Planet Earth from a distance of 4 billion miles. Photo by Voyager I. Source: NASA/JPL Feb. 1990 (Just below middle of page in orange/brown color band on right)

“We stand today upon the fulcrum of history, a crossroads at midnight with a blood moon rising. Down one road lies fire, flood, famine, failure and the final triumph of greed. What awaits down the other road is unknown, terra incognita, a mystery to be solved one gentle step at a time. As a species, we tend to recoil from what we do not know, often choosing the awful alternative simply because it is familiar. Now, even that poor option is a suicidal indulgence leading inexorably to our common doom.” – – William Rivers Pitt

This quotation by Pitt is a warning, but it is not included to lend a sense of hopelessness. Quite the opposite. It is to say we have an option. We do not need to continue down the “familiar” path of self-destructive, “you or me,” greed driven madness. With courage and integrity, we can take the path of “us and we,” and begin solving our problems “one gentle step at a time.” We still have the option.

The first three parts of this series were a hope. A hope that we might begin to see ourselves for what we are. . . an extraordinary event in the vast expanse of the Cosmos. We are the only life we know of – we are alone. We travel on a gift, a life-giving spaceship we have named Planet Earth. We are all citizens of the world, incomprehensibly exceptional children of the Universe. When we see ourselves in these terms, all of our economic, political, and religious “ideologies” become irrelevant. Accident of birth determines what we “believe.”

As stated in Part I, there is now but one question before us: How do we make the world work for everyone? And how do we do so quickly – right now. We are “at a crossroads at midnight with a blood moon rising.” Given the current state of global warming and the increasing threat of nuclear war, anything less than success for everyone is likely to result in success for no one. Though we seem perversely unable to recognize it, Spaceship Earth – and all living things aboard it – are in a critical state of emergency.

It is understood how difficult it is to change human beliefs, or to change human behavior. We watch as our collision course unfolds – madmen pursuing our own demise. But we refuse to change our trajectory. The Green New Deal recently introduced in the US Congress is a perfect example. It envisions sweeping changes in how we produce our energy, net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, clean air and water, the creation of millions of jobs through public investment in infrastructure, justice for frontline communities during the transition, and much more. In other words, the Green New Deal is proposing many of the actions needed to save a ship in a critical state of emergency.

And what has been the reaction to the New Green Deal? Our “wise,” “experienced,” establishment politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties have raced out to tell us . . . “it can’t be done,” “the timing isn’t right,” “the American people aren’t ready for it,” “it isn’t politically feasible,” “how are you going to pay for it?” “it can’t be done, it can’t be done!”

But our “wise,” “experienced,” establishment politicians have forgotten one thing: the laws of physics don’t give a damn if the “timing isn’t right.” They don’t care if politicians falsely claim “the people aren’t ready for it.” They don’t care if “it isn’t politically feasible.” They don’t care if our economic “ideologies” are so fatally flawed that we can stand staring at all the resources needed to save the ship and still ask ourselves the insane question “how are you going to pay for it?” They don’t care that we refuse to recognize in our current state of emergency that the only things that are affordable are sweeping acts of courage, intelligence, and wisdom like the New Green Deal.

We can no longer afford to be madmen. We don’t have time for irrational economic models that reward greed and fraud but see no way of caring for everyone. We don’t have time to waste physical and intellectual resources developing ever more lethal ways of killing one another when those same resources could be used to provide for humanity and eliminate the need to fight over self-created scarcity. We don’t have time to continue burning fossil fuels when safe alternatives are waiting to be employed. More than anything, we don’t have time for endless, tired excuses telling us “it can’t be done.” The laws of physics are telling us it “can be done” and it “must be done” – immediately.

There is really only one qualifier for human action as we move toward making the world work for everyone: Is the action good for Spaceship Earth and the life aboard it, or is the action bad for Spaceship Earth and the life aboard it. Yes, this is simplistic. But simplicity is critical in a state of emergency. Equally important, utilizing this simple framework leads to the only “economic” model that is actually valid and sustainable – a model based on the laws of physics.

Part V will discuss Good and Bad Actions