The purpose of
our existence is not to make a living, but to make a life
Environmental sustainability and abject
poverty are the issues of our and all time, the resolution of
which will either save the Earth and relatively civilized society,
or continued neglect lead to global ecological and social collapse.
The big lies underlying ecological crises and wealth inequities
are that economic growth will solve these problems, is endless,
and is always desirable. Corporation's and government's emphasis
upon exponential economic growth in a finite biosphere is the
disease destroying the Earth.
In a growth driven capitalist market economy,
there can never be such a thing as "Sustainable Growth".
It is time to dust off the Club of Rome's findings in the 1970s,
and acknowledge that limits to growth have been put off by technology,
not eliminated. How can we speak of sustainable growth when the
economic system is not even sustaining large portions of the world's
population that now lives in utterly miserable poverty?
We are well into the disintegration of the biosphere
and human habitat as a result of policies promoting unfettered
economic growth at the exclusion of virtually all other values.
How grotesque that some shall live the life
of opulent splendor gluttonously consuming while most wither in
abject hunger and despair. I am stunned at humanity's - and particularly
the rich, powerful and celebrity types' - inability to see the
big picture. Nearly half of the world is living in grinding poverty
polluting little while about 20% consume exorbitantly destroying
the Planet's biosphere. It is like a disturbing Alice in wonderland
world - Africa starves, suffers wars, murder and rape; while we
in the North overfeed and entertain ourselves while shitting our
pollution on the poor.
Global inequities are obscene. How much longer
will the have-nots sit passively by watching the good life of
democratic consumption from which they are excluded? Why can't
anyone tell the Americans and Europeans they must have less? The
greatest threat to the American way of life is that it is not
able to be
universalized. Rich North and poor South conflict is inevitable.
Have you ever spent time with a family living
on $1 a day? About a billion people find themselves in this situation.
Where subsistence is still possible people are fed and housed,
but there is no room for error. Finding potable water and firewood
are a constant struggle. No fancy health care, leisure, travel
or electronic toys. Just a grinding struggle to survive as the
population grows and the environment continues to deteriorate.
Soon this will be the human norm.
The global food supply is near the breaking
point. The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing
global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years. Oceans
are overfished. Hunger is already a stark and painful reality
for more than 850 million people, including 300 million children.
In a world of
starvation, the rich are starting to drive themselves around powered
by food (biofuels) that could have gone to the poor.
Capitalism will evolve to emphasize a steady
state economy and protection and renewal of natural capital -
limiting production and consumption to natural systems' constraints
- or it will continue ecocidal eating of life giving ecological
systems to power a growing wasteful throw away society. The cycle
more energy needed to support growing populations all aspiring
to consume like a fat ass America must be broken.
Market fundamentalism must be challenged. The
failure of markets to place a price upon carbon causes climate
change. Widening gaps in income threaten social harmony. The inequalities
are grotesque, and the degree of blame for climate change, deforestation
and other environmental crises skewed towards the rich. I am stunned.
Sickened. We gotta rise up, rise up.
Stabilization of climate change and global ecological
sustainability will never be achieved without sharp reductions
in economic disparities between the Earth's peoples. Strictly
speaking it is too late to achieve global ecological sustainability
- where natural ecosystems operate as they have.
Yet we must work to bring human populations
and aspirations back into a reasonable balance with ecological
systems in order that humanity and the Earth have any future at
all. In order that all have enough to meet basic needs, and a
biosphere to house themselves and others, there needs to be less
of us and less disparity. This will require massively reducing
carbon emissions now, cutting population by three quarters, and
by necessity bringing the Earthly garden into our care with massive
protected areas and widespread regional scale ecological restoration.
There are different ways of showing love,
and love is more than between two people or a family. Do you love
your Earthly home habitat and the human and other species' families
with which we share it? I suggest more love of being and less
of you. I am opinionated as hell, but even I do not fully know
how we are
going to feed, house and clothe the world while shrinking its
population, repairing planetary ecosystems and learning to live
sustainably. But I do know that we must try.