‘A New Ethic for Humankind’ by Fred G. Thompson is a book trying to show that in view of the increasing population, energy shifts, resource consumption and pollution, the creation of a sustainable world will need massive change in human attitudes and actions, in fact a ‘‘new ethic’’ for humankind. It tells how, the principles of conduct needs to be changed to create the New Ethic.
It begins with an overview of the ‘Cassandras’ of our planets future, those who have been predicting a dismal period ahead for the world, like Richard Carson, Alvin Toffler and Al Gore. It then goes on to examine population growth and specific cases relating to some of the fastest growing countries of the world. And the author observes, population control has shown some possibility of achievement, but economic growth has not, therefore we need to develop a form of "holistic economics" to modernize economic theory and practice with a view towards a sustainable planet. Next chapter examines a natural consequence of population and economic Growth, environmental breakdown and its effects like climate change and global warming.
Observing the changes in our lifestyle and consumption pattern was something happened naturally, the author tries to examine it further, at what point will this consuming lifestyle be changed, slowed down or even reversed, driving the world away from an unsustainable future? The book then lists down the blockages that are stopping us making progress toward reasonable goals, like public apathy, denial, compassion, cost, political will.
The book then examines the path to the future, attending specifically on a suggested action path, of traditional organizations like government, industry and household social inventions like the Red Cross and YMCA, and other specialized communities. And an excellent summary brings the book to a close.
Though the background, the main influences and the present position regarding environmental issues are given a good hearing in this book, but, what could have been the most interesting part, the discussions about future scenarios of these issues, are given only a scant mention. The author suggests a multitude of possibilities, both from the organizational end and from the functional end of the task in hand, as well as introduces new and rather revolutionary ides of communities with specific interests and strength. But another important aspect of a new stance like this, which may be suited well for governments, of unifying all these efforts towards the task of establishing a conducive environment for growth for tomorrows world, need to be addressed anew.