‘This world is ending…,’ so we’d better make a new one

Posted April 23rd, 2007 in Blog Comments Off on ‘This world is ending…,’ so we’d better make a new one

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Among the things that I write and speak about is that the world we know now is about to change, whether we like it or not. We have simply overshot the capacity of the Earth to restore what we consume and absorb what we waste. In the next generation, we will quickly begin to run short of fresh water, arable land, fish and forests, to support the 8-9 billion that we will be by mid-century.

And that’s without global warming. With global warming, it will all happen sooner — increased evaporation, disappearance of glaciers, rivers running dry, drought and desertification — well, you know, the whole depressing list.

The world we know is ending. We have two choices about the new one — we either begin now to create it by reducing our ecological footprint willingly, sustainabily, and equitably, or the Earth will reduce it for us by reducing our population through disease, starvation, disasters, and such.

The first option sounds better to me — but it will take a mammoth effort on the part of humanity — to shift the entire global economy, and to shift a deeply entrenched mentality — that more consuming and more acquisition of goods and more wealth is the key to happiness, to lifting all boats (will be hard to lift them if there’s no water), to resolving injustice and inequity without diminishing our affluence.

So here is an article to share with you from one of my favorite and most solid resources — Interamerican Press. This notion that living with less brings greater satisfaction and happiness has been written about for decades — but now it comes with a new urgency. Unless we commit to it, we will be living in a horrible world, neither satisfying nor happy.

“The things that bring us joy or happiness and a good life don’t have to cost the Earth,” says Nic Marks of the London-based New Economics Foundation (NEF).

They’d better not, because there ain’t gonna be no joy or happiness if the Earth is spent. NEF calls it, ‘eating the planet.’

…it now takes more than one year and three months for the Earth to regenerate what we use in a single year.

This is incredibly frightening, especially since the pace of this is rising rapidly as poor countries develop and we add a couple billion more people to Mother Earth.

Just for fun, check out NEF’s Happy Planet Index, “an index of human well-being and environmental impact.” You may be surprised to find how far we folks in the US fall on this list — still one more reminder that consumption/acquisition do not equal happiness.

We’re in trouble. Time to stop spending, growing, consuming. Time to start making a new world, one that our children can actually live in.

[tags] ecological overshoot, new economics foundation, earth carrying capacity, spending down the earth[/tags]

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