Friday, February 09, 2007

"Collapse": Is Our Society Heading for Extinction?

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an intriguing talk by professor Jared Diamond, the author of the bestselling books "Guns, Germs, and Steel" (which won the Pulitzer Prize) and, more recently, "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." The focus of the talk was the latter book, and he offered some great insights on what we can learn from the failures of a variety of civilizations around the world and throughout history.

These civilizations, like ours, were great and successful societies which nevertheless ended up with vacant, abandoned cities. While he suggests that our society is indeed in a dire situation due to environmental degradation and global warming, he feels it's not too late to turn things around. After the talk he took questions from audience members, and in particular encouraged attendees under the age of 30 to come up and ask questions. He said that this was because it is these young people who will be living in our society decades down the road, and thus have the most to gain--or lose--from what changes occur or don't occur to turn things around.

No comments: