Wednesday, 13 July 2011

how intelligent are we?

People will have to get used to the idea that never-ending economic growth and ever-rising living standards are impossible on a finite planet. 1) POPULATION If people live longer, and average family size is small, we cannot remedy the situation by constant immigration or large families. The population of any country cannot grow for ever. The resources are not there. 2)RESOURCES We have trashed the environment. Despite what some think, we are totally dependent on the environment for our food, fresh water, even the air we breathe. We are very likely to run short of energy and food - perhaps soon. If people realise this, are prepared to change their lifestyles & are willing to consume less & use new technology as much as possible the human race can survive. Otherwise - after the rioting - famine, war & disease will reduce the population to what the planet can sustain. The breakdown of civilizations has happened before. How intelligent are we? We have to wake up.


Lindsay said...

Yes, I think about this a lot, too.

I think part of what we'll have to do (as countries, not so much as individuals --- as individuals we can consume less, switch to a less meat-heavy diet, grow more of our own food, drive less or don't drive, have fewer or no children, but I am not sure that even a majority of people in industrialized countries doing this will solve the problems, because so much of the energy/resource use and pollution that have to be rapidly reined in is done not by individuals and households, but by corporations and governments. And individual actions can't really touch those) is restructure our economies so that they don't require constant growth in order to be healthy.

Unfortunately, the more I see of my government's response to oil-price shocks, the less I believe my government to be capable of the kind of restructuring I just talked about. We just released 30 million barrels of oil from our national Strategic Petroleum Reserve for practically no reason at all --- just to buy maybe a couple weeks of lower gas prices. We seem to be operating on the assumption that if we throw everything we have into the volcano, the Gods of Consumer Confidence will again smile on us, and our economy will go back to the way it was. I don't know if our policymakers really don't know that we can't grow indefinitely on a finite planet, or if they just think sustainability is a luxury issue that they'll starting thinking about once they've got the economy back on track? (Never mind that the economy is something we can tinker with, and change to fit changing circumstances, while the Earth is not ...)

Anyway, thanks for posting about this; it's a special interest of mine. I should post about it on my own blog, if I could find a way to write about it in a generalized, layman-friendly way that doesn't entail writing an entire book, or just telling my readers to go *read* an entire book, or several.

Wild Animal said...

"Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things will come full circle, back to where they started. That's revolution."

Russell Means, July 1980, Black Hills International Survival Gathering