Monday, January 14, 2019

A Sustainable Future For Mankind Should Be Job One!

Sustainability Is Critical To Our Future
We should occasionally take a few moments to reflect on where we are, and where we are going. Over the last few years the threat of nuclear war has increased but even more frightening is the acceptance of such an event as a way of resolving problems. Our days, however, all filled with many other issues that will eventually determine not only our fate but the fate of mankind as well. Only to the most self-centered individuals with no children, family or friends can the issue of creating a sustainable future not be an issue of importance. In many ways, it should be considered "job one" in our rapidly changing world, yet it is almost always put on the back burner and ignored because of both political and economic ramifications.

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
As the population has soared during the last two hundred years, man has spread out and constructed infrastructure across the planet to support this growth using more natural resources than at any time in history. Already more infrastructure is needed and the repairs required to maintain what we have already built will be staggering. It appears we lack the courage to even discuss these issues in any real way. Do not expect to be guided by politicians, the super wealthy or most business leaders. Few people are willing to come out and say the recently adopted modern model of life based on lifestyles developed in America and western society are unsustainable. The few that mutter these words are often scorned. This could all be considered part of a giant conspiracy of silence but is more likely a head in the sand act of denial, an act that could lead to our demise.

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
As the world continues to develop the importance of design and quality are factors that cannot be stressed enough. As the world's population soars we cannot afford the wasteful luxury of constructing buildings that grow obsolete or must be replaced every few decades, buildings should last for centuries. We also cannot afford to bomb and lay waste to whole cities killing and destroying what so many have worked so hard to create. How we use our new skills and the choices we make will determine if mankind blankets the world with Las Vegas style resorts on every corner, fills the skies with glass towers, or constructs homes and shelters suitable for our fellow man.

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


  1. Unfortunately, I don't have a practical solution. Sometime back, I was thinking that maybe we can develop a technology to freeze people on voluntarily basis, so that everyone could live their lifespan sooner or later. Either that or a meteor. Even started a book about it.

    Firstly, long life doesn't mean happy life, and not only it negatively contributes to macroeconomics, it could also be thought as unnatural or even immoral or selfish. Why you might ask? Let's think about it. In most developed countries younger generation is paying for the older. If we are not expected to retire at older age, one young generation will need to start supporting two and more older generations. Also, the idea of artificially prolonging life without procreation is a serious threat to our genome and species. Or rather to the process of evolution. Which only works through procreation. Unless of course we also artificially modify our genome to adapt to changed conditions. And again, think of the life as a gift. Not wanting to give it to someone else and to leave this world for that someone is simply selfish.

    Secondly, the videos that you cited from the Population Research Institute, have very very low quality of information. These folks are either tools or trolls. Using a few historical books, it is very easy to discredit them. Not worthy opponent, scientifically speaking.

    Thirdly, only mass education and increased awareness have a chance at making a difference. Meanwhile, the people who have means to do a proper move, will stop at nothing to stall it. Even if their avarice causes mass destruction. Funny enough, yesterday, I was thinking that the same people are prepared for anything, even to live their long lonely life in the catacombs they build for themselves just in case.

    Lastly, until we fix the underpinning machinery of our society, any reset (like any war) will only give us a timeout and will start the process anew. We could, perhaps, use the timeout to find a permanent solution. But by the same inexorable logic, the longer the timeout we need, the more devastating the reset should be.

    P.S. Each generation is used to think about our society as a slice in time, we should think differently. We should think about people who passed away, who now live and those unborn generations.

  2. Going back to an honest monetary system base on Gold and Silver will address the over population issue. It's worked for over 6000 years and kept world population in check in the process. The golden rule also applies to how we conduct ourselves with our fellow humans in every facet of out daily lives because the medium of exchange is honest where it requires back breaking labor and tremendous amount of energy to acquire the commodity that has intrinsic value. Remember, money is only useful as a medium of exchange and that's it.

    If you look at when the population started to go exponential, it was the same time as when we started to go off the pure gold standard in the early 1900's. The world population then escalated to parabolic levels in the 1970's because can you guess what happened in 1971?

    Creating and expanding credit in a fiat monetary regime gives the illusion to the general population a false sense of prosperity. Money base on debt, through credit expansion is unsustainable and just an illusion. Such a system constantly require the population to continually to grow on a finite planet with finite resources to support the debt that needs to be paid back plus interest.

    We're doom folks. People who live their lives in gluttony will get a rude wake up call very soon in the near future.