News Book Review:  Cultural Cycles and Climate Change to Better Understand CoP26

Book Review:  Cultural Cycles and Climate Change –

A 9-Step Action Plan from More Quiet Time to a Good Life.

by Paul Palmarozza

 2021 While Oak Press

 Review by: Gordon Sillence


With the current the UN CoP 26 climate change gathering of the great and good now taking place in Glasgow, it’s useful for those interested in the depth and extent of this critical issue to draw attention to the publication: ‘Cultural Cycles and Climate Change’ by Paul Palmarozza.


He reminds us that the development of humankind follows great cycles rather than a simplistic linear evolution. At this point of Global Change, the perceived crisis of climate change is placed into this cyclical context so that we can analyse the human condition associated with periods of immense transformation. The book has a 9- step plan as a practical solution to meet our contemporary challenges, but it first offers an understanding of the great cycles of human society as seen through the various Vedic (Indian) Chinese and European cultures. To quote the introduction:

“The 21st-century is fateful in two respects. First, it is likely the make or break century for the future of (hu)mankind. Second, working out this future sustainability, creatively and universally will need to embrace the entire human community. Our shared destiny demands that the resources of wisdom, knowledge and capability of all contribute to the success of this striving. Works like this are essential software to help us towards this joined awareness.’

What is essentially excellent about this publication’s message is that we all need to move to a more caring and compassionate value system in order that the actions of climate change adaptation and mitigation will be carried out to meet this make or break challenge.

The book is far from the science or policy of the climate change adaptation and mitigation measures discussion taking place at CoP at the moment. It’s clear that no one in the suited corridors of power wishes to highlight the greed, ignorance and desire that underlies nation-state selfishness.


However there is a 9-step Involving steps 1 to 3 to acknowledge the need; 4 to 6 for more quiet time; and 7- 9 valuing service and tackling climate change. In the section called ‘key elements to a solution’ He calls for in the ninth step: rational laws; care for trees and forests; engaging the power of the young; reducing our personal carbon footprint; and serving the common good. As general as this advice seems to be it still needs to be given, and we can see many outputs of CoP26 addressing these issues, without calling for the end of the iniquitous system of our economic hierarchy that drives the crises.

In theoretical terms the reader would have been better served had the book – alongside its significant analysis of both easter and western cultural epochs - included a dialectical or historical materialist perspective on human cycles. The author could have also given acknowledgement to the Mayan culture, which has excelled at showing us all how the universe works in cycles of space and time and predicting the birthing pangs of this solar age with remarkable foresight and calendar accuracy, since they forecast these troubled times as the end of a 5000 year cycle.


By these omissions the author does not provide a conflict model of development, which is currently occurring between the 6 1/2 billion have nots and the 1% and their state capitalist cohort of bankers, administrators, security forces and elite middle-to-high income consumers.  Neither do we gain an understanding of the significant positive meaning of the Mayan calendar itself -the Tzolkin - with all its understanding of the passage of the last 5000 years of human history and its culmination in this current millennium turning point when human consciousness has finally reached its full gestation and we have become quantumly illuminated by the knowledge and light of this new solar millennium.


Had this understanding being apparent I’m sure Mr Palmarozza would be pleased by the suggestion that we take his message that all of us make more quiet time to reflect so that we can make better decisions, better choices, and thereby act with informed wisdom and compassion as we take full control of our path through history to be truly civilized as a society.

For me personally -as  both a sustainability professional and meditation practitioner- I welcome this book as part of the collection of significant works such as Schumacher’s ‘Small is Beautiful’ that come along in different generations to provide guidance on human scale personal changes, and develop solutions that involve improved individual morality and more considerate value systems in order that the collective effect is transformed for the better. We undertake the quieting down and simplification of our lifestyles by making small individual ethical consumption and production changes in order that our society can survive its growth into society 10 billion strong, resource efficient, resilient, in harmony, un-alienated and compassionate.


As an isolated champion of the need to promote the core value system of Agenda 21 (Peace prosperity planet for all) in parallel with the need for to develop its socio-economic and environmental certification, reporting and monitoring systems, I believe this book adds intellectual weight and clarity to that dual call, which is unfortunately so contrary and discordant with the materialistic craving and selfishness of mass society that ultimately underlies the Global Change crises we have created for the benefit of the few over the many..

Researching  this on the day that the ultra right-wing Conservative Brave New Brexit wartime (sic) government ruling in Britain cuts the foreign aid budget to 0.5%, effectively wiping £4 billion from the lives of the poorest, and then hearing Rishi Sunak’s financial fiasco feat of greenwashing corporate responsibly with his green briefcase and non-binding rhetoric, shows that we need this new social- green value system urgently and unequivocally, especially for our political, juridical and business leaders. 

May CoP 26 and the people who make and ratify its policies and programs truly adopt such a compassionate perspective, and work tirelessly -as the Agenda 2030 clearly states - ‘with no-one left behind.’ Thank you for showing us our historical patterns of creativity and destruction Mr Palmarozza, that we might confront, mitigate and adapt to global change with the required knowledge and wisdom bought to us by living the path of meditation, contemplation. justice and compassion.


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Keywords climate change
Target group(s) Education, Research, Consultancy
Topics Climate Change - Energy and Resource Efficiency