"We must choose to make the 21st century a time of renewal. By seizing the opportunity that is bound up in this global crisis, we can unleash the creativity, innovation, and inspiration that are just as much a part of our human birthright as our vulnerability to greed and pettiness. What is at stake is our ability to live on Planet Earth - to have a future as a civilization. The choice is ours. The responsibility is ours. The future is ours."
Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006
Humanity today faces both enormous challenges and tremendous opportunities on a global scale. Our growing environmental and societal challenges are unprecedented as both our civilization and survival remain in serious jeopardy. Opportunities for large-scale transformation are also unprecedented being driven by on-going revolutions in new scientific knowledge, innovative technologies and global communications.
The challenges before us are both man-made and products of the modern age. The long list includes; nuclear war, terrorism, climate change, ozone depletion, eco-system destruction, resource depletion, disease, pandemics and toxic pollution of our air, water and land. Increasing ecological degradation and resource exploitation go hand in hand with mounting insecurity and militarization, rising criminality and corruption, growing economic and social polarization and escalating religious and cultural conflict.
At the same time the promise of the 21st Century includes new understandings of the natural world and ourselves together with incredible new tools: alternative energies, sustainable technologies, world communications, global information exchange, space exploration, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence and many others yet to be discovered.
Yet, we remain in the midst of a growing global crisis as the large-scale negative trends interact with and reinforce each other. Regrettably the majority of citizens in our respective nations are neither aware of this crisis nor of the major societal shifts necessary to address it. Especially in the shrinking time-frame that many world scientists are now telling us may remain to do so. In this crisis, however, there exists a corresponding opportunity - an opportunity to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances by changing ourselves.
Accordingly, the question for our time is: Will we be overwhelmed by the growing challenges confronting us or will we overcome them through wise leadership and collaborative action to enter a new era of human development and achievement?
Scientists have been warning us to address our growing, global challenges for over 40 years. Many are now saying that we may have less than ten years to the 'tipping point' for massive climate change. Thus, we may have only a short time to make the ultimate choice - to breakdown to a civilizational collapse or breakthrough to a new humanity and new world!
To choose to breakthrough we must now join together and act for a sustainable and peaceful future as pioneers of a new global civilization. The World Wisdom Alliance being launched in Toronto in July, is the vehicle to connect and unite us in this shared mission!
We welcome your participation and partnership.
President, The Club of Budapest Canada