Stop Crowding Nature Out!
Interesting to see New York Times writer, Tom Friedman – one of America’s best – praise Australian writer Paul Gilding and his new book The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Transform the Global Economy.
Gilding offers a devastating fact: by measuring how much land and water we need to produce the resources we consume and absorb our waste, he calculates global growth is using the equivalent of 1.5 Earths. We are – right now – living at 150 percent of sustainable capacity.
Friedman writes about the convergence of “two loops” that are both causing and exacerbating our living beyond the Earth’s means. The first is that more population growth and global warming pushes up food prices, which causes political instability in the Middle East, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to – you guessed it – higher food prices. The other loop is that increasing productivity means fewer people need to be employed to make more stuff. More jobs means more factories, and more factories means more global warming.
This shouldn’t shock people. As Gilder writes in his book, “[t]his is not speculation; this is high school science.” But what is surprising is that Gilder is an optimist. As we begin to see the impact of unchecked population growth and more severe climate change, he believes that “our response will be proportionally dramatic, mobilizing as we do in war. We will change at a scale and speed we can barely image it today, completely transforming our economy … in just a few short decades.”
Read the book. And read Friedman’s article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/opinion/08friedman.html