The Great Disruption

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In this recent photo composite image from NASA made over a span of several months and from different angles, the earth can be seen from space, 1007. Using a collection of satellited-based observations, scientists stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless mosaic of every square mile of the planet. (NASA)
The Earth as seen from space in a 2007 photo composite image from NASA made over a span of several months and from different angles. (AP/NASA)

Almost everyone.

There is a big school of thought out there that says we must not just bounce back from this downturn. We must come back changed. This isn’t just a great recession we’re in, they say. It’s “The Great Disruption" — nature and the economy hitting the wall, collapsing, at the same time.

Australian environmentalist Paul Gilding invented the phrase. American climate expert Joseph Romm says the free ride is over. They’re both with us today.

This hour, On Point: Money, Mother Nature, and “The Great Disruption.”Guests:

Paul Gilding, former executive director of Greenpeace International and founder of the environmental consulting firm ECOS. He's now an independent writer, advisor and advocate for issues of sustainability and climate change.  He first wrote about the idea of a "Great Disruption" in 2005.

Joseph Romm, physicist and climate expert. He served in the US Department of Energy in the Clinton Administration. He's now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and editor of the blog

More links:

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's piece on Sunday, "The Inflection is Near?" -- in which he highlights the work of both Paul Gilding and Joseph Romm -- was #1 on's most e-mailed list this week.

This program aired on March 11, 2009.


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