The Path to Humanity 4.0

Jul 16th, 2021 | By | Category: Climate Change

By Geoffrey Holland, writer for Transition Earth.

[photo: Joanne Francis, unsplash]

[photo: Joanne Francis, unsplash]

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.   ~ Albert Einstein

My wife and I live in Portland, Oregon. On a late June day in 2021, the temperature reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures like that are not supposed to happen in the American Pacific Northwest. The all-time temperature record for Portland was shattered by 5 degrees.

On top of the record temperatures, the US West Coast and part of the Mid-Western are dealing with extreme draught conditions.

More than anything, I worry about wildfire.  In seems in the Western US, nobody can feel secure from potential incineration during the summer months. There are so many places in the world that are experiencing the same extreme kind of weather threats.

Unprecedented heat in the US Pacific Northwest is just the latest local reflection of the massive planetary dysfunction that is plaguing every corner of our Earth one way or another.  Out-sized weather extremes have become all too common, and it is likely to get far worse as time goes on.


Climate change is the 800-pound gorilla in the living room that the media dances around. But in the scientific community, it’s a settled question: 95 percent of scientists believe this is happening with 100 percent confidence temperatures are rising.

Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist  





When Will Enough be Enough?

Despite the irrefutable evidence, in the US at least a quarter of all voters are in denial about Earth’s climate reality.  This is in no small part due to the aggressive resistance of the fossil fuel industry that uses its wealth and political influence to obfuscate and discredit the real science.

In the US, one of the two major political parties is entirely wedded to denial, and the mainstream broadcast media includes one national outlet that is fully engaged in selling the ‘big lie’ where climate is concerned.

A poll conducted by the United Nations Development Programme in January, 2021 included 56% of the world’s population. The survey showed that 64% of people in the 50 global countries surveyed believe that we are already immersed in a climate emergency. The US population also has 64% that believe we have a climate energy.

Where climate is concerned, the voting public is way ahead of the politicians.

We must have a cultural transformation on a global scale.  As planetary citizens, we must stand together and reshape our political system so that it puts the common public interest ahead of private profit.  That’s how we move the culture to the next stage in our evolution, which we can call, Humanity 4.0.


We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.

Buckminster Fuller, Designer, Dymaxion Innovator


What is Humanity 4.0?

For the sake of our own survival, it’s what we all must become together.

Think of it this way, at this moment, we are currently in the third era of human existence…If the stone age was Humanity 1.0, and agriculture was 2.0, the current industrial era, the deeply destructive industrial era is 3.0… If we manage to transform ourselves; if we survive the worst in us, the next human era is Humanity 4.0.

What Does It Look Like?

It’s the next step, the final step in our maturity as a species.   A world transformed and elevated to Humanity 4.0 is gender equal in all ways.  It respects all cultures and ethnicities and delivers dignity and economic fairness to all. It’s a planetary society ruled by its citizens; a society redesigned and rebuilt to operate in harmony with the Earth System. It functions under a common framework of rules and regulations designed to restore and sustain the health of our Earth’s living biosphere.


Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.

Carl Sagan, Astro-physicist, Sone of the Cosmos 



[photo Maxim Hopman on Unsplash]

[photo Maxim Hopman on Unsplash]

How Do We Get to Humanity 4.0?

We must build a planetary consensus. This is a goal we all must share. We go tribal, we all sink.  We will all go down for sure if we go tribal.

Why do that? Why allow fear and self-interest to prevail given what is at stake?

Right now, the US is caught between a public consensus that could lead to Humanity 4.0 and a regressive brand of racist tribalism that is aggressively resisting the trend toward compassion and inclusiveness.

The tribal thing is a dead end for humanity. The future of life on Earth is at stake. We need all hands on deck, pulling the cultural oars in the same direction.

Quite simply, the party is over for greed and mindless, profit-driven self-interest.

The evidence for where we are and where we are headed is terrifying. If you are really paying attention, you have to know that.  It’s already bad. Life on Earth is  going to get much, much worse without some serious, well-considered human intervention: the kind of collective intervention that will get us to Humanity 4.0.

The way we survive the mess we’ve made is by embracing common purpose. We must work for a global cultural consensus. We desperately need a common public policy framework that applies to all equally. No one gets a pass. No exceptions.

What we learn when we look at the big picture is that we are all in this struggle for survival together.  We can get to Humanity 4.0 if we embrace a shared commitment to our common planetary home.



There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew. 

Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Message




Geoffrey Holland is the author of The Hydrogen Age, and the Coordinator of the Stanford University MAHB Dialogues.


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