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As Our Problems Out Race Our Solutions, Humanity Needs a Completely New Strategy

As Our Problems Out Race Our Solutions, Humanity Needs a Completely New Strategy

Column: 

The Debate

Current Issue: 

Volume: 

36

Issue: 

1

On the first Earth Day, in April 1970, Senator Edmund Muskie called for “a total strategy to protect the total environment.” We have had time to pull this off — nearly a half century after Muskie’s clarion call — but have failed. Yes, gains in environmental quality have happened, but as time has passed, we have witnessed the emergence of global level, existential threats. The human race is pushing on or through what the Stockholm Resilience Center has called “planetary boundaries.” The old approaches have failed. But what would a new paradigm, built on lessons learned, look like?