Monday, November 13, 2017

We've Been Warned


At the root of all of our ecological problems, including climate change, is continued rapid population growth. Any way you look at it, it's unsustainable. It impacts everything:
... By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere...
Along with perpetual demand for products that use up resources, capitalism depends on it as its most fundamental principle. But, in one way or another, so does nearly every society. The above-quoted sobering article, a statement by 15,000 scientists around the world, is unequivocal and compelling. The only factor it refers to as having improved since their statement from several years back is the ozone hole. From the world's response to it, they take some hope.

But really, stopping the use of hydrofluorocarbons wasn't all that hard: there were alternatives available which didn't require much in the way of re-prioritizing our lives. Going deeper and broader will demand major change, and there's little evidence of willingness to engage in it. Particularly among the current leaders of the USA.

Some things need an undeniable, disastrous occurrence to wake people up. In the case of the health and sustainability of the planet, by the time enough people are awake it'll be too late.

Despite all the evidence of what's needed, the US has announced to the world its intention to ignore it all; to make it worse, in fact. Deliberately. In-your-face-edly. So, in a historic role reversal, it falls on the rest of the world to save us. But it's what Trumpists consider making America great again. When I'm not angry, I'm just deeply sad.

The best-case scenario I can envision is that the generation of my grandkids, ages one and three, is the last one that has a chance of enjoying life as our planet has always provided it. Following theirs, it seems doubtful. Maybe they'll even be the last generation entirely, either by choice or law or having been rendered chemically unable to reproduce by pollutants.

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