There can be no sustainable peace, there can be no sustainable justice, and there can be no sustainable prosperity without a sustainable environment. The Ecological Imperative is that we must sustain the environment for all other values to be sustained. This is not in any way to diminish the values of peace, justice, and prosperity. It is simply to say that ecological sustainability is the necessary precondition for the long-term enjoyment of all other values. It is the foundation upon which all of the other values within our world house are built.
The greatest threat to the stability of this foundation of ecological sustainability is anthropogenic climate change. I will not argue the science in this particular post. There is a vast array of peer-reviewed scientific literature that lays out the evidence for climate change. If we do not take systemic, radical, and global action to stop and reverse climate change, we will continue to force our way out of 10,000 years of relative climate stability and likely be unable to avoid catastrophic climate change that will threaten all human life and a large percentage of all species. Unfortunately, there are strong indications that damaging climate change is inevitable based on the amount greenhouse gases we have already emitted. We are likely at the point where our only hope is to avoid catastrophic climate change while simultaneously adjusting to the damaging warming that is inevitable.
We must find the political will and the compassion for each other and all life that is necessary to be “all in” on the work to avoid catastrophic climate change. This is both the measure of the greatness of our generation and the precondition for future generations to experience flourishing. No matter what else we do (and there is much else to do to enhance the value of life in the world), we must come together and act as one humanity for the sake of all humanity and all life and take action on climate change. If we are not all in on addressing climate change, we are condemning our children and grandchildren to be all out of the foundation that is necessary to enjoy all other values and to enjoy life itself. At this point in time, it is not possible to be a moral generation without addressing climate change with our all.