Dean Gus Speth and The Bridge at the Edge of the World

Question: What inspired you to write "The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability"?

Gus Speth: Real concern. Two things came together. One is that I spent a lot of time looking at the environmental trends and conditions. This is something that you can do in an academic environment, you have time to go reflect. And I've been in this field since 1970 and I thought I'd look back and see how we were doing. And what I found was that we're really-- despite this growing strength in the environmental community, the growing sophistication, the growing number of groups, here we find ourselves 40 years later on the verge of losing the planet, of really ruining this place for our children and grandchildren. The data point in the wrong directions. So that was one thing, the other conclusion that I came to, part of that, really, is that the way we are going about environmentalism, in our country today, is not going to suffice. We could double the efforts of the types of things that we do now in mainstream environmentalism and it would improve things marginally, but it would not carry the day, would not win where we need to win.

Recorded: 3/23/08

 

 

 

 

 

We’re on the verge of losing the planet of our children and grandchildren.

Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Matthew Yglesias and moderator Charles Duhigg explore the idea on Big Think Live.

Big Think LIVE

Is immigration key to bolstering the American economy? Could having one billion Americans secure the US's position as the global superpower?

Keep reading Show less

Landau Genius Scale ranking of the smartest physicists ever

How Nobel Prize winner physicist Lev Landau ranked the best physics minds of his generation.

Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Nobel-Prize-winning Soviet physicist Lev Landau used a scale to rank the best physicists of the 20th century.
  • The physicist based it on their level of contribution to science.
  • The scale was logarithmic, with each level being 10 times more valuable.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

    Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

    Credit: sakkmesterke
    Surprising Science
    • Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
    • The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
    • The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
    Keep reading Show less

    Mystery anomaly weakens Earth's magnetic field, report scientists

    A strange weakness in the Earth's protective magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.

    ESA
    Surprising Science
    • "The South Atlantic Anomaly" in the Earth's magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
    • The information was gathered by the ESA's Swarm Constellation mission satellites.
    • The changes may indicate the coming reversal of the North and South Poles.
    Keep reading Show less

    We studied what happens when guys add their cats to their dating app profiles

    43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.

    Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
    Sex & Relationships

    If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.

    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast