The crisis and the change-makers

By Paul Rogers

, by OpenDemocracy

In the face of the world’s urgent economic and environmental problems, political leadership is failing. But from the ground up, new tools of understanding are emerging to fill the gap and point a way forward.

The world’s financial crisis is deepening, and protests are spreading across the world in the face of increasing marginalisation. As these processes unfold, it is increasingly obvious that political leaders are bereft of ideas about how to address the problems - and, even more stunning, find it impossible to comprehend that fundamental change is needed (see "A world in protest", 17 November 2011).

In parallel with these economic and political failures, authorities are incapable of recognising the approaching crisis of environmental limits with climate change at its heart. There is little hope of the climate-change summit in Durban on 28 November - 9 December 2011 setting even modest targets for the coming period, and negotiations on a post-Kyoto treaty will probably extend over several years before coming to a conclusion. Thus, the next treaty is unlikely to come into force much before 2020 - at least a decade too late in relation to what is needed.

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