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GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CRUNCH October 31, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Natural Environment.
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Planet Earth is heading for bankruptcy and a global environmental “credit crunch” according to the latest Living Planet Report. We need to better manage resources and protect biodiversity.

The BBC reports:

The Living Planet Report is the work of WWF, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network. The document contends that our demands on natural resources overreach what the Earth can sustain by almost a third. It says that more than three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries where consumption levels are outstripping environmental renewal.

. . . This makes them “ecological debtors”, meaning that they are drawing – and often overdrawing – on the agricultural land, forests, seas and resources of other countries to sustain them. The report concludes that the reckless consumption of “natural capital” is endangering the world’s future prosperity, with clear economic impacts including high costs for food, water and energy.

. . .The countries with the biggest impact on the planet are the US and China, together accounting for some 40% of the global footprint. The report shows the US and United Arab Emirates have the largest ecological footprint per person, while Malawi and Afghanistan have the smallest.

The report elicits other facts:

  • There is 2.1 hectares per person actually available for the global population (and presumably to be shared with other living creatures).
  • In a direct comparison with the financial crisis, the more than $2 trillion (¬£1.2 trillion) lost on stocks and shares was dwarfed by the up to $4.5 trillion worth of resources destroyed forever each year.
  • The report’s Living Planet Index, which is an attempt to measure the health of worldwide biodiversity, showed an average decline of about 30% from 1970 to 2005 in 3,309 populations of 1,235 species. An index for the tropics shows an average 51% decline over the same period in 1,333 populations of 585 species.
  • A new index for water consumption showed that for countries such as the UK, the average “water footprint” was far greater than people realised, with thousands of litres used to produce goods such as beef, sugar and cotton shirts. “In Britain, almost two thirds [62%] of the average water footprint comes from use abroad to produce goods we consume,”

These dire warnings beggars the question is how homo sapien sapien got into this situation. What cultural or economic practices are they that ignore, and continue to ignore wisdom, which we human beings, I believe correctly, presume ourselves of having in part intrinsically and in part having a capability to develop.

I suggest we might also note that the system of violence associated with world empires, or aspiration to world empires, is intrinsically part of the problem.

Comments»

1. Judith Ellis - October 31, 2008

Nothing beats individual and collective responsibility. We need to be made aware of our actions and held accountable. The lack of accountability is a concern worldwide in so many areas. Returning to the basics of love and respect may be a good start. Love and respect prevent you from doing some things. In fact, there is no law in the New Testament save the law of love. Love and respect are not just terms; they engender actions which have far-reaching benefits, both readily seen and generally unseen until generations later.

2. wmmbb - November 1, 2008

I agree. I think there are fundamental issues about consumption, as well as the generation of energy. There is fundamental inequalities across the globe that need to be addressed. Then there is the management of the biosphere.

The reason I agree with you Judith, is that I think that problems cannot be solved with a technological fix, the application of scientific thinking, but in change in the way we think about things. Such a change usually takes time, which is something we don’t have.

Still we have been living in a world of global communications for more than fifty years. Although it took time to roll out, the introduction of printing had an enormous impact on Western Europe, and ultimately the world.

The cultural tools are as important as the technological tools. Cultural tools include religious teaching, but also traditional wisdom, for example, we can draw on Aboriginal Culture provided we can bring the the appropriate mental frames to understand what we are seeing and hearing.

I also agree that each of us has an individual responsibility which has to be expressed collectively.

3. Judith Ellis - November 1, 2008

There is no either/or. There are many reasons and many solutions. How we begin to change things must first come from within, beginning with acknowledgement and causes. From there solutions will best arise.

Being conscious and aware is essential. Right thinking breeds right behavior. The emission of love the gauge. There is so much yet to learn, so much yet to experience and appreciate. We collectively, over time, will get there.

While we may experience time differently based on what’s going on around us at any particular moment, time as an evolutionary process will always be.

There is a scripture that says “time will be no more.” I’ll have to delve into the meaning of this scripture more. But what can be asserted is that things are forever in flux, forever evolving.

Changes in consciousness have lasting enduring affect upon the spiritual and physical, positively or negatively. As a collective body, made of spiritual and physical components, time is our friend.

4. wmmbb - November 3, 2008

Is there another force for good, other than love, that as purposive and constructive in terms of protecting the biosphere and enhancing human life?

Gravitation and nuclear power are essentially inanimate and remorseless. Human consciousness, it seems to me, will not allow us to behave this way, to others if we are faced with the consequences.

What I would suggest, and my argument is a stretch, is that environmental degradation is a process of dehumanization and violence. However, if I were to suggest some content for this contention, I would point to the discovery of mirror neurons, that is ( and somewhat of a stretch again) compassion is fundamental to human nature reflecting a deep environmental encoding in human consciousness.

Now if this were true, where and why did our civilization and culture go wrong, and what must be done to change that basic error?

5. Judith Ellis - November 3, 2008

Gravitation and nuclear power are of natural laws. Human beings are of nature. If love was the center of gravity and the nucleus of consciousness, how might this affect our notion of science?

Yesterday I posted a piece on my Blog about the compatibility of science and religion upon reading that the great inspirational physist, Stephen Hawking, was to speak at the Vatican. In another recent post I wrote about unknowledgeable things as precedence for knowing, which is essentially the possibility of knowledge forever expanding or ignorance forever increasing as a choice. We decide the direction of things based on natural law and consciousness. Respect for natural laws and of elevated consciousness is also essential. The lack of curiosity is a dangerous thing.

While we may not have all the answers to all of our questions, openness is essential. This is what I loved about Darwin, even though many disciples have not followed in this same vein. The same can be said of many great leaders and movements. For me, the message of love that Christ lived, the elevation of consciousness above the seemingly apparent, is fundamentally true beyond what human minds may be able to comprehend at any given time.

There is no greater force than love. Civilization and culture go wrong simply by our choices. But there is hope. Love has both creative and transformative properties. I believe.


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