Is the current system "broken"?

The self-appointed wise men below say that it is but that assumes that the  system was at some time "whole".  So who broke it?  They do not say so explicitly but it's an easy guess that they mean mankind.

They point out many things that are not ideal in the world and it  is certainly true that  many things are not ideal --  but what those things  are depends on your ideals.  I for instance know someone who said that AIDS made him believe in God.  He said:   "Something that just kills homos, blacks and druggies!  What more could you ask?"

I don't subscribe to that view, in part because I am an atheist but I quoted that to show that ideals can vary.  And, as Jonathan Haidt points out, it is the clash of ideals that we have to deal with in politics.  Declaring something "broken" is just a lazy way of avoiding serious discussion and responsible compromise.  But it seems to be exciting some erectile tissue below:

Seventeen top scientists and four acclaimed conservation organizations have called for radical action to create a better world for this and future generations. Compiled by 21 past winners of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize, a new paper recommends solutions for some of the world's most pressing problems including climate change, poverty, and mass extinction. The paper, entitled Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act, was recently presented at the UN Environment Program governing council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Blue Planet Prize is given for "outstanding achievements in scientific research and its application that have helped provide solutions to global environmental problems." Dubbed by some as the Nobel Prize for the environment, award winners have included such luminaries as environmentalist James Lovelock, biologist Paul Ehrlich, physicist Amory Lovins, economist Nicholas Stern, and climatologist James Hansen, all of whom have contributed to the report.

"The current system is broken," said climatologist Bob Watson, a Blue Planet winner in 2010 and the instigator of the report. "It is driving humanity to a future that is 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than our species has ever known, and is eliminating the ecology that we depend on for our health, wealth and senses of self. We cannot assume that technological fixes will come fast enough. Instead we need human solutions. The good news is that they exist but decision makers must be bold and forward thinking to seize them."

For their part, the Blue Planet laureates call on the world to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, switch out GDP (gross domestic product) for a more holistic measure of national well-being, decouple environmental destruction from consumption, drop subsidies for fossil fuels and environmentally destructive agricultural practices, put a market value on biodiversity and ecosystem services, work with grassroots movements to create bottom-up action, and finally address overpopulation.

"If we are to achieve our dream, the time to act is now, given the inertia in the socio-economic system, and that the adverse effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity cannot be reversed for centuries or are irreversible," the authors write.

Declaring that "the system is broken and our current pathway will not realize [the dream of a better world]" the authors point out that "civilization is faced with a perfect storm of problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich, the use of environmentally malign technologies, and gross inequalities." Worsening the situation, according to the scientists and environmentalists, is the dangerous "myth" that "physical economies can grow forever."


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