The End of Contagious Optimism and Denial

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Virginia Tech


The term tipping point was coined in the field of epidemiology to explain the concept that small changes will have little or no effect on a system until a specific critical mass is reached. Once this pint is reached, any further small change _tips the system and a large effect is observed. Tipping points indicate when slow, gradual change switches suddenly and becomes irreversible and the return to the predisturbance state is impossible. One distinct attribute of both societal and ecological tipping points is that they go unrecognized until the damage has already been done. Earth has already passed one tipping point and if the focus is not shifted from protecting the economy to protecting the environment more irreversible damage will be done.



tipping points, carrying capacity, climate change, resource depletion, positive feedback loop