Merry Christmas Tiny Tim!

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: The Choice is Up to Us

Tiny Tim is a metaphor for our sickly global environment.  Will We Save Him?


Scrooge is in the White House, and his daily tweets are non-stop “humbug”.  Soon enough he will be gone, hopefully before too much more damage is done, and then it will be up to the rest of us to save Tiny Tim.  

In fact, we cannot avoid making a collective choice about the future, and it is a choice that may well determine our ultimate fate as a species.  For we are now at a “tipping point” in our wanton assault on the global environment.   

We have been warned again and again. Most recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, composed of 90 of the world’s leading climate scientists, issued a dire report just a few weeks ago calling for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid a climate catastrophe.   There must be a 45% drop in greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 levels by 2030 and “net zero” by 2050 in order to keep global warming below the critical threshold of 1.50Celsius, the report concluded.  A separate report by 13 U.S. government agencies a few weeks later warned of the dire consequences for this country as well.   

In my new book, LAST CHANCE! A Species in Peril…Which Future Will We Choose? I argue that we must think outside the box.  I call for a set of transformative changes in our social values, our economic systems, and our politics to achieve a global “superorganism” – a metaphor that biologists use to characterize an integrated, socially organized species   A key idea is a new “biosocial contract” designed to create a legitimate and fair global society. It would be based on a “universal basic needs guarantee.”  My prescription is grounded in biology and the emergent science of human nature and is unique.  I argue that this is a necessary foundation for all of the other changes that will be needed to cope with our survival crisis.

Among other things, this will require major political changes at all levels, beginning with a comprehensive “Global Government Initiative” at the United Nations that includes significant institutional changes and two major new super-agencies, a Global Infrastructure Fund and a Global Emergency Management Agency.  All this is detailed in the book.  We must think outside the box because our future lies outside the box.  More important, we must urgently begin to act outside the box. 

Merry Christmas Tiny Tim! 


Peter Corning

Peter Corning is currently the Director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems in Seattle, Washington.  He was also a one-time science writer at Newsweek and a professor for many years in the Human Biology Program at Stanford University, along with holding a research appointment in Stanford’s Behavior Genetics Laboratory.  


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