The world we leave to our children is particularly alarming. Unlike our grandparents and great-grandparents, we are far from believing in offering our grandchildren a better world. Instead, it is rather the opposite that unfolds before our eyes and to our conscience. Extensive and profound changes in our way of life must take place very shortly. Unfortunately, it is less and less likely. Otherwise, our world is doomed to suffer disasters repeatedly.
Uninterrupted growth, cleverly disguised in the shadow of sustainable development1 , continues to wreak havoc. We are heading straight towards crises of unprecedented magnitude. The only unknown is whether they will first be economical, social2 , environmental,3 or even the aftermath of a full-scale war.4 For 2023, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" strongly warns us that it is now only a minute and a half to midnight! It is the most severe warning from this international scientific community's tool, the clock's closest approach to midnight since its inception, even worse than in 1953, during the nuclear threat most scary days5 . Is our civilization doomed to collapse within a few decades for want of anything better than the "least bad political system" described by Winston Churchill?
For several years, the stalemate findings in which we find ourselves have been multiplying. Sometimes it is timidly mentioned that we have indeed entered a new century. The prefix "21st century" is often added to a topic to support the idea that we deserve better, much better. The current situation forces us to ask ourselves this existential question: Will our civilization survive the twenty-first century? Or even more improbable, serenely start this 3rd millennium, which seemed so full of promise, just a few decades ago?
It may be too late already. We believe not. But it is, of course, impossible to answer this question with certainty. However, it is evident that time is running out and that our ruling class seldomly take truly encouraging actions. Continuing to sprinkle minor changes here and there would be unconscious. It seems that the scientific community does not know how much clearer to tell us.
Two of our biggest headliners in the scientific world shared explicit messages about the urgency of finding new paths fundamentally different from those we have explored so far. On the one hand, David Suzuki believes that "environmentalism has failed."6 On the other, Hubert Reeves frankly tells us that our civilization's very survival is at stake7 . And too little seems to be in place to avoid the worst. We, therefore, believe that it is legitimate to question many fundamental aspects of our way of life.
Original quote: « Plusieurs auteurs et chercheurs mettent en garde ceux qui croient qu’à tort, développement et croissance sont synonymes. » (p. 12)
Guy Turchany, Évolution conceptuelle du développement durable, le chemin vers un oxymore?
Université Internationale du Développement Durable (UIDD) (visited July 23rd, 2018)
Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, preface of the book The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century
GlobalResearch.ca, May 18th, 2010 (visited July 23rd, 2018)
« The real-world consequences of these climate projections can be comprehended by thinking of past climate-related disasters such as the 2013 floods in Toronto and Calgary, the record drought in 2012 that greatly impacted the agricultural sector, Hurricane Juan that ripped up Halifax in 2003, and the 1998 ice storm that left 1.2 million Canadians in Ontario and Québec in the dark for a week in January. » (p. 17)
By 31 Canadian scholars, Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars
Sustainable Canada Dialogues, March 19, 2015 (visited July 23rd, 2018)
Act decisively before it is too late, Guterres warns countries, laying out his priorities for 2023
UN Affairs, 6 February 2023 (visited February 7, 2023)
by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and security board
A time of unprecedented danger: It is 90 seconds to midnight
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 24, 2023 (visited February 7, 2023)
David Suzuki, May 1st, 2012 (visited July 23rd, 2018)
Original quote: « Oui, l’humanité est malheureusement menacée. Il faut vraiment être aveugle pour en douter… »
Hubert Reeves, Entretien M6 Info (visited July 23rd, 2018)