|Sustainability Is Critical To Our Future
Sustainability means planning our future in a way that we do not set ourselves up to crash and burn at some future date. Long-term planning is not something politicians excel at or are even good at. Most political systems are geared at getting politicians re-elected and meeting the most pressing needs of today and not tomorrow. Things like profit, greed, and our unquenchable desire for growth are placed in front of longer-term issues and needs. This means that mapping out a logical and sustainable long-term plan requires delving into some rather hefty philosophical questions such as what brings real happiness. We also have to think about what kind of society and world future generations might want to live in and properly recognize the role of the human-animal in the overall scheme of things.
|Population Has Soared In Last Two Hundred Years
We should remember that for most of his 60,000 years on earth man has been a minor consumer of the earth’s stores of energy. With the discovery of fire, man began to increase his demands and draw on the short-term energy stores that had been accumulated over scores of years or even centuries by woody plants. Only in the last hundred years with the invention of the internal combustion engine and a huge increase in population has man begun to tap the planet's long-term energy supplies of oil and natural gas at an alarming rate. In merely a blink of an eye, we have shaped a world where our lifestyles revolve around and are dependent on oil and the consumption of energy from fossil fuels. To those naysayers of problems ahead that sight lower birthrates it should be pointed out that longer lifespans mean more people alive at any one time and that statistics showing we must drill deeper and deeper to find fresh pools of oil do not lie.
Jeremy Grantham’s investment firm GMO manages about $110 billion in assets. He also backs the Grantham Institute of Climate Change at London’s Imperial College. He says population growth is a huge “threat to the long-term viability of our species when we reach a population level of 10 billion” because it is “impossible to feed the 10 billion people.” Billionaire Bill Gates says we should cap global population at 8.3 billion at the same time his vaccine and other programs are extending life expectancy. Columbia University’s Earth Institute Director Jeff Sachs says even 5 billion is unsustainable. To stop adding more people our population is tough enough. But how do we eliminate two billion from today’s seven billion total? Voluntary?
|War Has Turned Mosul Into Rubble
It concerns me that in developing countries such as China and India that have huge populations of have-nots we are seeing developers follow the same flawed pattern of growth that was pioneered in America. The creation of huge wealth in China has manifested itself in conspicuous consumption as people rush to show they are successful. Poor planning has not promoted a lifestyle of efficiency and social interaction but has encouraged the private automobile with its massive support system of highways and the construction of more high-rise towers. The ability of the planet to sustain our recent lifestyle that is too new to have stood the test of time is very questionable.
“One of the disturbing facts of history is that so many civilizations collapse,” warns Jared Diamond, an environmental anthropologist and author of the classic “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” History shows that many failed civilizations share a sharp curve of decline which is usually totally intertwined with the economy and everyday life. A society’s demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth, and power. Can it be stopped before it’s too late? Don’t bet on it, watching how those in Washington and other capitals avoid dealing with the many real problems we face is not encouraging.
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Footnote; The above article is not an endorsement of some kind of "carbon tax" as much as it is a call for better planning and less waste. This post dovetails with many of my recent writings, below are a few related to this subject. Other articles may be found in my blog archive, thanks for reading, your comments are encouraged.
http://E-Waste Disposal Major Failure Of And By Government.html
http://America Did Not Vote For More Death And Destruction!html
http://Mankinds Struggle Viewed Through The Peter Principle.html