The importance of agriculture on human civilisation should not be underestimated. The number of people who can be sustained in a fixed location as hunter gatherers is typically rather limited. The alternative lifestyle is to migrate to follow the food which precludes any permanence of residence and ties up time moving. The domestication of plants and animals therefore laid the foundations for the formation of substantially larger settlements and (through improving technology) an increasing ability to spend less time merely surviving and more time developing all the things we take for granted today.
It is precisely this fundamental advance that is seriously threatened by abrupt climate change. As climate change accelerates, the viability of large areas of the planet for agriculture will be compromised. As large numbers of people start to starve and become desperate to survive they will tear down civilisation in their struggle. There is no sign in human behaviour that the average person values tomorrow and the future of their children - if they are struggling today. The destruction we will wreak in our collapse will cost us modern technology and supply chains. It will therefore be virtually impossible to adapt to the new climate following periods of abrupt transition as only local resources (if any) will be available to do so.
It may be hard for most people to grasp but modern civilisation is a tremendously fragile creature. When floods in Thailand can disrupt the supply of computer hard disks to the world; the actions of China can pressure the supply of rare earth metals globally; a failed harvest in the USA can mean famine in Africa - then you truly know we are globally interconnected. Local resilience is an ideal all too often ignored.
Furthermore there is no safety net. If civilisation disintegrates sufficiently to lose too much of the expertise and logistics required to support modern civilisation there is no reason to suppose that we can stabilise this decline at lower technology levels. This is because there are simply far too few people with knowledge and experience of more primitive technologies - especially once you consider the extremely high death toll and period of conflict likely to occur as collapse arrives. There isn't much to stop the human race crashing back beyond the stone age - except the actions that we take to preserve civilisation.
We must consider that at first survivors will scavenge the finite resources left by the dead world of today. Some people think this would be acceptable, to use these finite resources - and it will be the problem of their children or grandchildren to find new answers. Does that sound familiar to you?
If our parents and grandparents had cared to solve our problems by never creating them, I truly believe we would not have the severity of the problems and the catastrophe we are about to experience today. Therefore for civilisation to survive (and more importantly prosper, as empty survival achieves little) we must have a paradigm shift. This may not be as easy as it sounds as evolutionary urges drive people to fulfil short term requirements. That said - the simple fact we are possessed of enough intelligence to recognise this fact means that we are not exonerated of this responsibility!
While of course short term survival is a pre-requisite to prosperity and the reconstruction of civilisation, we are not interested in short term thinkers. Many times I have heard older people say they feel sorry for my generation and the problems we face - and then to express relief that they will not be here to experience it. In other words - you have happily enjoyed the short term benefits of the unsustainable lifestyle you enjoyed and hope to leave us only with the problems!
Are we to continue to perpetuate this crime upon our children? Those who are involved with this had better not be.
I want people who will take responsibility for solving a problem today, instead of being happy to say it can be a problem for their child or grandchild tomorrow.
Our mission therefore should be clear:
To ensure the preservation of at least the basic foundations of civilisation and the shift in thinking required to solve problems today instead of accumulating them as a curse upon tomorrow