Going Beyond the Tipping Points
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Tipping points may be passed when all appears well, and the changes that follow are likely to be swift and irreversible. A frequent analogy to passing tipping points is of passengers in an automobile driving rapidly through a dense fog toward a cliff an unknown distance away. Tipping elements are now beginning to receive some long overdue attention. This interest is essential because tipping points surely exist, een though people are unaware of them. Tipping points and tipping elements have received practically no political attention. However, the natural laws of physics, chemistry, and biology have been in operation for billions of years and ignorance of exceeding them affords no protection from them. Of course, much more research is needed. However, while research is proceeding, two major steps can be taken now: (1) a science information system for the news media, the general public, and politicians should be put into operation at once, (2) a science internet site operated by such organizations as the National Academy of Sciences should be established so that the general public can obtain the information personally whenever it chooses.