- Pessimism: Rio+20 declaration talks fail almost before they begin The title pretty much says it all. But, for the gory details of the backroom negotiations among the US, Venezuela, Canada, Russia and Japan to kill any major deal, read the story.
- Optimism: Peak planet: Are we starting to consume less? A reasonably thorough assessment of the argument that humanity's ever-rising environmental impact is about to go into reverse. The article discusses value change and 'dematerialization' but places the greatest hope in new technologies.
Will we grasp the nettle? The Danish agricultural economist Ester Boserup argued that throughout history, population growth and the pressure of shortages have been necessary spurs to technological developments, which seem to arrive just in time to avert the sort of disasters that exercised the likes of Malthus and Ehrlich. The signs are that we already have the know-how to live long and prosper without demanding ever more from a finite planet. The question is whether we will make the decisions to realise that promise before "just in time" becomes "just too late".
- More Pessimism: The fixation on Boserup and the notion that "we already have the know-how to live long and prosper without demanding ever more from a finite planet" runs afoul of deeper analyses of our current condition. The Ingenuity Gap, for example, suggests that the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of our problems has created a situation where our requirement for ingenuity has outstripped our ability to supply it.