Long before it became fashionable to talk of climate change, drought and water shortages, the authors of this lucid and trenchant dialogue were warning that planet earth was heading for uninhabitability. They exchange viewpoints and insights that have matured over many years of thought, study and reflection. One of the authors is a Westerner - a man of many parts, both wartime resistance fighter and leading industrialist, who founded one of the first think tanks to address seriously the human prospects for global survival. The other represents the philosophical and ethical perspectives of the East - a Buddhist leader who has visited country after country, campaigning tirelessly for the abolition of nuclear weapons and war in all its forms.Engaging constructively and imaginatively with such seemingly intractable problems as population growth, the decline of natural resources, desertification, pollution and deforestation, Ikeda and Peccei show that many of these problems are interrelated. Only by addressing them as part of a web of complex but combined issues, and by working together for peace and justice, can human beings expect to find lasting solutions.
The best prospect for the future lies in an ethical revolution whereby humanity can find a fresh understanding of itself in holistic connection with, rather than separation and alienation from, the planet itself.
Aurelio Peccei (1908-1908), was an Italian scholar and industrialist who founded the Club of Rome in 1968. A member of the Italian resistance during World War II, in 1944 he was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. After the war he became chairman of Fiat and President of Olivetti, while also being active in organisations like the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth and the International Ocean Institute. Daisaku Ikeda (1928-) is the President of Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organisation whose adherents come from over 190 countries throughout the world. He is the author of more than 80 books on Buddhist themes, and received the United Nations Peace Award in 1983.