WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Rob de Laet
3 min readAug 27, 2023

Humans suffer from shifting baseline syndrome, which makes it difficult to realize how conditions on our beautiful living planet are deteriorating fast, just not fast enough for individual people to perceive it.
As John Cabot sailed from England to North America in 1497, his ship encountered massive schools of codfish off the coast of Newfoundland. The fish were so abundant they brought the vessel to a halt, even under full sail. Nature’s abundance was found in so many places. Remember the expression land of milk and honey?

Those who are awake, know we are at the precipice of irreversible degradation of the living conditions on our planet, because we have deeply damaged the biosphere and with that the living Earth’s capacity to thrive and regulate its temperature and metabolisms. The key regulator, photosynthesis, which drives both the water and carbon cycles, has been severely reduced. If nature was still vibrant, soils healthy, tropical rainforests vigorous, lands full of life, teeming with insects, oceans full of fish, the biosphere would easily absorb the carbon that is emitted by humans. Climate change is in part caused by CO2, but doesn’t your intuition tells you that the destruction and pollution of nature is at least as important? If you, like me, had the privilege to walk in a healthy old growth forest, you sensed that the air was invigorating, the damp soils healing, the temperature a balm to the skin, the space protective and uplifting. The degradation of the biosphere is the most important cause of the poly-crisis that is degrading our societies. Climate chaos, temperature increase, biodiversity destruction, but also a general decay of living conditions, both physical and mental, the increasing stress levels in society, the loss of happiness are all connected to the atrophy of living conditions. We have destroyed half of living biomass, we have wiped out most healthy forests, oyster beds, kelp forests, wildlife and so on. Benign climate and weather conditions are produced by a healthy biosphere! Reversing the damage is the fastest way out. Yes, emissions need to come down, but that not happening and if we did, it would at most slow climate change down a bit. Regenerating our planet by everyone, everywhere may still get us out of the mess we are in. Frontloading vigorous protection and repair of nature around the world, making landscapes climate resilient everywhere, when done at the needed scale, will calm the weather and cool the planet. Combined with reviving ocean biology, we can turn this around within 10, 20 years and sequester a lot of carbon in the process. But we have to wake up fast, because we are running out of time, at some point our planetary organs will stop functioning, stop to produce oxygen, clean water, healthy food and mop up CO2 from the atmosphere. Do you agree this is the real climate story? Then start to spread the word.

Where do we go from here == Artist unknown

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Rob de Laet

Will we make the transition towards a sustainable human culture and society or will we choose chaos? It is up to us to make the Great Turning. Let’s Go!