The Great Rethink by Colin Tudge is an absolute must for all those who are deeply concerned about humanity at large and the present state of the world. Whether humanity will be able to pull itself up by its own bootstraps is the thousand-dollar question. Colin Tudge, whilst recognising the enormity of the task ahead (including the necessary implications for the biosphere and the non-human fellow creatures on our planet) documents in this book a sentinel and clear sign of hope. A hope well-grounded and not a million miles from Rumi’s assurance that ‘ours is not a caravan of despair’.
It is a hope which involves a radical critique of the contemporary oligarchies of wealth and power. The modern politics of oligarchy premised as they often are on the awesome consumption and the demands of an exponential growth of the world population and, in turn, often (almost inevitably) exemplify a predominant mantra of the virtues of competition and perpetual economic expansion. All this is usually taken as the key to the ultimate survival and wellbeing of modernity itself.
In this connection it is interestingly noted in The Great Rethink that in 2020 the British medical journal The Lancet cited a report by ‘the Norwegian Professor scientist Stein Emil Vollset of the University of Washington and his colleagues which predicted that human numbers will peak before the end of this century and then fall rapidly – in some countries by more than 50 per cent’: the so called ‘sigmoid’ effect.