I’m outa phrase … can you help?


I’ve created this blog and, as you might well imagine, I intend to use it as a device to engage people in talking and thinking about our global problems. But, I’ve run into a problem. I need a simple intuitive phrase with which to refer to my central subject.

To illustrate my point and my problem, here’s my theme statement as taken from the blog’s first light posting:
We will focus on a gathering storm of problems confronting mankind and the planet’s other biological inhabitants. The thread common to all of these problems is humanity itself. Mankind’s evolution of higher intelligence has freed it from the checks and balances which have tended to preserve order in the natural world since biological evolution first began on Earth.

Each of the subjects discussed in this column illustrates the fact that while humanity has developed higher intelligence, it has not developed the commensurate level of wisdom to balance it.

These are stories of the overuse of natural resources without consideration of what we’re going to do when they run out.

These are stories of humanity’s destructive impact on the integrity of the physical and biological systems around us in the world – systems upon which we are deeply dependent.

These are stories of how humanity’s greed and shortsightedness, both individual and collective, repeatedly lead to severe imbalances in the distribution of essentials like food, water, shelter, education and information. And these imbalances, in turn, lead to problems like overpopulation and fundamentalism.

And, finally, it is a meta-story about how the problems mankind is causing are potentiating and empowering each other to create a ‘perfect storm’ of consequences. Consequences which are going to fundamentally alter the physical and biological systems of the planet and degrading the kind of environment we will be leaving to our children for hundreds, if not thousands, of generations.

The following are some of the subjects which we will consider:
Peak Oil, Global Warming, Falling Water Tables, Rising Ocean Levels, Biodiversity Loss, Over Population, Failing Fisheries, Pollution, Rich vs. Poor Gap, The Invisible Hand, Fundamentalism, Globalism, Post-Modernism, Women’s Literacy, Food Shortages, Fresh Water Shortages, Terrorism, Pandemics, Desertification, Gender-Benders, Corporate Power, Bubble Economics, The Gulf Stream Conveyor, and the Marginalization of Science.
This is an incomplete list and other subjects will be added.

In my view, each of these impending problems can be visualized as a line on a graph. Each line fatally creeping towards some non-linear tipping point. And, standing back from the graph a bit, you can see that all of them are converging powerfully on our future.

As a line from a 1950’s song about ‘Big Bad Leroy Brown‘ once said, ‘If the left one don’t get you – the right one will’.

So, the phrase I’m looking for will refer, in a pithy intuitive way, to this approaching conjunction, this perfect storm of disasters. Words and phrases like “Peak Oil’, ‘Global Warming’, ‘Gender Benders’ and ‘Desertification’ all have the quality I’m looking for. I just haven’t found the right phrase for their aggregate.

Have you heard an appropriate phrases that would fit the bill? If so, I’d love to hear it so I can use it as a succinct way to refer to my central theme. If you have any thoughts on who else or where else I might pursue this inquiry, it would be much appreciated.

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