Donella Meadows, the environmental scientist, famous for her book, ‘The Limits to Growth’, famously once said of George W. Bush, the former President of the USA, that he cared as much about climate change as you might expect from a Texas oilman. In a sense, we are all ‘oilmen’; we all care about what is immediately important to ourselves – our jobs, our lifestyles, our comfort and our leisure, and we care about the things that provide us with those – our economic systems.
And in some senses, that is how it should be – if our economy collapses, so do our lives, but, as Aldo Leopold once famously said, we should, “Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient.” To which, we might place another comment by Ms. Meadows; that, “You may be able to fool the voters, but not the atmosphere. ”
Our economic systems maintain and sustain us, that’s for sure, but isn’t it also true that the Earth sustains everything and everybody: ignoring the Earth and its needs is having far greater consequences than anything that can happen to our economic systems.
In ‘Limits to Growth’, Meadows outlines five variables that should be considered when making decisions that could result in environmentally global catastrophe. These five are world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion. She might have added that a failure to take these into account will result in environmental disaster.
We are well aware of all this, and yet governments cannot agree on substantive and collective action vital to staying this progress of destruction. In the absence of real government action, we, the inhabitants of Earth can do something – we must, before it is not too late, and it is already late.
There are people everywhere who are attempting to live their lives as though something else mattered more than them. To most of us, we continue on blindly as if nothing was at stake, as if nothing depended upon us, as if we could do nothing.
To ‘think outside the box’ in common parlance, is what is required. As Donella Meadows also stated, “Your paradigm is so intrinsic to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm.”
We might think our individual efforts too small to be significant, but we forget that governments owe their very existence to us, the electorate, to us the citizens of this world. Besides beginning to live a more environmentally consciously aware life, we should bring pressure to bear on our representatives, recalling first, that the pen is mightier than the sword!
Read more, write to your representative in government, give voice to your concerns before it is too late, and it is already late.
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