Sodium Haze: Too many of us for unity to be possible?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Too many of us for unity to be possible?

Great article from David Attenborough on The New Stateman website.

Are there simply too many of us for any notion of global unity to emerge?

But if we had some sense of ourselves as human community members then solving a problem like this would be so much easier.

 An old quote surfaces in the article.

Kenneth Boulding, President Kennedy's environmental adviser 45 years ago, said something about this: "Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on
a physically finite planet, is either mad - or an economist."

Sobering reality too.

All of us who have travelled in poor countries have met people for whom hunger is a daily background ache in their lives. There are about a billion such people today - that is four times as many as the entire human population of this planet a mere 2,000 years ago, at the time of Christ.

and a good question.

I suspect that you could read a score of reports by bodies concerned with global problems - and see that population is one of the drivers that underlies all of them - and yet find no reference to this obvious fact in any of them. Climate change tops the environmental agenda at present. We all know that every additional person will need to use some carbon energy, if only firewood for cooking, and will therefore create more carbon dioxide - though a rich person will produce vastly more than a poor one. Similarly, we can all see that every extra person is - or will be - an extra victim of climate change - though the poor will undoubtedly suffer more than the rich. Yet not a word of it appeared in the voluminous documents emerging from the Copenhagen and Cancún climate summits.

Why this strange silence?

and a final conclusion

Make a list of all the other environmental problems that now afflict us and our poor battered planet - the increase of greenhouse gases and consequential global warming, the acidification of the oceans and the collapse of fish stocks, the loss of rainforest, the spread of deserts, the shortage of arable land, the increase in violent weather, the growth of mega-cities, famine, migration patterns. The list goes on and on. But they all share one underlying cause. Every one of these global problems, social as well as environmental, becomes more difficult - and ultimately impossible - to solve with ever more people.
The man has got a point.

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