For all our schemes and mantras about making this or that part of our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands.
The conservation movement dates back centuries and our technological prowess grows day by day, but even so the wilderness is shrinking, species dying out, and on and on we spread, build, and plunder. It’s easy to see our schemes and mantras as ultimately little more than fiddling while Rome burns.
What are the deep problems that we don’t talk about in terms of our relationship with nature? What, so to speak, are the elephants in the room?
When we’re talking about the relationship between humans and the environment, the most obvious elephant in the room is human population growth. This is rarely discussed in the Western media nowadays, especially compared to the 1970s, but it is central to what we’re doing to to the planet. We reached an estimated 7 billion people last October, and the OECD estimates that will climb to more than 9 billion by mid-century.
Why doesn’t the West discuss population?
The West does not discuss population numbers partly because the market is thought to favour growth. Business finds growing numbers attractive because it mean more consumers for their products, and more labour to compete for jobs and to support an aging population.
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I can only ask this; What makes you happy? What lifestyle would you want if you could get it? One of consuming lots of stuff or one of enjoying nature? I know what I prefer!