Re-inventing Construction: Proceedings of the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction 2010

358 Human beings have only been on this planet for 175,000 years, which makes us the youngest species on the planet. We are less than one half of a percent of the biomass of the earth, but we are almost six billion strong, and we are using 24 percent of all the photosynthesis of the earth. In 40 years, we will host more than nine billion people. This is just unsustainable, and it is monstrous. The only way to prevent us from devouring our planet is to establish a new kind of empathy that will provide a new social contract. Two recent events, the skyrocketing and unstable price of oil and the almost complete meltdown of the global economy, signalled the end game of a two- century long industrial revolution propelled by fossil fuels. In July 2008 the price of one barrel of oil hit 147 USD. Commodity prices soared and inflation went through the roof. Basic items became unaffordable, from food in the grocery store to petrol at the pump. There were food riots in 30 countries. Because almost everything we use is based on fossil fuel: fertilizers, pesticides, most of our phar- STIMULATE STAKEHOLDERS The Empathy Principle Creating Biosphere Consciousness Through a Communication and Energy Revolution JEREMY RIFKIN

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