political activism. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian and is the author of a number of books. Popular culture is finally beginning to be alarmed by environmental devastation. The movie Don’t Look Up being a current example.

I’m not promoting the reference to Double Down News at the end of the video, but here is a link to that website. Double Down News, The Future of Journalism.

A new study about the power of committed minorities to shift conventional thinking offers some surprising possible answers. Published this week in Science, the paper describes an online experiment in which researchers sought to determine what percentage of total population a minority needs to reach the critical mass necessary to reverse a majority viewpoint. The tipping point, they found, is just 25 percent. At and slightly above that level, contrarians were able to “convert” anywhere from 72 to 100 percent of the population of their respective groups. Prior to the efforts of the minority, the population had been in 100 percent agreement about their original position.

The 25% Revolution – How big does a minority have to be to reshape society? by David Noonan, Scientific American, June 8, 2018

Many people have heard the following Margaret Mead quote. She was referring to a small percentage of people I think.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

Auto-generated transcript of the video above, the tipping point that will destroy the world.

I doubt that 1% of people really understand what we’re facing here,
the prospect of systemic environmental collapse.
The collapse of the whole thing our life support systems in total.
Human beings alongside most of the life on earth today
evolved in particular environmental circumstances which is the earth
in what’s called its holocene state.
That state is kept in a sort of stable equilibrium by the ocean
the atmosphere, the biosphere which means all the life on earth,
the soil the water all of these are complex systems
which come together to create this amazingly complex system
called the earth system.
Complex systems have a set of interesting characteristics
through their self-regulating properties they can absorb
quite a lot of stress and still maintain an equilibrium state.
So if you think about your body you can run a mile
on a hot day really go for it and your body temperature remains
exactly the same as it was before you started.
You can go and have a snowball fight on a really cold day
and stay out for a couple of hours and your body temperature
is still exactly the same as when you started.
And what you’ve got is this system just constantly regulating itself,
and maintaining that body temperature.
But if you are subject to too much cold stress
or too much heat stress things spiral out of control.
And you can spiral into hypothermia
where you get colder and colder and then you die,
or into hyperthermia where you get hotter and hotter
and then you die.
We face quite a similar problem with our earth systems.
they reach a tipping point and once they pass that tipping point they collapse
into a completely different state and when you’ve collapsed when that tipping point has been crossed
there is no going back we’re trying to tell you that the entire planet is about to be destroyed
the way we know whether we are approaching a tipping point is that the outputs from a
system begin to flicker you get more and more fluctuations and what we’ve seen has been what
looks like a great global flickering these extreme weather events droughts heat domes
floods fires and the rest of it you do understand that this is an apocalyptic event i hear you
i hear you far more extreme than anything in the historical record and indeed anything in
the recent prehistorical record either this looks like the flickering which precedes
a tipping point we should be hostile to human life and indeed to most of the life on earth today
i say we sit tight and assess am i to understand correctly that after all of the information you’ve
received today the decision you’re making is to sit tight and assess if you were to take this
seriously you would be throwing at it everything we’ve got much as they did when a different
system the financial system came close to collapse in 2008. it didn’t quite pass its tipping point
but it came pretty close to that started with mortgage defaults in the u.s really quite small
but that was enough to destabilize this already quite fragile system and push the whole thing
until it came very near to total collapse when lehman brothers collapsed that nearly brought
the whole thing down and governments moved with extraordinary speed and decisiveness and poured
altogether trillions of dollars into the global financial system to try to shore it back and
push it back into its safe space into its safe equilibrium state now we can argue about whether
they did the right thing or the wrong thing and the way that they did it bailouts going
to the major criminals in the system and the rest of it we can argue about all that
but there is absolutely no doubt about the need for very rapid and decisive action if
we don’t stop the bleeding in three days half the banks in this room are out of business
in five days we’re all gone if we were to take the same attitude to the tipping point of our
earth systems that’s what we would be doing we’ll be moving in with extraordinary speed and effect
to make that decisive change right here right now rather than saying yeah let’s aim for net
zero by 2050 and we’ll reduce emissions by two percent every year it’s just not
going to work the president’s plan to save earth and make it so we can all have a home
is going to work right every single man woman and child on this planet is going to die i don’t like
him he makes me sad i’m sorry about that yeah kids listen to me you tell your parents if you’re going
to prevent a tipping point you have to push them back into their safe equilibrium state before they
reach that point if governments want things to happen they can make things happen if they choose
to but most of the time they just don’t what’s missing is not the money it’s not the technology
it’s the political will and how come they were ready to bail out the financial sector
but they’re not ready to bail out the planet is it because the planet isn’t paying them
to win the next election it’s not producing their campaign funds for them is it because
the oceans aren’t whispering into their ear is it because the forests don’t own the media
of course there’s only one story everyone’s talking about tonight
topless urgent care centers they are so hooked on the short-term interests of their corporate
sponsors or their oligarch sponsors that they’ll do whatever they want but they won’t do what it
takes to prevent the collapse of life on earth and i’m sure many of the people out there aren’t even
going to listen to what i just said because you know they have their own political ideology but
i i assure you i am not on one side or the other i i’m just telling you the [ __ ] truth now the
hopeful side of the story is this that just as earth systems are complex systems and they can tip
into a different state the same applies to human systems the same applies to society and we can
tip society into a different state and in fact there’s quite a lot of science being done on this
now both observational and experimental science once you get a committed minority of around 25
then the whole of society can tip most people most of the time side with the status quo for
good or for real very often for ill and once you reach that 25 that threshold
that seems to be where the tipping point is and then suddenly people look around and say oh things
have changed i better change with it and they tack round to catch that wind you’ve finally seen it
and that’s what we need to do that’s what we can do we just need to reach that 25
committed minority and society will change and so we need to get together in our millions
to demand the changes required to prevent systemic environmental collapse to demand
that we retain a habitable planet all effective movements are an ecosystem they
need lots of people using their different skills bringing those skills together
do what they do best the alternative media is absolutely essential it’s a crucial component
of that ecosystem of change so please support double down news become a sponsor on patreon

One thought on “The Tipping Point that will destroy the world

  1. Reblogged this on Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News and commented:
    It does not takes 25% of people to change direction. A shift of 5% in a short span of time, can set off a shift the will cause the 80% of people waiting to see which way the wind is blowing to change to quickly become the overwhelming majority. All we can do now is avoid tipping points that we have not guessed about yet are a year or so away. We have already passed some significant tipping points that will spill out for the next 10-30 years.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: