Is Life On Earth As We know It Sustainable?

According to Paul Gilding, former director of Greenpeace International and now on the faculty at Cambridge University, and author of the book, The Great Disruption, the earth’s capacity to sustain human use of the earths resources had been exceeded in 1988 and it would now require 1.4 planets to sustain the current use of resources. In other words humanity on earth is now beyond the point of no return and is headed for the Great Disruption and life on earth as we know it will be changed forever. Malthusians concerns are being validated. 

What is happening is perfectly logical and understandable. A finite identity, the earth, cannot sustain infinite growth. This is a truism that most educated and reasonable people must understand but it has been ignored as an inconvenient truth that does not fit into the general order of things. The general order of things includes an economic model that depends on growth and an ever greater need  for the earths nonrenewable resources. The general order of things does not include preservation of an environment that makes human life possible and sustainable  on planet earth.
Gilding is and optimist, and while he paints a stark picture of what is in store for the earth and its inhabitants, he has great faith in our ability to react, innovate and cooperate when forced into a corner and that the day will be saved and a real transformation will take place that will produce a sustainable economy built on equality, quality of life and harmony with the ecosystem.
It is likely that not too far in the future we will find out if Gilding’s optimism is warranted.
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2 thoughts on “Is Life On Earth As We know It Sustainable?

  1. I would say it is not infinite growth so much as infinite consumption . Also, I wonder what estimates would be if developed nations or wealthy (unconscientious) individuals had much smaller footprints.

  2. Of course, a smaller footprint by citizens of developed nations would have have a positive affect. Easy to say, but how do you implement? Would you be willing to give up your two cars, reduce your living space to a one room thatch roofed hut, restrict showers to using captured rainwater heated by the sun’s natural rays? Probably only over your dead body as would be the case with most other people who live in developed nations.
    The only real solution is to balance the human population with the earths ability to support that population in an acceptable way, something not likely to happen voluntarily. However the good earth will solve the problem one way or another in its own way. The earth existed long before humans came around to fowl the nest and will likely be around long after human’s time has come and went.

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