The Necessary Revolution - Peter Senge

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20 rEFLEctIoNS | V o LU M E 9, N U M B E r 2 Book ExcErpt 9.2 The Necessary Revolution How We Got Into This Predicament Something important has happened in the last stage of the industrial era that sets it apart from the past: Globalization has brought a level of interdependence between nations and regions that never existed before, along with truly global problems that also have no precedent. The Industrial Age isn’t ending because of a decline in opportunities for further expansion. It is ending because individuals, organizations, and governments are realizing that its side effects are unsustainable. But endings are also beginnings. In The Necessary Peter Senge Revolution, Peter Senge and his…show more content…
By 1952, air quality in London was so bad that the “great smog” (four days of toxic air trapped over the city) killed more than 4,000 people and galvanized the government to create air pollution regulations.1 other side effects went unseen. Invisible co2 emissions in the United kingdom rose from virtually zero to over a million tons per year by the end of the nineteenth century. During America’s twentieth-century economic miracle, the amount of fossil fuels burned grew so much that by the end of the century co2 emissions totaled almost two billion tons annually, or about seven tons per person. Despite growing awareness of the importance of a healthy environment and successes in pollution reduction, even a cursory summary shows that things have mostly gone from bad to worse worldwide. Let’s look at the problems by category. Industrial Waste • the U.S. economy consumes over 100 billion tons of raw materials per year; more than 90 percent of this, by weight, ends up as waste from extraction and production processes. that works out to about 1 ton of waste per person per day.2 • Solid and liquid industrial wastes (such as plastics and petrochemical wastes) disperse through groundwater, and airborne pollutants (such as acids) can travel hundreds or thousands of miles 22 rEFLEctIoNS | V o LU M E 9, N U M B E r 2 before they end up in rainfall, soil, and water. these pollutants affect
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