Warning - this post is about A Serious Topic and this post is mainly Written In A Serious Manner. If you don't like reading about Serious Topics, just scroll on down to the next post.
I’ve only just recently heard of a book, published in 1972, called The Limits To Growth - so no I haven’t read it yet but yes I am definitely going to. In summary, this book contains several computer generated predictions for the future of the world, based on whether or not certain activities such as population growth, resource consumption and economic growth continue at their current rate. [Click link below to read more....]
Download a summary of The Limits To Growth, produced by an associate of the original authors, here; it’s food for thought indeed.
The Limits To Growth has been declared inaccurate over the years, but it seems a strange coincidence that the most outspoken detractors are also promoters and celebrators of capitalist agendas*. Overwhelmingly, related research ever since has shown that, fundamentally, the team behind The Limits To Growth got it right**. We, human society, will eventually consume the planet; its circle of life, and ours, will be complete in less time that we think.
I’m not a ‘greenie’ in general, but just a simple laypersons look at the rates of construction, manufacture, consumption and destruction in the industrialised world shows that we can’t keep on down the path we are travelling.
There are gradual shifts in urban areas towards alternative methods of transport, enabled by car share schemes and improvements in public transport, but still private car ownership is considered to be more of a right than an indulgence. As the population grows, so does the number of cars on the road. In the UK, new bigger, faster roads are still being built, existing roads are constantly being widened, junctions and roundabouts are becoming ever more complex. When does the road building stop? When there’s no fields left to drive across?
Cities all over the world are building or expanding airports, every year there are more and more aircraft in the sky, we hear of more and more near misses, when will the skies be full? Everyone must have the right to travel, but equally, we can’t all be in a constant state of transit.
Right now in Sydney, the Barangaroo project is changing the shape of the city skyline. Have you noticed the constant construction going on the city? Where there’s no room to add new buildings, existing ones are being completely ripped down and rebuilt. Was there really anything wrong with the convention centre, or with the office buildings that are being gutted and rebuilt everywhere? It feels like we’re building to keep busy, rather than to fulfil any genuinely unmet needs.
And why do we need to keep busy? We all think we need to keep earning more, because every new commercialised creation raises the bar of what is considered a normal standard of living; so we rush around gathering more wealth, often sacrificing happiness in the process, because we think we need all these things that we simply don’t need at all.
Industrialisation and technology has brought us to the convenience filled utopia in which we now reside – so how about we just stop and smell the roses?
Smell the roses, or the eucalyptus, or whatever it is that’s growing in your backyard, before we poison it with coal seam gas extraction. I know a little more about coal seam gas and fracking now than I did a week ago, having done some reading after attending a fundraising and awareness event for the Pilliga Forest campaign, and I honestly find the whole thing terrifying.
Just last week a coal seam gas well leaked in Camden, NSW - and the fine for companies involved in incidents like this is $1500 – yes just $1500! That’s pocket change to a resources company and therefore no deterrent at all.
The harsh truth is, really, we probably won’t stop building, digging or jumping on industrial bandwagons and so sooner or later, like all good things, modern life will reach its peak and the world as we know it will enter rapid decline, pretty much just as predicted in The Limits To Growth. Is that why rich people are now building space shuttles?
*Articles debunking The Limits To Growth
Forbes, 2012 - http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/04/09/the-club-of-romes-limits-to-growth-updated-entirely-bizarre/
The Australian, 2013 - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/pessimists-fears-proved-wrong/story-fni1hfs5-1226677872806?nk=fcee3bd6f01a255718d176851f446022
**Articles in support of The Limits To Growth:
ABC, 1999 - http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/rome/
The Guardian, 2014 - http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse?CMP=fb_gu
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Nicki Ranger is a freelance writer currently based in Perth, Western Australia.
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