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The really big, magical, visionary challenge facing us at the moment is transforming industrial civilization so as to avoid average global temperature increases of more than 2 degrees Celsius. This is now widely acknowledged to be almost impossible, but it’s a lot more important to our future than sending a man to the moon. Global increases of 4 degrees will put us in an unimaginably different situation, one in which many now agree that the possibility of civil society is in doubt. We may be able to imagine living in a world where we never made it to the moon but the problem we really HAVE to solve is how to keep from permanently ruining the planet we live on. We may have ten years to imagine and implement the economic, social, and political changes that this requires but we probably don’t have much more than that!
Nice theses, but they seem to have been easier to accomplish in the more individualistic society of the past. Nowadays, anybody with novel ideas faces countless hinders on the way to accomplishing his goals. One might say that overcoming these is part of the overall effort. And it may be true. But fighting social and bureaucratic obstacles may take so much time, and sap so much energy, that there will be no time left for doing the breakthrough work that would actually remain as an historic fact.