Friday, June 28, 2013

Endless growth for ever and ever

. In the case of Earth, there is still some natural wealth that we could commodify. 

Perhaps we can drill in the Arctic, pump a few more billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, log the remaining rainforests. 

Surely if we try hard enough we can wring a few more years of growth from this planet.
Advocates of “sustainable growth” hope to expand the realm 
of goods and services — that is, increase consumption — without doing all of these things. 

In other words, they hope we can consume more and less at the same time. 

That is impossible, when growth means more purchasing power, more production, more automobiles, bigger houses, more electronics, more roads, more air travel… all of these contribute to economic growth as we define it today.
Transferring growth from these areas onto “green” industries is not a long-term way to sustain eternal growth either, although that transition is important in its own right. 

Certainly, we should get energy from sunlight rather than fossil fuels and nukes — but can we increase the number of solar panels forever? 

Certainly, we should stop clearcutting, mining, and ranching the Amazon and tap rubber trees and collect brazil nuts instead — but can we increase the production of those things forever? 

Obviously not. 

Furthermore, the most effective green technologies involve simply using less: conserving energy, living in smaller houses, biking instead of driving, couchsurfing instead of building new hotels, sharing and borrowing instead of owning a personal copy of every good, and so on. 

All of these involve economic degrowth.

So why is it that all we ever hear from our leaders is growth, growth, growth?

Can be that they do not understand?

Can it be that they do not care?

Can it be that they only care about the short term?

It is all of the above and that is why we must all be involved in fighting for greater awareness about these issues that so affect us all.


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