Technology: Doom or Boon?

“The Industrial Revolution, powered by oil and other fossil fuels, is spiraling into a dangerous endgame. The price of energy and food is climbing, unemployment remains high, the housing market has tanked, consumer and government debt is soaring, and the recovery is slowing. Facing the prospect of a second collapse of the global economy, humanity is desperate for a sustainable economic game plan to take us into the future.”

– Jeremy Rifkin

According to #ZWC2014 keynote Jeremy Rifkin, humanity is approaching a crossroads: will we succumb to the ecological and economic doom we have ourselves created, or will we thrive, having embraced the transformative technological and philosophical opportunities now available?

A renowned economic and social theorist, bestselling author, political advisor and activist, Jeremy Rifkin is a proponent of the Third Industrial Revolution, an economic model that emphasizes decentralized production and distribution, much in contrast to the current economic model.

In this new economy, people will no longer be mere consumers, but prosumers actively producing and sharing information, products and renewable energy through innovations in communication, 3D printing and energy infrastructure.

This is already happening on the Internet – just look at how YouTube and social media have blurred the traditional lines between authors and audiences. It is therefore reasonable to predict this trend will spread to the physical world too, as advanced technology becomes ubiquitous.

As we become ever more interconnected, Rifkin predicts that human empathy will grow:

“…with hundreds of millions of people taking responsibility for their own small swath of the biosphere by harnessing renewable energy and sharing it with millions of others on smart power grids that stretch across continents, we become intimately interconnected at the most basic level of earthly existence by jointly stewarding the energy that bathes the planet and sustains all of life.

In an Empathic Civilization, people will “extend their empathic embrace beyond religious affiliations and national identification to include the whole of humanity and the vast project of life that envelops the Earth.”

Through technological innovation and global empathy, we can emerge from the challenges of the 21st century a healthier, more prosperous and creative human race than ever before.

Inspiring stuff.

We are honoured to have such an optimistic, empowering and ambitious keynote speaker to kick off #ZWC2014.

For more information on the Zero Waste Conference 2014 and to register, please visit our website at www.metrovancouver.org/zwc. We look forward to seeing you at Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Conference 2014.

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